Ilise Benun

The Marketing Mentor Podcast

The Marketing Mentor Podcast


In the Marketing Mentor podcast, Ilise Benun, founder of, offers short but meaty conversational interviews with creative professionals who are doing what it takes to stop feast or famine, get better clients and command the fees they deserve – and sharing what they’ve learned.




#368: Where Content Marketing & Conversational Copywriting Collide w/ Nick Usborne

Apr 17, 2019 27:44


One way to use generosity as a marketing tool is to treat your content marketing as a gift for your market. That’s just one of the ideas from my second interview with Nick Usborne, who teaches a course on conversational copywriting. There was also some ranting about whether puppies are always click bait. You may remember Nick from Episode #360 earlier this year. You can still take advantage of his special offer: sign up here to get Nick’s free guide and videos. Nick and I will both be speaking again at AWAI’s Bootcamp, which is sold out but you can still register to attend virtually. If you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#367: Corina Ludwig on Increasing Your Billable Hours

Apr 3, 2019 24:55


Are you wasting time on your least profitable clients? How much time do you spend hunting for things? Should you be charging for travel time? These are some of the questions I tackled with Corina Ludwig, President of, an online time tracking and project management software for creative professionals – and a sponsor of my latest Simplest Marketing Planner. Check out their free 14 day trial at If you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#366: How Do You Show Up? With Kevin Carroll

Mar 17, 2019 30:16


In this very special podcast interview, I talked with Kevin Carroll, a HOW friend and past speaker, whom I met when he gave his PATH to Professional Presentations at SCAD recently. You can also see the highlight reel of his collaborations with creative partners (and fellow friends of HOW), Ann Willoughby/Willoughby Design/Gordon Mackenzie. If you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.  And use my promo code (MENTOR10) for 10% off your ticket HOW Design Live 2019 in Chicago, May 7-10 at

#365: Should You Become an Author?

Feb 28, 2019 29:36


Today’s episode was originally recorded for the HOW Design Live podcast, but the information is relevant to my listeners too, so I’m reposting it here. I chatted with Bridget Watson Payne, Executive Editor for Art & Design at Chronicle Books. She’s speaking on how to become an author as part of the Creative Freelancer Track at HOW Design Live 2019 in Chicago, May 7-10. Use my promo code (MENTOR10) for 10% off your ticket at And if you like what you hear, we’d love it if you write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#364: How to Pitch Patiently & Strategically with Michael e. Stern

Feb 20, 2019 23:41


Here’s my latest chat with time lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern, who walks us through a recent “warm intro” he did for a big project and describes how he meticulously and patiently pitches the projects he wants. Find more of our chats here. And we’d love it if you write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#363: Reading David Whyte on “Courage” from "Consolations"

Feb 13, 2019 06:05


For February I’m reading aloud another essay I love from the poet-philosopher, David Whyte, and his book of essays CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. This one is on “courage” so much more important than confidence, which so many people claim not to have. If you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#362 Ilise Benun on How to Get Better Clients with Bigger Budgets

Feb 6, 2019 41:41


This special episode is the audio version of Ilise Benun’s new presentation, How to Get Better Clients with Bigger Budgets, hosted by (Watch it on YouTube here: It is, she outlines clearly and succinctly how the only 3 marketing tools you need work together to reinforce your message when you follow the Simplest Marketing Plan. If you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#361: How to Build Trust Despite Marketing with Nick Usborne

Jan 23, 2019 28:11


If you want your words to sound more like your voice, today’s episode is for you. It’s a very “meta” conversation about conversational copywriting with Nick Usborne, who teaches a course on the topic. We covered the difference between authentic and conversational copy vs. fake and “chatty” style, plus what types of businesses this style is it right for (hint: those that want repeat sales and longer term relationships built on trust). And there was some ranting about why so many people don’t speak plainly and clearly. Take advantage of Nick’s special offer and sign up to get Nick’s free guide and videos. If you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#360: Reading David Whyte on Work from “Consolations”

Jan 9, 2019 07:57


Here’s something new for 2019: I’m reading aloud work that I love and that is influencing my work. First up is an essay called “Work” from the poet-philosopher, David Whyte, and his book of essays CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. If you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#359: The Key to Content Marketing that Works with Ben Callahan of Sparkbox

Jan 2, 2019 27:20


I’m kicking off 2019 with Ben Callahan, President of Sparkbox, whose web development firm has grown from 8 to 42 employees. Their winning bizdev strategy? Content marketing. In this episode, Ben shares details about the reality of an effective content marketing strategy and why it works. If you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#358 How to Handle Tricky Situations with Self Respect with Michael e. Stern

Dec 19, 2018 32:18


This is my 15th episode with time lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern, who shares his proven strategies for dealing with tricky situations with prospects without losing your self-respect, from crazy demands to contract conflicts. If you like what you hear, find all 15 of our chats here. And we’d love it if you write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#357: Mark McGuiness on Being a 21st Century Creative

Nov 28, 2018 26:55


Ilise Benun talks with poet and coach to creatives, Mark McGuinness, about his new book, 21 Insights for 21st Century Creatives. (Download the book here.) The focus in this conversation is on important business insights for creative professionals, including how to get out of your own head, how and why to invest in yourself and how to take ownership of your work so you never need to worry about self-discipline. If you like what you hear, write a review and subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#356: Jane Friedman on How to Get Your Book Published

Nov 14, 2018 30:35


If you are thinking of writing a book to market your business, listen to Ilise Benun’s conversation with publishing veteran, Jane Friedman, on the difference between publishing for money vs. publishing for credibility, the myths about being an author, the rise of self publishing and, of course, how to get your book published. If you like what you hear, write a review and subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#355: Ryan Gill of on what it takes to be a Solopreneur

Oct 31, 2018 26:05


Ilise Benun talks with Ryan Gill, co-founder of, a new sharing economy platform for creative professionals, about what it really takes to be your own boss. And how his new platform attempts to address some of the challenges and facilitate business development and access to talent. If you like what you hear, write a review and subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#354: Ali Schwanke on Metrics that Matter

Oct 17, 2018 26:05


In the latest “Revolve Conference Speaker Podcast,” Ilise Benun, of, interviews Ali Schwanke, founder of Simplestrat, who will be speaking on “vanity metrics” at The Revolve Conference, a gathering of design, UX and marketing professionals this Nov. 12-13, 2018 in Charleston SC. Details here: 

#353: Kevin Rogers of Copy Chief on Finding Your “Bat Signal Talent”

Oct 3, 2018 26:07


Ilise Benun talks with Kevin Rogers, founder of Copy Chief, (the community and the live event this Oct 23-25) about 2 sides of the “bat-signal” coin: what he calls “bat-signal talent” and she calls “bat-signal content.” If you like what you hear, write a review and subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#352: Greg Corey on Growing from Freelancer to Agency Owner

Sep 19, 2018 31:10


Ilise Benun talks with Greg Corey, founder of Porchlight, about how started as a freelancer and found the simplest niche to grow into a boutique branding and packaging agency. It’s the one where you don’t have to prove yourself and you aren’t starting from scratch. If you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#351: What Is Your Value to Your Dream Clients? with Ilise Benun

Sep 6, 2018 17:49


Today’s podcast is highlights from a recent webinar Ilise Benun gave for the Graphic Artists Guild on how to identify your value to your dream clients so you get paid what you’re worth and can negotiate the best deals for yourself as a creative professional. Find the entire webinar here. And If you like what you hear, write a review and subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#350 Robert McGuire of on the “Freelancer Plateau”

Aug 22, 2018 26:26


Ilise Benun and Robert McGuire of dig into some of the findings from the Career Freelancer Status Report, including the idea that freelancers seem to reach an income plateau after 5 years and the effectiveness of freelance marketplaces for finding quality clients. Also, sign up for our (free) Q&A Livestream on Negotiating Strategies on Sept. 6. If you like what you hear, write a review and subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#349: Emily Leach, Founder of

Aug 7, 2018 27:00


Today’s bonus episode is a conversation between 2 unemployables: Ilise Benun talks with Emily Leach, Founder of The Freelance Conference, a free conference for freelancers, Sept. 10-14, 2018 in Austin and Corpus Christie Texas. Details at If you like what you hear, write a review and subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.

#348: One Designer’s Story - When You Take Success for Granted

Aug 1, 2018 32:35


If you crave less hype and more candor, this episode is for you. Ilise Benun talks with Dave Salanitro, a designer who had it all and lost it, about what happened, what he could have done differently and what he’s learned in the process. If you like what you hear, write a review and subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.     

#347: Creative Services by Subscription = Recurring Revenue for You?

Jul 18, 2018 28:07


In this episode, Ilise Benun learns about REACH, a new idea for a business model that provides design services to non profits on a budget and recurring revenue for GDLOFT, a small design firm in Philadelphia. If you like what you hear, write a review and subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#346: Should You Barter Your Creative Services? with Michael e. Stern

Jun 27, 2018 24:04


If you’ve ever bartered your services, you know it can be tricky. There’s an art to it, from deciding whether to do it, to making sure everything is fair and everyone feels valued. In this episode, time lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern, and I talk about a recent barter opportunity he pursued and how he made it a win/win for both parties. If you like what you hear, write a review and subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#345: Getting Started with Podcasting with John Hartwell

Jun 13, 2018 33:39


It’s a podcast about podcasting! If you’ve been thinking about starting a podcast to promote your creative business, you’ll learn a lot from my conversation with John Hartwell of Hartwell Studio Works, whose content marketing strategy includes the HSW Sports Branding Podcast. In our interview, he generously shares his strategy, plus nitty gritty details on how he got started with the podcast. If you like what you hear, write a review for both of them, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for my Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor


#344: How to Start a Digital Product Business with Justin Putney

May 30, 2018 28:03



If you’ve been dreaming about getting rid of your annoying clients and turning your service business into a product business, this episode is for you. My guest is designer/developer, Justin Putney, who has developed a product called In5, that is an add on to Adobe’s InDesign. In our interview, he generously shares tips on what you need to get started if you want to launch your own digital product. And if you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#343: How to Get Clients From Speaking Gigs w/ Terri Trespicio

May 16, 2018 58:29


This episode is the audio from a recent webinar with 2X TEDx speaker, Terri Trespicio, on "How to Use Public Speaking to Grow Your Reach & Influence (and get clients!)," in advance of her brand new 2-day workshop, Tapped to Speak, in NY June 7-8, 2018. Details at You can find the slides here and watch the video here  And if you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.   

#342: Content Marketing & The Business of Speaking with Corey Poirier

Apr 18, 2018 32:30


In the latest episode, I spoke with That Speaker Guy  Corey Poirier, about the business of speaking, whether it’s part of your content marketing strategy or the way you plan to make your living. We covered everything from inspirational vs. how-to content, webinars, online summits and speakers bureaus. If you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#341 The Highly Accountable and Trackable Marketing Process

Mar 21, 2018 38:44


In the latest episode, Chris Leone of Web Strategies, Inc. generously shares in detail the “highly accountable, highly trackable system” that drives his agency’s marketing. He shares not only the guts of their process (which tools they use and which are most effective), but also why they do it the way they do. It’s another excellent example of marketers practicing what they preach, essential if you are going to be credible to your clients and prospects. If you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.

#340: Agency Business Models, Partnerships & Mistakes with Carl Smith

Mar 1, 2018 26:54


In the latest episode, I chatted with Carl Smith, former co-founder of nGen Works about the various business models his agency tried, including the 4 person partnership that founded the digital agency. Smith currently runs Bureau of Digital, whose mission is to provide the support system agency owners never had. If you like what you hear, write a review, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#339: Michael Solomon on the Most Important Currency in Today’s Economy

Feb 21, 2018 26:05


In the latest podcast episode, Ilise Benun continues the conversation with marketing professor, Michael Solomon, who literally wrote the book on consumer behavior. Today’s topic is the most important currency being exchanged in today’s economy (it’s not money) and what designers and other creative pros can do about it. Hear more from Michael at the brand new HOW Marketing Live 2018 in Boston on April 30. Details at and more HOW Design Live podcasts here. And if you like what you hear, write a review and subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#338: Managing Your Money as a Creative Professional with Michael e. Stern

Feb 7, 2018 23:52


It’s almost tax time so in this episode, time lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern, and Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, talk big picture about how (and why) creative professionals struggle so with money management – and what you can do to improve things. (Disclaimer: no financial advice is offered, just the sharing of anecdotes and experience.) If you like what you hear, write a review and subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#337: Ilise Benun on How to Avoid the Worst Negotiating Mistakes

Jan 24, 2018 26:15


If you haven’t seen my recent talk, The Worst Negotiating Mistakes…and How to Avoid Them, on the Marketing Mentor YouTube channel, here’s the audio. Also, as mentioned in the intro, learn more about the “Experienced Newbie Accountability Group” on the Marketing Mix Blog. And if you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#336: Michael e. Stern on how to decide how big your business should be?

Jan 3, 2018 24:56


If you’ve been wondering whether you are suited to build a business that employs others, or whether you are better off “just you,” this interview is for you. For the first podcast episode of 2018, Ilise Benun talks with time lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern, of Build a Better Photograph, about what it takes -- and what it means -- to be an “entrepreneur” and how he decided how big to build his business.   If you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.   

#335: Andy Brenits on Confidence as an "Experienced Newbie"

Dec 20, 2017 27:18


In the next installment of the Experienced Newbie series of interviews, Ilise Benun talks with Andy Brenits of Brenits Creative  a designer who has gone back and forth between self employment and working in house in big name corporations. He’s 2 years into his latest stint on his own, taking it seriously and the success has built his confidence. Listen to the strategy that worked for him. If you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#334: How to Break Down Your Services for Tiered Pricing with Michael e. Stern

Dec 7, 2017 23:53


Many creative professionals give away their strategic services because it’s intangible and you don’t know how to account for it when you price a project. Tiered pricing is a technique that will ensure you get paid for everything you do. In this week’s podcast interview, time lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern, shows us how he breaks down his process so we can see how much actually goes into a project. To learn how to use tiered pricing, check out Marketing Mentor’s Tiered Pricing Kit: How to Earn More on Every Project, which you can find (probably on sale) in the Shop at If you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#333: How to Do Tiered Pricing with Ed Gandia

Nov 22, 2017 38:56


If you hate pricing, you’ll  love this week’s podcast, in which Ilise Benun talks with Ed Gandia about the nuts of bolts of how to do tiered pricing, a pricing strategy that solves most of the pricing problems so many creative professionals struggle with. This interview was also the impetus for the Tiered Pricing Kit: How to Earn More on Every Project, which you can find (probably on sale) in the Shop at If you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor


#332: Networking for the 21st Century from HOW Design Live 2017

Nov 8, 2017 37:27


This week’s podcast is perfect for introverts and other people who hate “networking." Listen now especially if you have an event coming up that you’re a little bit nervous about attending. You’ll learn the language to use to start a conversation, get someone’s business card and how to remember names, an essential and learnable skill. Also how to use the content you create as a networking tool. Download the PPT from this session (and more) at: If you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.  And I hope to see you at HOW Design Live 2018 in Boston, April 30-May 3. Details here:

#331: Cheryl Smithem on What is PR These Days?

Oct 23, 2017 24:19


In the 4th episode of Season 2 of the “Revolve Conference Speaker Podcast Series,” Ilise Benun, of, interviews Cheryl Smithem of Charleston PR, who will be speaking on The Essential PR Basics: Should I Send a Press Release? at The Revolve Conference, where design and creativity meet marketing and design. The big event will be held Oct. 26-27, 2017 in downtown Charleston SC. Details here: and more Revolve speaker podcasts here.

#330: Thomas Heath on Personal Branding on LinkedIn

Oct 18, 2017 19:32


In the third episode of Season 2 of the “Revolve Conference Speaker Podcast Series,” Ilise Benun, of, interviews Business Coach and Brand Strategist, Thomas Heath, whose topic is Increase Engagement with Storytelling Videos, at The Revolve Conference, where design and creativity meet marketing and design. The big event will be held Oct. 26-27, 2017 in downtown Charleston SC. Details here: and more Revolve speaker podcasts here.

#329: Katie Lane on Negotiating Strategies for Creatives

Oct 4, 2017 38:04


In this episode, Ilise Benun, of, talks with Katie Lane, lawyer, negotiation coach and blogger at Work Made For Hire, about how to overcome the particular challenges faced by creatives and by women when it comes to negotiating the best deal for yourself. If you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing

#328: Dan Mall of

Sep 27, 2017 18:27


In the second episode of Season 2 of the “Revolve Conference Speaker Podcast Series,” Ilise Benun, of, interviews Dan Mall  of, whose topic is “Should Designers…” at The Revolve Conference, where design and creativity meet marketing and design. The big event will be held Oct. 26-27, 2017 in downtown Charleston SC. Details here: and more Revolve speaker podcasts here.

#327: Experienced Newbie #4 – The Comparison Trap

Sep 13, 2017 23:43


Here’s the 3rd interview with "experienced newbie," Lisa Mullis, of Paraphrase Communications, in which we discuss the pros and cons of comparing yourself both to others and to yourself in your previous career. Plus an update on how she’s doing now 7 months into her new venture. Read more from this series on the blog and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#326: Katie Kern on Reimagining PR

Aug 30, 2017 25:12


In the first episode of Season 2 of the “Revolve Conference Speaker Podcast Series,” Ilise Benun, of, interviews Katie Kern, VP of Media Frenzy Global who will be speaking on How PR is Being Reimagined at The Revolve Conference, where design and creativity meet marketing and design. The big event will be held Oct. 26-27, 2017 in downtown Charleston SC. Details here: and more Revolve speaker podcasts here.


#325: Michael e. Stern on How to Handle Demanding Clients

Aug 16, 2017 22:28


In interview #11 of the popular series of chats between Ilise Benun of and time lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern of, they define multitasking for self employed creative professionals, how to handle client demands (and their maddening lack of responsiveness) and why Michael walked away from a $60K project. If you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.      

#324: Alan Seiden - From Awkward Techie to Tech “Celebrity”

Aug 2, 2017 26:07


In this episode, Ilise Benun, of, talks with an old friend, Alan Seiden of The Seiden Group, about how he left an unsatisfying job to start his own consulting business. Now he manages big projects, charges big money and does marketing with a flare. He’s even garnered a bit of celebrity status in his focused niche. If you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.      

#323: Michael Solomon on Price as a Shorthand for Value

Jul 19, 2017 27:21


In the second conversation with author and marketing professor, Michael Solomon, of, he explains to Ilise Benun, of, how to use your price as an indicator of quality and attract the clients who value your services. And if you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.


#322: 3 Simple Steps to Price Your Creative Projects

Jul 12, 2017 01:05:36


Pricing your services accurately and talking about money with confidence are essential to success. In the audio version of this recent PaperSpecs webinar, Ilise Benun distills pricing into 3 simple steps. It’s an excellent refresher for any self employed creative. And if you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.  

#321: Gigi Rosenberg on Making a Living from Your Art

Jun 21, 2017 22:31


Ilise Benun, of, interviews author and artist coach, Gigi Rosenberg about how to balance the desire to make art with the need to make a living and how to tell who’s a competitor and who’s a potential collaborator.  If you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.


#320: Bryn Mooth on Self-Confidence and Self-Employment

Jun 7, 2017 25:35


It’s already 6 years since Bryn Mooth left her cozy full-time job as Editor of HOW Magazine to strike out on her own as a freelance food and wellness writer. I caught up with her at HOW Design Live and had a chance to hear how she has used what she learned to build a 2nd career doing what she is passionate about. See more at and And if you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.  

#319: Experienced Newbie #4 – Entering the Brand New Cannabis Market

May 24, 2017 26:44


On the 1-year anniversary of her new branding firm for the brand new cannabis industry, Jenn Culpepper of Brand Joint, shares how they got their first client and which marketing tools are most effective as she grows her new business. If you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.  

