Web Designer Business Book Review: The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing

Web Designer Business Book Review: The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing

I reviewed Ilise Benun’s book, The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing, reading it cover to cover for the second time this year last week.

It’s a total must have for freelancing web designers in business.

Before I tell you what I think, just a note, this is my personal review. It’s completely coming from my perspective as a freelance web designer, and is just that – my opinion only. Others are likely to have other experiences.

My Likes

Little real stories that pop up

The sooner I can take ideas and concepts to reality, the more confidence I get that I can do it too.  I love little stories and applications of business practices and this book has quite a few of them.

The example of earning 40k per year and how to price your hourly rate and how it’s used in your proposals is worth the cost of the book itself. Showing how the actual numbers work out, was well done.

I also like the written email examples in the section on following up. They show you how to be non-push, considerate, and at the same time, move prospects closer to a sale.

This book hits on a lot of stuff you need to know about

It’s comprehensive when it comes to marketing and pricing. From proposals, to following up, to talking about fees, it’s pretty complete.

LOVE – exercises. Do not hesitate to write in the book!

In light green sections, there are fill-in-the-blank exercises that help you do a range of things like honing your marketing message and computing your fees. Well done Ilise!

LOVE – the guidance on honing your niche

Having worked through a web design niche myself, the advice and exercises in the book were great. I especially like the ideas on how to transition from not having one now (reality for many) towards discovering possible ones. Nicely done.

My Dislikes

I want more little real stories.

While there are examples, I want more stories, examples, incidents, mishaps, realities. This really makes me feel like I’m not alone and that I can do it knowing others are. I’d add a few more stories, especially around the hot topics.

Info overwhelm

Though not a fault of the book, it’s a fault of info in general, especially an all-in-one delivery of info like biz manuals, or systems. Us designer types can really lose our minds in ideas (our blessing and curse).

Thus a way to hone and implement an idea is what’s needed for freelancing novices or design shops.

Even though I’m just reviewing this book, the ideas and teachings are good that I want to start implementing them right away and well and, given my resources and goals right now, it’s not ideal. Keeping your brain in check will be tested as you read this.

Again, what I love is …

It hits on two key things us web designers in business need to do/know/breath, which are How to Market and How to Price. This is a very comprehensive guide and something all freelancing web designers should read cover to cover.

A piece of advice from me

I would recommend that you peel through this book like lightening then put it down. It might be hard for creative “idea people” like designers.

Then when the idea-flurry dust settles, think about what you really need most to implement in your business.

Then get support like a coach or accountability buddy (Ilise coaches too – see http://www.marketing-mentor.com) to help you get things done.


In summary, Ilise’s book, “The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricings” is definitely a must have in your business-building book library. If you’re growing or starting a web design business, please devour this book, and use it to get your marketing and pricing in gear.

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