December 6, 2012

Industy Insider: Ilise Benun of Marketing Mentor

Filed under: Industry insider — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:59 am

Industry InsiderIlise Benun of Marketing Mentor is an author, consultant, speaker, founder of and co-producer of CFC: the business conference for the creatively self-employed.

Through one-on-one mentoring, she provides practical guidance, accountability and a sounding board to creative professionals who are serious about growing their creative business. She also speaks internationally to trade groups and students. Her books include “The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing,” “Stop Pushing Me Around: A Workplace Guide for the Timid, Shy and Less Assertive,” “The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money.

Ilise has indeed been a marketing mentor for me. Several years ago, I attended one of her marketing webinars that helped me get more organized with my marketing. I met Ilise at the inaugural Creative Freelancer Conference in Chicago in 2008 and we have kept in touch ever since. Her advice and books have been a valuable resource as I grow my graphic design business.

Ilise Benun of Marketing Mentor

Tell us a little about what you do/who you work with.

I specialize in working with self employed creative professionals and I help them get the clients they want at the fees they want to charge.

How has your past work experience influenced your current career?

I actually had very little work experience before I ventured out on my own, or was pushed actually, when I was fired from my second job out of college.  I started helping the creative types who surrounded me in NY and started simply by helping them get organized and get paid. From there it evolved into helping with marketing, pricing, proposals and any other  business issue that presents an obstacle to growing a business.

What is the favorite part of your workday?

I don’t think I have a favorite. Every day is different and I make my own schedule, which is what I like best. I start early and I tend not to work too late. I also take breaks for dog walks or just to clear my head.

What do like best about working with creative people?

Well, not all creative people are alike. Some are flaky and unreliable and don’t usually get far in business. I like working with creative people who are professional in their approach and open to bringing their creativity to the business side of their business.

Tell us about an exciting project you’re working on or have recently worked on.

The world is going digital and the future is interactive. So I just finished writing the 2013 Marketing Plan + Calendar to Get Interactive Work. It’s a simple plan for creative professionals that shows how to tailor your marketing to get the kind of work that is being required more and more: digital and interactive work. It is now available at

Learn more about Marketing Mentor

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August 5, 2009

Have you mentored someone lately?

Filed under: Education,Small Business — Tags: , — lidia @ 3:37 am
Photo by Denzil~ on Flickr

Photo by Denzil~ on Flickr

The June issue of Natural Health magazine featured an article on mentoring that really resonated with me—enough that I kept it on my desk, dogeared, for 2 months. The article highlights four points to mentoring a fledgling business newcomer:

  1. Share your wisdom: in addition to helping someone along in their career, it can also give you a new appreciation for what you do
  2. Find a protegé: if you don’t have someone in mind, search local mentoring groups or educational institutions, such as the DePaul University Coleman Entrepreneurial Center which pairs up young entrepreneurs with mentors
  3. Set a schedule that works: though face time is important, if time is limited, phone and email check-ins can work
  4. Celebrate successes: applaud your protegé’s accomplished goals to help them maintain their enthusiasm and momentum
Courtesy of Natural Health magazine, June 2009

On the road to my own business success, I’ve had many mentors who have helped me along (whether they realize it or not!): my dad, who is also a small business owner (and just darn good at business), my first graphic design teacher Phyllis, who helped me realize I wanted to pursue this profession, my first boss Robin, who taught me the day-to-day activities of running a design studio, not to mention the creative side. And my friend Franny, who coached me through the transition of working for The Man to starting my own business.

Who can you share your knowledge with?