Success stories

Overwhelm, meet under control

Say hello to the brave clients who asked for more, struggled less and grew their business their way. Care to join them?

  • From confused to confident

    "In one year, Ilise helped me grow from a confused, frustrated business owner to someone who’s confident, not afraid to take risks, and who has a growing list of success stories to show for it. Through her content and coaching, she helped me get my mindset right, encouraged me to experiment and keep learning, and gave me just the right advice when I needed it the most. Highly recommend Ilise for all creative professionals who need some guidance on growing their business."

    — Rebekah Mays

  • Thanks for my dream business

    “Ilise was incredible! In just a few short calls I was able tocompletely relaxinto the new business model I have invented for myself and give me a clear (and fun!) path forward in my marketing. Concise, straightforward, boots on the ground... I always felt like I was getting not only my questions answered, but was able tolook at the problemsI had been turning over in my head a million times from a new angle—and find unique, creative solutions for them! I really didn’t think that was possible. I was hoping for some marketing advice andgot my dream business out of it! Thank you Ilise, yourenormous expertise and calm, precise naturebrought so much clarity to my work.”

    — Alice

  • Ilise is amazing!

    “Ilise Benun is amazing. I contacted her to get help with one specific aspect of my business. In the process of working together, she helped with so much more. She was able toquickly assess where I am in the lifecycleof my business. Then she providedclear suggestionsfor how to grow. Her recommendations for getting my name out there and increasing sales proved to be effective in short order. Work with her—you'll be so glad you did.”

    — Jane S., Copywriter & Web Designer

  • You’re the BEST!

    “You, IB, are the BEST—great mix ofunderstanding the creative clientpersonally, coupled with great business experience in our field, your focusspecifically on creativesand not just entrepreneurs or small business (following your own niche advice!), with a bit of tenacious ‘personal trainer’ thrown in, that prods and pokes, sometimes reaching minimal discomfort levels, for the betterment of said creative’s business.”

    — Mark M., Creative Director

  • Thanks for saving us so much time

    Thanks so much for all of your great insight. We’ve alreadymade progress in a few weeksthat I think would have taken us years to achieve. (And you can quote me on that.)

    — Angie G.

  • She’s the best mentor

    “Ilise’s empathy is what makes herthe best mentor you would probably meet. She can untie your thoughts within minutes andhelp you focus. If you are struggling to find your niche, verify a marketing plan, or just get started, you simply cannot go wrong with her. Out of words. It can be a life-changer to actually implement her advice.”

    — Mila H., Product Designer

  • Thanks for directing me to all the resources!

    “I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all thehelp, advice, and supportyou’ve given me over the past few months. As a newcomer to the world of ‘creative professionals,’ it was very reassuringto know that there was someone who could guide me in the right direction and could direct me to all the tools and resources I need to start getting clients. It was a real pleasure working with you.”

    — Leslie P., Copywriter

  • I’m headed in the right direction!

    “I want to thank you foryour valuable insightand guidance during our coaching sessions. I really enjoyed it. Though I have work to do, I feel likewe covered a lot, I made good progress and am headed in the right direction.”

    — Jani W., Designer

  • I can’t speak highly enough!

    “Over the years, Ilise’s one-on-one coaching and herno-BS adviceand guidance has helped me learn how to grow my client base. Her mentoring has given me the knowledge and confidence to succeed. Ican’t speak highly enoughof her.”

    — Jenn H.

The guidance I was always looking for, plus a 34% increase!

“When I started freelancing in 2010 I was lost. I knew I wanted the independence of working for myself, and the strong connections with clients, but I didn't know how to get there. I spent the first few years with intense highs and lows of work and income (and no income!). It was not sustainable. 

Three years ago I made a decision that I needed to work with a business coach. I had followed you for years, reading your books and watching your videos. Honestly, I was scared to spend the cash on hiring you. But after our free session I knew that working with you was the right thing to do. There are so many things I love about working with you. What I really have loved the most over the past couple of years is your flexibility to meet me where I'm at, and to nudge me in the right direction.