#318: Experienced Newbie #3 – Building Your Email List

May 10, 2017 17:02


Here’s the second interview with Lisa Mullis of the new firm, Paraphrase Communications, sharing details about how she is re-building her online presence and email list (almost) from scratch. Read more from this series on the blog and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor 

#317: Michael Solomon on Making it Easier to Toot Your Own Horn

Apr 26, 2017 27:43


In the next episode sponsored by, Ilise Benun, of, interviews author and marketing professor, Michael Solomon, of about how to be objective and authentic in your own self promotion. Plus, you can support our sponsor by starting your own 5-photo trial account now at

#316: New Standard Freelance Contract Tool via Freelancers Union & AND.CO

Apr 12, 2017 23:45


Ilise Benun, of, chats with Caitlin Pearce of Freelancers Union (join for free if you aren’t already a member) about the new, free and easy-to-use contract building tool they developed in partnership with to help the self employed protect themselves from non-paying clients. (This episode is sponsored by – get photos that don’t suck by starting your own 5-photo trial account now at

#315: Wendy Merrill on Overcoming Fear of Self Promotion

Mar 30, 2017 29:33


In the next in a series of episodes sponsored by, Ilise Benun, of, interviews Wendy Merrill of about how to overcome fear of self promotion. Plus Wendy shares the LinkedIn content marketing strategy that gets her a stream of new clients. Start your own 5-photo trial account now at

#314: Answers to Your Burning Questions for the “Ideal Client”

Mar 17, 2017 34:16


In this special podcast, Ilise Benun asks Jamie Saunders, Senior Marketing Communications Manager at Neenah Paper and Packaging, all the questions you wish you could ask your ideal client about promoting your work, including, “Is it BS when you say, “stay in touch” or “send me something?” (This conversation is excerpted from the “3 Steps to Your Ideal Clients” webinar and is just a taste of the Get Better Clients Bootcamp, taking place in Chicago on May 2, 2017. Details here.

#313: Robert McGuire On Getting Started with Subcontracting

Mar 9, 2017 29:07


In the first in a series of episodes sponsored by, Ilise Benun, of, interviews Robert McGuire on how he overcame obstacles to subcontracting to build his content marketing agency using freelancers. Download his free “freelancer agreement” template. And start your own 5-photo trial account now at

#312: “Experienced Newbie” #2 - From Project Manager to Photographer

Feb 23, 2017 24:38


When JC Candanedo of heard Part 1 of this new series, he responded immediately and wanted to share his experience of changing careers in his 40’s, competing with photographers half his age and developing confidence by bringing his experience from the first career to bear. Read more from this series on the blog and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.

#311: Danny Iny on How to Grow and Scale a Business

Feb 9, 2017 29:19


Ilise Benun chats with Danny Iny, author of Teach and Grow Rich, & founder of (formerly Firepole Marketing) about how to grow a scalable business, who should (and shouldn’t) spend time building an online course and which courses do well (and which don’t). If you like what you hear, sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.

#310: “Experienced Newbie” Series #1 - Your Online Presence

Jan 25, 2017 24:51


Ilise Benun starts a new series of conversations with communications professional, Lisa Mullis, as she goes through a mid-career makeover and navigates the challenges of building a new firm, Paraphrase Communications, on the foundation of her past experience and presenting it transparently. Watch the Marketing Mentor Blog for Lisa’s companion posts too.  

#309: Creatives - We Need Your Voice by January 31st - Listen Now!

Jan 17, 2017 17:29


The Graphic Artists Guild needs the help of all creative professionals, creators and copyright holders. Make your voice heard by taking the survey to help keep copyright laws strong for you. Let the Library of Congress know that we need a Register who understands the value of copyright, recognizes the need for the Office to be modernized, and has the support of the creative community. Learn more:

#308: Jeff Sauer on Becoming a Data-Driven Creative

Jan 7, 2017 29:19


Ilise Benun chats with Jeff Sauer of Jeffalytics, the brains behind the JumpStart Podcast and former agency owner-turned-consultant specializing in making sense of analytics data, about how creatives can set themselves apart and achieve better results for clients by positioning themselves as “data-driven” creatives. Check out his podcast too (and his interview with Ilise) at

#307: Ilise Benun on How to Reach Out to Your Ideal Clients

Dec 15, 2016 30:09


Here’s another excerpt from Ilise Benun’s new marketing plan, The Marketing Blueprint: How to Connect the Dots of Your Marketing. It’s called, How Not To Stalk Your Prospects and Still Get the Project: What to Say When Walking the Fine Line of Follow-up When You Really Want the Project. You’ll learn exactly what to say when reaching out to get the attention of your carefully selected prospects, which may feel like stalking but isn’t! Details about the 2017 Marketing Blueprint here:

#306: Ilise Benun on How to Connect the Dots of Your Marketing

Dec 8, 2016 20:34


If you’re doing some marketing but still struggling with feast or famine because your ideal clients aren’t knocking on your door, it could be that you’re not connecting the dots of your marketing -- yet. That means you have the right mindset and use the right tools in a way that supports your positioning message and speaks to the right people -- loud and clear -- at the right time! In this special podcast, Ilise Benun reads aloud from her latest, The Marketing Blueprint, and shows you how to connect the dots and integrate your marketing to get better clients with bigger budgets. Find details about the 2017 Marketing Blueprint here:

#305: Michael e. Stern on How to Prevent Self-Doubt from Creeping In

Nov 24, 2016 25:14


In episode #9 of the popular series of meaty and chatty conversations between Ilise Benun of and time lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern of, they both share strategies for how to intercept self defeating attitudes and behaviors so you can do the best possible job for your clients. If you like what you hear, sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor here.

#304: Jill Anderson on “Firing” Clients the Right Way

Nov 3, 2016 21:33


In this conversation, Ilise Benun of chats with one of her star students, web designer/developer for creative professionals, Jill Anderson of Jill Lynn Design, about how to end a client relationship that isn’t working, without burning bridges. To find out how Jill focused and grew her business 17% with content marketing, read the case study here

#303: Revolve Workshop on Designing Research Studies

Oct 20, 2016 28:30


In the final installment of the “Revolve Conference Speaker Podcast Series,” Ilise Benun, of, interviews Meena Kothandaraman and Zarla Ludin of twig+fish about their workshop, Designing (N)credible Research Studies at The Revolve Conference, a gathering of design, business and marketing professionals to be held Oct. 26-28, 2016 in Charleston SC. Details about this and 2 other pre-conference workshops here:

#302: Aaron Irizarry of Nasdaq

Oct 8, 2016 16:12


In the 4th installment of the “Revolve Conference Speaker Podcast Series,” Ilise Benun, of, interviews Aaron Irizarry, Director of User Experience at Nasdaq, about his topic, Hold Fast: Managing Design Teams When Projects Go Sideways, at The Revolve Conference, a gathering of design, business and marketing professionals to be held Oct. 27-28, 2016 in Charleston SC. See you there! Details here:

#301: Simple Client Communication Tactics with Michael e. Stern

Sep 30, 2016 27:30


This episode is #8 in the popular series of chatty (but always meaty) conversations between Ilise Benun of and time lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern of This one is about the mindset and tactics required to be a satisfied, self-employed creative person and focuses in on client communication skills, especially how to figure out the right thing to say, in real time and in writing. If you like what you hear, sign up for the free marketing ecourse here.     

#300: Robert Prioleau of Blue Ion

Sep 14, 2016 31:24


In the 3rd installment of the “Revolve Conference Speaker Podcast Series,” Ilise Benun, of, interviews Robert Prioleau, Founding Partner and the Strategy Director for Blue Ion, a brand experience agency based in Charleston, SC. Robert will be speaking on how to sell when you hate selling at The Revolve Conference, a gathering of design, business and marketing professionals to be held Oct. 27-28, 2016 in Charleston SC. Details here:

#299: Terri Trespicio & Paula Rizzo on How to Be a Media Magnet

Aug 31, 2016 28:43


Ilise Benun chats with Terri Trespicio and Paula Rizzo, the brains behind Lights Camera Expert, who can’t help but share what they know about what it takes to get the media’s attention and whether you need to have a book to get on TV. If you like what you hear, sign up here for their free 3-part course, “How to Be a Media Magnet.”

#298: Paul Parreira of Company Cue on Content Marketing

Aug 17, 2016 23:43


In this episode, Ilise Benun, of, interviews Paul Parreira of Company Cue about the evolution of content marketing, the changing expectations of consumers and new gigs for content writers. If you like what you hear, sign up for Ilise’s Quick Tips here

#297: Ahava Leibtag of Aha Media Group

Aug 3, 2016 23:28


In the second installment of the “Revolve Conference Speaker Podcast Series,” Ilise Benun, of, interviews Ahava Leibtag, founder of Aha Media Group, who will be speaking on how to navigate challenging content strategy conversations at The Revolve Conference, a gathering of design, business and marketing professionals to be held Oct. 27-28, 2016 in Charleston SC. Details here:

#296: HOWDesign Live@SCAD #4 - Rigsby Hull

Jul 20, 2016 01:04:09


This is the 4th of 5 live interviews from the HOWDesignLive@SCAD Lecture Series 2016 where Ilise Benun of is joined by Lana Rigsby and Thomas Hull of Rigsby Hull, a Houston-based design firm honored internationally for design that pairs verbal intelligence with restrained, elegant expression. They share their process for projects where the deliverable is nothing tangible but instead a simple conversation, the fruit of their thinking and research. Includes special guest appearances by Steff Geissbuhler and Joseph DiGioia. Watch the video version here and the rest of the series on SCAD’s virtual lecture hall.  

#295: Value-Based Bartering with Michael e. Stern

Jul 7, 2016 27:49


Here’s #7 in a series of chatty (but meaty) conversations between Ilise Benun of and time lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern of In this episode, Stern gives an update on the prospect he’s been stalking for the project of a lifetime and a novel way of thinking about value-based pricing and bartering. If you like what you hear, sign up for the free marketing ecourse here 


#294: Rivers Pearce of Boomtown

Jun 23, 2016 23:40


In the first installment of the “Revolve Conference Speaker Podcast Series,” Ilise Benun, of, interviews Rivers Pearce, Director of Marketing at Boomtown, who will be speaking on Marketing Technology for Agencies & Small Business at The Revolve Conference, a gathering of design, business and marketing professionals to be held Oct. 27-28, 2016 in Charleston SC. Details here:

#293: How to pursue projects that are perfect for you -- Chat #6 with Michael e. Stern

May 17, 2016 28:51


Here’s the next in a series of ongoing conversations between me, Ilise Benun of and time lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern of In this episode, he shares 2 stories in which he heard about a project that would be perfect for him, proceeded to “insert himself into the conversation” and already secured one of the projects. There’s a lot to learn here, but listen especially for his attitude. If you like what you hear, sign up for my new free ecourse here.

#292: Need help pricing your creative services? Listen to this one…

May 5, 2016 26:49


In the latest podcast, Ilise Benun of chats with Steve Maurer, a copywriter in the vertical B2B Industrial Manufacturing niche, about the changes he’s making to his business, based on Ilise’s new program, AWAI’s Simplest Guide to Pricing Copy Projects. Steve also took what he learned and created worksheets to figure out his monthly expenses and minimum hourly rate. As a special bonus for podcast listeners, download the worksheets here.

#291: Cassie Boorn of

Apr 13, 2016 21:22


Ilise Benun of talks with Cassie Boorn of Maker Mentors, an online community for creative professionals, about how she knew when it was time to quit her  job and launch her business and what attendees will learn when they sign up for the 2nd Build a Better Business Conference, an online event happening April 20-21, 2016 at

#290: Keeping It Human with Ben Callahan & Meena Kothandaraman

Apr 13, 2016 23:35


This podcast episode is a little different: Ilise Benun of is joined by Meena Kothandaraman of Twig + Fish and Ben Callahan of Sparkbox for a quick rehearsal/overview of Keeping it Human, a brand new presentation they’ve collaborated on for ConvergeSE in Columbia, SC, April 2016.   


#289: HOWDesignLive@SCAD #3 with Tiffany Shlain

Mar 31, 2016 22:51


This is the 3rd live interview from the HOWDesignLive@SCAD Lecture Series 2016 with Ilise Benun of and #HOWLive 2016 Opening Keynote speaker, author and filmmaker, Tiffany Shlain. She shares nuggets about her creative process, especially why she chose film as her creative medium and how she scales and maximizes her creativity. Watch the video version here and the rest of the series on SCAD’s virtual lecture hall. More inspiration at and

#288: How one writer landed a $10K project and is building a portable business

Mar 17, 2016 21:41


In this conversation with writer, Lori Ferguson, Ilise Benun teases out the details of what Lori did and said for 18 months, until her ideal prospect was ready to give her a big project. Plus, which marketing tools she’s using to build a strong, portable business that will allow her to spend half the year on a Caribbean island! If you like what you hear, sign up for Ilise’s free mentoring session here.

#287: HOWDesignLive@SCAD #2 with Jason Fried

Mar 8, 2016 55:49


This is the 2nd live interview from the HOWDesignLive@SCAD Lecture Series 2016 with Ilise Benun of and #HOWLive 2015 speaker, Jason Fried, Co-Founder of Basecamp and author of 3 books including, “Rework,” and “Remote.” Lots of inspiring ideas about how to use your creativity to build a business that lasts, plus a little rant on the importance of sleep. Watch the video version here and the rest of the series on SCAD’s virtual lecture hall. More inspiration at and

#286: Are You Keeping This Secret From Yourself? Chat #5 with Michael e. Stern

Feb 17, 2016 20:02


If you are a mid-career creative pro with a solid portfolio and lots of experience but you still struggle with pricing, you’re not alone and this podcast is for you. Time lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern, chats with Ilise Benun of about how you may be undermining your success. He also shares the worst thing to have in your head when you talk to a new prospect. If you like what you hear, sign up for Ilise’s new free ecourse here.

#285:HOWDesignLive@SCAD #1 with Matthew Manos

Feb 9, 2016 48:46


This is a live interview from the HOWDesignLive@SCAD Lecture Series 2016 with Ilise Benun of and #HOWLive speaker, Matthew Manos of Founder of, author of, “How to Give Half Your Work Away for Free” and recently named one of “Seven Millennials Changing the World.” Lots of inspiring ideas about building on his foundation and using his creativity to do something meaningful! More inspiration at and

#284: Dianna Huff on smoother cash flow for freelancers

Jan 21, 2016 23:58


If your unpredictable income makes your life a roller coaster, you’re not alone. In today’s podcast interview, Ilise Benun of talks with freelance marketing strategist, Dianna Huff, about her new guide, Cashflow for Freelancers, in which she shares what she’s learned about evening out her own cash flow. And if you like what you hear, sign up for Ilise’s new free ecourse here.

#283: David Bain On Digital Marketing, the Moving Target

Jan 12, 2016 26:49


What the heck is digital marketing? Is it online marketing? Is it Internet marketing? Is it a moving target? That’s the question I tackled with David Bain of Digital Marketing Radio. We talked especially about podcasting, live audio and video broadcasting. if you’ve been thinking of starting your own show, this is a great episode for you. And if you like what you hear, be sure to write a review and sign up for my new free ecourse here

#282: Don’t Make The Mistakes We Did: Podcast #4 with Michael e. Stern

Dec 30, 2015 30:04


The new year is upon us so it’s time to reflect on what worked, and especially on what didn’t work, so we can improve it. In this year-end podcast, Ilise Benun of is joined by time-lapse filmmaker, Michael e. Stern, of to share mistakes made and lessons learned regarding excited clients, partnerships, contracts and more. If your goal for 2016 is to get better clients with bigger budgets, check out the 30 Minutes a Day Marketing Plan for Creative Professionals.

#281: On Package Pricing, Tiered Pricing & Value-Based Pricing with Jason Blumer

Nov 21, 2015 38:55


There has been a ton of interest in Package Pricing for creative services but some confusion amongst other pricing strategies, like tiered-pricing and the trendy “productizing.” In this podcast interview Jason Blumer, of, and Ilise Benun of, sort out and clarify these strategies so you can use them to gain more control over your life. Isn’t that the point? Want more? Sign up for Quick Tips.

#280: How to land the right price every time with Laurie Millotte

Nov 17, 2015 20:00


Laurie Millotte used to worry that she was undercharging. Other times she worried that she might be overcharging. Even when clients hired her, she never really knew if she had come up with the right price for her creative services. Then she started offering packages and it changed the way she does business. In this podcast, she shares with Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, how she packages her design services and how she sells the packages to her clients, even her “crazy package.” Want more? Sign up for Quick Tips.

#279: The Art of Giving Good Phone, with right-brainer, Michael e. Stern

Oct 13, 2015 22:46


If you’re selling big-ticket services and want to connect directly with your best prospects, the phone is an effective marketing tool, if you know how to give good phone. Michael e. Stern generously shares his proven techniques in his 3rd podcast/interview with Ilise Benun of Want more? Sign up for Quick Tips here.

#278: How to get access to a wider audience of ideal clients

Sep 30, 2015 22:22


How do you reach a wide audience when you don’t have thousands of raving fans? In my latest interview, music entrepreneur, Budi Voogt, explains exactly how he gets wide exposure for his talented musicians and how commercial artists and other creative professionals can adapt these strategies to reach a larger audience to find better clients. Want more? Sign up for Quick Tips here.

#277: Pricing Wisdom for Creative Professionals from 36-year veteran, Michael e. Stern

Sep 14, 2015 30:19


As a right brainer in a left brain world, Michael e. Stern has learned a lot in his 36 years in business about how to price his creative services. In his 2nd podcast/interview with Ilise Benun of he shares his 3 best pricing strategies, including what he calls the “J.B. factor” and many other pearls of wisdom. Want more? Sign up for Quick Tips here.

#276: Freelancers + staffing firms? Pros & cons + latest trends with Andy Epstein, author of The Corporate Creative

Aug 27, 2015 29:18


What are corporate in house design managers looking for in the freelancers they hire? Andy Epstein, author of The Corporate Creative, answers that question and many others in the latest podcast interview with Ilise Benun of Find out where the growth is and which skills will set you apart. Want more? Sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor

#275: Here’s a Niche: Construction Time Lapse Films with Michael E. Stern

Aug 20, 2015 24:01


From surviving to thriving as a creative professional -- that’s the path Michael E. Stern walked the past 35 years as a photographer. It’s taken him time, but he’s found the niche that fits him like a “fur-lined” glove -- construction time-lapse films -- and gives him the freedom many can only dream of. You can hear that freedom in the sound of his voice as he talks with Ilise Benun of about the strength of his positioning. Want more? Sign up for Quick Tips here.

#274: Here’s a niche: Wine & Spirits

Aug 5, 2015 23:26


Cynthia Sterling of Sterling Creativeworks talks with Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, about how she chose the wine and spirits niche in 2011 when reinventing her business. She also shares how the resulting clarity has freed her to pursue (and secure as clients) the top multi-brand marketers in the category. Learn about her at and Sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.

#273: Finding a niche, with Jim Blasingame.

Jul 21, 2015 15:46


In this interview with the Small Business Advocate, Jim Blasingame, Ilise Benun debates what exactly is a niche and how to go about choosing one. If you're struggling with your niche, download the free worksheet "Is Your Market Viable,"  excerpted from The Pick a Niche Kit,

#272: All About The Book Design Niche with Scarlett Rugers

Jun 11, 2015 25:04


For this special “Pick a Niche” podcast, Ilise Benun is joined by Tomas Fransson of and Scarlett Rugers to talk about Scarlett’s success in the book design niche. Want more? Sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.

#271: 16% Response to Prospecting with Chocolate

May 14, 2015 21:40


Copywriter & Marketing Strategist, Amy Posner, describes in exquisite detail the 9-step direct outreach approach (avec chocolat) with has so far yielded a 16% response PLUS a dream client. Learn about her at and Sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor. The transcript of this interview is also included in the 30 Minutes a Day Marketing Plan for Creative Professionals.

#270: A Retreat for Creative Professionals in Nashville, June 25-26

Apr 30, 2015 15:24


Ilise Benun talks with Jenny Poff, founder of the national accountability group, The Designers Roundtable, about the inaugural Designer’s Retreat, an event unlike any other, designed for creative professionals by creative professionals.

