Best for: Freelance graphic designers and illustrators
Favorite quote: “…remember that as a freelancer it’s not necessarily about building wealth, but about the process of how wealth is built.”
This was a quick and easy (and really well-designed) read that highlights all of the main obstacles you will encounter with your freelance business and how to overcome them. I liked that it doesn’t go into too much detail on every aspect of freelancing although I really appreciated the hourly rate calculator and the examples of invoices. There are some good tips on how to work professionally with clients and the benefits of an agent. Although the book focuses on designers, stylists and writers can easily apply this knowledge to their freelance careers.
The Renegade Writer
A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success
by Linda Formichelli & Diana Burrell
Best for: Beginner freelance magazine writers
Favorite quote: “Break this rule: You have to live in New York City to succeed.”
I feel like I’m giving a really good secret away by telling you about this book. The entire premise is based on breaking the well-known rules about freelancing. Each chapter has a theme, but other than that it’s a line list of rules and why you should break them. If you seriously want to make an income based solely on freelance writing, these ladies have figured out the ways to get the most bang for your buck in the least amount of time. This book will definitely give you the confidence you need to get your freelance writing career off the ground.
The Anti 9 to 5 Guide
Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube
by Michelle Goodman
Best for: Anyone who is slightly curious about making a living outside of a cube farm
Favorite quote: “As SHE-E-O of your own enterprise, you call the shots now.”
I have wanted to pick up this book for a long time and, I have to say, it wasn’t what I expected. I was hoping for tips specific to freelance writing, but the book is more like a really long overly-analyzed discussion with your big sister on every single career/lifestyle option that lies before you. Which is great for someone who is just beginning to think about life outside the cube. Maybe you want to start your own business, go part-time so you can spend more time with your kids, travel the world, or become a firefighter. This book will cover all of that. It’s a long read, but the author has a sense of humor and the book gets better with each chapter. There are encouraging “action plans” and comical quizzes along the way. I picked up her second book, My So-Called Freelance Life, which I think is a better fit for me.
What I Learned
If you’re interested in freelancing, it’s important to do a bit of research and get inspired by others. But it’s important to draw the line at some point — instead of reading about freelancing, you need to start freelancing! There’s only so much you can learn from a book. You need to get your hands dirty and dive in headfirst. What I did learn from all three books was this:
- Keep your full-time job while you get your freelance business off the ground.
- Save at least 3 months of living expenses so you don’t go broke immediately after you quit your job.
- Only buy the necessities in the beginning. Don’t blow all your money on expensive equipment and supplies. You need to make a profit (and accept the fact that you’re business could fail in which case all your “investments” would be a waste).
- A majority of your time MUST be spent marketing yourself and constantly pursuing new jobs and clients.
- You are now the boss, assistant, accountant, and HR manager so you’re going to be BUSY multitasking and learning new skills. (There’s a lot of new things you need to learn about taxes. And insurance. And negotiating contracts.)
- The freelance life is not all glamour (a la Carrie Bradshaw) but once you get it figured out, it’s well worth the time and effort.