At the beginning of 2016 I was expecting a kiddo. I was thrilled, but also full of anxiety. I wanted to increase revenue for my growing family, and wanted to take 4 months off for my maternity leave. You were able to shift gears with me and focus on current client relationships, outreach, and getting as much work as I could handle to save money for my time off.

Not only was I able to save for my four-month maternity leave, 2017 proved to be the best year my business ever had. You taught me the art of outreach—staying in touch with current clients, and reaching out to prospective clients. This was perfect for me and manageable for me: I could handle the outreach while growing a baby, and getting ready for this huge change in my life. You didn't push me to do more blog posts or go out and network; you knew I needed something manageable. I am so grateful for that.

With your guidance, I was able to stay in touch with clients and remind them that I was there for them when they needed me. So many of my clients have commented that the reaching out every once in a while is what they love about me: a gentle reminder that I was there to help them. They didn't want to search for people, they're already too busy! The successes don't end there. I was at the beginning of 2018 with a new baby, and all the joys, hormones, and hard work that come with that. I needed to keep the business growing, but be able to do so in a manageable way.

You were again able to meet me where I was at: tired, but excited to be working on my business. You really helped me foster strong relationships before I left for my leave, which enabled me to pick right up where I left off. And the business grew and grew from there. In 2018 I nurtured a baby into a toddler, and nurtured my business with the absolute best projects and clients I have ever had. You nudged me to take on work that felt out of my league, but totally in line with where my market was going: more interactive and web projects, as well as bigger collateral projects.

I’m so grateful for that nudge: for the first time I had two projects with six-figure budgets. From 2017 to 2018, I experienced a 34% increase in business sales/gross billings. But the successes of working with you aren't only the increased sales; it's also the encouragement and confidence that what I do is real. This IS my full-time job. You how me how to have ownership over my life, my work, and my happiness. Ilise, you’re the best. Thank you for everything!!! Here’s to a kick ass 2019!!!”

— Maria G., Designer

  • Thanks for being such a good listener

    “Ilise is truly an expert when it comes to marketing a creative business. As a graphic designer and branding consultant I’ve worked with her for years and can attribute almost everything I know about promoting my business to her wisdom! She has amazing listening skills. When I was working with her as a coach she gave me simple and manageable actions to take to move my marketing efforts forward. I was able to accomplish them since she also provided accountability, which is a great motivator to achieving success.”

    — Julia R., Designer

  • I’m actually excited about marketing — can’t believe it but it’s true!

    “Again, many thanks for your guidance. My new business cards arrived a couple of days ago, and I’ve packed a handful for the conference, which begins in just a couple of days. I feel a lot more prepared for it than I did when we started, and perhaps the preparation will translate into a greater willingness to put myself “out there” and network. I’m actually excited about marketing—can’t believe it but it’s true. You've helped me immensely.”

    — Alice W., Copywriter

My business’ future looks brighter

“Late last year, I knew that in the coming year I’d need to put more focus on growing my marketing consulting business. Two things were driving this: I brought my business with me when I moved to a new state and had no local contacts, and my income recently took a hit when some of my retainer clients cut back on the support I provide them.

I’d known Ilise Benun (in an online way) for years, having listened to her podcasts and read her informative emails. When I saw she was offering a small-group coaching program, I didn't hesitate to sign up. Now, I'm half-way through the group’s six-month commitment.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other creative pros I’m paired with and appreciate the advice and encouragement that they, along with Ilise, give me. Ilise challenges us with regular assignments related to marketing, content development and networking, which helps keep us focused on where best to put our attention.

If you’re at a point where you need to reinvigorate some aspect of your marketing efforts, grab a spot in one of Ilise's groups. The experience has made me more focused and committed, and my business’ future looks brighter."

— Melanie D., Marketer & Writer

  • Thank you for no more awkward conversations with clients!

