How to start an Illustration Business?


how to start a illustration business plan template

Are you interested in starting your own Illustration Business?

If you've ever thought about turning your passion for drawing and illustration into a business, then this guide is for you. Starting a business can be a daunting task, but with a little planning and organisation it can be achievable. Here are a few tips on how to get started:
1. Define your business goals. What kind of business do you want to create? What services or products will you offer? What is your target market? Answering these questions will help you focus your business plan and give you a direction to head in.
2. Create a portfolio. Your portfolio is a key tool in marketing your business and attracting clients. Make sure it is up-to-date and showcases your best work.
3. Develop a marketing plan. How will you promote your business and reach your target market? Will you use social media, advertising, PR or a combination of all three? Plan out your marketing strategy and budget for it accordingly.
4. Get organized. Set up a system for tracking your finances, clients and project deadlines. This will help you stay on top of your business and avoid any stressful last-minute scrambling.
5. Stay positive and don't give up.
Business Plan
When starting any business, it is important to have a clear plan in place. This will help you to identify your goals, and map out a path to achieving them. Here are a few key points to consider when creating a business plan for your illustration business:
1. Define your business: What services will you offer? Who is your target market? What makes your business unique?
2. Create a marketing plan: How will you reach your target market? What marketing channels will you use? What are your budget and timelines?
3. Set financial goals: How much revenue do you want to generate? What are your expenses? How will you fund your business?
4. Develop an operations plan: How will you produce your illustrations? What technology and equipment will you need? What are your policies and procedures?
By taking the time to develop a comprehensive business plan, you will be setting your illustration business up for success.
Target Market
As an illustrator, it's important to know who your target market is. Once you identify your target market, you can begin to create content and marketing materials that speak directly to them. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to help identify your target market:
- Who is most likely to need or want my illustrations?
- What type of businesses or individuals are most likely to use my illustrations?
- What types of projects or products are most likely to need illustrations?
Once you have a good idea of who your target market is, you can start creating content that appeals to them. This could include blog posts, social media posts, and even illustrations that are specifically designed for your target market. Keep in mind that your target market may change over time, so it's important to periodically revisit this topic and make sure you are still reaching the right people with your content.
Business Model
There are a few different business models you can choose from when starting an illustration business. The first is working as a freelancer. This involves finding clients and working with them directly to create the illustrations they need. You can work with multiple clients at once, or just take on projects as they come in. Another business model is setting up an online shop. This involves creating a portfolio of your work and then selling it online. You can set up a shop on a platform like Etsy, or create your own website. This option gives you more control over your prices and the types of illustrations you sell. Finally, you could also work with a company on a full-time or contract basis. This would involve creating illustrations for their products or marketing materials. You would need to build up a good portfolio and track record to be considered for this type of work. Whichever business model you choose, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you need to create a strong portfolio of your work. This will help you attract clients and show them what you’re capable of. Second, you need to be efficient and meet deadlines. This is especially important if you’re working with.
Competitive Landscape
As an illustrator, you'll be competing against other artists for jobs. It's important to know your competition and what they're offering. There are a few ways to find out about your competition:
1. Google search - A simple Google search will bring up a list of illustrators in your area. Take a look at their websites and see what they're offering.
2. Social media - Social media is a great way to see what other artists are up to. Check out hashtags related to illustration, such as #illustration or #art, and see what others are posting.
3. Ask around - Talk to other artists and see who they recommend. You can also ask art directors, graphic designers, and other professionals who might need an illustrator.
Costs & Pricing Strategy
As an illustrator, one of the most important aspects of your business will be your pricing strategy. After all, you need to be able to make a profit off of your work in order to keep your business afloat. There are a few things you need to take into account when setting your prices, including your overhead costs, the time it takes you to complete a project, and the market rate for your services. Your overhead costs are all of the expenses associated with running your business, such as renting studio space, buying supplies, and paying for marketing and advertising. You need to make sure that your prices cover all of your overhead costs so that you can actually make a profit. The time it takes you to complete a project is also a factor to consider when pricing your work. If a project is going to take you 20 hours to complete, you can’t charge the same price as you would for a project that only took you 5 hours. You need to factor in your time and make sure you are compensated for it. Finally, you need to be aware of the market rate for your services.
Forming a Legal Entity
If you want to start a Illustration business, you will need to form a legal entity. This will protect you from personal liability and help you raise money for your business. You can choose to form a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Each type of entity has its own pros and cons, so you will need to choose the one that is right for your business. If you are the only owner of your business, a sole proprietorship may be the best option. This type of business is easy to set up and you will not have to deal with much paperwork. However, sole proprietorships offer no personal liability protection, which means that you could be held responsible for debts incurred by your business. Partnerships are similar to sole proprietorships in that they are easy to set up and offer no personal liability protection. If you decide to form a partnership, you will need to choose a business partner who you can trust and who has complementary skills. It is important to have a written partnership agreement that outlines each partner's roles and responsibilities. A limited liability company (LLC) offers personal liability protection and is a good option for a small group of founders.
Opening a Business Bank Account
When you’re ready to start your Illustration business, one of the first steps is to open a business bank account. This will help you keep your personal and business finances separate and will make it easier to track your expenses and income. To open a business bank account, you’ll need to have the following information and documents:
-Your business name and address
-Your Social Security number or Employer Identification Number (EIN)
-A list of the owners, officers, and directors of the company
-Articles of incorporation or a business license
-A voided check or deposit slip from the account you’ll be using for your business
Once you have all of the required information and documents, you can visit your local bank or credit union to open a business checking account.
Setting up Business Accounting
If you're starting a Illustration business, one of the first things you need to do is set up your business accounting. This will ensure that you're keeping track of your finances and that you're complying with any financial regulations that apply to your business. Here's a quick guide to setting up your business accounting:
1. Choose an accounting software. There are many different accounting software packages available, so do some research to find one that will suit your needs.
2. Set up your chart of accounts. This is a list of all the categories of income and expenditure that you will track in your accounting system.
3. Set up your bank account. You will need a business bank account to manage your finances effectively.
4. Keep track of your income and expenditure. Make sure you keep accurate records of all money coming in and going out of your business.
5. Prepare and file your tax return. Once a year, you will need to file a tax return for your business. Make sure you keep on top of this so that you don't miss the deadline
Setting up Business Insurance
As a business owner, it is important to protect your company with the proper insurance. When setting up a Illustration business, you will need to consider the following types of insurance:
-Product liability insurance: This will protect you in the event that a product you designed and printed causes injury or damage.
-Professional liability insurance: This will protect you in the event that a client suffers damages as a result of your work.
-Business property insurance: This will protect your equipment and premises in the event of damage or theft.
-Business interruption insurance: This will protect you in the event that your business has to stop operations due to a covered event.
-Employee dishonesty insurance: This will protect you in the event that an employee steals from your business.
Speak with an insurance agent to determine which policies are right for your business
Setting up a Business Website
If you want to start a Illustration business, one of the first things you need to do is set up a website. This will be your online home base, where potential customers can learn more about your business and what you have to offer. There are a few key things you need to include on your website:
-An About page: This is where you can tell your story and give potential customers a sense of who you are and what you stand for.
-A portfolio: Showcase your best version on your website so that potential clients can see your work.
-A contact page: Make it easy for people to get in touch with you by including your email address and/or social media links.
-Pricing information: Let visitors know how much you charge for your services.
By having a well-designed website, you’ll be able to attract more customers and grow your Illustration business
Obtaining the Necessary Permits
If you want to start a business as an illustrator, the first step is to obtain the necessary permits. Depending on your location, you may need to obtain a business license, a tax identification number, and/or a zoning permit. You can usually obtain these permits by contacting your local business office. Once you have obtained the necessary permits, you will need to find a place to set up your business. Many illustrators work from home, but if you plan on doing business with clients, you will need to have a professional space. You can either rent an office or studio space, or you can set up a home office that meets your business needs. After you have obtained the necessary permits and found a place to set up your business, the next step is to start marketing your services. You can do this by creating a website or blog, or by joining an online marketplace such as Etsy. You can also market your services through social media, by creating a portfolio that showcases your work, or by attending local art fairs and events.
Setting up a Business Number or Appointment Setter
When you’re ready to start your Illustration business, one of the first things you need to do is set up a business phone number or an appointment setter. You can use a service like Google Voice to set up a business phone number for your Illustration business. Google Voice will give you a free business phone number that you can use to make and receive calls. Once you have a business phone number, you can start taking calls from potential customers. When you get a call, be sure to take down the customer’s name, contact information, and what they need. Once you have this information, you can give the customer a call back to discuss the project in more detail and give them a quote.

