About Ilise

Ilise Benun's picture

Ilise Benun is the author of 7 books, a national speaker and the founder of Marketing-Mentor.com and the Creative Freelancer Business Conference (now in its 7th year), one of 5 events that make up HOW Design Live (www.howdesignlive.com).

Since 1988, she has been providing business coaching, advice and accountability for designers and other creative professionals who are serious about growing their business. Her books include The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money, The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing and Stop Pushing Me Around: A Workplace Guide for the Timid, Shy and Less Assertive. She also develops curricula and programming for online (and offline) workshops and courses for HOW Design University and the Freelancers Union. She publishes Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor, is lead author on 2 blogs and hosts an online store, Marketing-Mentor-Toolbox.com, featuring tools such as The Designer’s Proposal Bundle (Volumes 1 and 2) and The Pricing Bundle.


Through Marketing Mentor (since 2003) and before that (since 1988) through a sole proprietorship called The Art of Self Promotion, Benun has consulted with thousands of freelancers and creative professionals (including designers, writers, photographers, consultants and other service-based solopreneurs and freelancers) on their marketing, money and related business issues.  She provides basic business training, tailored guidance, accountability, encouragement, brainstorming, a sounding board and sometimes a bit of nagging.


Since 1993, Benun has been conducting marketing workshops for art schools and trade organizations that cater to creative professionals, including the Freelancers Union, HOW Design Conference, HOW Interactive Conference, Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario (Canada), Graphic Designers of Canada, NY Designs ( LaGuardia Community College/CUNY), AIGA, Spark, Graphic Artists Guild, The School of Visual Arts (NYC), Kendall College of Art and Design, Sage College of Albany, New Jersey Creatives, Editorial Freelancers Association, International Freelancers Day, International Association of Business Communicators, Business Marketing Association, NYU Entrepreneurship Summit, the 92nd St. Y and many more.


Benun is the author of 7 books, including, “The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money,” “The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing," “Stop Pushing Me Around: A Workplace Guide for the Timid, Shy and Less Assertive,” “The Art of Self Promotion," "Self-Promotion Online," and "Designing Web Sites:// for Every Audience." She also co-authored “Public Relations for Dummies, 2nd Edition” (Wiley, 2006) with Eric Yaverbaum and Bob Bly. 

She writes a regular “Freelance” column in HOW Magazine and is the lead author on 2 blogs: The Marketing Mix Blog and the Creative Freelancer Blog, and publishes a bi-weekly email newsletter, "Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor," which is read by 15,000+.  Her work has also been featured in national publications (both online and off), including Entrepreneur.comHOW MagazineToronto 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 and more.

Curriculum Development

Benun is also the co-founder and host of the Creative Freelancer Business Conference (part of www.HowDesignLive.com). This event began as a conference where freelancers could learn the business skills they need to run a successful business; it has since evolved into that and much more. It is now a lab where they can practice those skills among their peers and share best practices in both formal and informal settings. The 4 areas covered include:

  • Sales/Marketing
  • Client Relations
  • Pricing and Finances
  • Work/Life Balance

She teaches online courses for HOW Design University, including:

She also led the development of a curriculum for the Freelancers Union on “How to Be a 360 Freelancer” which includes a series of 6 interactive workshops and panel presentations delivered by freelancers covering an arc that includes:

  • Setting a Strong Foundation
  • Developing a Thriving Network
  • Establishing Healthy Relationships
  • Working Smarter, Not Harder on the Day to Day
  • Planning for Growth
  • Work, Life and You: Staying Sane While Managing All Three

She started her Hoboken, NJ-based consulting practice in 1988 and has been self-employed for all but 3 years of her working life. She is a Trustee of the Hoboken Free Public Library and she has a B.A. in Spanish from Tufts University.

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