    “Thanks for what you do—I’ve been following you since I first read your book "The Designer's Guide To Marketing And Pricing" a couple years ago. So helpful to have a resource who understands the needs and minds of creatives! I especially found your Tiered Pricing Kit helpful in helping me see all the services I used to offer for free and how to clearly lay it out for clients upfront, so there are no awkward conversations later on.”

    — Grace L., Designer

  • Thanks for help choosing my niche

    “Ilise wasextremely helpfuloffering me insight to the niche ideas I had. Itset me in the right direction, whereas I would probably have been floundering for some time.”

    — Tammy P.

  • Thanks for your direct feedback

    “I just wanted to say thank you again for all your help. It is a challenge for me to get an outside perspective on my own business, soyour direct feedbackhas made all the difference.”

    — Jen L.

  • Thanks for “walking me up the hill”

    “I’m a former CEO whose had a nice career. I sold my interest in the business but had no definitive plans about what to do next. The one thing I knew for sure, was that I loved to write and that over the years, people always said I “was good at it.” So, there I was, dreaming of entering a new field, with no experience in the “business end” of it.

    To get where I wanted to be, I needed someone to walk me up the hill, so I invested in online seminars searching for help. Some were actually very good, but most were about “what can happen” or “what you can become.” Then I came across one led by Ilise Benun. It was obvious she fully understood the business side of writing. Then, after a 35-year career, most of it spent as a President/CEO, I was a student again and loving every minute of it.

    Ilise put me to work, answered my questions, corrected mistakes and made recommendations. I’m now in a position to build a real business, confident in knowing how far I go depends upon the effort I put in. Ilise Benun, my mentor, has been the best investment I’ve made in a long, long while!”

    — Bob B., Copywriter

  • Your process works!

    “I just had to share this with you. On Friday, I got a response to one ofmy recent marketing emails. I had reached out to this woman (a shared contact) through LinkedIn a year ago and just recently she connected. I sent a follow-up email and she responded with a request to meet in person in September. Just more proof thatyour process works!” 😁

    — Jen L., Designer

  • Thanks for the clarity

    I must say thateven with such a short conversation, I have been able to come away with an action plan and a clearer idea of how to move forward. That is a huge relief for me! I shall certainly be keeping your services top of mind moving forward...

    — Kim G.

  • Follow her advice = success!

    “I’ve been following Ilise for about 10 years now. She is, like she often says,a content machine, and I would add excellent and generous to that moniker of hers.Her content never gets old, and she is always on par with the market needs and trends. I’ve bought a couple of her books, been her coachee, a student at the former How U course, and an eager customer of the materials she puts out every year. One thing I can say is: If you follow her advice and method, the only result you can have with your business is success.There’s no other option. Ilise is, hands down, the Marketing Mentor, and I’m not just saying it. She is the best out there.”

    — Brenda R., Designer

  • Thanks for helping me “design” my life

    “It’s been some time since we worked together, but you did wonders for my business. I’m still working on retainer with a client I picked up specifically using your techniques at a conference 10 years ago, as well as many others I gained through your advice and guidance. When we last spoke I had three employees, but since I have decided to scale back my business to just myself. I’m back to working from home, or wherever I want via my laptop. I feel very fortunate to be able to shape my day-to-day in a way that is fulfilling, enjoyable, and balanced. I essentially have designed my life, and working with you was a huge part of allowing me to do that. The value you provided 10 years ago has continued to this day to help my business, and me personally to thrive, so thank you.”

    — Sharon B., Design Firm Owner

  • Thanks for guiding the process

    “Ilise has a keen ability tosharpen the focusof a message. Great collaborator who uses her knowledge and experience to guide the process and bring together ideas.”

    — Patricia B.

  • Thanks for being so responsive

    “Hey, you are the best, Ilise!Responsive, availablewhen you say you will be, and good ideas to help us non-self-marketing creative director and designers! I’ll be back!”

    — Mark M.