#270: Personal + Professional Passions = Target Markets

Apr 28, 2015 30:21


Designer, Robin Ridley, describes how she decided to focus on the animal welfare and vegan markets and the steps she took to determine the viability of these markets. Learn about Robin at and Sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor. The transcript of this interview is also included in the Pick a Niche Kit.

#269: #HOWLive 2015 Speaker Podcast Series: Doug Dolan, communications strategist

Apr 13, 2015 21:50


In Episode 5 of the #HOWLive 2015 Speaker Podcast Series, Ilise Benun, HDL Partner for the Creative Business program and founder of, interviews communications strategist and writer, Doug Dolan, on his HDL 2015 topic, “There Will Be Words: How To Get Designers And Writers On The Same Page.” Details here

#268: #HOWLive 2015 Speaker Podcast Series: Janine Vangool, UPPERCASE magazine

Apr 2, 2015 21:49


In Episode 4 of the #HOWLive 2015 Speaker Podcast Series, Ilise Benun, HDL Partner for the Creative Business program and founder of, interviews Janine Vangool, Publisher, Editor and Designer, UPPERCASE magazine on her HDL 2015 topic, “What I Learned From Design Clients Led to My "Retirement"... And Launched A Whole New Career.” Find out more about Janine and UPPERCASE at

#267: #HOWLive 2015 Speaker Podcast Series: Mark McGuiness

Mar 17, 2015 19:24


In Episode 3 of the 2015 HOW Design Live Speaker Podcast Series, Ilise Benun, Partner for HDL’s "Creative Business" program, interviews poet and creative coach, Mark McGuiness, on his topic, “How to Handle Rejection & Criticism as a Creative.” In this podcast, he explains why he believes creatives have trouble with criticism and what we can do about it. Find out more about Mark at Details here   

#266: Package pricing, with Jim Blasingame.

Mar 12, 2015 16:19


Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame at Small Business Advocate to talk about why packaging your services has many advantages for you and your clients. For more, check out the Package Pricing Bundle.

#265: #HOWLive 2015 Speaker Podcast Series: Rob Harr of Sparkbox

Feb 27, 2015 18:33


In Episode 2 of the 2015 HOW Design Live Speaker Podcast Series, Ilise Benun, Partner for HDL’s "Creative Business" program, interviews Rob Harr, VP of Sparkbox, on his topic, “How to Make Hourly Pricing Work.” He explains why he thinks creatives have such a hard time with pricing and how his firm keeps cash flowing and clients paying on a weekly basis! Details here

#264: #HOWLive 2015 Speaker Podcast Series: Aaron Draplin

Feb 17, 2015 35:42


In this podcast interview with Ilise Benun, Programming Partner for the "Creative Business" program of HOW Design Live 2015, Aaron Draplin gives a taste of his topic. Officially entitled, "Tall Tales From a Large Man," he thinks of it as "graphic treasures from the American underbelly" and he'll talk about mining the world for what he sees as a resource that’s going to be gone soon. "I hope to open the eyes of people into a world of dead ghosts. I show examples and tell you where to go – it’s dangerous and fun. Then I show how I use it in my work."

#263: What makes a proposal great? - with Nathan Powell of Nusii

Feb 6, 2015 27:42


In this podcast, Nathan Powell of Nusii Proposal Software interviews Ilise Benun, Marketing Mentor and creator of the Designer's Proposal Bundle series. They discuss the 4 types of proposals, what exactly should be in a winning proposal and what it really means when a proposal is about the client's project and not about you! Plus, much more, of course. The transcript of this interview is also included in the 30 Minutes a Day Marketing Plan for Creative Professionals.

#262: Sneak Peek: Command the Fees You Deserve via CreativeLive

Jan 20, 2015 30:12


In today’s podcast, Ilise rehearses the introduction for her upcoming CreativeLive course, Command the Fees You Deserve. This course, presented by Ilise Benun of, will help you enjoy greater stability and security by finding the right niche, marketing and pricing your work, and sifting good clients from bad ones.

#261: No More RFPs for K9 Strategy & Design

Dec 6, 2014 14:29


Listen to find out how Jen Neal's Toronto-based firm, K9 Strategy & Design, has evolved since we last talked in 2011. She shares details on their rebranding and how their involvement in the supposedly dying publishing industry has led them to a leadership level in the industry and which marketing tools they use to get there. If you need a plan to get anywhere near this, check out the Enhanced Marketing Plan + eCalendar for Creative Professionals

#260: Sneak Peek: 2015 Marketing Plan + Calendar

Dec 5, 2014 17:16


This podcast collage is a sneak peek at the brand new Enhanced version of the Marketing Plan + eCalendar for 2015. You’ll hear clips from 3 interviews between Ilise Benun of and creative professionals who are practicing what I preach and it’s working! They are targeting their markets and finding better clients! If you want a plan to follow, check out the 2015 Marketing Plan in the Marketing Mentor Shop.

#259: Sneak Peek: Package Pricing Bundle

Nov 27, 2014 18:32


This podcast is a little different than usual – it’s a sneak peek at the brand new

Package Pricing Bundle, the newest product in the Marketing Mentor Toolbox. You’ll

hear clips from 4 interviews with creative professionals who so generously shared

the creative pricing strategies they’re using to take more control over their business

and grow! Find the Package Pricing Bundle here. 

#258: Packaging creative services - with Alyssa Martin

Nov 19, 2014 30:52


Packaging creative services is all the rage these days, but it’s more than a trend. It’s actually allowing creative professionals to take control of their work life, raise their prices and save time on estimates and proposals. In this podcast, excerpted from Marketing Mentor’s new product, The Package Pricing Bundle, Ilise Benun interviews web copywriter, Alyssa Martin, about how her copywriting packages “sell out.”

#257: Talking about what you do - The Creative Freelancer Show

Oct 16, 2014 22:10


I recently joined Jake Jorgovan to discuss the biggest mistake new freelancers make when telling people what they do. Listen to learn a better way...

#256: Two more questions about starting a business,, with Jim Blasingame

Oct 9, 2014 07:14



Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame of Small Business Advocate to reveal two more critical questions to ask yourself before you become a small business owner.

#255: One important question about starting a business, with Jim Blasingame

Oct 9, 2014 08:32



Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame of Small Business Advocate to talk about why most of us start our small businesses, and to reveal a very important question to ask ourselves when we do.

#254: Audio Article #5: Five Steps to Finding the Right Clients

Sep 30, 2014 17:25


Here’s the 5th Audio Article written by Ilise Benun of and read aloud by the author, “5 Steps to Finding the Right Clients.” Listen to learn the secret to closing a deal with new clients by ushering them through a step-by-step qualifying process that weeds out the tire-kickers. Follow this tried-and-true formula to find the clients you really want to work with.

#253: SEO Copywriting with Heather Lloyd-Martin

Sep 4, 2014 25:32


In today’s podcast, The Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, chats with Heather Lloyd-Martin, SEO Writing expert and teacher of SEO copywriting, about what designers and writers really need to know about SEO plus the art of writing pages that both convert well and connect with web site visitors. Find more on the blog: and at

#252: Audio Article: Closing the Deal: From Proposal to Contract

Aug 28, 2014 16:29


Here’s the 4th Audio Article written by Ilise Benun of and read aloud by the author, Closing the Deal: From Proposal to Contract. Listen to learn when to talk money, how to present your proposal, when to follow up and what to do if you don’t get the gig. Find actual sample proposals in the Marketing Mentor Toolbox.

#251: Audio Article: Film School: How to Create Your Own Self Promo Videos.

Aug 7, 2014 11:26


Here’s the third in a new series of “audio articles” written by Ilise Benun of and read aloud by the author. There is more and more video being used by creatives to market their services, which makes sense. Because when it comes to showcasing your talent, seeing is often believing – and stills don’t always do the trick. Bring a little movie magic to your self-promotion strategy with these tips. Read the article and see the videos referenced here:"

#250: Problem Clients: how to spot them and turn them into good ones

Jul 29, 2014 24:03


Battling big egos and unfair deadlines? You're not alone. For small agencies and solopreneurs especially, one bad client can mean big problems, draining your resources and even harming your carefully built culture. In this podcast, Ilise Benun, of, helps you spot the 4 red flags you should be watching for, plus 3 actions you can take for each. Watch the video presentation given at the Ad Age Small Agency Conference here.

#249: Audio Article: A 4-Step Guide to Content Marketing

Jul 25, 2014 18:03


Here’s the second in a new series of “audio articles” written by the Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun and read aloud by the author. “Content marketing” is the latest buzzword, but should you be doing it? The answer is yes, but only if you do it right. Follow this guide to create a content-marketing plan that will lead to more exposure and better projects for your firm or freelance business.

#248: Audio Article: The Art & Science of Pricing for Creative Professionals.

Jul 17, 2014 23:32


Here’s the first in a new series of “audio articles” written by the Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun and read aloud by the author. The Art & Science of Pricing covers the basics of pricing for creative services, including the tools you need to price profitably (instead of desperately) as well as the intangibles that make up the “artistry” anyone can master. For more like this, check out The Pricing Bundle in the Marketing Mentor Toolbox.

Freelancing While Traveling The World -- Is It Really Possible?

Jul 9, 2014 19:39


The answer, according to Jake Jorgovan, web designer and intrepid freelancer, is an unqualified YES! In this interview with Ilise Benun, he shares how he kick started his business using oDesk + what and who online marketplaces are best for. For more like this, check out

Pricing Tips for Creative Freelancers from Laura Foley

Jun 18, 2014 16:47


In this post-HOW Design Live/Creative Freelancer Business Conference podcast interview, Laura Foley (@LMFDesign & generously shares so much, including what she learned from Jason Blumer about pricing her services and how she immediately used the 3-tier pricing structure to win a new project -- at the highest price.

Part 2 - Turning difficult customers into customers for life

May 28, 2014 07:14


In Part 2 of their conversation, Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame of Small Business Advocate, to discuss one of the most popular sessions from CFBC with Doug Dolan, A Field Guide to Bad Clients.

Part 1 - When good customers behave badly

May 28, 2014 08:32


In Part 1 of their conversation, Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame of Small Business Advocate, to discuss one of the most popular sessions from CFBC with Doug Dolan, A Field Guide to Bad Clients.

Creating a Business Action Plan – with HOWLive/CFBC speaker, Corwin Hiebert

Apr 21, 2014 21:56


Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, talks with Corwin Hiebert about how to create a Business Action Plan, which is much simpler (and can be better for creative professionals) than a traditional business plan. Listen to this taste of his session at the 2014 CFBC/HOW Live, Creating a Business Action Plan. Details and sign up for the event in May in Boston here:


A field guide to bad clients – with HOWLive/CFBC speaker, Doug Dolan

Mar 29, 2014 26:39


Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, chats with Doug Dolan, communications strategist, writer and creative director about a cast of bad clients from the coin counter and the buck passer to the web searcher and the game changer, in preparation for his CFBC/HOW Live session, Solving Your Biggest Creative Problem: The Client. Details and sign up for the event this May in Boston here: 


Self-promotion & sales strategies – with HOWLive/CFBC speaker, Jen Lombardi

Mar 25, 2014 20:42


Started by Jen Lombardi, Kiwi Creative (a small design firm outside Cleveland, Ohio) is now a firm of 6 people - and this growth was intentional. This is what Jen discusses with Ilise Benun of Marketing Mentor, in this episode of the HOWLive/CFBC 2014 Speaker podcast series. Details and sign up for the event this May in Boston here: 

Survival Strategy for the Soul with HOWLive/CFBC Speaker, Alina Wheeler

Mar 13, 2014 16:36


In this week’s podcast interview, Marketing Mentor Ilise Benun chats with Alina Wheeler, author of “Designing Brand Identity” on the latest survival strategy for the soul: Reinvention. At this year’s CFBC/HOW Design Live (2014), Alina will be sharing the process she’s used to reinvent herself, as well as lots of examples of people to use as role models for reinvention."

Surviving as a creative pro – with HOWLive/CFBC speaker, Douglas Davis

Mar 5, 2014 21:53


If you want to survive as a creative professional, you need to be one who understands business, especially the things in business that trump aesthetics. But how? That’s what Ilise Benun of Marketing Mentor discusses with Douglas Davis, in this week’s installment of the HOWLive/CFBC 2014 Speaker podcast series. Details and sign up for the event this May in Boston here:

Pricing as an intimate act – with HOWLive/CFBC speaker, Jason Blumer

Feb 25, 2014 17:39


In the next installment of the HOWLive/CFBC 2014 Speaker podcast series, Ilise Benun of chats with Jason Blumer of about the highly subjective art of pricing (especially value-based pricing) for creative services, plus many other topics he’ll be covering in his CFBC session this May in Boston. Details here:"

Interview with Ed Gandia: Handling Clients Who Suck Your Time

Feb 20, 2014 26:32


In this week’s podcast interview, Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, chats with Ed Gandia, of the International Freelancers Academy, about time-sucking clients and the things we procrastinate (i.e. tasks we hate, don’t do well and shouldn’t be doing in the first place). Details for his popular “Effortless Productivity” program (which starts Feb. 27, 2014) here:

Tips on being prepared – with HOWLive/CFBC speaker, Dana Maciagli

Jan 30, 2014 20:19


We all know that preparation is important -- but most people don't take the time to do enough of it. And the consequences often sting, especially when you're working with corporations whose culture often involves (and demands) lots of preparation. In this podcast, Dana Maciagli (in preparation for her HOWLive/CFBC 2014 session, Behind the Corporate Curtain!) shares with Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun the importance of preparation, lots of specifics on exactly how she prepares, and how this preparedness has fueled her success, both in the corporate world and now, as a freelancer!

How to put your existing clients on retainer

Jan 23, 2014 25:56


In this podcast, Marketing Mentor client, Tiffany Estes, of Whole Brain Creative, describes to Ilise Benun, her step by step process to choose and approach a select few of her existing clients about a retainer arrangement for more stability in her business and less anxiety in her life.

Words of Wisdom on Proposals, Retainers and More

Jan 9, 2014 01:03:33


In this first podcast of 2014, Marketing Mentor, Illse Benun, interviews her client, marketing consultant and creative director, Jim Gorman of Gorman360. Their wide-ranging conversation covers everything from Jim's uber-confident and clear, 3-storey elevator pitch to an in-depth discussion of 3 of his winning proposals, with which he won 4 retainer clients in his target market: the aviation industry. (And you can see one of the proposals discussed in the new Designer's Proposal Bundle Volume 2).

What do your goals for the New Year look like?

Jan 1, 2014 07:24


Do you know how to set and achieve goals? Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to joins Jim Blasingame to recommend goal setting best practices, including using small steps, as you begin the New Year.

The types of people you need in your network

Dec 19, 2013 08:39


Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame of Small Business Advocate to explain that networking is the most important part of marketing, plus the kind of people you need in your network.

Getting your customers to take an active role in your business

Dec 19, 2013 07:24


Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame of Small Business Advocate to discuss getting your customers to take an active role in your business, plus why peer, colleagues, mentors & even competitors should be part of your network.

Interview with Marc Harmon: The 2014 Marketing Plan + eCalendar

Nov 21, 2013 14:21


In this interview with Marc Harmon from Creative Grit Media, learn how to market your business using an organized, step-by-step process -- like the one in the new, 2014 Marketing Plan + eCalendar

Improve customer communication with self-analysis

Oct 24, 2013 08:39


Are your attempts to communicate with customers successful? Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to recommend practicing self-analysis before and after talking with customers to evaluate your performance and success.

Common communication problems with customers

Oct 24, 2013 07:24


Are all of your conversations with customers successful? Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to discuss common communication challenges we all have when trying to influence and serve customers.

From struggling freelancer to hiring freelancers to help!

Oct 15, 2013 22:55


Ilise Benun talks with creative freelancer, Nick Matarese of Delaware-based, The Creative Barn, about how he went from not knowing where his next project was coming from to signing a 2-year contract with a dream client in just 5 months (actually less). In this very candid and informative interview, he shares (among many other things) why he says "we" when his business is really just him and exactly what he did to identify his target market and pursue (and secure) the dream clients he wanted to work with.  It's all about the attitude and he's got the right attitude!

Interview: Ed Gandia on Pricing

Sep 18, 2013 15:52


Ilise Benun talks with Ed Gandia of the International Freelancers Academy on pricing for creative professionals. Ed shares his strategy for demonstrating value to support your prices and tells exactly how he raised his rates to an existing client, always a tricky thing to do.

How online networking impacts offline networking

Aug 31, 2013 08:38


Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to discuss how online and offline networking can support one another.

Interview: Sarah Durham on Pricing

Aug 10, 2013 13:17


In today’s podcast, Sarah Durham of (a favorite speaker on pricing at CFC 2012) talks with me about how she integrates her own unbillable time into her pricing. 

Interview: How Sonia Quinones landed a job by networking at CFC

Aug 1, 2013 13:04


Copywriter, Sonia Quinones, first time attendee of the Creative Freelancer Conference (and HOW Design Live), is one more creative professional who, only one month after the event, had already landed a project as a result of the networking she did at the Matchmaking Happy Hour with InHOWse Design Managers. The event essentially paid for itself since the project fee more than covers her conference costs, not to mention the potential for more work with this new client in the future. Listen to her describe how it happened and how she discovered her best keywords through this experience too. It's not too early to sign up for next year's event in Boston, May 12-16. Details here:

Interview with Ilise Benun: How do you schedule your day?

Jul 20, 2013 12:14


In today’s podcast, Deidre Rienzo interviews Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, about how she organizes her day. From Post-It Notes, to dog walks, to getting up early, find out how Ilise balances flexibility with structure to stay productive. 

New Networking Tricks - Interview with Ed Gandia

Jul 11, 2013 33:39


Ed Gandia interviews Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, for his B2B Launcher podcast about her newest networking tricks, including how to choose the right event to attend, how to prepare to make the best of your time, plus a few secrets for standing out, getting noticed and increasing your chances of starting a dialogue that can continue after the event.

Positioning and Content Marketing for Design Firms

Jun 11, 2013 01:01:52


Join Ilise Benun and Mark O'Brien (CEO of Newfangled) as they offer a Crash Course in Positioning and Content Marketing for Design Firms.

Interview with Jim Blasingame: Replace your hourly rate with value-based pricing…

Jun 4, 2013 08:38


Does your pricing strategy need a profitability boost? Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to reveal how to replace your hourly rate pricing strategy for professional services with a value-based strategy that focuses on the results of your work.

Interview with Jim Blasingame: What can you learn at the Creative Freelancer Conference?

Jun 4, 2013 07:24


Ilise Benun talks to Jim Blasingame about the upcoming, 6th annual Creative Freelancer Conference (June 22-24 in San Francisco), and shares examples of the business practices attendees will learn.

3 Answers to Common Questions About Public Speaking for Creative Pros

May 21, 2013 14:38


In the latest podcast/interview in the Creative Freelancer Conference Speaker Series (the big event is right around the corner, June 22-24 in San Francisco), Ilise Benun speaks with Jezra Kaye, author of “Speak Like Yourself, No Really,” and together they dissect each word of her session title: “Promote and Present: How to Speak Persuasively to Current and Future Clients, In Person and Virtually” and in the process, answer 3 common questions about speaking in public. (Details about the event here:

The Art of Saying No with Creative Freelancer, Alisa Bonsignore

Apr 29, 2013 21:26


In the latest podcast/interview in the CFC 2013 Speaker Series, Ilise Benun of talks with writer and strategist, Alisa Bonsignore about how she went from newbie creative freelancer to speaking at the event this year. She also shares tips on the art of saying “no” (including the actual language) and how she’s developed the self confidence to know what she’s worth -- and charge more! Come to CFC June 22-24 in San Francisco to hear Alisa’s presentation, “Saving Your Sanity Through Better Client Relations.”

A Simple Mantra To Get Things Done (Without Going Crazy)

Apr 15, 2013 22:56


Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, talks with Jim Krause (, 25-year veteran freelance designer and author of many books, including Color Index book and Idea Index books, about his CFC 2013 topic: “How to Stuff 10 lbs of you-know-what into a 5-day week, (week after week)” – essentially how to manage time and projects efficiently (without going crazy). Details here:

How to Network With a Purpose and Get What You Need

Apr 7, 2013 17:11


In preparation for the networking fest that is CFC 2013: The Business Conference for the Creatively Self Employed (, networking expert, author and speaker Dana Manciagli shares with Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, 10 tips to network with a purpose to get what you need.

