Virtual Designers are the perfect solution for a small to medium sized business owner with a limited budget who needs graphic design support on a regular basis. Virtual Designers (similar to Virtual Assistants) work from their own premises, use their own equipment, and provide services to businesses, entrepreneurs, executives, or anyone requiring regular graphic design work.
Assignments are usually communicated through e-mail, phone, fax, or mail. Virtual Designers run fully fledged businesses and have the skills necessary to work remotely with a variety of clients. This service is not for everyone, some clients choose to work in a more traditional business relationship, working on a project to project basis. If you have regular work of small projects that don’t require quotes each time a Virtual Designer retainer may be the best solution for you.
Most businesses have ongoing needs for graphic design services at various levels. Employing an internal graphic designer is often out of reach for businesses since they don’t have the quantity of work to warrant a full-timer. What we often see in these cases is businesses broaden the scope of work they require from the new employee to include some administrative tasks. Beware of this approach, you a likely to scrap the bottom of the barrel in terms of the quality of graphic designer who will apply for this kind of position. The other option is to employ a part time designer. This can be a great option however the set up costs can be significant when you consider the computer and software requirements and simple things like desk, office chair and even the space required for the designers resources. This is often out of reach for business owners with employees on a part-time basis.
Businesses find their graphic design requirements can vary from week to week and employing one employee will have a limited skill set. Why hire one person who may not be able to do all the work you require and you need to outsource some of the work anyway? Why not hire a virtual designer who can call on the help of the team they work within? When you outsource to a graphic design business you have the advantage of working with a creative team with broad capabilities. When selecting a virtual designer solution, ensure you will get your projects done when you need them and in a cost effective manner. You may be able to pre-book set amounts of hours per weeks and work with your graphic designer on a retainer basis. Make sure these hours can be spent on any of your graphic design requirements. Like most businesses, your needs may change and evolve over time. By outsourcing to a Virtual Designer you are free to focus more on your core functions as a business knowing your projects are in professional hands.
When you find a Virtual Designer who is talented, highly skilled, and motivated they can really take your business to the next level. The beauty is, you only pay for the time actually spent working on projects and retain a fixed amount of hours per week so you know what to expect. Typical services could include everything from brochure design, logo design, website updates and marketing material production.
Outsourcing to Virtual Designers will save you management time and energy. They shouldn’t require your personal supervision, they look after their own resources, and their personal problems don’t become yours. You don’t need to worry about ongoing training either. Outsourcing has become common practice for many businesses today. New businesses with little or no office space can benefit from outsourcing to a Virtual Designer. Large businesses can also benefit by using a Virtual Designer since they have a regular work load and desire agency standard design work.
The main reasons businesses hire Virtual Designers is to save money and get a professional result. You don’t need to pay for your own equipment, training and insurance and you know you are getting a professional service – headache free.
Virtual Designers have the potential to save your business thousands of dollars in staffing costs. They can also save your sanity. Virtual Designers grow with their clients not without them. Virtual Designers are cost effective because you only pay when they work. Since they are an external expense they are tax deductible. Business owners often expect to pay more for outsourced professional services than bringing on an employee to cover the required skills. This is often not the case when you look at the pricing models for Virtual Designers. Often Virtual Designers can afford to charge significantly cheaper rates for ongoing, retainer style work since it is easier for suppliers to manage and predict workloads and therefore don’t have the downtime traditional design studios do.
Working with a Virtual Designer is very similar to having a designer on the desk next to you. These days we communicate electronically no matter where the person is, usually by sending an email. It is an advantage if the graphic designer is working in the same time zone as you, understands the culture you are a part of, and is able to communicate with you effectively. For example, at Omnific Design we prefer to work with Australian based companies. This is not to say we wouldn’t work with international businesses however building the working relationship may take a little more time to develop.
Communication is vital in any business relationship. Being based in Australia we understand the Australian culture and marketplace making the ideal place to communicate with and service. Communication with clients is primarily conducted utilizing email, phone and fax technologies however it’s also helpful to know you can quickly and easily courier items to your Virtual Designer when needed.
Graphic Designers who work outside your business tend to think more creatively than an in-house designer might since they view things from an external perspective, they often work in an environment with other creative people. A Virtual Designer is likely to thank you for sending more work when an in-house designer is likely to complain they are overloaded. Your Virtual Designer will understand the more they can help their clients the more they will use their services and the more referrals they will receive. For this reason it is in their best interest to give you a high quality service, a level of service that builds confidence for a long term business relationship. It is unlikely an employee will equal this level of motivation.
Your Virtual Designer should be a highly trained design professionals prepared to work as part of your team. Over time a strong working relationship is built. Where once a detailed brief may have been needed, your Virtual Designer will soon understand your brand and its design needs. In time you may be able to send a two sentence brief and that may be all they need because they understand you and your business. When shopping from design studio to design studio with each project your company produces you must consider the time you need to spend assessing the various suppliers and explaining your requirements. The time investing in your Virtual Designer will be useful from project to project as they learn more and more about your business. This also enables your Virtual Designer to make recommendations and see opportunities you may not have considered. They will become an external partner in your business success.
You may require a Virtual Designer for 8 hours a week to start with and can build this up to 40 hours or maybe more. If you were to book eight hours per week but have something urgent and need more work done in a particular week usually your Virtual Designer can accommodate this workload or can quickly find other graphic designers to lend a hand.
When working with a Virtual Designer, you can even set them up with an email address associated with your business so any correspondence they send related to your business works in with your usual business practices seamlessly. This can help your employees identify with your Virtual Designer as a regular part of the team.