Developing an Online Presence

Establishing a strong online presence is key to the success of any illustration business. Creating a website that reflects your brand and optimizing it for search engines (SEO) is the foundation of any successful online marketing strategy. Additionally, social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are invaluable tools for connecting with potential customers, clients and industry contacts.

Networking and Creating Connections

Networking with other professionals in the illustration industry is essential for building a successful business. Attend industry events, join relevant organizations, and reach out to potential partners or clients in order to build your network and create meaningful connections.

Establishing a Client Base

Reaching out to potential clients is an important step in establishing a client base for your illustration business. Advertising your services, responding promptly to inquiries, and providing excellent customer service are all essential for building a strong client base.

Building a Professional Portfolio

As an illustrator, having a professional portfolio is essential for showcasing your work and attracting potential clients. Creating a portfolio website that reflects your style and includes examples of past projects is a great way to make sure your work stands out from the crowd. Additionally, presenting your portfolio in person to potential clients can be extremely beneficial in creating connections and making sales.

Keeping Up with Industry Trends

To stay competitive in the illustration industry, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technology advancements. Researching industry news and following influential figures can help you stay current on what’s happening in the world of illustration.

Utilizing Freelance Platforms

Taking advantage of freelance websites such as Upwork or Fiverr can be an effective way to find new opportunities for illustrating projects or jobs. Posting job listings on these websites can help you get more exposure for your services and attract new customers from around the world.

