Successful businessman and designer Chris Do imparts experience, wisdom, and knowledge on the most important issues entrepreneurs face when starting and running a business.
Frank Shi is a smart, young entrepreneur on the verge of starting a motion graphics business. He’s also a former intern of Chris’s. He sits down with Mr. Do and asks him many questions on how to start and run a design business.
It’s important to know off the bat that success is not guaranteed. You will quickly learn that starting and running a design business takes a lot of patience and hard work. There will be many, many bumps along the way, but if you keep your head down, you will make it out just fine.
Chris has over 20 years of experience as a design professional and studio owner. Needless to say, he’s had his fair share of ups and downs, tough times, and triumphs. Here are just a few pieces of advice he gives to Frank:
- Get paid upfront. A lot of designers do work and don’t collect any money from the job. People want creative services done, but you need to get paid first. Put together a proposal or talk about a budget and get paid 50% upfront. That’s when you’ll know the deal is real.
- Sales and marketing are everything. Without sales and cash flow, you will start to suffer severely.
- There are two ways to make money. One: bid high and build yourself a cushion of profit. Two: spend less money to produce the project. Sometimes people focus only on grossing higher revenue, and they’re not thinking about how to spend the money. Don’t get caught up in the price of the job.
- Bring the conflict upfront in negotiations. Clients have a lot of power, but not all of it. They have as much power as you’re willing to give to them. Get questions answered directly and gain clarity before walking away from negotiations.
- Confidence is everything. If you don’t go into meetings representing yourself or your business well, what you have to offer won’t matter at all.