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Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  450 ratings  ·  48 reviews
As the hipster classic Craft, Inc. did for crafters, this book will teach all types of creatives illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, animators, and more how to build a successful business doing what they love. Freelancing pros Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho explain everything from creating a standout portfolio to navigating the legal issues of starti ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published July 28th 2010 by Chronicle Books
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Wreck This Journal by Keri SmithThis Is Not a Book by Keri SmithSteal Like an Artist by Austin KleonThinking with Type by Ellen LuptonFinish This Book by Keri Smith
Artsy & Cute Non-Fiction Books
28th out of 113 books — 60 voters
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The Business of Art & Craft
7th out of 52 books — 13 voters

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Nov 18, 2010 Christine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: freelancers, creative people interested in freelancing, start-up business owners
Shelves: nonfiction, how-to
When my sister and I run the world, all college students, no matter their chosen field, will take a basic business course as part of the mandatory freshman curriculum. Having zero business skills is a good way to invalidate any degree. In the freelance world, there’s much more to staying financially afloat than having all the necessary skills to pull off excellent work.

Creative, Inc. is a crash course in business for creative folk, and it’s refreshing to read authors who don’t pretend starting a
This book could very well be the best friend a freelancer could have. I love everything Meg Mateo Ilasco does, and this book is no exception -- it's a perfect starter guide for an artist on the verge of a career. But even though I've been a freelancer for 9 years now, this book comes in like well-needed shoulder massage. It's motivating and packed with so many great reminders & tips & interviews. Highly recommended!
Matthew Ciarvella
I wavered between three and four stars on this one. The book was good and gave me a lot to think about, but the focus and the writing was directed entirely at design, art, and illustration freelancers. I knew from the author descriptions that both authors had backgrounds in freelance design but I was still hoping for a little attention directed at freelance writing or editing. An interview with a freelance writer or editor would have been excellent. Otherwise, I think the book title should have ...more
A friendly motivator even when the advice and rules don't sync perfectly with your mission (not that they ever could; we're all individuals doing different things). Creative Inc. covers all the areas you need to be thinking about and get you headed in the right direction and that's helpful place to start. The interviews with successful freelancers are full of interesting and helpful tidbits. You might feel a little jealous, but hopefully more inspired :)

More specifically, the Making It Official
It was perhaps silly of me to read this book right after Craft, Inc. but I liked to see Meg Mateao Illasco's approach to building a craft business expanded to speak to creative freelance business in general. Similar to Craft, Inc. I liked the authors focus on mission statement and knowing when to stop. I also liked the author's thoughts about collaboration and how to balance your work and your life. I think they make the point very well that a creative person looking to make a go of it must defi ...more
Maybe because I've been freelancing for the past 8 years, I didn't really get much out of this book but maybe for someone starting out it provides good information. I did think their example on how to do an invoice is so completely wrong - one shouldn't provide an itemized list, broken down by time spent to the client. However, I did find the interviews with established freelancers inspiring and interesting.
This was a little hit and miss for me. The resources at the back are very helpful. Nothing was mind-blowingly new information.Some sections were awesome with good information in a clean, detailed format...and others went by so fast that I got whiplash. I think there was one short paragraph about copyright and rights? Kind of an important subject for a freelancer.

The other thing that bothered me was that the freelancer profiles were almost all for people who a) do work for huge, international com
Terry Palmer
Meg Mateo Ilasco & Joy Deangdeelert Cho have come up with a winner. Whether you are a newbe or an advanced professional, they cover most of the ground you may need to advance your freelance business. I especially liked the parts about banding together with other disciplines for a great total creative experience. The concept of collaboration is new to be but will probably be the way to go to get my books to market. thank you to these two who have stepped up and shown the way. Terry Palmer of ...more
Laura Fudge
A brilliant book on freelancing – mainly in the graphic design business. It’s written by two freelancers with lots of experience, and ranges through from whether or not you should be a freelancer through to finding success and expanding your business.

The book looks lovely, it’s well laid out and type-set, and the front cover is gorgeous. The book is peppered of little line drawings and there is an ongoing orange and turquoise colour theme with text and supporting graphics, which makes this book
Kellie Reed
For anyone wanting to start freelancing, this is the perfect book. It gives tips on how to start small and build a business. It also has interviews with freelance artists who talk about how they started and grew their business. I love this book and can't wait to start my own freelance business. With this book, my dream seems possible.
Lexi Smith
This book was very helpful in understanding the fundementals of being a freelancer. It also is one of those books where you can go back and reference it at any time! Great quick read.
Deanna (Anya)
This gives actually stories of artists' types who freelance their work and how they recommend starting your own freelance business out of your home at first. Good comments. Reading slowly. Motivated me to get a brand for my business, while I'm still consuming the contents. Put it down from time to time to read other books. Using it mainly as a resource to go back to for next steps as I am beginning this freelance process. Getting the brand, next is preparing the portfolio. This book does an exce ...more
A good overview and a quick read, with a solid list of resources—but those date fast, so read it soon or not at all. Also, copywriters don't count as "creatives," I guess? It's really more about design than anything else, so if you're a graphic designer, this might be of more use to you.
A greatly informative book for everyone wanting to start freelancing but have absolutely no idea how (like me!). And unlike other books on a similar subject, it directly pertains to creative professionals. There are chapters on seemingly everything and pros and cons for the different topics, so it's quite unbiased.

