Start and Run a Creative Services Business

Overview

Do you love graphic design? Do you care deeply about type that is perfect? Do you feel chained to your desk in a 9-to-5 grind? Do you wish you could just break free and work for yourself? Geared for the electronic age, this book shows how a freelance designer can run a successful business without leaving his or her computer. Entrepreneurs with creativity and design skills really can run a successful business ...
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Overview

Do you love graphic design? Do you care deeply about type that is perfect? Do you feel chained to your desk in a 9-to-5 grind? Do you wish you could just break free and work for yourself? Geared for the electronic age, this book shows how a freelance designer can run a successful business without leaving his or her computer. Entrepreneurs with creativity and design skills really can run a successful business doing something they enjoy.

Translate your creative skills into cash
Build a loyal client list to lock in repeat business
Market your creative skills worldwide
Learn what to do from a veteran freelancer
Start & Run a Creative Services Business will show you how to use your skills, training, and experience to make money designing things like book covers, logos, corporate promotional materials, websites, and advertisements. The book acts as your friend and adviser in the competitive world of the self-employed, and teaches you how to advocate for yourself. Industry specific information is presented in a logical order, appealing to the novice as well as the seasoned designer who needs advice on a particular situation. Through a series of personal experiences, the author explores the unpredictable nature of the business world from a designer’s point of view. For example, there’s a chapter on what to do when clients don’t pay and another that offers advice about freelancing during economic slumps. The author provides cutting-edge information for creating an electronic portfolio, targeting your market online, and distinguishing yourself from the competition.
The book comes with a CD-ROM filled with tools to help you get your business off the ground.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551808642
  • Publisher: Self-Counsel Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/15/2009
  • Series: Start and Run A Series
  • Edition description: 2nd Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Kirkland is a Graduate of the Columbus College of Art & Design and has worked as a freelance designer for over 30 years. She has created training films for Texaco, nuclear power presentations for Brown & Root Construction, even a manual for NASA. She has received numerous awards for her work including the Governor's Medal, two Silver Ad.Q Awards.

