Starting a graphic design business with SCORE, SBA, Microsoft, Adobe and more

March 1, 2009

SCORE offers free small business counseling from retired executives.

I've seen it before. Someone makes a career change, or a young hotshot graduates, and they start a graphic design business. They put up a website for themselves, advertise a little online, make some money and feel great about what they've done. Then, tax season comes. Starting a graphic design business doesn't just mean buying the latest Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office and slapping a profile on Elance or Guru. As with any business, your graphic design business must follow the letter of the law when it comes to registering your business and employees, acquiring the proper insurance and, the infinite truth, paying your taxes. The last thing you want to do is make $60,000 as a graphic designer and be blasted with a bill from Uncle Sam for $20,000 of that – after it's spent. Make sure your ducks are in a row when you go into the graphic design business. Register your business, speak to an accountant and know your tax rate. All of these things can be confusing, especially for someone who has never gone to business school. Luckily, there are many online resources for starting a graphic design business. Here are a few: has a nice graphic design business area where you can learn the ropes. offers free graphic design business form downloads to help protect you and encourage open communication with your clients. The Small Business Administration is a wealth of free information with many resources for small business owners, including everything from registering your business and paying your taxes to putting together a sound business and marketing plan. SCORE, or Service Corps Of Retired Executives likewise has many resources for entrepreneurs, and its members even offer free and invaluable business counseling to help you succeed. Free business counseling from successful executives? What an opportunity! Any business owner, especially those just starting out, would be remiss to not at least hear what SCORE's volunteers have to say. It doesn't matter how talented you are at design, how much experience you have or who your clients are. A business is a business, just the same, and must follow the rules. Being prepared for the business side of things helps you be a more efficient and productive, and ultimately more profitable, graphic designer. What graphic design business resources can you share?

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.