This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

February 14, 2014

Beginning a freelance graphic design business

I started my freelance graphic design business, Brad Hall Art (actually it was originally called Brad Hall Advertising Art) at age 20. I just noticed today that my Linkedin profile gives anniversaries, so, uh, I'm not gonna tell you how long my company has been around. For a while. And like a lot of graphic designers, my freelance business has been busy or slow, and has always run even when I have had a "real job".

The key to doing a freelance graphic design business is understanding sales. Of course, you have to be a good graphic designer, know how make logos, use Adobe software, create web pages, that sort of thing. But without an understanding of how business is conducted, you are out of luck. And luckily, I did a few things very early on in my career that I recommend.

Success Comes in cans, not in cannots!
I took a class at my local community college on basic sales. Looking back on not just my freelance work, but my life, I have to say that learning sales is one of the most important things I ever did. I also had the good fortune to have a client who specialized in motivating sales people, +JOEL WELDON. He still does. And since I have been doing the cartoons for his seminars, along with all of the other graphic design work that he needs, I have been able to keep my knowledge of sales fresh.

I learned about the people who would need graphic design. That is, I minored in Advertising, studied Marketing, learned about Public Relations. My art, graphic design, doesn't hang on a wall in some gallery. It works, it's functional, and I needed to learn the function. To this day I have the greatest respect for marketing people, and every once in a while I refer to myself as a "marketing guy", but I'm just part of the mix. Real marketing people know that.

I learned about invoices. Yes, I took a basic accounting class. If you want to get paid, you have to know how it's done functionally. I learned a lot from my clients. I learned to sent statements out, month after month, for clients who were a little slow to pay. I may have reached a record this past year with a client (who shall remain unnamed) who received twelve statements from me. Yep, it took them a year to pay, but they did.

When I started teaching at The Art Institute of Phoenix, I was pleased to see that basic business classes were required, too. Most of the students were confused about why they would need to learn about business. I wasn't, I knew how it important it was to help someone go from being just an artist to a commercial artist.

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