Starting Design Agency w/ $60K. How to find talent?

Aug 6, 2017 13 Comments

I want to use my savings to start a design agency. How would you do it?

I'd like to attract top freelance design talent to partner with me. But my agency doesn't have a portfolio yet. Is it reasonable to ask to post several portfolio pieces from different freelancers on the my site, to show what my "team" has done? While still giving them full credit as the lead on each piece, of course. This would be a pool of talented motion/graphic/illustration freelancers from where I give the majority of my incoming jobs.

Are there any freelancers reading this that are interested in my arrangement? PM me!


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TOP 13 Comments
  • Cisco / Product 🍊 orange
    Are you a designer? Pro tip: you'll notice that most successful agencies are founded and owned by veteran practitioners. There's a reason for that.

    Highly-skilled designers want to work for someone who understands what they do and has credibility in the field, not just some guy who wants to make money off their labor.
    Aug 6, 2017 2
    • OP
      I've been a sole practitioner around 10 years. But, I see myself in a more managerial role. I'd like to get bigger clients, but my current portfolio may not attract them. Simply looking for some superb talents to team up with.
      Aug 6, 2017
    • Cisco / Product 🍊 orange
      If you can't even sell your own portfolio after 10 years in the field, I don't think you're going to be able to run an agency.

      I think you should start by freelancing yourself, and then subcontract half the work to another designer when you get a big enough client. Then you could get a second subcontractor. Then a third. Eventually you'll have an agency.

      Going into it thinking that you're going to escape your dayjob and "just manage other people" is a symptom of hating your current job. You may think "managing" will be easier and more fun. Everyone thinks that. But designers don't want to work for someone whose main career motivation is to get out of doing actual design.

      You sound like a nice guy/gal but this concept isn't very realistic. Maybe look for a regular job as a manager to see if you enjoy that role.
      Aug 6, 2017
  • Amazon DaeO31
    If you want to find top talent you need top money
    Aug 6, 2017 1
    • Microsoft


      Amazon to the country club.
      I'd argue meaningful work for truly top tier talent is more important
      Aug 6, 2017
  • do you have any plans for business development, connections with potential clients? if you do, I would like to talk further and discuss the possibility of bringing a portfolio and a freelance pool with big brands behind them.
    Aug 6, 2017 0
  • Microsoft DCnf54
    I would drain that 60k in two months of work
    Aug 6, 2017 1
    • OP
      If you let me promote your portfolio pieces on my site and it lands me that much work, then I'd happily pay you $60K.
      Aug 6, 2017
  • starfall
    Hi, I know a very talented motion graphic creator who will consider working on projects. PM if interested.
    Aug 8, 2017 0
  • Zoho / Mgmt

    Zoho Mgmt

    various positions at startups and old-line corps
    Disagree with most comments. Pooling/partnering can work well in design, fashion, etc., startup. Not IT, engineering, which is what most of this is. Need to treat it as fair partnership, tho. You leverage their expertise beyond yours. They rely on you for networking and biz dev. Structure as network and 60k can work to cover your expenses. PM me if you need very experienced fashion graphic designer. She's looking.
    Aug 6, 2017 0
  • VRenetic / Product

    VRenetic Product

    Working...even now
    It sounds more like a decision for further networking rather than hiring.
    Aug 14, 2017 0
  • New / Mktg

    New Mktg

    I've worked in advertising for the last 16 years on global brands and digital campaigns. Now I run a small digital production team.
    You should have good relationships with quality designers after 10 years. Truly top tier talent are not going to hand over their work to display on a strangers site.

    You will likely have to settle for freelancers that are hungry for work (top tier is not) and willing to gamble w bit. I would start on sites like dribble or LinkedIn reach out and test the waters with them.

    Even if you're able to convince these poor saps to trust you that doesn't solve your lead generation problem. How are you going to find, win and successfully manage these big contracts?

    It's not impossible but there are some problems you'll need to solve.
    Aug 12, 2017 0
  • Oracle bYBVg65
    Aug 6, 2017 0


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