Book Review: Talent is Not Enough: Business Secrets for Designers

Mike Grill // October 25, 2017

As a somewhat creative, somewhat web development, somewhat business consulting firm, Businesstastic has to be nimble in its thinking. We also read a lot to ensure that we can come up with creative solutions to lots of different problems. One of our recent reads was Shel Perkins’ Talent is Not Enough: Business Secrets for Designers.


Talent is Not Enough

Perkins hits the nail on the head with this book; not everyone has the business acumen to know the ins and outs of setting up a good, sustainable business. In fact, we think it would be safe to say that the vast majority of folks don’t know how to set up a business, manage the finances, ensure that tax laws are followed, and still come away from it all at the end of the day doing what they love. It gets even more complicated with a design or creative firm as you have to decide on so many things before you even land your first client. How will you bill? Do you charge a flat rate or do you account for junior and senior level staff? How often do you invoice? How transparent should you be with your invoices? What about taxes? How do you ensure that your work is not infringing on trademarks and copyright laws?


Perkins explores and explains, in a good enough depth to not lose anyone, but without getting overwhelming, the ins and outs of setting up what could be a very complicated business. He points to lots of different resources to further your education, and makes some excellent suggestions – hire a CPA sooner than later – that make moving from a world of freelance or contract work to building your own business seem much less daunting.


Business Secrets for Designers

It makes sense: write a book to help non-business school folks start a business. Designers have been spending their time designing after all and learning tax codes and proper hiring practices, especially as a freelancer simply don’t make much sense. Until it does make sense. The great part about Talent is Not Enough: Business Secrets for Designers is that there is value right off the bat. Say you are a freelancer who just landed a huge project and you need help. Talent takes you into how to work with contractors and how to ensure that they get paid and you get paid and your new, big client comes away from the project singing your praises.


You don’t have to be setting up a full fledged design firm in order to get value from this book, either. You can be looking to work with another contractor or freelancer long term – Perkins gets into the nuances of different business entities and what each means for you.

You also don’t have to be trying to build a creative business in order to find value in Talent is Not Enough. There are plenty of worthwhile, common sense business tips, ideas, and suggestions that make the book a good buy for anyone thinking of doing business in the modern world.

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