  • Thanks for refreshingly no-nonsense advice

    Ilise is a powerhouse of deep expertise for designers looking for guidance on how to take their business to the next level. I first learned of Ilise’s services when she spoke at an AIGA NY event many years ago. Since then I’ve continually sought her advice via her podcasts, blog posts, in-depth Marketing Mentor bundles, and a consultation.

    She practices what she preaches—her target audience is designers and it shows in the extensive, timely advice offered in her published materials. I highly recommend her Marketing Mentor bundles as they have all addressed business situations that I’ve run up against as a designer, and having these resources is truly like having a personal mentor. 

    Whenever I take advice from Marketing Mentor, I am newly energized and inspired to keep growing my business—and letting go of routines and behaviors that no longer serve my business. Because of Ilise’s refreshingly no-nonsense advice, I have gained clarity on the focus of my business, along with efficiencies in the sales process: how to think through and execute pricing, creating packages, and proposal writing. She also breaks down marketing so that it is realistic and manageable, a huge plus as it is challenging to keep marketing a priority when design work needs to be done!

    Thank you Ilise, for helping me grow my business!

    — Caroline

  • Thanks for helping me get new clients

    “I know it’s been a while since we chatted but I wanted to send a note of thanks. In the short time we worked together, your advice was invaluable. Because of theupdates to my LinkedIn profileper your suggestions, I landed one of mybiggest clients. And thewarm email prospectinghas proven to give me a new client and some great leads that are in the works. I wanted to take the time to say THANK YOU!! I hope to work with you again the future because I would like to see my business evolve and grow more and more.”

    — Christine Case, Bootcamp Designer

  • Thanks for sharing highly relevant information

    “At a time when information is abundant, it’s hard to sift out the most useful nuggets, much less figure outhow to apply them meaningfully. But never fear: Ilise does that for you. Unlike so many consultants who hoard what they know, reserving their expertise for their highest-paying clients, she shareshighly relevant information, casting the widest possible net. I just viewed the session on how to research and identify clients—and what I learned is helping me move from a scattershot approach to a strategic one, just what I needed as Iembark on my new business venture. Now, I can’t wait to sign up for the whole course.

    — Peggy

  • Thanks for the quick diagnosis and direction

    “Ilise was able toquickly size up my challengesas a new entrepreneur and give me some valuable direction. If you’re a creative entrepreneur, I highly recommend her as a coach—you’ll beinvesting in your own future success.“

    — Brad, Copywriter

  • Thanks for being ‘better than a fairy godmother’

    “Working with Ilise isbetter than having a fairy godmother. She teaches you how to connect with your dream clients and price appropriately, helping you grow your business into what you've always wished it to be.”

    — Kathleen,

  • Thanks for getting me out of ‘feast or famine’

    “Ilise’s guidance and support helped me move from thefeast-or-famine cycle—in which I did sales calls during slow times, then dropped the ball completely when busy—to acomprehensive marketing programthat has transformed my business. In our year of work together, we refined our firm’s positioning,launched a dynamic new website, started amonthly newsletter campaignand gottwo articles publishedin a major industry magazine. I narrowed our area of specialization after she helped me see how much easier and more effective that made marketing. Once we did that, the opportunities seemed more abundant, not less. Best of all, I’m working with more my dream clients doing my dream projects.”


  • Thanks for the great insight and tips

    “We sureenjoyed your talkat EFA—everything waspertinent, digestible, relatable, and fun…just what we want from our communications. Beyond the great insights and tips, I learned a lot observing youreffective communication style: the relaxed cadence, pauses, audience exchanges, succinctness, and humor. It was a pleasure! Now, to integrating some of thosebrilliant strategies.”

    — John Ewing,

  • Thanks for the confidence

    “I really love youronline freelancing course. It helped me a lot and kind ofopened my eyes. The thing is, some of what I’ve learned I kind of already knew (deep in myself), but I always kept myself down becauseI was a bit afraidto be self-employed. I know there is still a long way to go, and I have to change my homepage, write down my values, positioning/specialising,but I know that I cando that now. Thanks to you!”

