The internet is a big place. This is a great thing, of course, as it represents the greatest resource of knowledge, information, and opportunity that the world has ever known. But it can be intimidating. With so much available at your fingertips, you might find yourself wandering the digital wilderness without a direction.
If the job at hand is to hire a graphic designer to assist your small business, knowing where to look is the first step. The web has thousands and thousands of qualified professionals for you to consider, as long as you are clicking in the right places. Let’s take a close look at where graphic designers can be found and how you can secure the right one for your business.
Place a Job Ad
We are going to start with an approach that many would place in the ‘old school’ category. If you want to have a graphic designer work for your business, you could simply place an ad and request resumes and samples to be sent in your direction. This kind of ad would likely get many replies, and you would probably have quite a few qualified, experienced designers to pick from.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of drawbacks to this approach as well, which is why it’s far less common than it was years ago. Perhaps the biggest drawback here is the time required to sort through all of your applications. You will know nothing of these people until their application lands in your inbox, so you’ll be starting from scratch when you work through the list to determine which ones you want to interview further. This process is a huge time sink and will add an unnecessary layer of complexity to the process.
There is also the matter of full- vs. part-time work to consider. It’s likely that people looking in job ads for open positions are pursuing full-time work, yet you may only have a need for a part-time designer. So, even if someone takes your part-time work – it’s better than nothing – they may be quick to depart once a full-time position becomes available somewhere else.
Ultimately, going with a job ad is not going to be the right option for most businesses. Unless you do need a full-time designer, and you like going through a bunch of applications to select viable candidates, this tactic is simply far more trouble than it’s worth. Fortunately, in the modern, high-tech world, there are plenty of better methods available.
Hire a Freelancer
The idea of freelance work is nothing new. People have been working as freelancers for centuries in a variety of fields. Yet freelancing as a whole is experiencing a massive boom in the 21st century as technology has made it possible to outsource more and more tasks in this manner. And, to be sure, design is one of the most popular freelancing fields.
Why should you consider a freelance designer for your project? There are more than a few benefits to this approach –
- Built for part-time work - We talked earlier about the issues of finding people for part-time work who would rather be working full-time. That’s not going to be an issue with freelancers. In fact, this is the kind of work freelancers are looking for – they pick up part-time work from a variety of clients in order to create a full-time income.
- Control your costs - By only hiring for what you need, it will be much easier to keep your project on budget. If you develop an ongoing relationship with a freelance designer, you can send that person projects only when you need work done. You’ll be paying for that work, of course, but you won’t be paying for time when you have no design needs.
- Zero in on the right skills - There are many different kinds of design. For one project, you might need an experienced website designer, while you might need an ad designer for another job. Instead of trying to get all of that work out of the same in-house person, you can simply move from one freelancer to another based on the job at hand. Matching up the work that needs to be done with a person that has those specific skills will result in better quality work in the end.
- Easier onboarding - One of the many drawbacks of placing a job ad for your designer needs is the work that goes into picking the right person. While there will be a screening process involved with using a freelancer, it should be quicker and easier. This is because freelance designers are used to picking up jobs regularly, and they should do a good job of presenting you with their relevant information and examples. There’s no need to review full-blown resumes or anything like that – just read their quick cover letter and review some of the past work they have completed.
- Grow as you grow - With any luck, your business will continue to grow into the future. That growth will need to be supported by more work – which you can easily scale up if you are already using freelancers. Just find more people or ask your current people to take on more projects, and you’ll be off and running. And, on the downside, if business slows down for a while, you can cut back on freelance work and tighten up your budget.
There’s a reason that freelancing has become so popular in recent years. It offers flexibility on both sides of the agreement – businesses can control spending and get the right help, while workers can set their hours and only take on the projects that interest them most. If you need a designer for your small business, looking for a freelancer is a great way to get started.
Use a Design Agency
Another option to meet your design needs is to retain the services of an agency. This is similar to working with a freelance designer in some ways, except you’ll likely have a whole team working on your project and the contractual situation may be a bit more formal. In general terms, you’d want to turn to an agency for larger design projects where you would leave the smaller tasks for individual freelance workers.
One of the great benefits of using an agency is having access to a diverse set of skills all in the same place. Instead of tracking down a collection of freelance designers to cover all of the various jobs you might need to have completed, you can just work with one agency who will already have all the talent you need within their staff.
Having an existing relationship with an agency can help you grow as your business expand, much like with individual freelancers. In fact, this might even be easier, as you won’t have to go looking for more freelancers – your agency will almost certainly be happy to take on the expanding workload. Hiring an agency is typically the most ‘hands-off’ method of managing small business design. You’ll still make final approvals and request changes, but the agency should be able to take most of the load off your shoulders.
So, hiring an agency sounds pretty good – what’s the catch? There isn’t necessarily a ‘catch’, but it can be quite expensive. Remember, you’ll have access to people with a variety of talents inside that agency, and those people don’t come cheap. Many small businesses simply won’t have the budget available to hire a quality agency. If you do have the money to spend, however, and you want to turn your design projects over so you can focus your time on other things, an agency might be the right solution.
Subscribe to an Unlimited Design Service
This option is a relative newcomer to the design space, but it is certainly worthy of your attention. If you expect to have consistent design needs in the months and years to come, working with an unlimited service will make it easy to get the designs you need without spending your valuable time managing the process.
First, a quick introduction to this type of business –
Unlimited graphic design services are just as they sound – you pay a single monthly fee and you receive unlimited designs in return Instead of managing a specific freelance designer, or working with an agency, you’ll just send over design requests to the service and they will take it from there Generally speaking, an unlimited service will be a more affordable solution than hiring on your own. However, it is a set monthly fee, so it only makes sense for businesses who have regular design needs These services typically include unlimited revisions to their designs, so you can go back and forth until you are satisfied with the work you receive
There is a lot to like about subscribing to an unlimited design service. Without having to worry about design limits, or your budget getting out of control during any given month, you can just send over your projects and know exactly how much you’ll be paying. This is a method that simplifies the process of having professional designs completed – and simplifying things is always good news for the busy small business owner.
With that said, unlimited services are not the right fit for everyone. For one thing, you might not need enough designs in a month to justify the cost. If you’d only be having one or two pieces created in that time, it may be better to stick with a freelancer that only gets paid when actually working on a project.
Or, you might prefer to develop a long-term working relationship with a professional who can get to know your brand intimately. That might not happen with an unlimited service - at least, not to the degree that you would like. So, if you are expecting to have extensive design demands over the coming years, and you’d value that kind of close relationship, turning either to an experienced freelancer or an agency may serve you better.
Unlimited subscription services are perfect for those who fall between those two extremes. If you have plenty of design work but aren’t worried about forging a close relationship with a specific designer, a subscription could be perfect. You’ll control your costs, have plenty of quality work created for your business, and save time along the way.
Experiment to Find the Right Solution
In conclusion, the best way to find the right design fit for your business is simply to get started. Use the information in this article as a guide and start with the approach that you feel will serve your current needs – and budget – appropriately. As you go, there will be opportunities to try all of the various hiring methods so you can see what leads to the best results and the greatest value.