The B-side is built by creatives for creatives and will teach you everything you need to know about owning your own creative business in a fun and energetic way.

The B-side is built by creatives for creatives and will teach you everything you need to know about owning your own creative business in a fun and energetic way.

If you have ever dreamed of making a living doing what you love but don’t know where to start. Or have you already made the leap but want to learn how to do it even better. We know what it’s like to start your own creative business and we’re going to teach you how to do it successfully. This course is built by creatives for creatives and will teach you everything you need to know about owning your own creative business in a fun and energetic way.

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AboutThe SyllabusFAQ
What the heck is this “B-side” business? What’s the B-side all about?
It is a program AIGA Raleigh designed to help creatives become more confident, successful, and knowledgeable as entrepreneurs. Most of us have got the creative side down, but struggle with the business side! The B-side is designed to demystify the business side of creativity biz.

Presentations and classes will be given by local. industry leaders and will include topics such as creating a business entity; handling finances, accounting, and taxes; writing estimates, contracts, and creative briefs; project management; client relationships; and self-promotion/marketing.  Click here for more information

Input? Feedback? Want to get involved? We are designing this program with local creatives in mind. We would love to hear from you. Send us and email at:

Creative Business 101: Getting Started
March 28th // 6:00–8:00 p.m. // HQ Raleigh
Keynote Speakers: Jeanne Taylor, Marketing Director at ShopBot & Woody Holliman, Associate Professor at Meredith College
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In our first B-Side session, Creative Business 101, you will discover what it takes to launch your own creative enterprise. Whether your goal is simply to quit your day job and become a full-time freelancer, turn a craft-based hobby into a lucrative livelihood, or become the owner and creative director of a full-fledged design agency, this workshop will teach you the fundamentals you need to know about choosing a business name, defining your market niche, writing a business plan, raising startup cash, deciding what type of business structure to adopt (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC), registering your business name with the state, and obtaining a local business license. You will also learn some pros and cons of different office/work environments, such as a home office, co-working space, or commercial studio.

Managing Client Relationships : You Want it When?!
April 20th// 6:00–8:00 p.m. // HQ Raleigh
Keynote Speaker: Clay Schossow, Director of Client Relations and Business Development at New Media Campaigns

In our second B-Side session, Managing Client Relationships, we will study the art and science of building positive relationships with our clients. Many creative professionals can’t resist the temptation to trade horror stories about their “clients from hell,” but if we’re truly honest with ourselves, we’ll have to admit there’s some truth to designer Adrian Shaughnessy’s claim that “there are no bad clients, only clients turned into bad clients by bad designers.” As Shaughnessy explained in How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul, “if we want ethical clients, we have to be ethical designers; if we want visionary clients, we have to be visionary designers; and if we want good clients, we have to be ultra-good designers.”

Our speaker, Clay Schossow, will use his years of experience in client relationship-building to address critical topics such as: how to distinguish a good client from a bad one (especially, what red flags to watch out for), starting the relationship on a positive footing, keeping lines of communication open (before, during & after a project), pitching your work effectively, upselling other services or working on retainer, and most important: knowing when to fire a client.

The Money Game: Finances, Accounting & Taxes
May 18th // 6:00–8:00 p.m. // HQ Raleigh
Keynote Speaker: Jessica Jones, CPA

Graphic designers and other creative professionals are often self-employed, but typically receive less business training than other entrepreneurs (if they receive any at all). It may be tempting to regard the business side of our profession as a necessary evil, and a distraction from our true artistic calling, but Jessica Jones is eager to explain why the creative professional who is confident in the administration of their business tasks will actually have more time and energy to focus on their creative work.In this compact, two-hour seminar, CPA Jessica Jones will cover the basics of financial literacy for designers and other creative professionals, introducing some recommended techniques for achieving financial goals and providing resources for working towards a more organized creative business.

Topics will include:
• The Importance of Administrative Time (putting in the effort to prepare for success)
• Setting Mindful Goals: what do you really want to accomplish?
• Creating a Reasonable Budget (that you can actually stick to)
• Keeping Accurate and Useful Records
• Taxes for the Self-Employed (how to avoid surprises and stress in April)
• Hourly vs. Project Billing
• Invoicing & Collections
• Hiring Independent Contractors vs. Employees

Taking Care of Business: Procedures, Paperwork & Project Management
June 15th // 6:00–8:00 p.m. // HQ Raleigh
Keynote Speaker: Karl Sakas, Business Consultant & Coach for Digital Marketing Agencies

In our fourth B-Side session, Taking Care of Business, you will discover what business procedures, paperwork, and project management skills are required to make your creative business successful. Topics will include: The Importance of Putting Things in Writing, Client Questionnaires, On-boarding Procedures, Price Estimates, Contracts, Terms & Conditions, Change Orders, and Creative Briefs.As creative professionals, we tend to assume we will succeed or fail based on our artistic merits. But as Shel Perkins explains in Talent is Not Enough: Business Secrets for Designers, without an understanding and appreciation for business procedures and protocols, we’re unlikely to find the success we deserve.

Our speaker, Karl Sakas, will help us make the best of our artistic talents by providing an overview of best practices in project scheduling and project management, including a review of current project management software. Prior to his work as a business consultant, Karl worked in the industry as a web project manager and operations manager at several interactive marketing agencies—so he really knows his stuff!

Self-Promotion: Marketing your Business & Finding New Clients/Customers
July 20th // 6:00–8:00 p.m. // HQ Raleigh
Keynote Speaker: AJ McDonald

In our fifth B-Side session, Self-Promotion, you will learn a variety of strategies and tactics to market your creative talents and land new clients or customers. Topics will include: defining your brand; identifying your target audience; refining your pitch; acting & dressing the part; soliciting referrals, advertising, PR, and guerrilla marketing.

Our speaker, AJ McDonald will also discuss online marketing strategies (including search engine optimization, email campaigns, and social media).

The Panel Discussion
As a capstone to this series we will invite our speakers plus some local creative entrepreneur to discuss the good, the bad and not so pretty about being your own boss.

What is the difference between the package deal and the individual classes?

We know some creative entrepreneurs will be at different levels in their career, that is why we created a package pricing vs an a’ la carte pricing. The package pricing is designed for the person who will need all the facts, just starting out, or has been freelancing for a while and wants to make that next leap. The a’ la carte pricing is designed for the person who has been in business for a while, but needs a more focused conversation on specific topics.
Here is the pricing of the different packages:

  • Package Deal for AIGA Members: $120
  • Package Deal for Future Members: $140
  • AIGA Raleigh and HQ Raleigh Members: $25.00
  • Future Member: $30.00
  • AIGA Raleigh Student: $15.00

How long is package deal on sale?

The last day to purchase this wonderful deal is March 28th @ 5pm
What should I bring to the event?
We will provide complimentary hot tea and coffee along with water. In order to be environmentally conscious we ask attendees bring a reusable mug for coffee/tea or waterbottle for water.
Since you plan to attend several classes (wink…wink), we recommend attendees bring a notebook to take notes.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?
No, we will have a list of attendees.

Where do I park and it is free?

Depending on where you park you will have to pay for parking. You can park on the street, but depending on the time you may have to use meterd parking spaces.
There are several nearby parking decks:

There are several nearby parking lots:

*City-owned and operated parking facility