Independent Writer Reinvents Herself = Business Picks Up

Apr 3, 2013 13:27


In this podcast interview with Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, Leila Zogby, independent writer of corporate marcom, in business for 30 years but struggling after the recession, gets unstuck by reinventing herself and changing how she thinks and talks about the services she offers.

Turn Traffic Into Leads With a Simple Freebie

Mar 27, 2013 13:24


Ilise Benun, of, interviews Erin Pheil of about her strategy for capturing visitors to her web site and offering a freebie so she can nurture them into becoming clients. Check out the model here:

What to expect when you're freelancing (interview with Bryn Mooth)

Mar 13, 2013 13:52


Podcast: Ilise Benun of interviews Bryn Mooth on where she is after 2 years of freelancing and her upcoming CFC session: What to Expect When You’re Freelancing, which is perfect for those who are anywhere on the continuum from "I’m thinking about it" to "I’ve made the move but I’m still struggling," Come hear her in person at CFC 2013, June 22-24 in San Francisco. Details here:

Overcoming your fears (interview with Luke Mysse)

Mar 13, 2013 13:49


Podcast: Ilise Benun of interviews Luke Mysse for the CFC Speaker Podcast Series on The Arc of Success and how he overcame his own fears by expanding his vision and committing to helping others. Come hear him in person at CFC 2013, June 22-24 in San Francisco. Details here:

Making people love you madly (interview with Colleen Wainwright)

Mar 12, 2013 14:57


Ilise Benun of interviews Colleen Wainwright (a.k.a. the communicatrix) for the CFC Speaker Podcast Series on the latest trends in social media networking for creative pros. Come hear her in person at CFC 2013, June 22-24 in San Francisco for her session, Making People Love You Madly: Selling Yourself in the Postmodern Marketplace. Details:

Podcast: Content Marketing for Creative Professionals

Mar 9, 2013 11:00


For the CFC 2013 Speaker Podcast series, Ilise Benun of interviews Mark O’Brien of about what exactly content marketing is for creative professionals and small firms and what gets in the way of doing it. To develop your own content marketing strategy, attend Mark’s post-conference workshop You Don’t Know What You Know: Developing Your Content Strategy at CFC on Monday, June 24 in San Francisco. Details here:

How web designer, Jill Anderson, increased business by 17%

Mar 5, 2013 14:54


Jill had plenty of clients through word of mouth, but wanted to get better quality work. She needed to update her website, manage time better, and find more efficient ways of growing her business. In this interview, Jill talks about her successes (including a 17% increase in business!) with the help of Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun. 

Finding companies who "do good" (interview with Sarah Durham of Big Duck)

Feb 25, 2013 11:54


In the latest podcast interview in the CFC 2013 Speaker Series, Ilise Benun talks with Sarah Durham, Principal and Founder of Big Duck about working with companies who “do good” and suggests how to find them. Also, she shares a taste of what she’ll be speaking on at CFC, “Integrating Your Values and Your Positioning.” The conference is June 22-24 in SF. Details here:

How to Make Strong Connections (interview with Dana Manciagli)!

Feb 20, 2013 14:25


Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, chats with Dana Manciagli, CFC 2013 speaker (Cut the Crap, Start Networking!) and 30+ year corporate veteran who is also building a freelance business as a speaker/author. This wide ranging conversation goes from how looking for a job in the 21st century is a lot like being self employed, to rules for moonlighting while building a freelance business, to networking tips for introverts.

Podcast: How Jenny Poff catapulted her business

Feb 19, 2013 16:17


Freelance designer, Jenny Poff (, found clarity, confidence and a niche market at CFC last year. You can hear the confidence in her voice and learn what she did to catapult her business. To find your version, join us at CFC June 22-24 in SF! Get $100 off (CFC only) if you combine promo code "ILISE" + Early Bird rate before March 15. Register here:

Podcast: June Walker helps "indies" with taxes

Feb 12, 2013 14:09


June Walker, tax advisor to the self employed (she calls them “indies”), talks with Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun, about why creatives get so confused about taxes and what you can do about it. She’ll be at CFC (June 22-24, 2013 in SF) and her session is called “Creatively Legitimate Expenses: Don’t Cheat Yourself” – Details at and sign up for June’s tips at

Email Newsletter = New Clients!

Feb 5, 2013 15:24


Toronto-based designer, Sherri Gallowitz of G Strategic (, started sending out her email newsletter to her nonprofit sector clients in November 2012 and already has 2 decent contracts as a result. Listen to how she did it and do it for yourself!

Podcast: Can Everyone Really Be Their Own Boss?

Jan 29, 2013 30:14


Rick Carlile and his passionate team are building “the first networked professional marketplace.” It’s called and its goal is to make it easier for freelancers and creative professionals to connect and transact business. I talked recently with Rick about the future of work and whether everyone can really be their own boss, succeeding or starving on their own merits. Hear what he has to say. 

Podcast: Freelancer Reaches 5 Year Goal in 6 Months!

Jan 17, 2013 15:02


See success in action and we kick off the launch of CFC 2013 (June 22-24, 2013 in SF). In this podcast interview, package designer, Jenn David Connolly of Jenn David Design (, describes exactly how she took what she learned at CFC 2012 to heart and used it to reach her 5 year goal in only 6 months. Unbelievable but true!

Podcast: Highlights from HOW Interactive with Tiffany Estes, Part 2

Dec 18, 2012 17:40


In part 2 of this podcast interview, Tiffany Estes of Whole Brain Creative ( shares more takeaways from the HOW Interactive Design Conference 2012, including the difference between web apps and native apps, what to include in a competitive analysis for a client and whether it makes sense to post pricing for your services on your web site.

Podcast: Raising rates with Judy Rosenthal

Dec 8, 2012 58:03


This week I was interviewed by Judy Rosenthal about raising rates and she had some ideas from the financial planning industry that could also apply to creative services.

Podcast: Highlights from HOW Interactive with Tiffany Estes

Dec 6, 2012 20:09


Tiffany Estes of Whole Brain Creative ( attended the HOW Interactive Design Conference for the 2nd time in 2012 and in part 1 of this podcast/interview with Ilise Benun, she recaps the highlights. Includes why she’s rethinking Wordpress, how she’s dealing with proposals for complex projects and how her mindset needs to change if she’s going to become a better interactive designer.

Podcast: Planning for 2013

Nov 24, 2012 16:22


Join us for another conversation with writer and journalist, Bryn Mooth. This time, we talk about Bryn’s goals for growing her network in 2013 and reaching outside her current sphere. We focused on 2 questions: how to keep track of her best prospects (that doesn’t involve learning a new software) and how to pitch those new prospects with ideas tailored to them without doing spec work. Also, we talked a bit about the new 2013 Creative Professional’s Marketing Plan + eCalendar to Get Creative Work. Details at

Can you tell when a prospect is really ready to do business?

Nov 20, 2012 07:24


Does your prospect's excitement mean he's ready to buy? Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to talk about some of the things to do so you know the difference between a prospects excitement and readiness to sign a contract.

The Cloud helped many businesses during Hurricane Sandy

Nov 20, 2012 08:37


Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to report on how she kept working off-site, in the Cloud, when Hurricane Sandy kept her out of her office.

Patience is a freelancer’s friend

Oct 25, 2012 14:44


It’s already been a year and a half since writer and journalist, Bryn Mooth (, former editor of HOW Magazine, started her freelance writing business. Listen to our recent interview to about Bryn's progress and learn why patience is a freelancer's friend.

Secrets to Winning Proposals –Toronto, Nov 7th

Oct 18, 2012 08:01


As a preview for upcoming PIC event on November 7th in Toronto (Secrets to writing winning proposals, estimates and RFPs), listen to my short interview with PIC chair Donna Papacosta.

More event details here:

Should you design your own logo?

Oct 4, 2012 12:20


Last time, I talked with Julia Reich of Julia Reich Design about her recent rebrand.

Today, we discuss the details of how her logo came about. Listen in...

Using your website to qualify prospects

Sep 20, 2012 07:54


I asked Mark O’Brien, CEO of Newfangled and author of one of my favorite books, A Website that Works, about how to use your website to filter out non-ideal clients.

Listen to this 8-minute interview for his suggestions.

Should you change the name of your business?

Sep 12, 2012 20:28


If you're considering changing the name of your business or doing a rebranding for your creative firm, listen to this interview with Julia Reich about her process.

How to take action when you have too many great ideas

Aug 30, 2012 10:38


In my latest interview with Bryn Mooth, we talked about what she learned at CFC and how she is putting that learning into practice. She suggested a technique for taking potentially overwhelming information and putting it into action.

Listen here to hear exactly how Bryn does her one-chunk-at-a-time approach.

Jeff Tara - Interview 3

May 17, 2012 13:56


Jeff Tara, from Brand Vue Design, is back with his upbeat attitude.

Jeff has been in business only 4 months so far, but he's already accomplished so much. Listen to the latest in this interview...

CFC 2012: Luke Mysse Interview

Apr 28, 2012 00


In this 11-minute interview, Luke Mysse previews his upcoming CFC session, Options for Growth.

Join us at the Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston. Details here.

CFC 2012: David Baker Interview

Apr 25, 2012 13:19


For today’s podcast interview with a speaker, we have David Baker from ReCourses ( giving us a preview of his session, “Positioning yourself as if you were outside looking in.”

Join us at the Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston. Details here.

Interview with Bryn Mooth - April 2012

Apr 24, 2012 16:34


How is newbie freelancer, Bryn Mooth, progressing?  

Listen to April's interview with wellness and creativity journalist and copywriter, Bryn Mooth.

Join us at the Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston. Details here.

Newly-minted freelancer, Kelsey Grafton, is going to CFC...

Apr 23, 2012 09:05


Newly-minted freelancer, Kelsey Grafton, of Lewiston, Idaho, knows she has a lot to learn about running her new business, BlueSkyMondays. She said it wasn't hard to convince her new boss (herself!) to invest in sending her to the Creative Freelancer Conference as her first big step in that process.

Revised Proposal = 67% Win Rate

Apr 17, 2012 18:19


Listen to this 15-minute interview, where Allison Manley, from Rogue Element, answers these questions:

How much time it takes to do the proposals and how they decide which ones to do. What to do if the prospect isn’t responsive during the proposal process. What if you don’t have access to the people involved in the actual project, as happens a lot with higher ed and government agencies? Why they present the pricing in 2 pages (overview and detail) in the proposal and how much detail is necessary. How much self promotion they include and the thinking behind it. How and when they decide how to include terms and conditions (T&C) in the proposal or the contract. (See what a good T&C that’s been vetted by a lawyer looks like.)

Want 11 sample proposals to use as examples? Buy the Designer’s Proposal Bundle

CFC 2012: Missing the confidence to set the right tone?

Apr 11, 2012 10:59


The 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston (early bird deadline is April 30!), is rapidly approaching. For today’s podcast interview, we have Marcia Hoeck, giving us a preview of her session, Skillful Communication with Clients. 

Q: What’s the biggest mistake creatives make when communicating with clients? 

Marcia: The biggest mistake is not setting the right tone and maybe taking things personally. We’re in a business where it’s our art, it’s our creativity, so we tend to take things more personally. We have to step back and realize this is a business relationship. We have to set the right tone. The client has to place his trust in you in order to feel confident that you can do the work. 

The biggest miscommunication mistake is that we don’t establish ourselves right out of the bag as a partner, as a resource, so that the client can relax. When we feel boxed in by client demands, it’s when our role hasn’t been positioned correctly in the beginning, and that’s our job. If the client knows that you have strategic ideas that will help him, as well as the implementation skills, that client can relax … It gives you equal footing and leverage in the relationship. 

Most powerful people … they’re really not looking for “yes” men. That’s the biggest mistake that I see is when we’re making that assumption that they are, and we’re taking things personally as a creative person. 

Q: Do you think these problems are rooted in the creative professional’s lack of confidence? 

Marcia: I’m really glad you brought up confidence. That isn’t talked about enough in business. People don’t teach it. It isn’t something that comes naturally to creative people. But in creative work especially, where we highly value our work, and we are passionate about our work … we often undervalue our own role in what we do. There’s kind of a disconnect. We have great confidence in our work, and we know the value of our work, and we have great confidence in our ability to do the work, but we often can’t show that confidence when communicating our role in the process. We don’t come off as confident in selling situations, or when defending our pricing … What that comes off as to prospective clients is lack of competence. They think we can’t do the work because we can’t defend it, because we can’t talk about ourselves…

Listen to our 11-minute interview to hear more. Use your Big Ticket pass to catch this CFC session – or sign up for CFC on its own. If you aren’t yet registered for CFC, sign up here and take advantage of the combo $100 discount: $50 early bird before April 30th + $50 Marketing Mentor discount with promo code “CMM12” 

And listen to the rest of the podcast interview series with our speakers, including Dyana Valentine, Mark O’Brien, Shane Pearlman, Jonathan Cleveland, Ed Gandia, Sarah Duham and Allen Murabayashi


Emails and letters are working for Jeff

Apr 3, 2012 09:58


Last time we talked, Jeff Tara from Brand Vue Design had gotten a client by sending an email (in which he shared his honest opinion about his favorite wine company’s new label). Recently laid off, this happened one week after Jeff officially went freelance. 

With such a productive first week, I couldn’t wait to speak to him again and find out what’s happened over the past month. In our 10-minute interview, Jeff brings me up to date with recent developments:

After reading a “doom and gloom” article about the demise of Kodak (which ultimately caused Jeff’s layoff), Jeff decided, “It’s not all doom and gloom—I have a chance now to chase my dreams.” He wrote a letter to the newspaper, and it resulted in a front page article in his local newspaper. A connection in the healthcare industry saw the article about Jeff, and now they’re discussing upcoming projects over golf. The wine company who Jeff redesigned a label for—is now having him redesign all of their labels. Building on that wine experience, Jeff is reaching out to other wineries. He sent a personalized letter to one, called to follow up on Monday, and by Wednesday, he was inside talking to the owners of the winery for two hours.

Listen to our interview here.

If Jeff keeps sending emails and letters, who knows what will happen next… 
I’ll keep you updated.


CFC 2012: Don’t drive yourself crazy with quantity

Mar 27, 2012 08:34


One of the most popular speakers from last year's Creative Freelancer Conference, Allen Murabayashi, CEO of PhotoShelter, will be back this year (June 21-22 in Boston -- early bird deadline is this Friday, March 30!).

Allen joined me for a podcast interview to preview his session, Building Your Prospect List: Quality vs. Quantity.

In our interview, we talked about the importance of qualifying prospects. Allen said:

You’re going to drive yourself crazy if all you’re trying to do it gets tons of people through the door. You have to simultaneously qualify your audience. For example, if you’re Prada, and you’re selling shoes for $500, you’re not going to go to a suburban mall where nobody has discretionary income—and the most popular place there is Walmart.

You have to be very strategic in the way you spend your time. I was talking to a wedding photographer, and on their contact form, they say, “How excited are you to work with us on a scale of 1-10?” They told me they didn’t respond to anything where it’s less than an 8—as a pre-qualification mechanism.

Listen to our 8-minute interview to hear more.

Use your Big Ticket pass to catch this CFC session – or sign up for CFC on its own. If you aren’t yet registered for CFC, sign up here and take advantage of the combo $100 discount: $50 early bird before Mar 30th + $50 Marketing Mentor discount with promo code “CMM12”

CFC 2012: How to handle pricing for nonprofits

Mar 27, 2012 07:31


The 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston (early bird deadline is this Friday, March 30!), is rapidly approaching and for today’s podcast interview, we have Sarah Durham, Founder of Big Duck. Sarah’s session will be The Nuts and Bolts of Pricing and Negotiating.

At Big Duck, they design exclusively with nonprofit organizations. In fact, they haven’t worked with a for-profit organization in over a dozen years. With such specific experience, I asked Sarah to share some insight into pricing for nonprofits.

Q: How do you handle pricing for nonprofits? Should you offer discounts?

Sarah: “I think with nonprofits…this idea that they don’t have any money for communications is both true and false. It’s true in that most nonprofits, and particularly very small nonprofits, haven’t budgeted for communications. They aren’t thinking the way a tech startup would think … making sure that they have a marketing person and a budget…Communications tends to be overlooked and under-budgeted.

With that said, they have missions that require them to communicate … when they understand the importance of the work we do for them, they put together budgets.”

Listen to our 14-minute interview to hear more on pricing and non profits.

Use your Big Ticket pass to catch this CFC session – or register for CFC on its own. Sign up here and take advantage of the combo $100 discount: $50 early bird before Mar 30th + $50 Marketing Mentor discount with promo code “CMM12”

CFC 2012: Should freelancers price differently than large firms?

Mar 27, 2012 13:37


The 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston (early bird deadline is this Friday, March 30!), is rapidly approaching and for today’s podcast interview, we have Cameron Foote, Editor of Creative Business, who will be taking part in the Perspectives on Pricing Panel at this year’s conference.

In this 14-minute interview, I asked Cam how freelancers can compete with bigger firms. 

Q: Should freelancers be pricing any differently than larger firms or entities? 

Cam: Yes and no. I don’t think a person’s talent should be worth any less depending on whether they work for themselves or whether they work for an organization. On one level, your talent is worth what it’s worth, period.However, the realistic part of this is that when you talk about pricing to clients … they’re looking at you and trying to decide whether you’re worth the money or not. Pricing has to do with perception. So if you’re working from the kitchen table, you haven’t been in business very long, you don’t have a good portfolio and so forth, it would be unrealistic to assume that you could charge what a business that’s been around a while could charge. Your talent is worth what it’s worth, but you have to be realistic.

Q: How can freelancers use marketing to build up the perception of their value?

Cam: You are what clients perceive you to be. If you market extensively … particularly using the editorial “we,” and you’re sending out material regularly, they’re going to see a company. A company is worth more, in most cases, than an individual.

Listen to our 14-minute interview to hear more of Cameron’s thoughts on pricing, including his take on hourly rates vs. project pricing.

And if you aren’t yet registered for CFC, sign up here and take advantage of the combo $100 discount: $50 early bird before Mar 30th + $50 Marketing Mentor discount with promo code “CMM12” 

And listen to the rest of the podcast interview series with our speakers, including Dyana Valentine, Mark O’Brien, Shane PearlmanJonathan Cleveland and Ed Gandia.  


CFC 2012: Can you be a wealthy freelancer?

Mar 24, 2012 12:27


As we get ready for the 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston (early bird deadline is March 30!), we’re doing a podcast interview series with our speakers! Recently, we featured Dyana Valentine, Mark O’Brien, Shane Pearlman and Jonathan Cleveland

Today, we have Ed Gandia, freelancer copywriter, speaker, coach, and co-author of “The Wealthy Freelancer.” He joined me to discuss his upcoming CFC session, “How to Create and Execute your Marketing Plan.” 

People considering freelancing always ask me, “What does it take to be a freelancer? Can I even make this work?” so in our 12-minute interview, I asked Ed that same question and here’s what he said: 

“It’s definitely possible … The idea that the economy is hurting all businesses is really a misguided assumption. In my own business, for the students I coach, and for most of the freelancers I come in contact with …. things are actually even better for them right now. So many companies are outsourcing work. They’re working with leaner staff, but the projects still need to get done … and they don’t want to hire full time employees.” 

When we talked about wealth, Ed said his definition isn’t just about “material wealth.” To Ed, a “wealthy freelancer” is someone who can consistently generate the clients, the projects, the income and the quality of life they want. 

I asked, “What does it take to be a wealthy freelancer?” Ed said: 

“You have to have an entrepreneurial mindset, be self-motivated,  be a go-getter, and you have to realize you’re running a business. 

Also, you have to become really good at marketing your services. If you want to be truly successful, you should be just as good at marketing your services as you are in your own craft. I think I’m a good writer, but it’s really marketing and selling that have gotten me to where I am today.”

Listen to our 12-minute interview to hear more of Ed’s ideas, whether you'll be at CFC or not! 

