Moving from Moonlighting to Part-Time to a Full-Time Desktop Publishing Business

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Most independent desktop publishing professionals start out by “moonlighting.” Taking on a project here or there without the pressure of making a payroll or covering office expenses can ease the burden of getting a new DTP business off the ground. Moonlighting lets you focus on adding new clients continually, without worrying about missed goals. Early projects can benefit from extra attention, leading to strong portfolio pieces that attract new clients.


Shifting into a part-time commitment to your DTP business often means scheduling specific office hours while maintaining another job elsewhere. Small business experts offer two ideas for growing a startup business while working someplace else.

First, it helps to hold down a job that doesn’t pose any conflicts of interest with your part-time business. Working at a design agency while taking on freelance design projects might pose an ethical dilemma. However, working at a law firm while developing print material for lawyers is usually an acceptable situation.

Second, some business experts recommend working in a flexible job that gives you the ability to step away for urgent client phone calls or e-mail. While it’s not advisable to create a business that requires you to constantly be “on call,” many new clients make decisions about DTP vendors based on their response time as well as their portfolios. Giving yourself the flexibility to connect with clients during business hours can save some important business deals.


As more clients attract themselves to your growing DTP business, you can start building a pipeline of upcoming projects. In some cases, you can even start to raise your rates to weed out the kinds of clients and projects you’re not interested in handling. Once you reach the point of being able to project a stable income, you can safely quit your day job and start running your desktop publishing business full-time.

This post is part of the series: Starting a Desktop Publishing Business

Thanks to new technology, it’s easier than ever to launch your own desktop publishing business. Learn how to choose your niche, set your hourly rates, and avoid the most common pitfalls of a freelance graphic design career.

  1. Guide to Starting a Desktop Publishing Business - Setting Expectations and Testing the Market
  2. How to Learn Important Skills and Tools for Desktop Publishing
  3. Guide to Investing in Your Desktop Publishing Business
  4. Choosing a Niche for Your Desktop Publishing Business
  5. Different Phases of a Desktop Publishing Business: Moonlighting, Part-Time, and Full-Time