My only criticism would be where the interviews were placed within each chapter. They are distracting being so randomly placed within the information and would be better at the end of
I only got about halfway through this book, but not because it's bad - it's just not relevant to my life. I'm sure the freelancing advice is excellent, but most of the interviews are with photographers, graphic designers, and illustrators, fields I know (and care) next to nothing about. Don't get me wrong: the writing is friendly and the content is organized well. I just don't particularly enjoy reading books about business management, even those tailored to artsy people. Simply put, I am not a ...more
Chrislene Lombard
This book gave honest and clear step by step instructions on how to start a freelance business and the experiences a freelancer may encounter. It was geared towards visual artists so I didn't connect to the book as much but the business skills were relevant. I thought the advice the authors gave were feasible for any freelancer. I would advise this book for anyone that is thinking about starting a freelance business in crafts, graphic design, or illustration. As for other freelancers, you can pi ...more
This is a good little guide to help those who are in creative industries and working for themselves. It is aimed at photographers, artists, and graphic designers, so a lot of it wasn't applicable to me (I blog), but it did have some great info on trying to balance working at home with life and how to separate the two. One suggestion I think I really need to try: get out of your PJs in the morning and into some real clothes!

I am passing this book on to my mother who is an artist - check it out i
Brad Johnson
Whole the tone was conversational, it was a bit mediocre on the information. I would've liked more detail about business and copyright. However, the list of resources in the back covered what the rest of the book missed. I also appreciated the interviews spread throughout the book. They broke up the lecture enough to keep my interest.
Essentially provides a checklist for starting your own freelance business (think graphic designers, photographers, animators, stylists, etc.) Covers everything from choosing a business name to weeding out bad clients to budgeting, pricing and bookkeeping.

My big complaint with this book is that the interviews with real-life freelancers highlight people who are earning $20,000 per job. Not too easy to relate to that sort of paycheck and definitely not typical of most freelancers!
Roxanne Sami
It covers it all up, so much detailed and practical. It only lacks considering freelancing conditions outside the USA and Canada.
Regina Spiker
For those who want to venture into the scary world of creative freelancing - this book is for you. Chock full of information - are you ready to freelance, picking a name for your company, insurance, how and where to publicize, should you use an agent, luring and keeping your clients - just tons of good advice. Plus, each chapter, profiles one or two successful freelancing companies. A great, little compact resource.
Excellent companion to someone thinking about getting into freelance, especially someone many years out of school, totally self-taught (read: learning) in the design field and without cronies to question. This book is written on such a frank and comfortable level it's like getting pointers from a confident, seasoned friend.

Looking forward to Joy's companion book on blogging out in September.
It's not just geared toward first-time freelancers, even though a lot of the information in the book is organized in a step-by-step way. It's encouraging and motivational enough for anyone who's been working for themselves for a while, too. Definitely a book I'll be keeping on my desk, as it was very pivotal in cementing my decision to quit my 9-5 and start up my own business.
Erin Greenough
Really nice quick read to give a basic run-down on the things you need to think about if you want to be a freelance creative. Overall, I found it was good, say, for a student to read who is interested in the idea of freelance, but not very helpful for someone who is seriously in the start-up process of their own business and needs some good black & white business assistance.
I'm about 2/3 of the way through and so far this book is a slam dunk. It is helpful, well-organized and clear and has good interviews with creative professionals. I went to a freelancing workshop last week run by one of the authors. So encouraging for a creative who eventually would like to run a freelance business from home!
Nothing against it, but about half-way through I realized none of this really applies to me, and I'm not going to finish it. If anything, it just made me realize that I don't want to freelance. Possibly ever, lol. What I read was still good and definitely helpful, just not for me.
I guess I've just read too many books on business, and attended a lot of small business seminars, but there really wasn't anything new for me in this book. It was decent, though, and I might recommend it if someone was really starting from the ground up as a creative freelancer.
Good, quick read. The tough parts about starting a business are glossed over (somewhat understandable when the legal and tax issues vary by state and can always change) but they do include references. Still provides a nice outline and food for thought though.
This book definitely clarified a lot of the things I was wondering about freelancing! Such a great resource if you are relatively new to working for yourself, or just wanting a refresher on some important things to keep in mind.
Much of this that was on my level of just starting out were actually topics just recently studied in my online classes. Perhaps in a few months or more, I'll try this again and more carefully review the advanced ideas.
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