And if you aren’t yet registered for CFC, sign up here and take advantage of the combo $100 discount: $50 early bird before Mar 30th + $50 Marketing Mentor discount with promo code “CMM12” 


CFC: Are you getting nickel-and-dimed?

Mar 20, 2012 13:07


As we get ready for the 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston, we’re doing a podcast interview series with our speakers! Recently, we featured Dyana Valentine, Mark O’Brien and Shane Pearlman.

Today, we have Jonathan Cleveland, Principal of Boston-based Cleveland Design. With a staff of five, his firm fills an important need for large corporate clients who, interestingly enough, also have in-house agencies AND ad agencies. (Does this make you less timid about approaching prospects who already have an in-house team?”)

In our 13-minute interview, Jonathan (who will be participating in the upcoming CFC panel discussion, “Perspectives on Money and Pricing”) talked about a recent pricing issue he encountered:

The situation: A client hired them to do a corporate video project which had a generous budget, then wanted a companion print brochure, but started to nickel and dime them on price. Then before the print brochure was resolved, the client came back and was ready to put a larger budget toward more videos.

The disconnect: Why there is such a big difference in perceived value of print design and digital design? Jonathan says:

“In today’s day and age, with computers and personal layout programs, the more unsophisticated marketing client thinks they can layout a brochure or flyer themselves … There is a perceived notion that ‘I can do something, throw it together and print it out.’ They sent us a PDF of a very nice brochure and said ‘Just copy this.’ We couldn’t get through to them on the value of the brochure, but when it came to the video, they were more than willing to open up and say ‘Let’s just do this video’—budget wasn’t an issue. The print brochure seemed to be all about budget.” 

Listen to find out Jonathan’s strategy for dealing with clients like this… 

And if you aren’t yet registered for CFC, sign up here and take advantage of the combo $100 discount: $50 early bird before Mar 30th + $50 Marketing Mentor discount with promo code “CMM12”


CFC 2012: Planning for the First Year of Freelance?

Mar 16, 2012 10:39


As we get ready for the 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston, we’re doing a podcast interview series with our speakers! Recently, we featured Dyana Valentine and Mark O’Brien. Today, we have Shane Pearlman, describing his upcoming session, “Planning for the First Year of Freelance.” 

Read an excerpt below and listen to the 10-minute interview, in which Shane talks about the biggest mistakes he sees freelancers make, and more.

When it comes to being a successful freelancer, there are three areas that stick in Shane’s head:

how to make the money (sales, marketing, contacts) how to keep the money you made (track time, manage contacts, bookkeeping) how to be happy and balance it all

In his session, he’ll describe how to succeed in each of these areas.

In addition to the road to success, we also talked about common mistakes that freelancers make.

Shane said,

“Another mistake I see all the time—this is probably the most common—is waiting to sell until they need it. So, you get really busy, and you think, ‘I’m so busy, I can’t think about sales, I’m busy!’ Then by the time you get to the point when you think, ‘I wish I had something to do, I should start selling’–well, that’s three months too late.”

Listen to the rest here

And if you aren’t yet registered for CFC, sign up here and take advantage of the combo $100 discount: $50 early bird before Mar 30th + $50 Marketing Mentor discount with promo code “CMM12”

Bryn’s approach to LinkedIn: narrow, participate, reach out.

Mar 12, 2012 14:29


Bryn Mooth is an independent journalist and copywriter focused on food, wellness and creativity—she blogs at -- and I’ve been following her marketing journey since she became self-employed less than a year ago.  

Lately, we’ve been talking about the merits of LinkedIn, and Bryn has dedicated time, twice a week, to gain visibility and find prospects using it. This past week, she turned a LinkedIn connection into a client! How? (If you want to learn by doing, join the next Basic Marketing Group that starts Wed. March 14). 

In our latest interview, Bryn describes what she did: 

She narrowed: To be with her ideal prospects, she joined a group on LinkedIn called “Food Industry Marketing and Communications Professionals” – looking to find people at food brands or in food marketing – rather than the broader “food industry.” 

She participated: This is an active group with 6500+ members, with people posting links to articles and questions. Bryn participates by commenting on articles others have posted, responding to questions and initiating her own discussions.

She reached out directly: Bryn also scans the group members and reaches out to connect directly if it looks like a good fit. Recently, she connected with one member in Texas, the principal of marketing group in the food industry, and now that’s turned into a small project for her company – but there’s larger potential, if it goes well, for this agency to hire Bryn for their client projects, making her an excellent referral source and collaborator.

 What did Bryn say to connect with this prospect? Listen here to find out.


CFC 2012: Is content strategy missing from your web site?

Mar 10, 2012 12:46


As we get ready for the 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston, we’re doing a podcast interview series with our speakers! Last week we featured Dyana Valentine whose topic is “Pitch Perfect.” Today, we have Mark O’Brien, President of Newfangled, describing his upcoming session, “Is Your Website Generating Business?” 

Read an excerpt below and listen to the 10-minute interview here, in which Mark talks about content strategy—and how it’s missing from most of the freelancer website he sees. 

“There’s nothing to attract, inform and engage –nothing for Google to read on the site—that Google would then use to refer prospects to that freelancer’s site. There might be a portfolio, and that’s it. If prospects do get to the site, they can see the work, but they can’t read about the expertise behind the work… 

If your site is not independently attracting people who do not yet know about you,  but need you, and then guiding them through your site as if they’re taking a tour of your firm with you on the phone, and then bringing them into engagement with you through calls to action (signing up for newsletters, blogs)… If you’re site’s not doing that, it’s not going to generate any sort of business for you. It’s serving the group of people who already know about you, and doing nothing to expose you too all the new prospects who are out there looking for you…”

Listen to the rest here

And if you aren’t yet registered for CFC, sign up here and take advantage of the combo $100 discount: $50 early bird before Mar 30th + $50 Marketing Mentor discount with promo code “CMM12”


Podcast: What if you don’t want to choose a target market?

Mar 7, 2012 19:21


Amy Graver’s design firm, Elements, positions themselves as a “virtual marketing department.” It’s a strong positioning for them—but the only challenge is, with such a potentially broad audience (Who doesn’t need a virtual marketing department?), where do you go to find those prospects? How do you efficiently locate those people? 

When it comes to Amy, I have a sense there is also something else involved in their success, so in our recent interview, I asked her:

“There is something in you, in the way you talk about what your firm can do, that I feel almost balances the need for a target market. I imagine you can sell anything to anyone… You can talk to anyone anywhere, and maybe as a result, you don’t have to say, ‘Alright, I’m doing healthcare… Alright, I’m doing financial services....’ What do you say to that?”

Amy responded: 

“I never saw myself as a salesperson, but my father used to say I could talk the paint off a barn … I feel very comfortable talking to anybody and finding something in common. I also think it’s my passion for what I do. I really believe in us, I believe in my team. I’ve made very careful hires … Every time we have a new hire, I want to know what they bring that’s unique, because I’m going to go out and talk to the clients about it. It adds to the depths of who we are as an agency… The creativity, passion and love of what we do comes across … We’re doing great things for our clients. We’re a thinking, strategic, creative agency. Our clients seem to agree. One of our best resources is all the referrals we get from our clients…”

I also asked Amy, “What suggestion do you have for someone who is resisting the idea of targeting a market and wants to apply their services to many different industries?”

For this answer, and more, listen to this 19-minute interview.

Want to choose your market, use content marketing to your advantage, or finally start email marketing? New groups are starting this month.


Podcast: What It Takes for an Email Newsletter to Get the Phone Ringing

Mar 1, 2012 00


Stephanie Helline, Owner of Strategic Design Studio, had a very surprising response to her latest email newsletter. The topic was, “Is the Business Card DEAD?” and she didn’t think much of it when she scheduled it to go out Friday morning. She didn’t even like the topic much, but she was committed to staying in touch monthly with her list of 150+ so she wrote it, scheduled it to send and forgot about it.

“A little after 10, the phone rang,” she says. “A client mentioned my newsletter; we talked about a small job, we talked about a larger job. The phone rang again. I looked and noticed there were voicemails. As I was on the phone, emails were popping into my inbox. I wouldn’t want to say this went viral, but viral for me, definitely.”

Stephanie had originally thought this topic would be a non-event. She thought everyone knew that business cards weren’t dead. When the calls started coming in, she had an ah-ha moment.

“Even though I’m constantly looking at marketing techniques, maybe not all my clients aren’t looking at them in the same way,” she said. 

“When I first started writing about the business card, I thought I need to add something more… So I took it one step further and talked about adding a QR code, and remembering to add your social media contacts. I mentioned that some people now scan cards so it’s important to present simply so scanners will work. I talked about digital printing for business cards.” (Read Stephanie’s newsletter here.)

Listen to this 13-minute interview, in which she shares: 

How she decides what to write about How long does it takes What her process is? Whether it’s worth it?

She also shares four excellent tips for anyone who might be struggling to get their newsletter out consistently.

Listen here.

And if you need help creating your own email newsletter, check out this Marketing Mentor group that starts the week of March 19.

BTW: If you’re trying to decide with email marketing service to use, check out, a Marketing Mentor partner. You’ll get 20% off when you sign up.

Meet CFC speaker, Dyana Valentine

Feb 25, 2012 10:20


Dyana Valentine is one of our favorite Creative Freelancer Conference speakers; we bring her back every year! This year at CFC (June 21-22nd in Boston) she is going to be talking about Pitch Perfect—and I interviewed Dyana to get a preview.

Listen to find out more about Dyana, hear her “working pitch,” and learn:

The difference between a tagline and a pitch How to craft your pitch and tagline based on the “defining features” of your ideal client Why pitches are constantly evolving, and how often Dyana updates hers

Plus, get a little preview of what CFC attendees can expect to learn in her session, Pitch Perfect. Find out:

How your pitch will evolve in the session What will make Dyana feel like a million bucks How Dyana helps shy people What Dyana is looking forward to most at CFC this year

Check out the full list of speakers and sessions.

If you aren’t yet registered, sign up here and take advantage of the combo $100 discount: $50 early bird before Mar 30th + $50 Marketing Mentor discount with promo code “CMM12”



Podcast: Jeff got 2 jobs in a week since website launch

Feb 23, 2012 11:10


“I've already landed 2 freelance jobs since I launched my website this week! Without your materials, I don’t think I would have been as prepared as I am now.”

This is what Jeff Tara emailed me after launching his website for Brand Vue Design with the help of the Freelancers Essentials Collection

I had to know more, so I interviewed him—and I was delighted to discover his passionate approach to his new business. Jeff reminded me that enthusiasm and fearlessness go a long way—sometimes even further than a plump portfolio (especially when you don’t have one).

Jeff told me about how, after being laid off a month ago, he dived right into his own business thanks to the preparation he’d done over the past year. In one instance, simply by sharing his honest opinion about his favorite wine company’s new label, he gained a client. He had a fearless, nothing-to-lose approach, and the “roadblocks” didn’t stop him:

• Obviously they already had a designer—but that didn’t stop him.

• The only email address he could find was an “info” address—but that didn’t stop him.

• He had no samples to show in this particular industry—but that didn’t stop him.

See the email that got him in the door and listen to our interview here.

And if you have a feeling you might be on your own soon or already are and need help getting your own marketing plan in place, take advantage of the free mentoring session to hash it out.

Bryn says, “This marketing stuff isn’t hard, except…”

Feb 8, 2012 19:38


Last time I talked to independent journalist and copywriter, Bryn Mooth, from Writes4Food, she confessed to slowing down in December and paying the price in January.

When I asked her, “What could you have done differently to avoid this slowdown?” Bryn said, “I should have put more effort into marketing in October and November.”

Bryn realized, “This marketing stuff isn’t hard, except if you wait until you’re really slow and you’re desperate and have to do it all at once.” By plugging marketing into her calendar, and doing marketing steadily, she says, “It’s not hard, it’s not time consuming, it’s not overwhelming.”

In this 19-minute interview, we talk about the actions Bryn has been taking to ramp up her marketing machine, with a special focus on how she’s using LinkedIn to:

• Decide which groups to join

• Ask and answer questions

• Get introductions from her connections

• Turn connections into phone calls

See how her marketing efforts have paid off in just one month.

Listen here…

What kind of copywriter can you be?

Feb 2, 2012 16:29


In this world where “content is king,” more and more of marketing is “content marketing.” With the need for content so vast—you can be a writer who specializes in exactly what a prospect needs, such as a web writer, content strategist, direct response writer or technical writer.

Stacey King Gordon, from Suite Seven, started as just a plain “writer” in 1998, and now she’s a “content strategist.” An evolution happened during that time, in which she realized what type of writer she wanted to be—for herself and for her clients.

In my first interview with Stacey, we talked about the process of renaming her business. In this interview, I wanted to delve deeper with Stacey to determine how the shift from “writer” to “content strategist” happened.

She answers these questions:

●      Was there a gradual shift in perception or positioning?

●      Where did the process begin?

●      How did confidence play a role?

●      How long did it take?

●      What marketing outlets did you change first?

●      How is she gaining recognition in the content strategy community?

Stacey also talks about her new elevator pitch, why she was choosy about which portfolio items to show, and more…

Listen here.

Podcast: Bryn’s tax surprise

Jan 26, 2012 00


When it comes to taxes, are you deducting everything you can?

Bryn wasn’t. 

Bryn Mooth is an independent journalist and copywriter at Writes4Food. We’ve been following Bryn’s journey, and recently, we talked about taxes.

In the first meeting with her accountant, Bryn had a big surprise:

She had a percentage in mind for Uncle Sam, but says,  

“It was significantly higher than I expected… I knew that I needed to account for self-employment tax and social security; what I didn’t realize is that, as an independent contractor … I need to pay my income tax quarterly… When I was employed by someone else, it was sort of off my radar…”

Having to pay a much bigger percentage than she expected was a “rude awakening” for Bryn. Fortunately, she had built up a financial cushion before becoming self-employed. This cushion was a huge relief.

Now, Bryn has a different mindset. Going forward:

She realizes that she can expense a lot more than she thought. All of a sudden, knife sharpening, food for recipe development, and props become expenses. 

Every time a paycheck comes in, half goes into a tax account (just to be safe). 

Bryn is now very careful about keeping receipts and updating her spreadsheet on “Finance Friday.” This way, when she files next, her estimate will be more manageable and realistic. 

Listen to this 10-minute interview here.

Have you experienced any tax surprises?

For guidance when it comes to taxes, we adore June Walker, tax advisor for the self-employed. Read her guest posts on the Creative Freelancer Blog and check out her books,  Self-employed Tax Solutions + Five Easy Steps, and her free resources

Podcast: Are you paying the price for a checked-out December?

Jan 19, 2012 11:26


Bryn Mooth is an independent journalist and copywriter at I’ve been checking-in with Bryn for the past 8 months (since she went freelance) to follow her journey, and last week, we did our first calls of 2012.

How did she do? Overall, 2011 “exceeded” her expectations. Bryn was pleased with the income she earned and the work she did.


January is slow.


Bryn says she “checked out” in December. She put off doing things like following up on completed projects, “slacked off” on networking and contacting, and now, she’s “paying the price.”

What’s her plan of attack?  She says, “I’m starting from scratch, a little bit.”

Bryn has identified the kind of projects that really appeal to her, and in 2012 is going to actively pursue that kind of work. She spent the last week on LinkedIn building a list of prospects. Then, she’s seeing who in her network can make an introduction.

What she’s learning about the marketing process:

Like most freelancers, I’m not really good at it. Early in this freelance career… some things were landing in my lap… I was doing some networking and yielding some good projects. But I wasn’t doing as much of that as I need to be. I got busy. I kept thinking, I need to allocate some time to think about who my ideal prospects are and get that planning going, and I didn’t.  So, that’s what I’m doing now.

In this 11-minute interview, I suggested for Bryn a three tool combination to turn these prospects into clients:

1. Use LinkedIn to connect.

2. Use email to follow up.

3. Use the phone to make it real.

Bryn is going to do this—and we’re going to talk to her next month to see how she did.

How long does it take to take to turn cold (or warm) prospects that you find on LinkedIn, and turn them into actual clients?

Stay tuned to find out…

Podcast: What do art buyers really care about?

Jan 14, 2012 14:14


Recently I interviewed Scott Hull (, an agent for illustrators who, when you ask what he does, says he, “links creativity to the corporate world.”

We talked a lot about how illustration has changed and who the new “art buyers” are. He shared some interesting information for creatives and illustrators—especially when it comes to selling themselves to art buyers and agencies.

Scott believes that we’ve fallen short in marketing creative services and that what the new art buyers care about is: What value are you going to bring to me? How are you going to make my life easier?

So how can a creative sell themselves?

Scott says:

An illustrator can talk about the value they bring and the potential return on investment over stock illustration or photography.

He also suggests emphasizing turnaround time.”The illustrator has the training and sense to convert concepts into a visual translation in 3-4 weeks. This is probably one of the biggest sales tools I have found.”

In this interview, Scott also shares his thoughts on:

Students coming out of art school, what should they do?

Can an illustrator directly approach an art buyer?

Can an illustrator learn enough about ROI to persuade corporate decision-makers?

Listen to this 14-minute interview on the Marketing Mentor podcast.

How to position your firm in 6 months (podcast)

Dec 13, 2011 14:05


Sometimes, all you need is a kickstart.

That’s all it took for Julia Nable, co-founder (with her partner) of SandorMax, to decide how to position their small Connecticut-based firm after 6+ years in business. 

I met with Julia and Zoltan for a 2 hour consultation in June 2011 (almost exactly 6 months ago). Then, in early December, Julia wrote to tell me they’d made great strides with their positioning and their target market, healthcare and bioscience companies – and that they were accepted as speakers at a prestigious industry conference later this year.  

I was like a proud parent! Here’s how it happened. 

First, like everyone else, they were generalists, until they came to the realization that this approach just wasn’t working. She said, “We were so broad that we were taking any work that came our way. We were too many things to too many people.”

They knew things had to change. That’s when they called me and we spent 2 hours hashing out potential positioning statements and possible markets to focus on. “At the beginning, our big fear was: How do we turn away business? I think that’s what everyone wonders at the beginning. What if someone calls and they have nothing to do with healthcare, do we turn them away?”

Julia likens their new approach to having a tiny herb garden instead of a huge farm. “Before, we had a gigantic farm. The manpower required to go after business was impossible. Now, with the small garden we’re nurturing, we can become experts in this area and create a prospect list we can actually go after. It’s contained enough that we can get a name in this area, and get high-level referrals through the community we’ve created with our clients. It’s something we can perfect.”

I asked Julia to share their positioning process so others who are struggling can see the small steps it takes. In this interview, Julia defined the process and the benefits so clearly. She also talked about:

How, exactly, they chose their new market. The extensive research and competitive analysis they did  How they retooled their website, and how they handled the projects that no longer fit their positioning  How she found the industry-focused speaking engagement on LinkedIn. 

Listen to this (14-minute long) interview and you will learn. And if you need a plan to follow, check out the just-released 2012 Marketing Plan Bundle.

Crowdsourcing Podcast with Laurel Black

Dec 1, 2011 16:13


We’ve been talking about crowdsourcing a lot on the Creative Freelancer Blog, and designer, Laurel Black, is central to every discussion.

So, I decided to do an interview with Laurel on some basics of crowdsourcing (from her perspective) for those who haven't been following all the comments. We started with a few basic questions:

What is crowdsourcing?

Who is upset about it and why?

How has it affected (is affecting) your business?

How are you dealing with it?

What advice do you have for others concerned about it?

Listen to Laurel’s take on crowdsourcing here.

Podcast: How to craft winning proposals

Nov 17, 2011 01:00:56


Should you be putting samples inside your proposals?

Should higher fees equal longer proposals?

What are the 5 basic elements every proposal should have?

Find out answers to these questions, and many more, in my recent interview for the International Freelancers Academy with Ed Gandia. In this hour-long interview, we cover the real information you need to craft winning proposals. Topics also discussed include: 

The most common types of proposals - 4 types Hybrid all-in-one proposals Optional elements (marketing, testimonials, usage rights, client responsibility, results ) Do you need an attorney involved for legal language? Should you place an expiration date on your price? How to submit your proposal How and when to follow up Should you ask for the business? How to discuss next steps… Handling price objections

If you want to increase your chances of winning projects – The Proposal Bundle (we have versions for Designers and Copywriters) will give you 25 resources, plus 11 actual sample proposals to use as models.