    — Isabella H.

  • Thanks for being 100% clear in your delivery

    “My first impression of you was on a phone-based interview where you were the guest. I first thought you sounded marmish. But the things you said made a lot of sense despite my initial hesitance. The more I listened to you, the more I realized that I could fully understand and follow every word you said. You were 100% clear in your delivery. I could follow you every inch of the way through your presentation. That was probably what first converted me to be a fan.

    The more I listened, the more I realized what you offered, I could do. So I looked into your books and packets. YIKES!!! The pricing about sent me running out the door. But then... again... I looked more and saw there had to be something to this or how could you ask $100 for this book or $50 for another? I saw that you had put a lot of work into your packets. Also I saw that this wasn't fluff. There was very well thought-through processing.

    The more I followed, the more I realized that what you offered was doable, reasonably affordable, but not rock-bottom-bargain-basement-caca. You built trust and value on a very steady, consistent basis. I drift off then I drift back, and arrive convinced that your methods are valuable and worth working toward.

    What you offer is genuine in a way that very, very few people can replicate. It's more than the sum of all the elements that make it what is is, such as persistence, clarity, patience, pragmatism. You are solid without being rock-hard.”

    — Steve

  • Thanks for the help getting started in my own business

    “Things are fantastic.Perhaps a little too fantastic. With your insights to get me stargted, my business is off and running. So much so thatI can’t keep up with the demand. I turn down many more projects than I accept! I’ve built up a base of 10 clients, mostly friends or friends of friends, at ad agencies, direct clients or their own firms. A nice mix of assignments, from respectful, appreciative people and something different to write about every week or so. Your expertise onnegotiating pricehas been especially helpful. With so many choices, I hold out on price and have had to do very little discounting.”

    — Nancy W.

  • Thanks for helping me reach my 5 -year goal

    “Five years after we started working together, I’ve fulfilled all my goals and exceeded my income goal. I’ve been able to narrow my niche to one specialty. And I’ve expanded my company to included an on-demand team of 10 to 15 freelancers.

    You’ve played a big part in my success and I continue to encourage people who are starting their own companies to reach out to you for counsel. Thanks for everything.”

    — JG

  • Thanks for the confidence!

    “I want to thank you for all of your teaching. I first found you on CreativeLive a couple of years ago. I had just lost a job and decided it was time to start my own photography business. Your teaching gave me the confidence I needed to begin and feel like I knew what direction to head. I used your idea of writing contracts with my clients and it works! I am getting paid!

    My business has grown each year but I have been living in feast or famine. Now I am ready to learn marketing and build a bigger clientele. Ilise, you are the only teacher out there, in my opinion, who offers practical advice that works. And I love your teaching style: bottom line. So many others offer too much ‘chit chat’ and very little professional practicality. I took copious notes durning your CreativeLive session because so much of what you teach is actually useful!!”

    — Julie L.

  • Thanks for the direct and impactful call

    “I’ve done free calls before, but none were asdirect and impactfulas my call with Ilise. I wasworking on a complex proposaland feeling incredibly overwhelmed. Ilise dove right in and got to the root of the issues. In less than 30 minutes, shegave me the clarity and toolsI needed to simplify my process and in turn, the proposal.”

    — Shannon, Design Firm Owner

  • Thanks for saying it like it is

    “I saw Ilise present at a small networking lunch, and was so impressed by herstraightforward, honest, clear ability to communicate so simply the complexity that is running your own business. But most importantly,she's a model for women: She says it like it is, doesn't shy away from money talk, and knows what she is worth and doesn't take less. We should all aspire to be just like that.”

    — Terri T.,

  • Thanks for the helpful, confidence-building nuggets

    “Thanks so much for yourgreat presentation. I've scoured the web for the volumes of useful advice out there, fromclient management to pricing to prospecting, and wasn't sure I would learn that much more. But your presentation offered many helpful,confidence-building nuggets and I’m glad I went.”

