A business expert for creative professionals

Ilise Benun is the author of seven books for creative professionals, a national speaker and teacher to the creative class. Through her mentorship programs, courses and materials, she helps you build the creative business that provides the life and freedom you want.
Ilise Benun

Industry-shaping programming and leadership

In her more than 30 years in coaching, she’s developed and delivered programming for creative professionals as instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Savannah College of Art & Design. She’s also co-founder and host of the creative business and design entrepreneurship program for HOW Design Live, and has conducted marketing workshops for art schools and trade organizations catering to the creative community, including International Freelancers Day, the NYU Entrepreneurship Summit, HOW Interactive Conference and many more.

"A good mentor can help you distill the most valuable lessons learned from your raw, hands-on experience faster and more effectively than you could do alone."

Jake M.

Advice for (and from) the independent worker  

After quitting her first two jobs out of college (and, OK, one of those may have been involuntarily resigned), Ilise declared herself unemployable and launched her own business as a professional organizer. She started out helping her friends in the creative community in New York stay on top of unpaid bills, unfiled paperwork, and all the other things the artists weren’t getting around to doing. As she spent more time with these stacks of paper, she invariably came across some sheet at the bottom of the pile that piqued her curiosity. When client after client brushed these scraps off as unrealized self-promotion ideas, Ilise recognized the crux of the starving artist problem and set out to help them carve out lives of stability and prosperity through small, consistent acts of marketing. She’s passionate about helping creative professionals break out the feast-or-famine cycle to build the businesses and lives they love.

Nationally published author

A nationally published author and speaker, Ilise hosts two podcasts, writes one of the 100 Best Business Blogs, and publishes a bi-weekly email newsletter read by more than 15,000 creative professionals. She’s been featured in and contributed to Entrepreneur.com, HOW Magazine, Toronto Globe and Mail, Inc. Magazine, Nation’s Business, Self, Essence, Crains New York Business, Dynamic Graphics, Working Woman, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Denver Post, Fast Company, and more.

Live training, courses & events

Ilise is programming partner for HOW Design Live and co-founder of the Creative Freelancer Conference, launched in 2008. She’s also developed and delivered online courses and content for the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Graduate Program, and HOW Design University, covering topics from graphic design proposals, earning more, strategies for freelancers, successful online marketing plans, and how to start as a freelance business.

She was also the lead developer of and trainer for Freelancers Union’s online program “Freelancer 360: How to Be a Better Boss of You,” a series of workshops and panels led by expert freelancers covering work-life balance, thriving networks, lasting client collaborations, optimizing day-to-day operations and planning for growth.