Logos and branding are extremely important when it comes to marketing your business. However, when you’re first starting out, you may not have the luxury of spending $5,000 or more on a design overhaul.
Spending that kind of money off the bat also may not be the smartest approach. Plus, you probably haven’t decided how to communicate with your prospects, what your brand represents or what your market wants. These are all marketing aspects that come with time and experience.
Fortunately, the internet has made it easy to find cost-effective design and branding services, so you can get your logo and branding needs covered with little investment or commitment.
There’s just one caveat; because of the popularity of the markets and services we’re about to mention, there are some bad apples out there. In fact, there are just as many horror stories about using these marketplaces as there are success stories. The key to avoiding a bad experience is to pay close attention to reviews, testimonials and work samples.
Also, don’t settle for the first person you find. It’s in your best interest to do as much research as possible before hiring anyone from these sites. You may also want to contact a particular service provider and ask any questions before hiring them
And finally, do not expect to use any of these marketplaces with the intention of being able to email your designer with constant changes. You’re not paying for full-service design and brand consulting; you’re paying for a quick, cost-effective graphic.
With that being said, let’s jump into where new small business owners can get logo and branding services on the cheap.
As the name suggests, you can use Fiverr to hire people to do a wide array of design tasks for five bucks. Services include logo design, video editing, header designs and a variety of other business and design related services.
Fiverr started in 2010 when two young entrepreneurs decided that there had to be a way for people around the world to make money without needing to put in nine-hour days. They chose $5 as the price point so that anyone in the world could use the marketplace.
Fiverr has now become one of the largest and widely used marketplaces of its kind. While some things cost more than $5 if you choose add-ons or extras, the service is incredibly affordable and allows you to start experimenting and outsourcing without wasting a ton of money.
Most people assume that Etsy is just for crafts and supplies. Well, they’re wrong. It turns out you can outsource certain design services on Etsy for a fraction of what it will cost you elsewhere. You can find logo designs for as little as $5 and you can even find people to set up your WordPress template for less than $100.
Perhaps the greatest thing about Etsy is that it gives you the ability to find beautiful designs that are actually well done. Etsy naturally tends to attract people with a good eye who are looking to make some money with their skills online.
Elance and UpWork (formerly known as oDesk) usually get grouped together because of the similarities between the two. They recently merged together, but still retain their own separate marketplaces where freelancers can bid on projects in an effort to receive jobs.
With Elance, for fixed-price projects, you must put the agreed upon dollar amount in Escrow before the job begins. Don’t worry, though; the funds aren’t released until the project is completed. With UpWork, freelancers are paid weekly so it’s imperative that you screen people thoroughly.
In order to get the most out of these two sites you must be very detailed when you post your job; otherwise freelancers won’t bid on it. You’ll also want to interview anyone you may be considering hiring and set up clear channels of communication.
With Elance and UpWork, it’s more like you’re hiring a short-term employee, whereas with Etsy and Fiverr, you’re just outsourcing one particular task. If you prefer to work closely with whomever you are hiring, these two affordable marketplaces may be the way to go.
99Designs is a popular site where you can find either pre-made design templates or hire someone to design for you. In fact, rather than spending a few thousand dollars on a logo and website, you can get the same bundle on 99Designs for as low as $499. That’s a steal in web design terms.
You can also run contests on 99Designs where designers compete for your business by creating actual graphics instead of just sending over proposals. While it takes some research and preparation, using these sites is a great way to start creating your brand designs without spending a ton of money from the get-go. This gives you the graphics you need now at a price you can actually afford as a new business owner.
Have you used any of these sites? Any tips on using them effectively? Share in the comments below.