Brutally Honest is:
- Opinionated, direct, and, at times, downright painful. Don’t agree with everything? Great. Use Brutally Honest as a tool to spark debate and stimulate deeper thinking about your business.
- Real-world smart. I didn’t read about these strategies in business books; I’ve lived and breathed them for over 20 years as a consultant to creative businesses. Just like you, spreadsheets give me a headache.
- Inspired by my clients and colleagues and a direct result of the collective learnings I’ve gathered from the mistakes they’ve made, the challenges they’ve encountered, and the innovative business ideas and strategies they’ve experimented with, refined, and implemented.
- Written by someone that loves design (this is actually what I have a degree in!) and cares about our industry.
- Delivered to you the only way I know how: Brutally Honest!
“I never make a serious business move without first consulting Emily Cohen. With ‘Brutally Honest’ Emily makes her immense professional knowledge available to you. Ignore this book and abandon all hope of a career.” – James Victore, Victore Productions
What makes Brutally Honest different?
Yes, there are many business books out there, many of them are even for creative firms and some of them have been written by my colleagues and friends. But, I’ve always felt there was a need for a different type of business book. One that is smart and insightful, yet designed well and fun to read. One that includes a larger perspective from an industry expert (not just from one firm’s perspective). One that dives deep into a topic, but gets straight-to-the-point with lots of actionable and easy-to-digest insights, tips, and checklists.
It also includes a collection of real-world, insightful, and honest case studies that provide a rare behind-the-scenes look at a variety of tested, effective, and often times unique business strategies from your colleagues and peers: 2communiqué • Barrel • Hagopian Ink • Hunt Design • ink + mortar • Intend Creative • Kiss Me I’m Polish • Knox Design Strategy • Local Wisdom • Louise Fili LTD • Matchstic • MCKL • MSLK • Suburbia Studios + FunctionFox • Visual Dialogue • Worstofall Design • We Are How
“Thought you knew everything about running a successful design firm? Think again. Emily’s insights make her the designer’s secret weapon—her book will show you the way.” – Louise Fili, Louise Fili Ltd
“I would be a brutal liar if I said that working with Emily Cohen did not change my business. Emily’s work made me finally understand the real value of my own work. And, I’m sure her book will do the same.” – Matteo Bologna, Mucca Design
Brutally Honest covers the who, what, when, why, & how of:
- Evolving and positioning to stay competitive and remain sustainable
- Marketing and promotional strategies
- Writing effective case studies
- Building new relationships and pursuing new opportunities
- Qualifying and winning the best prospects
- Evaluating and refining your organizational structure
- Recruiting and managing staff
- Crafting effective, value-added pricing strategies
- Writing winning proposals
- Crafting retainer relationships
- Understanding must-have industry terms and conditions
- Improving project and client management strategies
- Learning about industry trends and peer-created best practices
Why did I write Brutally Honest
As a brutally honest consultant, I have been honored to consult and work with many leading design firms across the country. Through these experiences, I have developed, tested, and curated key business insights and strategies that have helped firms become more effective, profitable, and fun to work at. I am a designer by education, but quickly transitioned to the business side of the creative industry out of love and passion. I love to share this passion and my expertise through speaking engagements, guest posts, teaching, webinars, industry activism, and, now, Brutally Honest: No bullshit strategies to evolve your creative business.