    — Kimberly K.

  • Thanks for being a valuable resource for my business

    “In one fell swoop, Ilise asked the questions to which I needed to find answers, got a sense of who I was and where I was going, andstep-by-step directions to get where I now knew I wanted to go. She iswarm, open, encouragingbut firm. (Read the rest here.)”

    — Ian, Illustrator

  • Simply scheduling the free session freed me up!

    “I scheduled a mentoring call with Ilise to get feedback on an idea for changing the way I run my business. Just scheduling the call freed me up to start thinking differently, and I spent the afternoon brainstorming and researching.

    By the time Ilise and I spoke, I had a lot more clarity in my own mind, which was amazing. Talking through the idea with Ilise and hearing her feedback made it even more obvious to me that this was clearly the direction I needed to explore. I truly felt like something inside me had released. I could breathe more easily and see more clearly. I'm not exaggerating when I say the change was physical in addition to emotional. I slept better. I FELT better—and I’m taking concrete steps towards the goal I defined. 

    If you’re on the fence, schedule your call. The results are nothing short of amazing, and there is no hard sales pitch. Ilise is genuine and kind, and you‘ll feel like you‘re talking to an old friend—who also happens to be incredibly wise.”

    — Abbi P.

  • Thanks for the actionable and inspiring tips

    “Fabulous talk. Most excellent, actionable and inspiring. Wow. I used the ‘How much is your budget?’ line to secure a fee for a speaking gig at a place where speakers are generally not paid at all. So, hurrah!

    It’s already working. I’m grateful. I liked the no-nonsense vibe of the workshop and am excited to put more of your tips into action.”

    — Laura Silver, Author of Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food

  • Thanks for 18% growth

    “I worked with Ilise over a period of one year and her advice and support led to an18% growth in our sales. Her unfailingenthusiasm, intelligence and intuitive graspfor marketing were of a tremendous value to my company.”

    — Robin,

  • Now I cry less and earn more!

    “As a sensitive creative who struggles with self-esteem, I priced myself too low and felt guilty about charging higher prices. As a result, I experienced moments of burnout and depression. To stop this, I watched Ilise Benun's CreativeLive Course: Command the Fees You Deserve and read her book, The Creative Professional's Guide to Money.

    Ilise understands the insecurity problems that us sensitive entrepreneurs experience and she confronts them head on. I learned to become more objective about my work and money. I don't use my ‘worth’ as a pricing factor anymore because it's too subjective. I charge higher prices because I need to make a living, not build my self-esteem. Now I cry less and earn more!”

    — Beth R.

  • Thanks for the proposal bundle—I got the project!

    “I hadn’t done a proposal in a long time, so when a new prospect asked for one, I immediately bought your two proposal bundles and used them as a guide for flow, what to say, how to say, checklist, etc. Last week I submitted the proposal when I met with the prospect in person. As soon as she pulled it out of the envelope and flipped through it, she said "You win for best looking proposal, I can tell you that right away!" I did it with a lot of help from your proposal bundles! I'm glad to have one finished and feel more prepared for others that may come my way. THANK YOU!

    One week later, I was awarded the proposal! I’ll meet with them tomorrow to nail things down, but they want to start right away. They said they hope to go with the third option, which was the most complete and expensive. So thanks so much for all of your stellar advice! I’m thrilled with the bundles I bought. They were very helpful to say the least!”

    — Kathy

  • Thanks for invaluable content and helping me close 6-figure contracts

    “Over the course of the past several years, I have poured through hours upon hours of Ilise’s Marketing Mentor content. Her book The Designers Guide to Marketing and Pricing helped me build a successful creative agency. Her Proposal Bundle helped me close six-figure contracts.

    Years later, after leaving the agency, I took those same skills and applied those to building a booming freelance career. Ilise’s content is truly invaluable to anyone wanting to launch or grow their creative career.”

    — Jake Jorgovan,