If you’ve been scouring the web for a lucrative online job in Kenya that pays by the hour, you’ve stumbled upon the perfect solution.
But, be warned, this is not your average tutorial.
In this article, I’ll reveal the innovative strategy I’ve personally implemented and achieved in under a month of launching my own business.
The secret to my success? Graphic design.
Don’t be intimidated; all you need to get started is a reliable laptop and a steady internet connection.
Let’s start off with a good understanding of graphics and design;
Table of Contents
What is graphic design?
Graphics design is the art and practice of converting ideas into visually appealing content. With graphics design, you can move people through emotion, drive sales, and promote awareness of whatever you or your client wants.
Since AI is still struggling to beat human graphics designers, there is still a large market gap for you to fill especially if you are in Kenya.
With the right marketing technique, you will be working for numerous clients in your own time.
Of course, just like affiliate marketing, you will have exceptional graphics and design skills for you to convert first-time clients into recurrent clients.
How do I start graphics and design in Kenya?
Starting this business is very simple.
You will need a laptop or a desktop PC, a good internet connection, relevant software needed for graphics design, and a bunch of YouTube videos that will introduce you to the concept of creating visually stunning images, logos, posters, GUIs, etc.
Importance of having a niche in graphics design
In today’s competitive world of graphic design, having a niche can set you apart from the rest of the crowd.
A niche is a specific area of focus within the broad field of graphic design, and it can be anything from branding and identity design to motion graphics or web design.
The importance of having a niche in graphic design cannot be overstated, and in this article, we will explore why.
a). Establish yourself as an expert
First and foremost, having a niche helps you to establish yourself as an expert in that area.
When you focus on a specific area of graphic design, you can delve deeper into it, learn everything there is to know, and become an authority on the subject.
This enhances your credibility and reputation and makes you more attractive to potential clients looking for a specialist in that field.
b). Tailor your portfolio
Secondly, having a niche enables you to tailor your portfolio and marketing efforts to a specific audience.
For example, if your niche is branding and identity design, you can create a portfolio that showcases your expertise in that area, highlighting your ability to create unique and effective brand identities for businesses.
This allows you to attract clients who are specifically looking for those skills, rather than being a jack-of-all-trades who appeals to no one in particular.
c). Charge more
Thirdly, having a niche allows you to charge higher rates for your services.
When you specialize in a particular area, you are providing a higher level of expertise than a generalist designer.
This means that you can command a higher fee for your services, as clients are willing to pay more for someone who is a specialist in their field.
d). Stay motivated
Finally, having a niche helps you to stay motivated and engaged in your work.
Focusing on a specific area of graphic design that you are passionate about can fuel your creativity and keep you excited about your work.
You are more likely to enjoy what you do, which can positively impact the quality of your work and your overall satisfaction in your career.
Examples of profitable niches in graphic design
Several niches in graphic design can be quite profitable for designers. Here are some examples:
- Logo Design: Logo design is a popular niche that can be quite lucrative. Companies of all sizes require logos to establish their brand identity. If you have a talent for creating unique, memorable logos, you can charge a premium for your services.
- Web Design: Web design is another niche that can be very profitable. As more and more businesses move online, the demand for skilled web designers continues to grow. Designers specializing in creating user-friendly, visually appealing websites can charge top dollar for their services.
- Packaging Design: Packaging design is a niche that can be quite lucrative for designers. Companies need eye-catching packaging to help their products stand out on store shelves. Designers who can create attractive and functional packaging can make a significant income.
- Branding: Branding is an essential aspect of business that encompasses everything from logos and packaging to advertising campaigns and social media presence. Graphic designers specializing in branding can help businesses create a cohesive image across all channels, making them a valuable asset to their clients.
- Illustration: Illustration is a niche that can be quite profitable for designers who have a talent for creating unique, eye-catching visuals. Illustrators can create artwork for books, magazines, advertisements, and more, making it a versatile niche with a lot of opportunities.
- Infographics: Infographics are a popular way to convey complex information visually appealingly. Graphic designers who specialize in creating infographics can help businesses and organizations communicate complex data in a way that is easy to understand, making it a niche with a lot of potential for growth.
- Motion Graphics: Motion graphics are becoming increasingly popular in video marketing, social media, and other digital channels. Designers specializing in creating dynamic, visually appealing animations and videos can charge high fees for their services.
Computer requirements for graphics design in Kenya
To ensure that your computer or laptop performs optimally with graphics design software, here are the minimum requirement specifications;
- Processor: Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support; 2 GHz or faster processor
- Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7/10/11 (64-bit) version 1809 or later; macOS version 10.14 (Mojave) or later
- RAM: 8 GB or more recommended. 4GB can also work but nothing less
- Hard disk space: 4 GB of available hard-disk space; additional space is required for installation
- Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 12 support, 2 GB of GPU memory
- Display resolution: 1280 x 800 display resolution (at 100% scale factor)
- Internet connection: Internet connection is necessary for required access to online services e.g., freepik.com
Software requirements for graphics design in Kenya;
Graphics & Design has many avenues. Below is a list of all avenues of graphics design and relevant software needed.