Podcast: What’s in copywriter Bob Bly’s proposal/agreement?

Nov 11, 2011 13:05


Bob Bly, who has been a freelance copywriter since 1982 (and made millions doing it) generously shared his one-page agreement in the new Proposal Bundle for Copywriters (Today only: Get $10 off with promo code: BUNDLE10).

I interviewed Bob on the Marketing Mentor Podcast to find out more about his agreement. Here’s an excerpt… 

Is it safe to skip the agreements—and get right to work for existing clients? Bob says: 

You always need to have, for every job, even if it’s an old familiar client, a written agreement which the client approves. My philosophy is to keep it as short and simple as possible while covering all the salient points. We email it to the client. All they have to do is email back that they approve. New clients pay half the fee up-front.

When it comes to rush jobs, Bob says: 

Since we have a standard agreement, it takes less than three minutes to put in the particulars of the job. Time is no excuse. Just because it’s a rush job doesn’t mean I can’t send out the agreement. 

What about the excuse, they “won’t be able to cut the check in time”? 

Bob makes it easy by accepting Paypal, credit card and wire transfers. 

Find out more about the specifics inside Bob’s agreement. Listen to the full 15-minute interview here.

Interview: What is a Request for Proposal (RFP)?

Nov 3, 2011 07:28


Do you know how to respond to a Request for Proposal? Recently, I joined Jim Blasingame to discuss:

How to prepare for a request for proposal (RFP) How to know when to not respond  How your proposal can have a long shelf-life

 Listen to this interview on the Marketing Mentor Podcast.

If you're working on a proposal now, and you'd like 11 actual proposals to use as models (+more) check out The Proposal Bundle: 25 Resources for Project-Winning Proposals.

How to find a market (without starting from scratch)

Oct 27, 2011 11:14


If you know you need a target market—but don’t know where to start, this interview will help. Often, your market is right there in front of you, where you can see a need. Usually, it comes from your past experience. This is where I found my target market (creative professionals) in 1988.

Last week, I shared the story of how I got started with Anderson Smith, who interviewed me on his radio show, 1 Hour Photo, on ArmadaFM. Listen in if you want to hear:

Questions to ask yourself to find your market without starting from scratch How I found my market under a pile of paper How the changing economy affected the “need” for marketing How I help clients break old habits and build new ones The steps I take clients through in the 6-month marketing group ( process 

Listen to this 11-minute interview on the Marketing Mentor Podcast.

Interview with the illustration “king” of self-promotion, Daniel Pelavin

Oct 20, 2011 13:15


Daniel Pelavin is entering his 5th decade as a typographic designer and illustrator. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Graphic Artists Guild’s Reboot ( conference. He was pointed out as being “the king of self-promotion,” and of course, I had to find out more. 

Daniel agreed to an interview so I asked him to elaborate on his reference to Copernicus and self-promotion, which I’d never heard in the same sentence before.

Daniel said that through self promotion, you discover that you are not the center of the universe. And when you begin to look at things in terms of your clients and their needs, you gain a lot of power over how you can affect your experience with them.

He also talks about:

• The importance of being memorable—and how he does this himself

• Why illustrators need clients who are “willing to take a chance.”

• Why new illustrators should consider selling carpets, first.

Listen to this 13-minute interview on the Marketing Mentor Podcast.


How should your proposal be delivered?

Oct 13, 2011 08:37


Recently, I talked with Jim Blasingame, of Small Business Advocate, about proposals. Though we have a slightly different approach (he says don’t miss an opportunity, I say deliver only when you have a real chance of getting the job) we can both agree on this:

Whenever possible, present the proposal personally.

This is, hands down, the best way to ensure that you have a chance to negotiate and continue the conversation, rather than never hearing from your prospect again. 

In this interview, Jim and I discuss the effectiveness of presenting proposals face-to-face or with web conferencing tools vs. sending them via email.

How have you presented proposals—and which method has been most effective?

P.S. If you want to enhance your proposals, and your chances of winning the work, we will be focusing on this in the Advanced Marketing Group. A new group starts October 17th, and there is one spot left! Sign up here

Want 11 actual proposals to use as samples (plus a lot more!)? Check out The Proposal Bundle: 25 Resources for Project-Winning Proposals.

A new freelancer struggles with pricing

Oct 6, 2011 15:59


Just 5 months into her new career as a freelance food writer, Bryn Mooth is already getting a lot of publicity and great projects. (Follow her journey here.)

But as a lot of new freelancers do—Bryn is finding pricing to be a challenge. Why?

She’s calculated an hourly rate, refined an estimating sheet, and learned to price by the project—but the problem is—she’s really fast.

With 20 years of experience, she finds that using hours to calculate project costs is leaving her with a price that doesn’t equal the project’s value. Her clients often share a budget, but when she calculates her project cost—it’s way too low.

With her current approach, there’s an apparent disconnect between what the project costs—and what it’s worth.

Listen to this interview to find out where the discrepancy is—and how she can solve it.

Should she double her hourly rate? Make room for higher profit? Find out here.

Bryn also shares how she’s:
• Dealing with pricing
• Determining her minimum project rate
• Using an estimating worksheet to figure out hours for each project
• Starting to track her hours/rates over time

She also shares why pricing should be “uncomfortable.”

Listen here. Have any advice for Bryn? Please share.

Scared of embracing a target market?

Sep 28, 2011 14:35


If you’re hesitant to focus on a target market, listen to this interview with Jennifer Neal, Owner of K9 Design Co. – I bet it will change your mind.

In a nutshell: in 2008, K9 was a busy family-owned design business that was almost completely referral-based. They need more control over the flow of work, so they decided to commit to and invest in their marketing—and before long, they started to grow, so much so that 2010 – a recession year for many – was K9 Design Co’s best year ever, with a 30% increase over 2009.

The first step was to embrace the idea of a target market and the fact they had a “portfolio full of publication work.” Jennifer says, “As scary as it was at the time for me to decide to market to publishers and the publishing industry, it was at that point that everything shifted. It was the toughest decision we ever made, but also the best move we ever made.”

In the latest Marketing Mentor podcast Jennifer also shares:

• Why even a specific target market will have enough work to keep you growing.
• Why not to waste your time on perfection.
• Why their business name doesn’t matter anymore.
• And more…

Listen to the whole interview on the Marketing Mentor Podcast—and let me know… Did it change your mind about target markets?

Thinking about renaming your business?

Sep 21, 2011 23:19


I recently interviewed Stacey King Gordon about her transition from being a freelancer known as “Night Writer Communications” to running her newly named content strategy firm, “Suite Seven,” which has 2 employees and more coming soon.


In a nutshell: Stacey always had “stars in her eyes” about owning her own business and started as a moonlighter in 1998. After 10 years, in 2008, she leapt to full-time freelance, and kept the name because it had some brand equity and she was sentimentally attached to it.


By the end of 2010, it was clear she needed to shed the image that Night Writer implied (that it was just her, working part-time at night) and start thinking about herself as a “company.”


In this interview on the Marketing Mentor Podcast, Stacey takes us through the process of refocusing her business, and her business name, to reflect her new direction as a content strategist. She describes how she got through the painstaking mental process of change, found the confidence, pinpointed her new direction, tested the waters, and more...


Listen here.

When your biggest client disappears

Sep 7, 2011 10:25


Neil Brown of Brown Advertising ( in Winston-Salem North Carolina recently faced a bit of a business crisis. His biggest client restructured and disappeared. One month later I called to see how things were going. To my delight (and a bit of surprise), Neil said, “Business has been really good.”

When I asked him what he was doing, he said one word: Networking.

That’s when I asked if he would share his story in a podcast interview and here it is.

The short version: When Neil started noticing the instability and personnel changes happening with his biggest client, he started to prepare by joining one of the Marketing Mentor Marketing Groups (next ones start next week!) and getting his marketing machine in gear.

Soon after, his suspicions came true and the client terminated their contract. Despite this, Neil says, “Because of the marketing, I haven’t really missed the client.”

In this interview on the Marketing Mentor Podcast, Neil shares what’s making up his marketing machine, and how it’s working.

One big component is local networking, to which Neil used to have an aversion. He says that since he’s a bit of an introvert, he always found it intimidating. But once he got involved, he now says, “I actually love networking” because it’s “simply talking with other likeminded business people.”

Listen in to find out which networking groups he’s involved in, who he’s meeting, and the response he’s getting from this—and his other—marketing efforts.

Has this ever happened to you? What have you done to prepare? Or what did you do when you were caught off guard?

Talking budget with your clients

Aug 17, 2011 16:06


I grabbed a few minutes with PhotoShelter's Vice President of Marketing, Andrew Fingerman, to talk about a particularly sticky issue - when and how to directly ask your clients about their budget while pitching for new business.

Here's an excerpt: 

Are we a good fit?

The primary reason to bring up the budget issue is to identify early on if the pitch is even worth making. Many photographers waste a lot of time talking to prospects who can't afford them. You'll find out sooner or later if the client can afford your services, so being straightforward and talking budget can help save both parties some time. But how early is too early? Ilise suggests if you suspect the prospect likely can't afford you, broach the budget question sooner. If you think they likely can afford you, it is ok to wait until later on in your pitch.  

Recognize the conversation itself won't be a dealbreaker

Avoid building up assumptions in your head that can make having the conversation more uncomfortable than it needs to be. Often, photographers will be afraid to start talking money because it may lead to losing the project. Talking about money isn't going to prevent you from getting the job - the client not being able to afford to pay you fairly will. (But, we're assuming that's a job you don't want anyway.) 

See the entire blog post here:

And listen to the interview here. 

Dealing with a case of the “I don’t wannas”?

Aug 9, 2011 19:34


It’s 3 months into Bryn Mooth’s career as a freelance food writer, and I’ve been interviewing her along the way. (See our previous interviews: Asking Questions = Looking Stupid and The First Week as a Freelancer.)

In today’s interview, we talked about the importance of tuning into what’s around you. Bryn says, 

“Once you start thinking about something that’s next, or something that’s possible, then you tune in somehow to those opportunities you would have missed otherwise.”

We also discuss some issues related to the “lazy” days of summer and the mindset of self-employment, such as:

- Is it okay to have an “off” day and cut yourself some slack?

- The right approach to a non-productive day…

- Is the glow still going, or has it faded?

- Do you start believing the things you tell yourself when you’re in the non-productive mood? Does that spiral into non-productivity?

- How to deal with not knowing where the next project will come from…

- Learning to be patient…

- How to interpret really enthusiastic prospects

- And more…

If you have a case of the summertime “I don’t wannas,” get back on track by listening to this interview.

Listen here.

Follow up: How much is too much?

Jul 12, 2011 07:20


Not following up with a contact you meet—is like not watering a seed that would otherwise sprout into an apple tree. Whether you’re back from CFC and still haven’t gotten to that stack of cards (you know who you are), or you network often but follow up spottily, these interviews are for you.

I joined Jim Blasingame to discuss follow up. The interviews are available on his site, Small Business Advocate, and here on the Marketing Mentor Podcast:

How much is too much?
Listen here to find out best practices for follow up, and learn how much is too much.

Has follow up helped you grow apples?

P.S. See how CFC attendee, Deidre, is following up with her new acquaintances. 

Follow up: How to do it

Jul 12, 2011 08:38


Not following up with a contact you meet—is like not watering a seed that would otherwise sprout into an apple tree. Whether you’re back from CFC and still haven’t gotten to that stack of cards (you know who you are), or you network often but follow up spottily, these interviews are for you.

I joined Jim Blasingame to discuss follow up. The interviews are available on his site, Small Business Advocate, and here on the Marketing Mentor Podcast:

How to follow up
Listen here for motivation and tips to make sure you follow up with new contacts.

Has follow up helped you grow apples?

P.S. See how CFC attendee, Deidre, is following up with her new acquaintances. 

Thought leadership: Find their common problem

Jun 29, 2011 15:42


Ann Siegle, President of Tria Marketing ( in Lansing, MI. has recently separated from her partners to embark on her own. She’s enjoying the transition, and in this interview, she shares with us the new vision she has for her business—and how she’s using marketing to make it a reality.

With a target market of entrepreneurs and associations, Ann began focusing on thought leadership capabilities. As a direct result, she has gained visibility in the right places, and is getting proposals and projects.

Her speaking topic is 5-minute marketing. I found it interesting because it isn’t necessarily about design or web development. I asked her how that broad-ranging topic works to her advantage. 

She said:

I think that entrepreneurs are looking for bigger picture. When they look to us for our credibility, they don’t think, “I need a graphic designer,” they think, “I need help with marketing.” Stepping outside and taking a look at a very common problem, and directing something to that problem gets your foot in the door. Then you can sit down and have a conversation with them. Their needs are going to be unique … one client might need a revamp of the stationary system and collateral materials, another might need a digital strategy, another might need a social media management strategy. The nice thing about the speaking engagement is that is speaks to them at a very broad level about something they all have in common.

Ann also shares how Google AdWords and SEO are working for her website—and exactly how she’s making her website more search engine friendly.

Listen here.

What is your thought leadership topic?

Asking questions = looking stupid?

Jun 15, 2011 12:30


If you’ve been following along with our story about Bryn Mooth, who left her 20-year publishing career to pursue a career as a freelance writer, you’ll remember our interview a month ago when she was in the glow of Week 1 of self-employment.
I interviewed her again in Week 5 to see how she’s coming along. One especially interesting topic that came up in our conversation was how asking the right questions of clients and prospects will make you look smart, not stupid.
Bryn says, “People are afraid to ask questions because they think, if I do… it might dampen the impression I’m making with this prospect. But I think asking questions is a sign that you’re interested in their business… and really helps you deliver what they’re looking for instead of taking a wild shot in the dark… Take the time up front to ask a couple of smart questions so you’re not flailing when it’s time to deliver a solution.”
I couldn’t agree more. In fact, there’s whole chapter about this in my new book, The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money. In the chapter on positioning your price, there are 8 pages on asking questions, plus 20 questions to ask before you do a proposal. 

In this interview, Bryn also shares how she’s:
Discovering what she doesn’t know

Getting better at managing her time, and making time for marketing activities

Trying to build a reputation in food/healthy living

Using online and social media activities, finding places to participate

Using her previous career as an editor to help her get ahead

Recently back from vacation, Bryn also describes how her vacation as a freelancer was different from when she was a full-timer. 
What are some of the questions you ask, that get you the information you need?

Monthly billing: yes or no?

May 31, 2011 09:56


Vivienne Scholl, from San Francisco-based Avenue 4 Design, commented recently on a Marketing Mix post about progress payments. She said:

We've started doing monthly billing with our clients. Billing is now tied to a date, not a milestone. It's so much better for cash flow. Anyone else doing this?

Since getting paid is always an issue, I asked Vivienne if she would share her process. Here’s what she told me in this interview/podcast:

Why she started doing monthly billing How she brings it up with clients How it’s especially beneficial if a project drags on Why it keeps things “fair” with clients

And please comment on this billing practice. Vivienne wants to make sure this type of billing isn’t doing a disservice to the rest of the industry.

What do you think about monthly billing? Does monthly billing do a disservice to the industry?

The first week as a freelancer

May 11, 2011 23:03


Bryn Mooth recently left 20-year career in publishing, and she’s embarking on her own as a freelance writer. Her blog at started as a way to spark her own creativity, and has turned into a business where she writes on food, cooking, nutrition, and healthy living topics.

In the beginning of Bryn’s 2nd week as a self-employed person, I interviewed her to see what the first week was like. She shares insight on:

• What’s been most energizing and gratifying during this transition
• Getting her head into self-employed mode
• When she realized she wanted to leave her job
• How she prepared for self-employment
• What it feels like to be “ready” to make the leap
• Building a viable business that creates income to exceed that of a full-timer
• How she knew food was a good market to focus on
• How to balance her own marketing with paid work
• Using the cushion of her network during the transition
• & more…

Any advice for Bryn?

If you’re considering leaving your full-time job and going out on your own, check out the Marketing Group for moonlighters. It will help you get clients in your pipeline—before you make the jump.

Don't know how to raise your prices?

Apr 26, 2011 10:54


I’ve been talking to clients lately to get a view inside the evolution of their business. A big signpost in the evolution journey is raising rates, but often, the creatives I work with are afraid their clients will disappear if they do it.

In a recent interview with Megan Coleman, freelance web designer, she says, “I charged less in the beginning because I didn’t know how much to charge. The more projects I took on, the more I realized how much things should really cost to make the money I needed to live.”

In this interview, Megan also answers these questions:

How did she know it was time to quit her full-time job? What did she do to prepare for freelancing? Did she use up all the money she saved? How she got her first few clients. Why she recommends doing some freelance work on the side first.

Find out where Megan is now, and why this two-time CFC attendee is coming back this year.

Meet Megan at the Creative Freelancer Conference in Chicago. The early-bird deadline ends may 1st. Use in conjunction with the Marketing Mentor $50 discount (Use code: CMM11) to save a total of $80 – the best admission price available.

If you’re doing too many “one-off” projects…

Apr 7, 2011 12:54


"A lot of the jobs I was doing were one-off jobs,” said Stephen Hadley, owner of Houston-based Inkwell Media, a creative firm that produces employee newsletters and magazines for the oil and gas industry.

In business over 5 years, Stephen recently completed the Beginner Marketing Group, which he joined because, in his words, “I didn’t have enough of a focus.” 

The group helped him to define his focus, and in this interview with Ilise, he talks about:

How he got to such a targeted marketHow his business has evolved from one off projects to clients. What marketing tools he’s usingIdentifying the right companies to targetIf research calling really works How he gets regular, ongoing work The best thing he got out of attending CFC

Listen to the interview here.

Stephen said, “I always had a haphazard approach to marketing. [The group] has definitely forced me to finish all the pieces. It has been awesome because now I have everything done. Now when I talk to someone, or meet with someone, I have a way to follow up and a place to send them. I’m not ashamed now! I wasn’t doing any marketing, and now I am. It feels really good."

Do you need to get focused like Stephen did? A new Beginner Marketing Group starts next week – Thursday, April 21 – and there are 2 spots open. Fill out this form if you’re interested….


Where is Lauren now?

Mar 30, 2011 11:17


At last year’s Creative Freelancer Conference, there was an attendee named Lauren Hybinette. She was employed by a company at the time, but she had an epiphany that made her decide, then and there, that she wanted to be self-employed.


Where is Lauren one year later? Find out. Read this blog post from Bryn Mooth on the HOW Design Blog: to the interview I did with her where she talks about:


learning the discipline to work from home fighting the loneliness of being a solopreneur   setting boundaries and staying connected

Do you need the inspiration and know-how to finally turn freelancing into a full time career?

Join us at CFC—June 23-24 in Chicago. Don’t miss the early bird discount. It ends April 1st!

Designer Finds Goldmine of Prospects

Mar 22, 2011 11:28


Designer (and Creative Freelancer Conference veteran), Charlene Tiedemann, was getting bits and pieces of work, but struggling with how to get more clients and how to become the boss. She didn’t know who the clients were, where they were, or how to get to them.

Six months later, she said, “Meeting people and having a strategy to meet people were my biggest challenges. I had no idea how to get clients. They’re just people, and they’re all out there, and they need me, but I had no idea how to find them. Now I’m calling people and I’m finding more people…  It’s like a gold mine. I keep digging and digging and finding more people.”  

During those 6 months, she did the Marketing Mentor Beginner Marketing Group and not only found her prospects but also found her positioning as The Loop Design Studio and revamped her web site (see it here: 

Charlene’s challenge is a very common one, so I interviewed her for the podcast, in which she shares:

What she learned Who she’s targeting and what she’s finding Why networking events are working for her How having two selves makes you stronger (business self, and self-self) How she keeps the momentum going 

Plus, she has a bit of advice to any creative freelancer just starting out, or anyone who needs more work and don’t know what to do.
If you need to figure all this out for yourself, the Beginner Marketing Group might be right for you. Next group begins the week of April 18.

