4 Helpful Tips for Maintaining a Successful Design Business


As a designer, the success of your business relies on your ability to book and complete new projects. As your business evolves, you should be taking all the necessary steps to build momentum and continue prospering for the foreseeable future. By simply improving some of your key operations, you can accelerate growth while creating awareness and building demand for your services.

Here are some helpful tips to keep your business thriving:

1. Set a minimum budget for projects

Not every project is going to be worth your while, and you should not have to feel bad for turning down projects because of the allotted budget. If designing is your primary source of income, then you need to make sure the projects you are taking on are worth the time investment. Having a minimum budget in place allows you to go into every project knowing you will be profitable. Each project requires careful planning, consideration, and commitment, so you should make your intentions clear from the beginning. Make it clear from the beginning, whether on your website/contact form or through your initial conversation with your client.

2. Post quality images (and post often!)

The internet is quickly becoming one of the most prominent places to get your work discovered and book projects. Your online profiles can also serve as your resume or portfolio as referral clients can view your work before making contact. Posting your best and most recent work is a great way to verify your abilities as a designer. Make sure your photography is up to par so you can compete with the other high quality images from designers online. Pro tip: always get your client’s permission before posting any of their personal spaces for the world to see!

3. Market your business year-round

Throughout your work year, there are usually peak busy times and times where business is slowed. Even in your busiest season, don’t let this deter you from advertising your business. If your currently juggling too many projects, perhaps you can schedule the incoming projects for later dates. A waitlist is a great way to manage incoming client requests. The last thing you want is to be searching for new projects because you thought your hands were too full during high season.

4. Attend design events

The internet is an amazing resource to create awareness for your business, but perhaps the best marketing asset you possess is yourself. Throughout the year, take some time to attend some of the numerous design events available, whether locally or around the world. Popular design events such as High Point Market, ICFF, and Decorex are a great place to network with top designers and makers from all parts of the world. There are also many local events available, such as spring and fall markets from well-known design centers (BDC, SFDC, PDC, and more). You can even attend a conference or speaking event to brush up on your design wisdom while surrounded by other industry professionals.

Final Thoughts:

As a designer, there are many ways to stay on top of your game so you can book new projects, make more money, and become well-known within the industry. By following some of these tips, you can continue to build and maintain a successful design business.

Erin Gilbert