Behance: Building a business for creative people

Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance.com

Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance.com

How do you make productivity and efficiency sexy? Ask Behance co-founder and CEO Scott Belsky, and he doesn't blink an eye. Why, of course, they are sexy!

Scott and his team have built an entire business around helping visually creative people -- from web designers to art directors to filmmakers -- become more productive. Belsky's motto: "We want to help organize the creative world." Today, millions of such "creatives" visit his network of sites and purchase Behance's various organization and productivity products and services.

It all started in 2006 when Belsky and co-founder Matias Corea began a blog to muse on how creative people organized their work lives. "I had friends in creative industries -- advertising, film and other creative areas -- always talking about what to do with their careers, but then six months later, they hadn't moved forward," explains Belsky. On the blog, he began profiling the outliers who were especially organized and productive, asking such nuts-and-bolts questions as, "How do you manage your calendars"; "What are your time-management tricks"; and, "How do you market yourself?"

Within these anecdotes, Belsky began to see patterns. He and Corea developed an organizational system called the "Action Method." Belsky promoted the theory on his blog and received such positive feedback that he and Corea designed a notebook called the "Action Book" to help people put the methodology into practice. (Think: DayPlanners on steroids for creatives and you get the idea.) The Action Book was Behance's first money-making product.

Using much of his own $100,000 in savings, Belsky, along with Corea and Behance's founding technology team (Dave Stein and Chris Henry) -- decided to solve another problem: showcasing creative work online. The Behance Network, Behance.net, was born. That site goes beyond productivity, helping creatives showcase their portfolio work so it is searchable by anyone. Once they upload a portfolio, they can make themselves available to employers. If Behance's customers upgrade to its new $11/month ProSite service, they can even keep their work synched across a multitude of sites. The company's 25-person team has come up with a number of other initiatives -- from a sold-out Conference called The 99% to a job-posting service for creatives. "Our goal is to be mission-driven and medium-agnostic," says Belsky, "we want to empower creative careers and move the industry forward."

In our interview with Belsky, we discussed how his team bootstrapped the company, his theories around being mission-driven and much more. Watch here:

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