Results from one week’s worth of direct outreach

Mar 11, 2011 11:32


Direct outreach works. Here’s proof. Eric Koby from fatrabbit CREATIVE talked about his direct outreach efforts (on his Advanced Marketing Group phone call), and he's given us permission to share it. Listen here...

How excited should you be about your market?

Feb 23, 2011 13:40


Now that most of my clients have chosen target markets, things are starting to happen. Some of them are thrilled to have finally found a market that is responding positively. Others are still struggling, especially because they just aren’t “excited” about their target market. What to do?

I spoke last week with Dianne Rohkohl, a freelance designer in Arizona, who is struggling with her focus on the healthcare market. She allowed me to record our discussion and share it with you. Listen here (14 minutes). The interview addresses these questions:

What if you’d rather eat paste than read the blogs within your target market? If you’re not that excited about your current market, is that a reason to change? Should you be passionate about everything you do? How can you fully use your creativity and talents in a market that isn’t exciting?

{MONEY GUIDE} Talking price without alienating customers

Feb 14, 2011 16:12


Ilise recently did an interview with QRCA, Qualitative Research Consultants Association, about talking price without alienating customers. Listen in...

How one creative made the transition to full time freelancing

Feb 11, 2011 23:28


Heather Parlato from Parlato Design talks about how she made the transition from a full-time job to full-time freelancing. In the interview, she addresses:


Shifting from the employee mindset Flat rates vs. hourly rates How to treat your clients, and how much authority to give them Her qualifying process Saying no, red flags, and finding the right fit in potential clients Plus, she answers the question, “How will I know when it’s the right time to switch to full-time freelancing?” 

Listen here…


Healthcare Target Market Starts to Pay Off

Jan 27, 2011 11:37


Lisa Smith Youngdahl joined the Beginner Marketing Group in September 2009.

In the past year and a half, she has made great strides in her business.

Learn the tools she uses, how she uses them, and the results she's achieved within her target market: healthcare.  

Listen in...

One design firm's whirlwind year

Jan 18, 2011 14:11


In this interview, Jennifer Neal from K9 Design describes how her company has increased their presence as experts in the publishing industry, and due to specific marketing efforts had a 30% increase in their business in 2010.

Do you need to be reminded about marketing?

Jan 11, 2011 07:23


Do you need to be reminded about marketing? Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to launch a new tool, the Marketing Mentor eCalendar, that will help you keep marketing top-of-mind as you go about running your small business.

Are you reaching your marketing potential?

Jan 11, 2011 08:38


Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame with marketing tips, including defining your profile customers and marketing to them strategically with the help of organizing tools for marketing tasks.

Would organizing tools help you become a better marketer?

Jan 11, 2011 07:22


Would organizing tools help you become a better marketer? Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to discuss how getting organized with technology tools that sync with each other can help you become a more successful marketer. Listen in...

One creative firm’s success with retainers & more

Jan 4, 2011 25:22


In my recent interview with Janet Mobley from Fat Cat Strategies, she talks about:


Why 2010 came in like a lamb and went out like a lion How they talk about the services they offer, especially retainer services The “dark side” of retainers Properly outlining retainer relationships Mini-retainers Why she prefers “unofficial” networking events


Listen in…

How one illustrator is getting business on LinkedIn

Dec 14, 2010 20:34


In this interview, Ilise talks with talented illustrator, Tim Read, about the marketing tools that are working for his business. He shares: ·         Exactly how he uses social media ·         How he’s getting business from LinkedIn ·         How to self-promote without doing a blatant sales pitch ·         What works in a social media profile Tim also talks about his mindset towards research calling and outlines his ideal cold calling schedule – which includes just 5 calls per week. Listen in...

Is marketing changing in the 21st century?

Dec 7, 2010 08:38


How is marketing changing in the 21st century? Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to discuss marketing in the new economy, the importance of relationships with customers and vendors, plus tips on developing and maintaining these relationships. Listen in...

One creative firm's best year yet - find out why

Nov 19, 2010 16:32


Cleveland Design is a firm that has been in business for nearly 20 years, and in this interview, Jonathan Cleveland, Principal, shares why this has been one of their best years yet. Find out which tools they're using, and how they make sure clients know "everything" they are capable of. Listen in...


How one creative firm found its positioning

Nov 4, 2010 30:23


Here's a recent interview Ilise did with Beth Brodovsky from Iris Creative.


There are two big questions that Ilise asks Beth in this interview:


How did you come to pinpoint your target market? Beth talks about how she (and her staff) worked together to find their target market, membership organizations, after being generalists for many years.


Which tools do you use to promote your services? Beth describes how they geographically narrowed their search, paid extra attention to job titles, use postcards productively, use speaking programs to get new prospects (even if they don’t attend!) and more…  

Listen in...


Are you really trying to get prospects?

Nov 1, 2010 19:20


It sounds obvious, but when you go out looking for clients -- really looking -- you find them.

Ilise saw this last week in Martha Retallick's Prospecting Hour interview, and it is once again the simple lesson from Pam Saxon of Saxon Design in Nashville TN.

Pam (who finished Ilise's Beginner Marketing Group last month) called to tell Ilise her business was up 240% going into 4th quarter. Listen in to find out why...

The prospecting hour

Oct 20, 2010 19:10


Martha Retallick, of Western Sky Communications, told Ilise recently about her daily "Prospecting Hour."  
I don't know about the rest of this planet, but here in my studio, taking whatever comes along is a recipe for failure. I can't depend on business coming to me. I have to be a go-getter and go get it. That's why the first hour of every workday is The Prospecting Hour. That's when I make calls and send e-mails to cold and warm leads.    I've been in the design business for 15 years, and I've never had the luxury of depending on word of mouth. Instead, I've had to pick up the phone and ask strangers for their business. And, in my case, cold calling has led to the most lucrative clients I've ever had.
When she spoke to Ilise in August, Martha had made an amazing 3081 phone calls, 80% of which went to voice mail. Of those, 99 prospects had expressed some level of interest (approximately 3% positive response).   In their 20-minute interview, Martha describes her target market and her simple process to find and reach them. She explains how she tracks her calls and actually recites her no-BS phone script.
Listen in...

How can you connect with your ideal prospects?

Sep 10, 2010 15:24


How do you identify and connect with your ideal prospect? Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to talk about the perfect prospect for your small business, how to identify them and why this activity is so valuable.

Listen in...

Mom's advice - Part 2

Aug 3, 2010 04:12


Remember all that advice Mom gave you when you were growing up? What if it’s hindering your success as a creative freelancer?

Listen in as I look closely at Mom's pearls of wisdom to see how applicable they are today -- some still are, I admit -- for freelancers and the creatively self-employed.


Mom's advice - Part 1

Aug 3, 2010 04:59


Did your mom tell you not to brag?

We bet she didn’t know that one day you’d be creatively self-employed and have to promote yourself. In her new article for the HOW Magazine Freelance Column, Ilise takes a look at Mom’s pearls of wisdom to find out what is still relevant, and what tidbits need to be replaced with new rules.

Listen in.

The benefits of multi-faceted marketing

Jul 21, 2010 15:24


Check out Ilise's latest interview with Jim Blasingame of Small Buiness Advocate. In this interview, she and Jim talk about why you should incorporate an online marketing strategy with your traditional marketing activity.

Is your website marketing-smart?

Jun 30, 2010 09:01


Does your website really resonate with your target audience? Ilise shares some checkpoints to help you ensure that your website is “marketing-smart.” If you’re not sure if your site is “hitting home” with your prospects and being as effective as possible as a marketing tool, listen in.

Are you a business?

Jun 4, 2010 05:57


Are you coming to the Creative Freelancer Conference in Denver this weekend?

We hope so! But if you can't, here is the preview for Ilise's opening keynote, "You Are A Business."

Listen in...

Are you the needle or the haystack?

May 17, 2010 15:51


Last week, Ilise had the pleasure of joining Andrew Fingerman, VP of Marketing at PhotoShelter, to talk about how photographers can effectively market themselves. (The concepts carry over to all creative pros.) Listen in...

The Lazy Creative's Guide to Marketing

Apr 28, 2010 07:06


Why waste time when you can devote your energy to what works for your business? Listen here as Ilise describes The Lazy Creative's Guide to Marketing.

Do you have what it takes? Preparation & 5 Freedoms.

Apr 3, 2010 19:24


Do you have what it takes? Preparation & 5 Freedoms. From HOW Conference 2009's session: Do You Have What It Takes to Be A Successful Freelancer?

Do you have what it takes? Skills & Personality Traits.

Apr 3, 2010 12:34


Do you have what it takes? Skills & Personality Traits. From HOW Conference 2009's session: Do You Have What It Takes to Be A Successful Freelancer?

Do you have what it takes? Myths & realities about freelancing.

Apr 3, 2010 10:33


Do you have what it takes? What's happening now in freelancing & and myths and realities about freelancing. From HOW Conference 2009's session: Do You Have What It Takes to Be A Successful Freelancer?

Word of mouth ain't all that

Apr 1, 2010 07:29


If you ask a creative how they get their clients, they often say, "through word of mouth." But is this the best way to get new clients? Probably not. Ilise takes a look at why Word of Mouth Ain't All That. Listen in.


Freelancers are small business owners too

Mar 18, 2010 14:11


Here is an interview Ilise did with Jim Blasingame from the Small Business Advocate called: Freelancers are Small Business Owners too.

Week 52, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Year in review)

Dec 31, 2009 14:00


She made it! Listen in to find out if Colleen's year-long commitment to marketing worked...

Week 51, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (The pain of not scheduling)

Dec 30, 2009 10:10


It's the second-to-last week in Colleen's year-long marketing adventure, but never too late (or too painful) to learn a really valuable lesson. Curious? Listen in...

Week 50, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Where opportunity hangs out)

Dec 27, 2009 17:03


At Week 50, a few events occurred that had Colleen taking a long look back at where they came from. The answers speak strongly to the benefits of social media. Listen in for more...

Week 49, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Growing pains)

Dec 8, 2009 14:21


Week 49 brought some serious and unexpected lessons for Colleen: one bitter, one very, very sweet. Listen in...


Week 48, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Thankful)

Dec 8, 2009 06:33


For Colleeen, Week 48 was a rare week off—from marketing, anyway. Listen to the story on when and why that can be a good idea (and what makes it possible, at least in part).

Week 47, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Marketing is talking to people)

Dec 3, 2009 04:47


Week 47 found Colleen continuing her two-week tour of the Pacific Northwest, combining (marketing) work with pleasure in a way that had her questioning what's really work, and what's really marketing.

Week 46, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Chill marketing)

Nov 15, 2009 05:24


46 weeks into this venture, Colleen can say with surety that the best kind of marketing doesn't feel like marketing at all. Listen in.

Week 45, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Getting here from there)

Nov 8, 2009 11:34


A busy week of no real marketing-marketing turned out to be the perfect opportunity for Colleen to review the role that her marketing machine had on bringing the events that made the week so busy to fruition. Listen here.

Week 44: Prospecting

Nov 5, 2009 01:00:34


Here is an interview that Ilise did with Kim Duke, the Sales Diva, for Prosperity Cafe. It's all about finding prospects. Listen in...

Week 44, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Cumulative marketing)

Nov 3, 2009 11:32


This week, the issue of "regular" marketing is suddenly reframed for Colleen: not only is it a marathon, not a sprint (and cumulative, in a most excellent way), it allows for all kinds of adaptive implementation. Listen in to find out why...

Week 43, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Odds & ends)

Oct 28, 2009 10:49


Welcome to Week 43. This week, Colleen has realized that marketing is becoming as much a part of her routine as brushing her teeth. Listen in...

Week 42, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Lessons learned)

Oct 21, 2009 09:39


Ever feel like you wish you could turn back time and "unpublish" something really stupid that you did? This week was like that for Colleen. Check out all the gory details on How She Screwed Up (so hopefully, you don't have to).

Week 41, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (No more!)

Oct 13, 2009 11:08


Colleen is continuing to streamline at a steady pace since her freakout of a few weeks back. She's moving toward her stated goals of clearing backlog and implementing systems that support her work. Listen in for more...

Week 40, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Regrouping)

Oct 7, 2009 15:20


With just 12 weeks left in the year, Colleen is taking a look backward at what's been not-so-hot and what's been fun, valuable and energizing. And she's come up with a list of tactics. Check them out.


Week 39, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Planning to fail)

Sep 26, 2009 12:10


Colleen attended two events this week that have already changed her life—marketing and otherwise—significantly. Listen in to find out more.

Week 38, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Short 'n' sweet)

Sep 19, 2009 04:37


This was one of those weeks where Colleen had to push a little extra hard because so many opportunities came up. Listen in...

Week 38: Now is the Perfect Time for Marketing

Sep 14, 2009 03:58


Welcome to Week 38! Did you know that NOW is the perfect time for marketing?  Listen in to find out why...

Week 37, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Shutting up)

Sep 13, 2009 08:16


One great thing about practicing your marketing everyday (other than, we hope, getting better at it) is that after a while, you have lessons thrown at you so many times, they become useful practice in your everyday, working life. Take shutting up, for example. This week, Colleen looks into the benefits of the fine art of shutting up. Listen in...


Week 36, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Looking back to move forward)

Sep 5, 2009 09:50


It's not everyday that you get yourself. But to commemorate having 2/3rds of a Marketing Mentor calendar under her belt, that's just what Colleen did. Listen to her burning questions (to herself) on how the calendar has worked and what her plans are for moving forward.

Week 35, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (The art of the conference)

Sep 1, 2009 10:09


Ready to learn the right way to prep for a conference? Colleen shares the mistakes she's made prepping (or not) for conferences and gigs in the past -- and demonstrates how to improve.


Week 34, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (It's all in the "ask")

Aug 26, 2009 13:26


What do you do if you're not good at asking for stuff? You look at why. You look at when you have asked, and when you haven't, and what's different. You look at what it could do for your business or you or even the world if your "ask" got an answer.

Basically, you look. That's what Colleen did this week, and here's what she found...

Week 33, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Chunking time)

Aug 22, 2009 17:15


Have you found a schedule that works for you?  This week, Colleen looks into the topic of scheduling and how finding one that's right for you is so important for your marketing efforts.

Week 33: Curiosity, Patience and Self Confidence

Aug 18, 2009 12:34


This week, Ilise is busy getting ready for the Creative Freelancer Conference in San Diego (it starts in 9 days but it's not too late to register). Here is a short (12 minute) excerpt from the session she gave at the HOW Conference in June. In this one, Ilise covers the 10+ skills and personality traits she thinks you need if you are going to run a successful business, whether you're a freelancer or a small business owner.

Week 32, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Bandwidth and reach)

Aug 11, 2009 20:22


This past week, Colleen sent out her 28th email newsletter.  She says things are starting to happen as she tightens her focus and feels it makes for enough of a milestone to reflect on where she's been and what I might need to do in the coming months. Listen in...

Week 31, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Eating elephants)

Aug 6, 2009 17:34


Colleen says that getting your marketing machine up and running is a big endeavor that takes time, patience and a big appetite, much like eating the proverbial elephant. This week, Colleen reflects on some of the help she's enlisted in the eating of her elephant, both the paid and the free (well, paid in time) kinds.

Week 31: Your July goals (and mine)

Aug 3, 2009 03:19


This week, Ilise tells how she met her July goals, and shares some useful resources to help you meet yours too.

Week 30, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Marketing on the road)

Jul 30, 2009 15:38


This week, Colleen takes to the road!  She learns how she's grown, and also  where there's still room to do so.  She calls the week of traveling "wildly illuminating."  Listen to find out why...

Week 30: Why I don't like "word of mouth"

Jul 28, 2009 10:33


This week's sound advice is the first 10 minutes of the workshop Ilise gave for creative freelancers at the recent HOW Conference in Austin. It starts with her perspective on what's happening now in the economy (and why it's the best time for freelancers to build a business), followed by the myths and realities of being a successful freelancer, including why getting word of mouth isn't such a good thing... Listen in!

Week 29, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Systems and being systematic)

Jul 24, 2009 08:32


Colleen makes personal marketing history this week!  She calls week 29 the week when everything finally came together. She's really beginning to notice that doing her marketing consistently could make a real difference both in how she felt and how things actually worked.  Listen for more...

Week 27, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Accountability, flexibility and room)

Jul 11, 2009 18:06


Type-A personality?  This week Colleen offers a new perspective on business, and demonstrates how she's growing and changing.

Week 27: Is it spec work?

Jul 6, 2009 06:46


Welcome to week 27!  This week, Ilise talks to Jonathan Cleveland of Cleveland Design.  He recently got a project from a travel company with no travel experience by submitting a few designs!  But is it spec work?  Listen in for Ilise's interview with Jonathan.

Week 26, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (The view from halfway)

Jul 2, 2009 13:49


At the halfway point in the year, Colleen takes a moment to reflect.  She shares what she's learned about marketing by doing it every day for the past 6 months.  Listen in...

Week 26: We're half way there!

Jul 1, 2009 03:00


Today is the first day of 3rd quarter. We are half way through the year, the perfect time to look back and look forward to realistically assess what we've done and what we need to be improve. Listen in for Ilise's second quarter results.

Week 25, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Marketing as behavior)

Jun 27, 2009 12:33


This week was all about support for Colleen, both learning the difference it made for her personally, and realizing what a difference it would make if she applied some of the lessons to her own business and her marketing in particular.  Listen in!

Week 25: How to approach a new market

Jun 23, 2009 02:37


When Ilise was in Boston last week, she had dinner with longtime client Jonathan Cleveland. He told her a great story about how he got a project for a travel company without any history of travel related work.  Check it out here!

Week 24, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (This one goes to eleven)

Jun 17, 2009 08:16


Watch out for Colleen, she's really building stamina now. In addition to its cumulative positive effect on your business and cashflow, this week, Colleen benefits from the stamina of doing her marketing chores regularly.



Week 24: One way to set yourself apart

Jun 16, 2009 03:42


How can you really set yourself apart from the competition?  In this week's sound advice tip, Ilise will share what is making people stand out and getting them jobs.

Week 23: Here's my cold calling strategy

Jun 11, 2009 03:50


Ilise has been on a cold calling roll this week.  Listen in to hear her strategy.

Week 23, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (What does the marketing add up to?)

Jun 9, 2009 07:13


Now that we're about halfway through the year, Colleen takes a look at the question of how to measure all this marketing and networking.  How is it converting into dollars? How do you decide how much time to put in, and when (and how) do you decide whether it's working or not?  Let's take a look...

Week 22, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Me-time in a crowded week)

Jun 5, 2009 04:56


This week, Colleen shares her renewed appreciation of the Grow Your Business Marketing Plan & Calendar, and the art of planning in general.  Here's why...

Week 22: Where the work is, right now

Jun 2, 2009 02:59


Everyone's asking: what markets are growing (or declining the least)?  An article in the New York Times gives some insight to one market that might still be going strong, and could be relevant for your business. Check it out.

Week 21, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Reasons this week worked)

May 27, 2009 16:07


As Colleen got back in the saddle, she had a great, productive, FUN week of work and marketing. To discover the "why" behind it, she takes some time to reflect.  Listen in!

Week 21: This week's marketing tasks

May 26, 2009 02:32


Hope you had a good Memorial Day weekend-- and now it's back to work!  Listen in to get some inspriration from Ilise.

Week 20, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Unsticking yourself)

May 25, 2009 05:35


Blind spots and struggles.  We all have them.  And this week, Colleen  realizes that by sharing openly with people, you can get some great help seeing where your own blind spots are, and advice on how to get out of them.

Week 20: How are the calls going?

May 19, 2009 02:26


Welcome to Week 20! How is the marketing plan + calendar working for you?  This week, Start Up Plan users should be cold calling, and Veterans should be crafting a newsletter (in addition to their continued calling).  Listen in for more...

Week 19, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Lessons from maintenance mode)

May 18, 2009 08:10


Still recovering, Colleen talks about what she did accomplish this week (which would seem to be an impressive work load to anybody else!).  She also talks about why she's grateful for her marketing machine.  Do you have a marketing machine that has carried you through less productive times?

