Starting My Own Consultancy / Company???

Hi Guys,

Just wondered if anyone had any tips for starting a Design company? I’m in the UK and am currently working as a CAD operator using SW although I have a degree in PD. I want to be incontrol of the hours I work, the work I do, where I work etc. I really want to start working from home and enjoying a lot more creativity.

Although my degree was in Product Design, I’m also interested in learning how to design websites using Flash, Dreamweaver etc. and also graphic design and corporate ID along with visualisation etc.
Anyone got any suggestions or tips?

I know it’ll be hard, but I think it could be worth it, any / all opinions and ideas welcome.

Thanks in advance


I’m in the USA and started my own company this year and things have been difficult but rewarding.

Coming from a background in Industrial Design I’ve been doing a lot of modelling and rendering work but because I’m going solo I can only take on a limited amount of work at any one time which means that my cashflow is often very stretched. Thats my biggest problem, so much so that I still have to keep a part-time day job to fill in the pay gaps and then do freelance work on nights and weekends.

The result of this is that you end up getting a lot of work but your time is stretched to the limits. I also have a hard time scheduling meetings during the day and lose out on some projects because I can’t walk out of my part-time job to chase freelance work.

I have thought of killing the part-time gig and going freelance fulltime, but the last time I attempted it the freelance work dried up for nearly two months and I was forced to go back. My solution has been to sign on with a freelance management agency which bids me out to companies in my city and then takes a cut of whatever I make. It’s not a bad solution and has opened me up to companies that I didn’t know about and who I don’t have time to market myself to.

Like you I’m also very interested in doing web design and internet work but after making some calls and looking into current openings I discovered that my skills were not even close to what is required these days. Because of that I am now going back to school to get a second degree in Computer Science because that has become a “must have” to get your foot in the door.

The days of being able to call yourself a web designer because you know HTML tables and Photoshop are over. Now you need to know web standards, backend database and server technologies, programming, and much more to take on the next generation of Web 2.0 projects. As an example, my last freelance Flash project had virtually no animation but page after page of actionscript coding, not what I’m used to, but I’ve had to adapt.

I would start out by keeping your current job and working in freelance jobs on nights and weekends. Once you get going you can leave your job and head out on your own. If you do it right, you can even continue to get work from your present employer and get small work through some of their clients that the company isn’t too keen on taking. Their scraps become your extra income.

Thanks for the reply matey - it’s given me lots to think about.

It wasn’t so long ago that I thought about giving up on design alltogether, but I’m quite creative and can’t stand doing the same repetitive tasks again and again like typing letters, answering phones etc. So design is what I want to do. I see some of the work posted here and know that currently mine is not at that standard, but I know deep down that it could be, if I could find an outlet to excersise my creativity - it’s like sketching, if you don’t do it for ages you get rusty.

I also really want to work from home, and be in charge of my days/nights. The other thing that this would facilitate, is that it wouldn’t really matter where we live. At the moment my fiance and I live a short train journey outside London where it’s very expensive, but if I could work from home, we could move further away where it’s cheaper and have a better time.

I guess my big problem has been that I’ve worked in 2 jobs since leaving uni that are in no way creative, and have been so isolated that I haven’t been able to network at all, so I have no contacts and have not had any career advice :confused: This has meant that my creativity (and motivation) are decreasing when it comes to working for other people…