What sucks these day's is company's want you not only to do graphic design print work but, also web design. Instead of earning a Computerized Graphic Design Associate degree, I should have gone for a Web Design degree. Oh well, all I have to do now is learn Dreamweaver and Flash. That shouldn't be too hard. I do have basic HTML knowledge.
Again, first, I need that job to be able to pay for classes. Then, I can go take semester classes on Dreamweaver and Flash. Or, at least, take a basic class on each to get me started. There's so much I want to learn.
STARTING MY OWN GRAPHIC DESIGN BUSINESS
In the meantime, I'm trying to start up my own graphic design firm too. It's called Visual Xplosion. After coming up with some names for the company, I asked my son what he thought and he came up with the VX name. I thought that was even better than what I had. At this moment, it's myself and my son in the business. He's my Account Manager. He's supposed to go out and get those clients...LOL Well, so am I.
I received my Computerized Graphic Design Associate degree with Honors in May of 2007. But, I have been doing graphic design since May of 2004. I was lucky! I got to design ads for trade publications, brochures and course catalogs, etc., that were mailed to internal and external customers and, I got to do some website maintenance. So, besides class projects, I was able to put real world design pieces in my portfolio.
So, what does it take to start a business? First off, you need to have cash to buy the things you need to get that business going. In my business of graphic design, it could be anything from a PC or laptop, software, hardware such as a bigger internal harddrive, an external harddrive. Man, those things (the harddrives) fill up fast! You need to have at least 200 MB of space on your harddrive in order for your PC to run right. And, don't forget you need to get your stuff printed such as business cards, flier, etc.
Another important thing is keeping up with your field! Adobe has upgraded the Creative Suite a few times now and they're up to CS4. I've heard there's not much difference, but still. I'm still using CS2. Oh, and can you believe all the things you can do with Adobe Acrobat? When I found out one of my classes for my degree was Acrobat, I asked myself "Acrobat? Why do we need to take Acrobat?"...LOL Now, I know why...LOL
It's also a good thing to join some graphic design forums. Or, at least, read/skim through some. You can learn so much there. If you do join some forums, you can, of course add you two cents and it's a good way to network. Yeah, there's a lot of competition out there, but there's also lots of work out there too. It's just getting the right company's that are willing to pay you what you're worth.
And, one of the most important things is forming and keeping RELATIONSHIPS! Whether it's in person, by phone, through e-mail, by snail mail and even by utilizing IM's, you need to keep in touch with the clients you have already established. And for those you want to have as a client, anyone of the ways mentioned or a combination there of is the way to begin your relationship. Of course, in person is always best, but in this day and age, if you do gain clients on the other side of the world, you can always stay in touch some how.
Another job I got was from my neighbor. She found out another neighbor who owns an interior design firm needed a half-page ad really fast. I had the interior designer come over and bring her business card and brochure, we had the consultation, I got back to her with a quote and she accepted. I can't believe I made big money for a half-page ad which took no more than maybe a day/day and a half to do. I wish I could get more clients like that. One's that will pay what you're worth.
Right now, the promotional kit that I want to put together for Visual Xplosion has to be on hold. I know, it does take money to make money. I'd like to be able to purchase some giveaways, I need to get the folder I designed printed, samples of my work printed (to put into the folders), etc. I also really need to purchase a bigger internal harddrive. Mine is so full! I don't want to have trouble when I have Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and/or QuarkXPress open all at once.
Well, I guess I should do something about the few clients I did freelance work for (these last 2 years) such as, keeping and forming a working relationship. I have some postcards I created quite awhile back. I'm going to send those out this new year (2009) to my existing clients and to new clients that I would like to form a working relationship with. The nice thing is, a postcard is a bit cheaper to mail out than regular snail mail. I know, e-mail is the cheapest, but I want them to have a piece of my artwork to actually view and hold in their hands. Maybe they'll post it on their bulletin board or something?...LOL
Hopefully, 2009 will be the year I get a good job so, that I can get some cash to purchase the things I need and to print my pieces for my promotional kit. I'm trying to stay positive. Only time will tell.
You can view my website at Visual Xplosion