Protecting Your Work

As an illustrator, it’s important to protect your work from theft or misuse by others. Registering copyright protection, obtaining intellectual property rights, or adding watermarks to artwork are all great ways to ensure that you are safeguarding your work from unauthorized use.

Evaluating the Success of Your Business

Tracking financial goals and performing profitability analysis are essential for gauging the success of your illustration business over time. Keeping track of revenue streams, expenses, and overall profits will help you make informed decisions about how to best manage your business moving forward.
If you're interested in starting an illustration business, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you need to make sure you have a strong portfolio that showcases your skills. Second, you need to be well-versed in the business side of things, from marketing and networking to pricing and contracts. And third, you need to be passionate about your work and always be willing to continue learning and growing as an artist. If you can keep all of these things in mind, you'll be well on your way to starting a successful illustration business.

Why write a business plan?

A business plan is a critical tool for businesses and startups for a number of reasons:
  • Business Plans can help to articulate and flesh out the business’s goals and objectives. This can be beneficial not only for the business owner, but also for potential investors or partners
  • Business Plans can serve as a roadmap for the business, helping to keep it on track and on target. This is especially important for businesses that are growing and evolving, as it can be easy to get sidetracked without a clear plan in place.
  • Business plans can be a valuable tool for communicating the business’s vision to employees, customers, and other key stakeholders.
  • Business plans are one of the most affordable and straightforward ways of ensuring your business is successful.
  • Business plans allow you to understand your competition better to critically analyze your unique business proposition and differentiate yourself from the market.
  • Business Plans allow you to better understand your customer. Conducting a customer analysis is essential to create better products and services and market more effectively.
  • Business Plans allow you to determine the financial needs of the business leading to a better understanding of how much capital is needed to start the business and how much fundraising is needed.
  • Business Plans allow you to put your business model in words and analyze it further to improve revenues or fill the holes in your strategy.
  • Business plans allow you to attract investors and partners into the business as they can read an explanation about the business.
  • Business plans allow you to position your brand by understanding your company’s role in the marketplace.
  • Business Plans allow you to uncover new opportunities by undergoing the process of brainstorming while drafting your business plan which allows you to see your business in a new light. This allows you to come up with new ideas for products/services, business and marketing strategies.
  • Business Plans allow you to access the growth and success of your business by comparing actual operational results versus the forecasts and assumptions in your business plan. This allows you to update your business plan to a business growth plan and ensure the long-term success and survival of your business.

Business Plan Content


Many people struggle with drafting a business plan and it is necessary to ensure all important sections are present in a business plan:
  1. Executive Summary
  2. Company Overview
  3. Industry Analysis
  4. Consumer Analysis
  5. Competitor Analysis & Advantages
  6. Marketing Strategies & Plan
  7. Plan of Action
  8. Management Team

The financial forecast template is an extensive Microsoft Excel sheet with Sheets on Required Start-up Capital, Salary & Wage Plans, 5-year Income Statement, 5-year Cash-Flow Statement, 5-Year Balance Sheet, 5-Year Financial Highlights and other accounting statements that would cost in excess of £1000 if obtained by an accountant.

The financial forecast has been excluded from the business plan template. If you’d like to receive the financial forecast template for your start-up, please contact us at . Our consultants will be happy to discuss your business plan and provide you with the financial forecast template to accompany your business plan.

Instructions for the Business Plan Template

To complete your perfect Illustration business plan, fill out the form below and download our Illustration business plan template. The template is a word document that can be edited to include information about your Illustration business. The document contains instructions to complete the business plan and will go over all sections of the plan. Instructions are given in the document in red font and some tips are also included in blue font. The free template includes all sections excluding the financial forecast. If you need any additional help with drafting your business plan from our business plan template, please set up a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our consultants.

Ongoing Business Planning


With the growth of your business, your initial goals and plan is bound to change. To ensure the continued growth and success of your business, it is necessary to periodically update your business plan. Your business plan will convert to a business growth plan with versions that are updated every quarter/year. Avvale Consulting recommends that you update your business plan every few months and practice this as a process. Your business is also more likely to grow if you access your performance regularly against your business plans and reassess targets for business growth plans.


Want a Bespoke Business Plan for your Illustration Business?

Our Expertise


Avvale Consulting has extensive experience working with companies in many sectors including the Illustration industry. You can avail a free 30-minute business consultation to ask any questions you have about starting your Illustration business. We would also be happy to create a bespoke Illustration business plan for your Illustration business including a 5-year financial forecast to ensure the success of your Illustration business and raise capital from investors to start your Illustration business. This will include high-value consulting hours with our consultants and multiple value-added products such as investor lists and Angel Investor introductions.


About Us


Avvale Consulting is a leading startup business consulting firm based in London, United Kingdom. Our consultants have years of experience working with startups and have worked with over 300 startups from all around the world. Our team has thousands of business plans, pitch decks and other investment documents for startups leading to over $100 Million raised from various sources. Our business plan templates are the combination of years of startup fundraising and operational experience and can be easily completed by a business owner regardless of their business stage or expertise. So, whether you are a budding entrepreneur or a veteran businessman, download our business plan template and get started on your business growth journey today.