- Print design: This includes designing graphics and layouts for printed materials such as books, magazines, brochures, and business cards. Adobe InDesign is the best software for this.
- Web design includes designing graphics and layouts for websites and web applications. Relevant software includes Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe XD, Figma, and Sketch.
- UI/UX design involves designing digital products’ interface and user experience such as websites, apps, and software. Relevant software includes Adobe XD, Sketch, and Figma.
- Motion graphics: This involves creating moving graphics and animations for videos and other digital media. Relevant software includes Adobe After Effects, Apple Motion, and Blender.
- 3D design involves creating 3D models and visualizations for games, movies, and other digital media. Relevant software includes Autodesk 3ds Max, Blender, and Cinema 4D.
- Branding and identity design involves creating visual elements such as logos, colour palettes, and typography representing a brand or business. Relevant software includes Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop (PSD) and sketch.
As you can see, there are many avenues for aspiring graphics design. We will focus on the last one mentioned here; Branding and identity design.
This is because it’s the easiest to learn and has the highest market as compared to the other avenues.
Note, however, that other avenues, despite having a limited Kenyan market, may have a higher earning ratio than our choice in this article.
For branding and identity design, you will need Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.
Get the free versions from the getintopc website.
Download and install the software.
How do you learn graphics design in less than a week?
As I said earlier, you will need to watch several YouTube videos from well-established designers and practice what they teach.
To start you off here is a good introduction tutorial:
After watching and implementing what you learn for an entire week, you will notice that your skills are improving gradually.
At this level, you can replicate what other designers have made.
To improve your creativity, you will need to keep a constant schedule for designing, even if you don’t have a client. Just do it for the sake of learning.
You will have a client with ridiculous demands but high pay in a few days.
If you stick to improving your creativity, you’ll be grateful you took the time on learning.
Now that you have learnt how to do graphics designing, you will need to build your client base. Keep reading.
How to get your first graphics design client in Kenya
Since no one knows you or your brand, you will need to set up a portfolio, prop up professional social media and have people promoting your gig online.
Follow the guidelines below to the latter:
#1. Offer free services to your first 5-10 clients
As you start, people have to know that you offer exceptional services.
Contact friends or family that may be having organizations that require posters, logos, brochures or business cards.
Offer them free design services for one product in exchange for their endorsement on their platforms, i.e., social media and their websites.
In no time, their audience will be intrigued by your beautiful designs and they will most definitely reach out. At this level, you can now charge them.
It is crucial to start charging affordable fees so that you don’t push away potential clients.
KES 3,000/$30 may be a bit higher for a starting brand. Consider charging between KES 500/$5 and KES 1,000/$10.
As your clientele grows, you will then be able to increase your service fees.
#2. Set up your own portfolio
To build trust, you will need to set up a professional portfolio. The most important social media sites for this include:
Further, if you have money to invest into a good portfolio website, consider using WordPress Content Management System (CMS).
Tips for building a strong portfolio
Creating a strong portfolio is essential for any graphic designer in Kenya looking to attract new clients and showcase their skills.
A portfolio is a collection of a designer’s best works that demonstrates their range, style, and capabilities.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Start with a clear focus: Determine the purpose of your portfolio and what you want to achieve with it. Whether it is to showcase your skills to potential clients, apply for a job, or demonstrate your range of work, your portfolio should have a clear focus.
- Show your range: Including a diverse range of projects in your portfolio can demonstrate your versatility and showcase your skills. Don’t be afraid to show off a range of styles, techniques, and mediums.
- Choose your best work: Including only your best work in your portfolio is essential. Choose projects that demonstrate your unique style and showcase your skills. Quality over quantity is key.
- Tell a story: Your portfolio should tell a story of your skills, achievements, and progress. Organize your work in a way that flows well and showcases your best work first.
- Provide context: Provide context for each project, such as the client’s brief, your role, and the design process. This can help potential clients and employers understand your skills and thought process.
- Keep it up-to-date: Keep your portfolio up-to-date with your latest work. Regularly updating your portfolio can demonstrate your commitment to your craft and keep it relevant.
- Include your contact information: Make it easy for potential clients to get in touch with you by including your contact information. This can include your email address, phone number, and social media handles.
- Seek feedback: Seeking feedback from other designers or mentors can help you identify areas for improvement and make your portfolio stronger.
#3. Understand your client’s needs and know how to charge them
Different clients will respond differently to the prices you set.
I have previously run ads on Facebook but lost all clients due to unreasonably high service fees.
Typically, forex traders looking to start training novices are usually willing to part with up to KES 5,000/$45 for a logo design and up to KES 3,000/$26 for posters. (These figures may vary)
Other clients e.g., MSMEs will be comfortable with price ranges of around KES 1,000 – KES 2,000 for both posters and logos.
