The methods I’m about to share will make you a graphic designer without a degree and help you start a graphic design business with no money.
Many designers including myself worked our way into building a graphic design business with these strategies.
Let’s get into it right away!
1. Get a job at a graphic design shop
An easy way to start a graphic design business with no money is working as an employee at a printing press.
I’ve seen many people started their own graphic design business through working at a graphic design shop.
Jacob is an old friend who started off this way. First, he worked at a printing press. He was good at his job. Because of this, Jacob won many hearts.
When he had an issue with his boss, he moved to our shop. At the time, I worked at a designing shop. My boss was really happy with him because he helped me served more clients.
I later left my old boss to start my own business. Many months later, I met Jacob working in his own shop with many clients.
What you should know about Jacob: He was friendly and hardworking. He never owned a computer when he worked for his boss and my boss.
2. Start with a graphic designer
I am sharing secrets no one else will share with you. I have seen these things a number of times, that is why I am writing about them.
If working under people is not your thing, make friends with a designer. You will not only use his computer but also learn so much from him.
Just note that, you will be doing the errands if you are a little younger than him. But that’s ok, as far as you are able to have access to the computer and use his place as your office to get clients.
Before the owner of AG opened his graphic design shop, he worked with his friend after completing a secretariat school.
I was the ICT teacher at his former school (CITA) and I taught him for couple of months. That’s just by the way – huh-
3. Pair with a photocopy shop
Do you need an office but don’t have the money to start? Here’s your hack. Talk to a photocopy shop owner who is not into graphic design.
Negotiate with him then you’ll have your office at his place.
It doesn’t only have to be a photocopy shop.
Few years ago, I turned down a request of a client who runs a medical and optical service to share his office space. The office was positioned at the center of the city and well furnished.
You could get such an offer or discuss with people in any space.
4. Work from home
This has always been my favorite kind of work. Long before Covid-19, I serve customers virtually.
Work from home has its advantages and disadvantages but if you are just starting, this is your best shot.
All you need is a computer. You can get one from a family or a friend for the start. Make sure to keep it safe.
If you are on a tight budget, use my plan that I shared in my previous article, how I started my graphic design business: 9 cost-effective ideas to get a desktop computer.
Now that you are set with a PC, spend time to design lots of templates and share on social media. Also, talk to people about your business.
When you get a contract, design and go to a printing press to print.
Talk to other designers to know how to charge.
If you are wondering how easy this is, my friend Chooser started his graphic design business exactly like this.
Chooser is a University graduate who completed his National Service but can’t find a job.
Recently, I met Chooser, he is working from home as a graphic designer. He knows lots of people so he advertises his business to them.
Once he gets the job, he designs on his HP laptop, and prints in a printing press.
5. Print at a printing press
The good thing about graphic design is, you don’t need to own a printer to start. Although it helps serve customers better, make more money, and work faster.
When it comes to printing banners, stickers and other special designs, not every designer can afford those giant printers. So, what most do is to design and print at a printing press.
The press is there for the same reason. That is how they make their money.
Richard, the owner of New Dawn has more than 6 large format printers. He employed many designers but their major work is printing banners, sticker, T-shirts etc for other designers.
Godwin, the owner of LoveBreeze Grafix who started his graphic design business through setting my book Get Inspired with CorelDRAW, has Epson printers for A4 and A3 color works.
Also, Canon imageRunner for broachers but print banners and stickers at New Dawn and Asta.
When Godwin started way back in 2013, he was not even having a black and white printer. He printed all his works at New Dawn including my book “Get Inspired.”
As a self-taught graphic designer, I depended a lot on blogs, especially Enthoes.com. I watched tutorials on YouTube.
To keep up to date with your designs, apply for free online courses, practice daily, consider free service, design for yourself, design for friends and families for free.
What you should take away from this article is that, you don’t need to have everything set to start your own graphic design business.
But you need to have courage, be committed and be self-discipline to start.