So you want to start your new design business? Design guru and founder of an online resource finder, Oriana Cyprus gives enthusiasts who are either at the very beginning of their career journey or designers that have been working for others and would like to make the move to running their own firm 6 tips on how to start:
1. Get some education. You may want a 4 year degree or not but I recommend some sort of schooling. Look into a local college for a certificate program if you have already been to college, or get an Associate 2 year degree if you don’t want the full Magilla. It will help you immeasurably on so many levels. Remember, that each state has different requirements for schooling and becoming an active designer.
2. Once you have a business name, buy your URL. Go to Go Daddy or a similar website and make sure your web address is available. If it isn’t, choose another name. You will need a .com for a future website. Set up the email account at your new .com too. Your email address should not be an AOL or Gmail address. It should be firstname.lastname@example.org. Design Campus also recommends an alternative option, which is using a .design domain, which you can learn more about from our previous blog on Top Level Design.
3. Form a corporation. It’s not a big deal to do it (but it will seem like a huge deal). Your accountant can do it or you can do it yourself on line. You will need a Federal EIN (tax ID) to open accounts with the showrooms and trade vendors.
4. Open some trade accounts. It’s intimidating to open accounts at first because many of the showrooms ask for your other accounts as references. Some showrooms are more “new designer friendly” than others. I tell everyone to beeline it to Kravet and open your first ac-count with them. They are very friendly and welcome new designers and students with open arms. Plus, they have multiple lines in addition to Kravet: most notably Lee Jofa and Brunschwig et Fils (this covers your first three references!). Then go to Duralee and then Thibaut and Robert Allen. You can build from there but those are some big ones that will cover a lot for your first few orders.
5. Ask questions! There is a lot of lingo that comes with the design field and even with schooling, it takes time to know what it all means. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you have a friend who is already in the business, take them to lunch and pick their brains. I got so much great information from generous friends who were willing to share their knowledge with me. It is a nice community of people in this industry and I find other designers are always willing to share stories. Many of us work as independent operators and without each other we are all operating in a vacuum. It is imperative to have that communication. Remember that when you are a seasoned design vet and a “newbie” comes your way looking for help!
6. Trust yourself! This is a scary process at first. It’s a big deal to start a new career and launch a new business but you can do it! Take a deep breath and jump. You will be great.
Looking for even more advice on how to start or run your business? Look no further than Design Campus! When you join, you have access to search and view design video courses led by some of the most respected and experienced experts in the design business. Whether you are a new designer looking to launch your career or a tenured designer seeking to enhance your skills, each course will provide you the tools you need to succeed in the design industry. Begin today with a 7-day FREE trial!