#4. Learn how to manage and run a business successfully
Since all startups are fragile, it is crucial to understand the tips for a successful business in Kenya.
- Practising Financial Discipline
- Maintaining consistency in your designs and social media updates
- Avoid hiking prices just because you think an organization is big. Do background research first
- Meet the right people – Connect with other designers and find out what they are doing that you are not.
- Understand your target market, as explained earlier
Marketing Strategies for Finding Graphic Design Clients Online in Kenya
Without clients, you won’t be making any money.
To help you out, here are some effective marketing strategies for finding graphic design clients online in Kenya.
Create a professional website
Having a professional website is an excellent way to showcase your work and attract potential clients.
Your website should be easy to navigate and visually appealing, with a portfolio of your work and a clear description of the services you offer.
Be sure to include your contact information so that potential clients can reach you easily.
Use social media
Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook can be powerful tools for finding new clients.
Use these platforms to showcase your work, share industry-related news and tips, and engage with potential clients.
You can also use paid advertising on these platforms to target potential clients in Kenya who are interested in graphic design.
Participate in online forums
There are many online forums and communities where graphic designers and clients discuss their work and share ideas.
Participating in these forums can help you build your reputation as an expert in your field and attract new clients.
Be sure to share your work and offer helpful advice to other members of the community.
Network with other professionals
Networking with other professionals in your industry can help you find new clients and grow your business.
Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with other graphic designers, marketers, and business owners in Kenya.
These connections can lead to new opportunities and collaborations.
Offer excellent customer service
Offering excellent customer service is crucial to building long-term relationships with your clients.
Be responsive to their needs, provide regular updates on their projects, and deliver high-quality work on time.
Happy clients are more likely to refer you to their network and give you repeat business.
How to set your rates as a graphics designer in Kenya
As a graphic designer in Kenya, you want to be competitive and attract clients while also valuing your time and skills.
Here are some steps you can take to set your rates and be paid what you deserve.
Research the market
Do some research to see what other graphic designers in Kenya are charging for their services.
Look at their portfolios and experience levels to see how they compare to your own.
This will give you a better idea of what clients are willing to pay and what you should charge for your services.
Determine your costs
To set your rates, you need to know your costs.
Calculate your overhead costs, such as software, hardware, and rent.
Determine how many hours you can work in a week and how much you want to make per hour.
This will help you set a baseline for your rates.
Consider your experience and expertise
Your experience and expertise will also play a role in setting your rates.
You can charge more for your services if you have a lot of experience and a portfolio of successful projects.
If you are just starting, you may need to charge lower rates to attract clients and build your portfolio.
Determine your value proposition
What sets you apart from other graphic designers in Kenya?
What unique skills or experience do you bring to the table?
Determine your value proposition and use it to justify your rates.
Clients are often willing to pay more for high-quality work and unique expertise.
Be transparent with your clients
Be transparent with your clients about your rates and what they include.
Let them know what they can expect from your services and what additional costs they may incur.
This will help build trust and ensure that both parties are on the same page.
Common mistakes to avoid when starting a graphics design business in Kenya
Starting a graphics design business in Kenya can be an exciting and challenging venture.
As with any new business, there are some common mistakes that you should avoid to ensure success.
Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid
Not having a business plan
One of the most common mistakes new graphic design business owners make is not having a business plan.
A business plan outlines your goals, target market, marketing strategies, financial projections, and more.
Without a business plan, it’s challenging to stay focused and make informed decisions.
Not having a niche
Another mistake is not having a niche.
A niche is a specific area of expertise within the graphics design industry.
Focusing on a particular niche, such as branding or web design, can help you stand out from competitors and attract clients who need your specialized skills.
Undercharging or overcharging for services
Setting your rates too low can make it challenging to cover your expenses, while setting them too high can make it difficult to attract clients.
Research the average rates for graphic design services in Kenya and adjust your rates accordingly based on your skills and experience.
Not having a professional portfolio
A professional portfolio is critical for attracting clients and showcasing your skills.
Make sure your portfolio is well-organized, up-to-date, and showcases your best work.
You can showcase your portfolio online platforms such as Behance or Dribbble.
Not marketing effectively
Marketing is crucial for growing your graphics design business.
Many new business owners make the mistake of not investing enough time and effort into marketing their business.
Develop a marketing plan that includes online and offline strategies to reach potential clients and build your brand.
Not having a professional network
Networking is an essential part of building a successful graphics design business.
Join professional organizations and attend industry events to meet other professionals in your field.
These connections can lead to collaborations, referrals, and new business opportunities.
A single graphics design service takes around 1-2 hours to complete.
If you have 10 clients per month and charge them KES 3,000 per design, you will make around KES 30,000 monthly.
What is stopping you from diving into this gig?