What we’ve (RDVS) learned from starting a design business in Ghana.

1 — Determine what makes business sense.

Using the Japanese concept of finding what your reason of being is, “Ikigai”, you’ll be able to determine what gives you greater purpose in choosing to start your design business.

Contrary to popular wisdom, the age old advice of ‘follow your passion’ may just lead to a hobby than a business. Like William MacAskill said in his 99u post here http://99u.com/articles/51623/the-many-many-problems-with-follow-your-passion ‘most people’s passions just don’t fit well with the world of work’.

2 — Design an easy executable strategy for success a.k.a business plan and let that drive your business model.

Check out https://strategyzer.com/canvas/business-model-canvas for the free business model canvas. Strategyzer also has some great free resources for people trying to start business properly.

3 — Register your design business with RG and GRA.

The amazing team at Swiftlaw have some great content to help you here: http://sci-fipegasus.com/concepts/swiftlaw/home/#

Getting your certificate of commencement gives you a certain confidence and chrysalises the decision to delve into the world of business.

As you start your business and seek to position yourself as the least risky option out of the lot of design businesses, registering your businesses tells clients you are in for the long haul and very well committed to the journey no matter how uncertain.

4 — Start small and don’t grow too big too fast.

This includes financing, hiring, overheads and anything that you can keep at the minimum expense and still produce amazing work.

If you can’t afford it, you don’t need it!

5 — Hire your ‘boss’ to run the office so you can concentrate on the creative.

A business is an entity of so many moving parts. There are new clients to try and attract and there are old clients to service. There are things like office supplies to attend to, contracts to read through, meetings to attend etc etc and then the part most of us enjoy most — the production of the creative (and of course you are a creative).

Hire an office manager or someone with the appropriate skill set whose primary job is to make sure things run.