How to Be a Design Entrepreneur: 5 Tips for Running Your Own ID Business

Cat Berry works across NeoPG's platforms and departments, strategizing and developing content that reflects our readers' inquiries and needs in order to best engage and serve our diverse audiences on the topics that matter. She is a former publicist and runs a successful inspirational blog.

Running your own business is in no way for the faint of heart. There will be heartaches, losses, and many sleepless nights. There’ll be days you’ll be ready to give up and go back to your old job with your head bowed and hat in wringing hands. There will be some sweat—and maybe some tears—but living the dream of running your own business is worth it.

As an industrial designer, you’re a natural visionary, and that will carry your startup a long way. Your competition is stiff and plentiful, but if you’re able to find your niche and avoid common pitfalls, you’ll thrive. Here are five tips to help you get started. 

Do what you love and do it with passion. 

There’s an old saying: “When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.” The best thing about starting your own business is that you get to put time and energy into something you love. Not many people get that opportunity, and while you don’t owe them anything, you owe it to yourself to be passionate.

Your time, money, and energy are all investments, and they aren’t worth it if your heart isn’t fully vested in running your business. Your passion to create the best industrial design business possible should energize you on a sluggish Monday morning. Your desire to be precise in executing your daily operations should be the reason you go to bed early on a festive Friday night.

A good reputation is better than gold. 

Go to any car lot, electronics store, or smartphone provider, and take a look around. All of the products are sleek, sporty, sophisticated, and that’s because of product designers like you. 

There are probably as many product designers as there are products, so how do you set yourself apart? Build a reputation made of gold. You build a great reputation by achieving a standard of excellence, providing superior customer service, and creating new products. 

Closing should be your main goal. 

One of the keys to sales is to always be closing—also known as the ABCs of sales. ABC means to always be in anticipation of the occasion to do business and be ready to close the deal at every chance.

Branding plays a huge part in closing the deal. The more people who see the name of your design firm, then the more it will become a part of their consciousness. Things like custom presentation folders and pens with your company’s logo on them will plant a seed in the minds of all who see them.

Hire the right people. 

Your company may be small enough for you to run on your own right now, but your business will grow, and you’ll need help. To say it’s important to hire the right people is a huge understatement. For your design firm to succeed, you’re going to need employees who are just as passionate as you are.

You should also never be afraid to hire someone who is more qualified than you. Rather than seeing them as a threat, see them as a great asset to your business who can help you improve upon your craft. If you don’t hire him or her, then the next firm will. Then you’ll be able to rest assured that your competition has someone better than you.

Don’t quit your day job. 

When you first get your business up and running, you may have to keep your day job in order to maintain it. Many businesses don’t make enough to cover operational costs for some time—let alone profit. That means that you may have to use the income from your day job to support your family and your business. 

The most important factor in the success of your design firm will be your passion and persistence. But when you do what you love, you usually get more out of it then you put into it.