Week 18, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Full stop)

May 5, 2009 08:27


Even when she's sick in bed, Colleen still manages to see the bright side, providing 3 great tips to help anyone's self employment journey.  Check them out.

Week 18: Did you Reach your April Goal?

May 4, 2009 02:52


Welcome to May!  How was April for you... did you reach your April goal?  This month, it's time for Veterans to work on their "un-newsletter" and Start Up's to begin their research calling.  Listen in for details.

Week 17, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Failing to plan, and other lessons from the road)

Apr 30, 2009 06:43


In this week's episode, Colleen discusses the cold, harsh realities of what happens when things go haywire. The truth is, we learn some of our best marketing and planning lessons when the road gets rocky. With her humor always in tact, she refers to the Odd Couple episode where Felix shows the group what happens when you A-S-S-U-M-E... Tune in to find out what Colleen learned this week... 

Week 17: Cold Calling Tidbit #3

Apr 28, 2009 02:57


In the third audio cupcake, Ilise and Colleen talk about the realistic and unrealisitc expectations that go along with cold calling... none of which actually happen.  Listen in to find out if prospects ever really hang up on you.

Week 16, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Marketing on the go)

Apr 23, 2009 13:43


A jam packed week of travel had Colleen thinking a lot about her marketing. Reinspired, she asks the question: Can marketing be a tool for changing the world?

Week 16, Day 1: Getting Publicity

Apr 20, 2009 02:51


Getting publicity can help you gain exposure to your prospects and it's a great way to enhance your other marketing efforts.  Ilise gives some tips on getting publicity for your business in today's tip.

Week 16: Cold Calling Tidbit #2

Apr 20, 2009 02:34


Today, Ilise and Coleen talk about a common roadblock to cold calling.  The discuss the question: Do you need to have something ready to send before you start cold calling? Listen in to this short tip to find out. 

Week 15, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Life happens)

Apr 19, 2009 07:56


Things went slightly awry for Colleen this week because of life's surprises, (but she still managed to attend two formal events, a breakfast meeting, and business related socializing.)  She's paid attention to this week's lessons to move onward and upward.

Week 15, Day 1: Cold Calling Tidbit #1

Apr 14, 2009 02:24


Today's cold calling tidbit answers the question: Should you leave a voice mail message? Listen in to find out...

Week 14, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Just go)

Apr 13, 2009 11:24


When it comes to taking the next step in marketing, Colleen realizes that a common pitfall is the idea that you'll never totally be ready. Accordingly, you might as well just get going!  If you're never quite ready, then what does it matter?  Marketing yourself is a work in progress.  What's the next step that you're not quite "ready" for?  Colleen says, just do it.  Listen in for a few ideas on taking that next step.

Week 14, Day 1: Interview with Jennifer Neal, K9 Design

Apr 6, 2009 09:09


Today Ilise checks in with Jennifer Neal from K9 Design.  Has Jennifer's marketing efforts gotten her results this quarter?  Listen in to find out.

Week 13, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Star Wars Marketing)

Apr 1, 2009 13:38


Colleen is really moving now.  And she's offering a different perspective on marketing this week-- Star Wars Marketing.  With her unique ability to keep marketing interesting, Colleen has certainly launched her efforts into a new realm this week.

Week 13, Day 1: Get a little PR

Mar 30, 2009 03:12


Welcome to Week 13! Start Up followers will turn their newly launched website into promotional materials, Veteran's will use their newly re-launched website to inspire a press release. In this audio clip, Ilise talks about valuable resources that can help you get PR for business, whether you're a Start Up or a Veteran. Check it out...

Week 12, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Following up & keeping on)

Mar 25, 2009 17:04


Every small business owner gets their inspiration and support from somewhere, and in this week's post, Colleen shares where she gets hers from... The systems she has in place to keep herself productive and accountable... The people who keep her on track.  Like she says, a good support system really keeps you moving in the right direction. 

Week 12, Day 1: Why you should pick up the phone

Mar 24, 2009 03:38


Are you hiding behind email?  Ilise talks about how picking up the phone this week has made a difference in her business, and how it can make a difference in yours. Listen in to see why... 

Week 11, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Conferences are marketing, too)

Mar 19, 2009 11:44


Giving herself permission  to put the Grow your Business Marketing Plan + Calendar on hold, Colleen immerses herself in the South by Southwest Conferences this week-- and realizes that conferences are marketing too.  Here's what she found out.

Week 11, Day 1: I'm back...and a favor

Mar 16, 2009 04:05


This week, it's time to finish your marketing smart website.  Also in today's podcast, Ilise answers a question from a client: "We are behind in our research calls because we have been making lots and lots of calls to past and present clients trying to drum up business that way, but so far they are all feeling too poor to invest at this time. How do you stay upbeat when faced with so much rejection?" Listen in for her insight.

Week 10, Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Why I Slipped and Why I Prep)

Mar 12, 2009 11:28


This week, Colleen struggles to keep up her lofty goals for 2009 and finds herself slipping.  She realizes that the way things are going, it's impossible to maintain all of her committments. The good news is, she finds a solution... She finds ways to be more productive while spending less time doing work. Sounds good, right?  Listen in to see how Colleen's insight can help you be more productive. 


Week 9, Day 4: Facebook for Feedback

Mar 6, 2009 03:15


How can you make sure your website is marketing smart?  How can you be more like Google?  And how can you use Facebook to better launch your website.  Listen to today's audio clip to find out. Ilise has also come up with a Marketing Smart website checklist to help you.  If you'd like a copy, email with the subject "Marketing Smart Checklist."

Week 9: Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (A website is a work in progress!)

Mar 5, 2009 13:08


This week, Colleen talks about the work in progress that is her website.  She also discusses the difficulties of being the (self-proclaimed) world's worst self-promoter.  She talks about testimonials-- Are they the  plague of the earth, or a useful marketing tool?  Listen to this entertaining episode to see how humor helps get her through, and allows her to make further progress in her marketing journey.


Week 9, Day 1: March is here! How to Get Feedback

Mar 2, 2009 03:11


Welcome to March! We've been spending a lot of time on our web presence.  Today, Ilise talks about how to get the most useful feedback on your site.  Who should you ask?  What should you ask?  Listen in to find out...

February Wrap Up

Feb 27, 2009 03:55


Goals, goals, goals!  Ilise gets personal and talks about her goals and how she's doing with them.  Listen in to find out. How far have you come towards your monthly goal for February?  The good news is, March is just around the corner-- a new month, a new chance to pinpoint a goal and work towards it.   

Week 8: Veterans Calendar- communicatrix (Newsletters and other webalicious marketing)

Feb 24, 2009 14:19


She's a self-proclaimed militant fanatic-maniac when it comes to newsletters.  This week, Colleen is rocking and rolling-- getting her newsletter archives in order and completing other web marketing tasks.  How are you doing with your marketing efforts?

Week 8, Day 1: Wrapping up your online presence

Feb 24, 2009 03:06


We're into week 8 and making some serious progress!  Great job!  This week, it's time to wrap up your online presence.  Listen in for some guidance and inspiration. 

Week 7, Day 4: Blog or Newsletter?

Feb 19, 2009 04:16


Ah, the age old question... Blog or newsletter-- which one should you have for your business?  Ilise discusses the pro's and con's, and helps you decide what's right for you.

Week 7: Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (See my site, hire my brain)

Feb 19, 2009 12:50


Following the Grow Your Business Marketing Plan + Calendar has inspired Colleen to get some longstanding goals checked off her list.  She's pulled together her "hire me" page, created a landing page for acting related sites, and created a contact form page!  Looks like the marketing calendar sparked some excellent progress!

Week 7, Day 1: Case Studies

Feb 16, 2009 02:51


Welcome to week 7! Do your clients ever ask for more information about exactly what you do?  A case study is the perfect way to tell them.  Here is the format that Bending Design uses for their case studies-Project, challenge, solution, results, testimonial from the client.  Check it out!

Week 6, Day 4: Excellent Examples of Links Pages

Feb 12, 2009 04:43


Want to see what a good links page looks like?  Check them out here!  Ilise talks about each page, and tells us why they're excellent.  If you're working on a resource page-- these are sure to help.

Karen Zapp, Fundraising Copywriter:
Joan Damico, Integrated Marcom Copywriter:
Ann Gallops, Feng Shui Expert:
Bob Bly, B2B Copywriter:

And of course, the Marketing Mentor Resources page.

Week 6: Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Expressing your Expertise)

Feb 12, 2009 11:39


Want to demonstrate your expertise and help people at the same time? Then it's time to make a resource page on your website! This week, Colleen talks about sharing information wisely via her resource page, and rounding up her past newsletters into one place.

Week 6, Day 1: Your links page

Feb 10, 2009 03:17


Do you have a website?  If not, it's time to get started on making one.  If you do, it's time to refresh your content and develop a resource or links page. This week, Ilise talks about how to develop a resource page or links page that supports your positioning.

Week 5: Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Do your bios suck?)

Feb 9, 2009 13:03


Have you ever had trouble putting what you do into words?  This week, Colleen shares a three-step tool that will help you write a powerful bios for your social networking profiles.  It's a simple tool, but it will help with writing any bio you'll need in your marketing endeavors!

Week 5: Who (and how) to endorse

Feb 5, 2009 03:12


One of the best ways to get new clients-- is to have them read (or hear) the wonderful things that other's have said about working with you.  In this audio clip, Ilise talks about how to get (and give) endorsements or recommendations on LinkedIn

2009: Week 5 (Day 21)- Your social networking profiles

Feb 2, 2009 03:38


Did you meet your goals for January?  If not, take a few minutes today to create your goals for February. The focus for February is developing your online presence with social networking sites like,,,  These sites can be used very effectively for marketing, but remember to be professional.  If you have profiles on other social networking sites, please send them to Ilise.  Thanks!

Week 4: Veterans Calendar- communicatrix- (Ramping it up YOUR way!)

Jan 29, 2009 09:13


This week, Colleen isn't sharing demos or how-tos, but a cautionary tale about what not to do.  Remember, it's important to do one task at a time and not to get overwhelmed.  Colleen stresses the importance of measuring success by small I did-its!  She also talks about taking care of yourself, and adjusting the marketing plan so it becomes more personalized, and more realistic, for you.

2009: Week 3: Interview with Jennifer Neal of K9 Design

Jan 22, 2009 09:30


Today, Ilise interviews Jennifer Neal from K9 Design. Jennifer reveals the tools that make up her "Marketing Machine" and descibes exactly how she uses them and fits them into her weekly schedule.  This will be a great help for anyone who is trying to work out the logistics of thier marketing efforts. Listen in, and find out how to make your own marketing machine work for you.

Week 3: Veteran's Calendar- communicatrix- Cold Calls!

Jan 22, 2009 08:22


This week, Colleen tackles unchartered terrian with her very first cold call ever.  Was it as bad as she'd imagined?  Listen in to find out!  You will also find some excellent tips on how to make cold calls a success.

2009: Week 3- Listen to this free consultation with designer Dennis G.

Jan 19, 2009 23:07


Check out this free consultation Ilise had with Dennis G. Dennis is a designer in Indiana who generously agreed to let Ilise tape the phone consultation they had last week. They talked a lot about how he can leverage what he does know as he enters new markets. Here's what else he wanted to know:
-What if I have never focused on marketing? Can I start with nothing?
-How do I brave a new industry (when I'm not experienced)?
-How do I know if the market I've chosen is the "right" market?
-Isn't it expensive to join lots of trade associations?
-How do I navigate the ups & downs?

If Dennis' questions sounds like questions you have, take a listen and see what you can learn.  You can also take advantage of your own free half hour phone consultation with Ilise by clicking here.

2009: Week 2, Day 5- Is your target market mushy?

Jan 16, 2009 01:56


How are you doing at the end of two weeks?  Is your target market clear, or mushy? Have you found a list you can work with, events you can attend, or places you can interact with your prospects?  Listen in for some inspiration from Ilise. 

Week 2: Veteran's Calendar- communicatrix (Prepping for the Dreaded Cold Call)

Jan 15, 2009 12:45


Colleen, aka the communicatrix, will be straight with you- she hates cold calls.  Here, she talks about how she's putting aside her hatred and  getting ok with idea of calling someone.  Keeping it low key, being prepared, and the hamburger theory, can help you get your head around the idea.  Listen in, and follow along.  Remember, you're not doing htis alone, you've got Colleen as your guide.

2009: Week 2, Day 4- Are you still listening?

Jan 15, 2009 03:34


Are you still listening?  Good job!  It's important that you don't give up. Just a few minutes each day can make a big difference in the long run. Listen in today for some more guidance and inspiration. 

2009: Week 2, Day 3- Don't get overwhelmed

Jan 14, 2009 03:00


Marketing doesn't have to be overwhelming.  Today, Ilise deals with not getting overwhelmed, and answers a few questions about trade associations.  Thanks for following along, and keep up the good work!


2009: Week 2, Day 2- Lists of Actual Prospects

Jan 13, 2009 03:32


Things are really moving now-- it's time to get a list together of actual prospects!  Listen in, and for your reference, here are the links Ilise talks about in this podcast. 

YPulse Mashup (conference for marketing to youth that provides a list of attendees)Massachusetts Surgical Centers (web site that provides all contact info)

2009: Week 2, Day 1: Trade Associations Galore

Jan 12, 2009 04:22


After a successful week 1, we're on to week 2!  Today it's time to look more closely at the trade associations you've found.  What kind of contact information can you find? P.S. We've compiled a list of all the trade associations you've sent in just in case you need help.

Week 1: Veteran's Calendar- communicatrix (Wrangling your contacts)

Jan 9, 2009 17:14


Marketing Mentor's Colleen Wainwright, aka communicatrix, begins her 52-week marketing endeavor with the Grow Your Business Marketing Plan + Calendar (Veteran's version) as her guide.  She talks about Week 1's challenge, wrangling your contacts into a database, and gives you all the specifics you'll need to do the same. If you're following the Veteran's calendar, or you're an experienced marketer setting out on your 2009 marketing plan, Colleen will get down to the nitty-gritty and give you the support you need.  Join Colleen as she embarks on this marketing journey!


2009: Week 1, Day 5- What to Look for in a Market

Jan 9, 2009 03:38


You've found some trade associations for the markets you're interested in-- now what?  Now it's time to find out which ones will make your marketing easiest. Listen in to find out how, and by the end of today you should be able to pinpoint your market!  You're doing great-- and we look forward to continuing this journey next week.

2009: Week 1, Day 4- How to Choose a Viable Market

Jan 8, 2009 03:00


Today you will take your list of 3 possible markets and figure out which market will be the most viable for you.  It's important that the market you choose needs you, realizes that they need you--and is willing to pay for your services. How can you tell which market is the most viable? Listen today.  And don't forget to send your list of markets and trade associations to Ilise, at

2009: Week 1, Day 3- Identify your Market

Jan 7, 2009 04:23


It's time to identify your market!  Every successful business needs a well-oiled marketing machine to keep the prospects coming, and that marketing machine should focus on one market to start with! How do you choose your market?  Listen to find out.

2009: Week 1, Day 2- Set your goals & how much marketing?

Jan 7, 2009 03:35


How much marketing should you do?  Find out in today's tip.  Also, today is the day to set some quantifiable goals for the year ahead.    And don't forget to send them to Ilise at so she can keep track of them.  Listen and follow along with today's tip- and your business will be growing in no time.

2009: Week 1, Day 1- Let's get started!

Jan 7, 2009 03:16


Week 1, Day 1- It's time to get revved up for a successful year of marketing!  Which tools should you use? How can you make sure your pipeline is full this year? The answer is in your marketing plan. Without a plan, the feast or famine syndrome is right around the bend. 

What if you don't have a plan?  We created one for you.  It's called the 2009 Grow your Business Marketing Plan + Calendar (, and following it will help you  keep your pipeline full. By working with this plan you will gain new clients, business will grow, make more money, learn and refine tools and strategies to benefit your business for years to come. 

Join us for daily motivation to help your business grow, whether you're using the Marketing Mentor Plan + Calendar or your own. 

Here's to a successful 2009!

Episode 13- Ch 12: How Should I Grow My Business?

Jul 21, 2008 23:30


What does it mean to grow your business?  Everybody has a different definition.  To some it means moving out of the spare bedroom, to others it means making more money. In Episode 13, we will help you take a detailed look at your business, decide what growth means to you, and determine how to achieve that growth.

Episode 12- Ch 11: What Should Be in My Contract?

Jul 14, 2008 22:07


You got the job!  But it's not time to celebrate just yet.  Before you get to work on the project, there is some business to take care of.  A contract! Episode 12 will talk you through contracts, why you need one, and what yours should include.

Episode 11- Ch 10: What Should Be in My Proposal?

Jul 7, 2008 19:45


Proposals- documents that detail what you do for a client and under what terms- are essential to the selling process.  In Episode 11, we discuss your proposal, and how to make it work as a marketing and sales tool.    Join us!

Episode 10- Ch 9: How Do I Talk About Money?

Jul 1, 2008 20:22


Here's the reality. You are in business, and you can't do business without dealing with money.  In Episode 10, we deal with the ever important question, How Do I Talk About Money? You will learn that your prospects don't expect you to work for free and that talking about money is OK.  Once you get comfortable with money matters, business success is at your fingertips!  Join us... 

Episode 9- Ch 8: What Should I Charge?

Jun 23, 2008 18:33


The fact is, most designers are not charging enough.  In this podcast, we cover the nuts and bolts of estimating a project and figuring out how much to charge.  One of the most important parts of knowing what to charge is understanding what you're selling.  Join us to answer the question, How Much Should I Charge?

Episode 8- Ch 7: How Do I Manage My Money?

Jun 16, 2008 13:46


There are two aspects to the pricing side of your business: how you deal with your own issues about money, and how you deal with your clients.  Episode 8 shows you how to deal with your own money issues.  Until your own issues- such as payment terms and policies- are resolved, you can't begin to think about how those issues affect your clients.  Remember, the goal of your business isn’t just fulfillment, it’s PROFIT!  Join us...

Epidode 7- Ch 6: How Should I Follow Up?

Jun 9, 2008 19:50


It's important to be in front of your prospects.  If you are, they will be more likely to think of you and send a project your way!  In Episode 7, we will discuss the in's and out's of following up, why it's so important, and the benefits you will see when you do it properly and consistently.


Episode 6- Ch 5: What Should I Say?

Jun 3, 2008 18:38


One of the biggest obstacles to marketing is not time or money.  It's not knowing what to say.  In Episode 5, you'll learn about what to say to prospects and clients in all sorts of situations: In person, on the phone, and online.

Episode 5- Ch4: Which Marketing Tools Should I Use?

May 26, 2008 20:38


Podcast episode #5 talks about networking, e-mail marketing, online marketing, cold calling and promotional materials, and discusses which of these marketing tools you should use to get the most benefit to your business.   

Episode 4- Ch 3: How Should I Present Myself?

May 18, 2008 19:47


It's not just corporations that need to brand themselves. Individuals and small businesses need to stand out from the crowd too!  Find out how in Chapter 3's podcast, How Do I Present Myself?  This chapter deals with the "I" vs. "we" question, naming your business, finding your own personal brand, how to talk about your services, and so much more... Join us.

Episode 3- Ch 2, Part 2: How Can I Find Clients and Prospects?

May 12, 2008 18:37


The second episode of Chapter 2, How Can I Find Clients and Prospects, deals specifically with small design businesses and how they can find profitable new clients and viable prospects.

Episode 2- Ch 2, Part 1: How Can I Find Clients and Prospects?

May 5, 2008 13:30


Chapter 2, How Can I Find Clients and Prospects, is broken down into 2 episodes.  The first episode shows solopreneurs how to find clients and prospects.  It will deal specifically with those who work as a one person design business.  Do you have a larger small business?  Stay tuned for next weeks episode on how small businesses can find clients and prospects!

Episode 1- Ch1: Who is My Market?

Apr 23, 2008 22:41


Chapter 1: This podcast answers the question, Who is My Market?  Designers will pinpoint the best market for them, learn how to dominate that market, and understand why specialization is so important to the success and profitability of their business.