1st Edition

Creative Truth Start & Build a Profitable Design Business

By Brad Weaver Copyright 2016
    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    Creative Truth is your playbook for starting, building, and enjoying a profitable design business. Whether you’re a solo freelancer working from home or a small group of creative entrepreneurs ready to get to the next level, this is your roadmap to success. You’re the CEO, CFO, CTO, Secretary, Janitor, Office Manager, and everything in between. Finding a balance between running the business and doing great creative work is a constant struggle. From learning how to price your work and manage your time, to setting up your business and defining your market, Brad Weaver covers everything designers need to know to run a studio without losing heart.


    • Real numbers, real tools, and best practices in a toolkit that you can start using immediately in your business.

    • A companion website that offers up-to-date resources, articles, tools, and discussions, allowing readers to continue learning as they grow.

    • Practical tips for getting clients, being more profitable, building your network, managing your operations, getting things done, hiring help, managing contractors, and finding joy along the way.

    Chapter 1

    Full Measures: The Creative Business Mindset

    Follow Your Passion, Fall Off a Cliff

    Business in The Front, Creative in The Back

    It’s No Longer a Hobby

    Another Creative Business? Really?

    Chapter 2

    Rookie of the Year: Pushing the Start Button

    How to Start

    When to Start

    Who You Need (Your Services Army)

    Where to Start (Finding a Home)

    The Truth About Starting

    What You Actually Need–The Minimal Starter List

    Chapter 3

    The Hunt: Sales, Marketing, and Getting Client Work

    Getting Clients

    Two Sides of Marketing: Inbound & Outbound

    Building the Machine

    How to Sell Creative Services

    Your Online Presence

    The Geometry of Business: Targeted Vertical & Horizontal Marketing

    Quick Marketing Tips

    Chapter 4

    Basic Rocket Science: Pricing Your Work

    Building a Pricing Strategy

    Finding Your Shop Rate & Knowing What You Need

    Raising Your Rates

    Pricing Model 1: Hourly Billing

    Pricing Model 2: Project-based & Flat-fee Pricing

    Pricing Model 3: Value-based Pricing

    Pricing Model 4: Retainer Pricing

    Pricing Model 5: Package Pricing

    Pricing Model 6: Performance-based Pricing

    Pricing Model 7: Equity Pricing

    Additional Pricing Factors

    Chapter 5

    Home Economics: Getting Paid–Contracts, Operations, and Billing



    Working For Free


    Getting Paid–Invoicing, Billing, & Collections

    Cash Flow

    Chapter 6

    A Very Delicate Matter: Managing Client Expectations

    Setting Client Expectations

    Communications & Project Management

    Client Revisions & Scope Creep

    Copyright & Intellectual Property

    Long-term Client Relationships

    When Things Go South

    Chapter 7

    Done is Better Than Perfect: Doing the Work

    Just Ship It

    Imposter Syndrome


    Scheduling & Time Management


    Side Projects

    Chapter 8

    The Art of Discourse: Community, Collaboration, and Showering Regularly

    Avoid Isolation

    Build Relationships

    Build an Audience

    Build Bridges

    Build Collaborations

    Chapter 9

    No Time Like the Future: Growing Your Creative Business

    Freelancers vs. Employees

    Hiring Help


    Partnerships & Mergers

    Office Space

    Failure is an option

    Chapter 10

    Taking a Break from All Your Worries: This Creative Life



    Stop Being Busy


    Embrace the ups and downs

    About That Courage

    Go and Grow


    Brad Weaver is a Managing Partner & Director of Design at Nine Labs. He founded Suckerpunch in 2007 which merged with Nine Labs in 2014. Previously, he worked on the development of early Mobile and Online Media programs at Verizon Wireless. He works with clients including GE, Pirelli, AT&T, ESPN, Disney, Columbia Records, NATO, The PGA, Coca-Cola, UnitedHealth Group, Macy's, and Hard Rock Café on User Experience and Branding projects.