Run Studio Run is a book that details how to manage and grow a small creative studio.
Making the book has been a long journey. I wrote it to address a major gap in creative education. I went to design school. I worked as a strategist for big agencies. I learned a lot about making creative work and handling clients. I also happened to learn next to nothing about how to actually run a business. These discussions were either happening behind closed doors or, surprisingly, not happening at all.
So when I had an opportunity to grow into a leadership role at A Hundred Monkeys, I was obsessed with what I didn't know–mainly, how to actually run a company. So to soothe my obsession, I immersed myself in every decent management book, podcast, and case study I could find. I was surprised to find that there really wasn't anything out there that focused on creative businesses so I ended up taking a lot of ideas and practices from other fields and seeing what made sense for my studio.
What started as a deep dive turned into an ongoing practice. Every new resource gave me something valuable I could implement or experiment with. I learned that a small creative studio is the ideal test bed for developing a business. When you're small and open to change, you can make changes in a day that would take a larger organization a year. So after years of learning, experimenting, and developing processes that have steadily grown A Hundred Monkeys, I wanted to share everything I have learned in order to help creative leaders stabilize and grow their businesses. As they say, it's always better to learn from other people's mistakes.
Run Studio Run is a step-by-step guide that helps you look at your studio critically—as a business as opposed to an artistic endeavor. You will establish goals and paths for reaching them. You will see that the more of your business you can commit to process, the more you will free yourself up to do the work you really love.
We're going to work on:
- Your offering
- Studio processes
- Goal setting
- Responsibilities and delegation
- Measuring success
- Finding new work
- The competition
- Negotiation and agreements
- Bookkeeping and accounting
- Studio culture
- And a lot more
Because I'm sure the way we do it at A Hundred Monkeys isn't the only way to do it, Run Studio Run is filled with insights and tips from the leaders of a diverse range of studios including: Commercial Type, Draplin Design Co., Hey Studio, High Pressure Zone, Kate Bingaman-Burt, Manual, Moniker, Mikey Burton, OCD, Perky Bros., Stansion, Tung, Under Consideration, and The Weekend Press.
About the author: Eli Altman is creative director at A Hundred Monkeys, the Berkeley-based naming and branding studio. He has led projects for clients including Google, Samsung, and Target–as well as a wide variety of bars, restaurants and startups. Before joining A Hundred Monkeys in 2009 Eli worked as a strategist at MetaDesign and Factor Design in San Francisco. He has been interviewed on naming and branding with The New York Times, NPR, The Guardian, Inc., and 99% Invisible.
Risks and challenges
While making a book presents plenty of challenges, this is not our first rodeo. The book is already written and in the process of being edited. This is the third book being produced by the team behind Run Studio Run. We learned a lot producing two editions of Don't Call It That and are working with the same editor, copy editor, print broker and printer. Since the books are being printed in Hong Kong, clearing Customs introduces some variability but in the past we haven't run into any hitches.
The main reason we're doing this as a Kickstarter is that we couldn't accurately estimate the demand for the book. Don't Call It That was very niche and this is a lot more broadly applicable so we didn't want to gamble by producing way too many or too few books.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)