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Table of Contents

PREFACE xv
1 GETTING STARTED 1
1. Advantages to Self-Employment 1
2. Launch Your Business Effectively 2
3. Income Adventures and Other Paths 3
4. Find Your Professional Edge 4
4.1 Distinguish yourself from the competition 4
4.2 Showcase your abilities honestly 5
4.3 Know your client’s business 5
4.4 Strive to build long-term relationships 5
4.5 Share your resourcefulness and problem-solving skills 5
4.6 Stay in close contact during a project 6
4.7 Treat everyone respectfully 6
4.8 Join professional organizations 6
4.9 Keep boasting to yourself 6
4.10 Sell clients only what they need 7
4.11 Remember, it’s the little things 7
4.12 Be businesslike in all your dealings 7
vii
2 CREATING YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT 9
1. Pros and Cons of a Portable Desktop 10
2. Set Up an Efficient Home Office 11
2.1 Dedicate your work space 11
2.2 Create a work-friendly ambiance 12
2.3 Invest in a great chair 12
2.4 Buy a good computer 13
2.5 Own the right equipment for the job 14
2.6 Upgrade your software frequently 15
2.7 Establish good work habits 17
2.8 Upgrade phone lines and Internet access 18
2.9 Create a business image 20
3. Supplying Your Own Employee Benefits 22
3 TAKE A PERSONAL AND PORTFOLIO INVENTORY 25
1. Know Your Skills and Resources 26
2. Welcome Variety and Challenge the Competition 27
3. Leverage Your Freelance Advantage 29
4. Promote Services via Your Portfolio 30
5. Guidelines for Building a Strong Portfolio 32
5.1 Select ten pieces of your best work 32
5.2 Show pieces that promote specific skills 32
5.3 Mount pieces so viewers can see each page 33
5.4 Substitute alternates for special presentations 33
5.5 Choose pieces that show off your creativity 33
5.6 Start with an attention-getter 33
5.7 End with your best piece 33
5.8 Include a few business cards 34
6. Cultivate a Sense of Humor 34
4 CAPTURING REPEAT CUSTOMERS 37
1. Provide Client-Centered Service 38
1.1 Learn how advertising works 38
viii Start & run a creative services business
1.2 Become a typography expert 39
1.3 Use appropriate language 39
2. Decide Where to Position Yourself 40
2.1 Pass on cost savings 40
2.2 Take the ethical high road 40
2.3 Focus on your best clients 41
2.4 Know who you’re working for 41
3. Learn All You Can about Printing 42
4. Select Your Partners with Care 45
5. Keep in Touch with Clients 46
6. Recognize and Avoid Problem Accounts 47
6.1 Clients you can live without 48
6.2 It’s all about standards 48
7. Seek Honest Feedback 49
8. Be Flexible but Not a Doormat 50
9. Get Creative with Your Marketing 52
10. Treat Your Clients Royally 53
5 IDENTIFYING AND TARGETING YOUR MARKET 55
1. Marketing Using the 4Ps: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion 55
1.1 Product 55
1.2 Price 57
1.3 Place 59
1.4 Promotion 61
1.5 The 4Ps extended to 7 to Include the Service Sector 62
1.6 People 63
1.7 Process 64
1.8 Physical Evidence 64
2. Take Advantage of Today’s Opportunities 65
2.1 Get high-speed Internet access 66
2.2 Design an impressive business website 67
2.3 Make your website searchable 68
Contents ix
2.4 Get up to speed with technology 69
3. Create a Digital Portfolio 70
3.1 Protect your work: The laws of authorship 70
3.2 Put samples of your work on a website 73
3.3 Create a PDF portfolio 76
4. Register for Government Contracts 80
4.1 US government contracts 81
4.2 Canadian government contracts 82
6 STRATEGIC ALLIANCES 83
1. PDF — How It Reconfigured Sales Support 85
2. Opportunities for Strategic Alliances 86
2.1 Find a printer to partner with 87
2.2 Team up with professional peers 87
2.3 Perseverance pays 88
7 COLD CALLING FOR NEW BUSINESS 91
1. Defrosting Those Icy Cold Calls 92
2. Get to Know Your Competition 94
3. Avoid Naysayers at All Costs 95
4. Know the Many Meanings of No 95
5. Show Respect and Expect It in Return 96
6. See the Potential in Every Contact 97
8 NEGOTIATING WITH VENDORS 99
1. Choose a Reputable Printer 100
2. Steer Clear of Print Brokers 100
3. Watch Out for Tricks of the Trade 101
4. Pay for Quality Printing 102
5. Learn to Talk Like a Printer 104
5.1 Use the jargon of your trade 105
6. Get the Best Deal for Your Client 106
7. Collect Your Sales Commission 107
x Start & run a creative services business
9 NINE SURE SIGNS YOU’RE NOT GETTING PAID 109
1. Delay — “The Check Is in the Mail” 110
1.1 Act fast in the case of bankruptcy 111
1.2 Late payment can be intentional 111
1.3 Protect yourself with a retainer 113
2. The Ties That Bind 114
3. The Ignored Invoice 114
4. Rush to Project Completion 115
5. Triangulation 116
6. Reasoning Plus Excuses 118
7. The Bold-Faced Lie 118
8. Price Is No Object 119
9. The Empty Promise of Future Work 120
9.1 Be up front about payment details 120
9.2 Keep your client well informed 121
10 FEES AND WHAT TO DO WHEN THE CLIENT DOESN’T
DO THE RIGHT THING 123
1. Dealing with Subcontractors and Clients 124
1.1 Dealing with abusive or demanding clients 125
1.2 Your client’s bills: To carry or not to carry 126
1.3 Let the printer carry the risk 128
2. How to Handle Nonpayment of an Invoice 128
2.1 Exercise empathy, especially in a bad economy 128
2.2 Don’t forget cause and effect 130
2.3 Avoid the final solution: The lawyer 130
3. Tried-and-True Tips to Protect Yourself 135
11 SCOUNDRELS AND SCALAWAGS, PIRANHAS AND
BARRACUDAS 137
1. No One Escapes Unscathed 138
2. Politics Makes Things Sticky 139
3. Bottom Dwellers of the Worst Kind 142
Contents xi
3.1 A few words about non-compete agreements 143
3.2 “Work for hire” is a creative rights waiver 144
3.3 Your client relationship: Sacrosanct under the law 145
12 SAGE ADVICE FROM A VETERAN 149
1. Step into the Future 150
1.1 Create your own network 150
1.2 Subcontract when necessary 150
1.3 Read some business classics 150
2. Artistic Respect and Freedom 151
3. Cherish Creative Integrity 152
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