Creative Truth : Start & Build a Profitable Design Business book cover
1st Edition

Creative Truth
Start & Build a Profitable Design Business

ISBN 9781138844896
Published February 23, 2016 by Routledge
288 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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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.