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Brutally Honest: No Bullshit Strategies To Evolve Your Creative Business

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Brutally Honest is chock full of advice, insights, best business practices, and actionable strategies as well as 20 compelling, real-world case studies from other creative professionals. Critical business challenges explored and addressed in this book include: positioning & specialization, marketing, case studies, new business development, strategies for qualifying new cli Brutally Honest is chock full of advice, insights, best business practices, and actionable strategies as well as 20 compelling, real-world case studies from other creative professionals. Critical business challenges explored and addressed in this book include: positioning & specialization, marketing, case studies, new business development, strategies for qualifying new clients, pricing, retainers, proposals, contracts, organizational structures, staff management, client & project management, creative briefs, and industry trends. Unlike many other professional practice books for our industry, Brutally Honest is designed for visual learners (like us!) and includes colorful, illuminating information graphics, checklists, as well as short, impactful, and insightful sound bites and quick wins.


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Brutally Honest is chock full of advice, insights, best business practices, and actionable strategies as well as 20 compelling, real-world case studies from other creative professionals. Critical business challenges explored and addressed in this book include: positioning & specialization, marketing, case studies, new business development, strategies for qualifying new cli Brutally Honest is chock full of advice, insights, best business practices, and actionable strategies as well as 20 compelling, real-world case studies from other creative professionals. Critical business challenges explored and addressed in this book include: positioning & specialization, marketing, case studies, new business development, strategies for qualifying new clients, pricing, retainers, proposals, contracts, organizational structures, staff management, client & project management, creative briefs, and industry trends. Unlike many other professional practice books for our industry, Brutally Honest is designed for visual learners (like us!) and includes colorful, illuminating information graphics, checklists, as well as short, impactful, and insightful sound bites and quick wins.

30 review for Brutally Honest: No Bullshit Strategies To Evolve Your Creative Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nela

    This book is aimed for (aspiring) agency owners, but even as a solo creative with lots of experience I found some new and interesting information. The content is super broad and despite being 270+ pages long it's light on text and doesn't go into a lot of detail on many subjects it touches on. It's useful in identifying areas for improvement, but you'll likely need a different specialized book to learn how to actually do the thing. I appreciated seeing real examples of project/client qualificatio This book is aimed for (aspiring) agency owners, but even as a solo creative with lots of experience I found some new and interesting information. The content is super broad and despite being 270+ pages long it's light on text and doesn't go into a lot of detail on many subjects it touches on. It's useful in identifying areas for improvement, but you'll likely need a different specialized book to learn how to actually do the thing. I appreciated seeing real examples of project/client qualification sheets, sample questions you should ask them, negotiation tips, etc. I see myself referencing it quickly when a situation comes up that's been discussed in the book. Why "only" 4 stars? In my entirely subjective brutally honest opinion: 1. This book is openly biased against freelancers and solo-preneurs. It even suggests freelancers are "unqualified" to do creative work (page 102). If you're a one-person operation with no intention to hire, half of the book won't apply to you. 2. Chapter accent colors change throughout the book, and there are several pages with tiny white text on yellow background & vice versa. Even in a book aimed at designers, I don't appreciate having to squint while reading, especially at the end of a long work day. It made me super cranky so I had to mention it here.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    This is such a powerful book! It’s a great book to use as reference! Even as a full time designer, I found this book to be so informative and so useful! I’m very interested in starting my own business and this book will definitely help me on my path.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Murray

    If you work in a creative industry and haven't had any business education this will serve as a really good primer. After you're finished reading it, keep it handy for reference and be surprised at how logical it all sounds, and wonder how you didn't realize any of it before. If you work in a creative industry and haven't had any business education this will serve as a really good primer. After you're finished reading it, keep it handy for reference and be surprised at how logical it all sounds, and wonder how you didn't realize any of it before.

  4. 5 out of 5

    J. Parlett

    As far as design business books go, this one is my current favorite. As the title suggests, Emily is straight forward and knows her designer / industry creative audience really well. I enjoyed all of her opinions and her well-informed suggestions based on direct experience and the experiences of consulting incredible agencies. Our studio, Little Jacket, read it together and our entire staff found it useful for internal improvements and how we manage our clients. For example, we’re using our coll As far as design business books go, this one is my current favorite. As the title suggests, Emily is straight forward and knows her designer / industry creative audience really well. I enjoyed all of her opinions and her well-informed suggestions based on direct experience and the experiences of consulting incredible agencies. Our studio, Little Jacket, read it together and our entire staff found it useful for internal improvements and how we manage our clients. For example, we’re using our collective book notes to plan for some process changes next year and some of the questions in chapters 1 and 2 in our end of year retreat. I’ve been suggesting it to my design friends that have gone on to start their own agencies. It’s not too dense and it does not contain business fluff. It’s more like a get-your-shit-together-seriously vibe. Highly recommended for anyone working in the design / branding / visual communication business, or maybe even freelancing in general.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Patra

    This book is a great continuing reference for me. Since picking it up I've been able to make little changes in my practice immediately. I really appreciated the chapter on drafting agreements because it provides real examples of both content (logical things to remember to include) and an effective tone of voice (which I never would have thought to reconsider from the standard legalese). There's also a great chapter on crafting an effective creative brief and its headache-reducing powers througho This book is a great continuing reference for me. Since picking it up I've been able to make little changes in my practice immediately. I really appreciated the chapter on drafting agreements because it provides real examples of both content (logical things to remember to include) and an effective tone of voice (which I never would have thought to reconsider from the standard legalese). There's also a great chapter on crafting an effective creative brief and its headache-reducing powers throughout the design process. Not everything in the book resonates, as to be expected, but, nevertheless, I found great value in hearing an informed perspective about the business of design and then weighing what bits of advice to incorporate in my everyday.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michu Benaim

    Good tips and some really interesting case studies. Great to pinpoint some insights about what we may tweak as a studio. There were some pretty arbitrary-seeming pieces of advice ("print and physically mail cover letters and cases to your cold contacts" rather than emailing), for instance, that lacked any supporting data about whether this actually works. Some of the 'common-sense' advice was helpful: clarity in contracts, stuff like that. But for all its emphasis on presenting case studies and Good tips and some really interesting case studies. Great to pinpoint some insights about what we may tweak as a studio. There were some pretty arbitrary-seeming pieces of advice ("print and physically mail cover letters and cases to your cold contacts" rather than emailing), for instance, that lacked any supporting data about whether this actually works. Some of the 'common-sense' advice was helpful: clarity in contracts, stuff like that. But for all its emphasis on presenting case studies and results for design projects, I ended up feeling like the data on results was missing in many many chapters.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Sugarman

    Definitely one of the most accurately titled books I've come across. Lots of great advice that has inspired me to look at my business in new ways. I appreciate all the case studies and action-oriented tips. My only criticism is on the section with white text on a yellow background. That is just too hard to read. Definitely one of the most accurately titled books I've come across. Lots of great advice that has inspired me to look at my business in new ways. I appreciate all the case studies and action-oriented tips. My only criticism is on the section with white text on a yellow background. That is just too hard to read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Benjamin

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carisa Holmes-Peters

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tomasz Maciąg

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas P

  12. 4 out of 5

    Salina Vanderhorn

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Rutledge

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gage

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate Jeremko

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mike Tully

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brent Long

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erin Stowell

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Washburn

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aakash Dhingra

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alessandro Guaschino

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cait

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kenney

  26. 5 out of 5

    Roy Calvillo

  27. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Beaudoin

  28. 5 out of 5

    Duane Smith

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Prouse

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zack

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