Skip to Content

11 Best Freelance Books to Learn Independent Gig Work

Did you know that the latest statistics from 2021 show that over 59 workers have freelanced in the US alone in the last year? That translates to a whopping 36 percent of the entire workforce!

Now, some of these independent gig workers are already skillfully riding the emerging gig model.

Riding like a big, beautiful, and profitable wave, while other committed freelancers built their solo business from the ground up well before freelancing was so popular.

More and more people are entering the market as freelancers, though — some by choice, and others by necessity.

Are you new to freelancing? To find your feet, you could sure do with some practical books to learn freelancing. Have you already made the leap, but are you hoping to hone the skills of the trade to rise to new heights?

Interrupting your (perhaps overbooked) schedule to read the best freelance books will pay off.

Do you have a traditional job you hate, and are you considering starting your own freelance business, whether full-time or even as a side hustle?

You guessed it. To make the most of this exciting opportunity, you can’t go wrong by immersing yourself in excellent freelancing books that will give you a much-needed head start.

Let’s take a look at some of the best freelance books that are just waiting for you to grab them off the (virtual) shelf to enrich your skills.

To teach you how to get better at making money and attracting clients, and that will inspire you on your freelance journey.

Best Freelancing Books for Absolute Beginners

Reading a Book

There’s no doubt that the economy is transforming and increasing numbers of people are making the leap from employee to freelancer or solopreneur.

That giant step offers some wonderful things — freedom! — but it’s also undeniably intimidating for good reason.

Newbies who are hoping to avoid rookie mistakes have a whole army of books about freelancing on their side..

These are some of the best freelance books for folks who have recently started, or are considering making the change.

See Related: Best Free Management App for Freelancers

1. Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business: The Complete Guide to Starting and Scaling from Scratch — Laura Briggs

True, Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business was clearly penned with aspiring professional writers in mind — and it’s going to be supremely useful to you primarily if you’re aiming to be a successful freelance writer.

This book has a bit of everything for brand new freelancers who have just taken the leap (or were shoved over the edge).

Including an honest review of your current skills and weak points, ways to find writing gigs and market yourself, and how to pitch your ideas to editors.

Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business also, on the other hand, offers universally-applicable grit-building and time management tools that will benefit aspiring freelancers in other sectors as well.

See Related: Best Freelance Writing Jobs

2. The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams―On Your Terms — Sara Horowitz

Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union and the Freelancers Insurance Company, arms new freelancers, who are bound to be feeling just as overwhelmed as they are excited.

With the practical knowledge they need to make it in this brave new world. From contracts to record-keeping and taxes to networking and productivity, she’s got it all covered.

Because Horowitz masterfully holds your hand as you take this momentous step in your career.

The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams―On Your Terms deserves a spot on the list of best books about freelance work.

Once you’re done reading it, you can refer to the Freelancer’s Bible as a reference book whenever you need to, and that will, in the beginning, probably be often.

See Related: Freelance Photography 101

3. Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business — Joy Deangdeelert Cho and Meg Mateo Ilasco

Another of the most wonderful books to learn freelancing skills, Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business is a great starting guide for wannabe-freelancers looking for motivation.

Also looking for hope with a royal sprinkling of realism.

This might be the best freelance book for graphic designers, photographs, animators, illustrators, and other creative professionals hoping to strike out on their own, but note that writers and accountants may find it less useful.

Creative, Inc. offers motivational interviews, business-building tips, and professional advice, all in one.

See Related: Virtual Vacation Reviews

Genuinely Useful Productivity Books for Freelancers

Reading Book and Drinking Coffee

Some freelancers do commit to fairly predictable working hours — and they may include freelance wedding photographers, in-person translators, tidying consultants, paralegals, and virtual assistants, to name just a few.

Many, on the other hand, work from home and determine their own working hours. They might have deadline, but they absolutely have to manage their own time.

The freedom that deciding when you work offers is indeed one of the greatest appeals of being a freelancer, but be careful.

The flip side of “work whenever you want” can easily be either “the lacking accountability is a haven for procrastination.

Also, Netflix calls loudly” or “oh, no, all my free time, including weekends and holidays, has been taken over by work”.

That’s why, if you’re new to freelancing, learning about productivity and time management is key. Here are some of the best books to learn freelancing the right way.

See Related: Wee Work Remotely Reviews

4. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich — Timothy Ferriss

Even if you don’t end up working four hours a week and still earning $40,000 per month, as Ferriss promises to teach you to do.

The 4-Hour Workweekis still one of the best freelancing books to dive into for one simple reason.

This popular freelance book opens your mind to a whole new way of working. It represents a paradigm shift.

Depending on the line of work you’re in, you may well get some really useful tips, including about outsourcing the work you can in an effective manner.

If you don’t, though, the sheer creative and optimistic flow that spills into your brain straight from this book still makes The 4-Hour Workweek worth a skim.

See Related: How to Hire A Developer Online

5. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity — David Allen

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity demonstrates why you shouldn’t judge a book by its (corny, “looks like your teenager designed it in a free illustration app”) cover.

Look under the hood, and productivity consultant/entrepreneur David Allen offers freelancers plenty of valuable and actionable advice.

Getting Things Done should be on your list of freelancer books to read if you’re the type to work yourself half to death for criminally low rates.

Also, you struggle to keep going even as you feel the resentment (and the nervous breakdown) building. Getting Things Done will show you how to, well, get things done — but also how to be happy while you’re doing it.

That, of course, is an essential part of your success if you’re a freelancer in a creative field, because nobody can reach their creative peak if they’re just not feeling it.

See Related: Determining A Budget for Freelance Web Developer

6. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results — Gary Keller

This book can work wonders for just about anyone, but it’s also one of the must-read books about freelancing.

As Keller drags you along on his personal crusade against multitasking, you’re likely to cover a lot of familiar territory — and be able to make changes to your life that ultimately make you much more productive.

Read The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results if you’re wondering how to get everything done, on your terms, focusing on each task with your entire being.

Best Freelance Books to Attract More (and Better!) Clients

Some of the most useful books to learn freelancing teach new freelancers — and those who simply want to upgrade their lives — how to land the gigs of their dreams, doing meaningful work with clients they love to collaborate with.

We know you want all the answers, and these books are an excellent start.

See Related: Assemble Reviews

7. Stop Thinking Like a Freelancer: The Evolution of a $1m Web Designer — Liam Veitch


Don’t let the title fool you — Stop Thinking Like a Freelancer: The Evolution of a $1m Web Designer isn’t only aimed at web designers.

This great freelancing book dives straight into the core of your desires by tackling topics that range from doing away with nightmare clients.

Becoming a magnet for exciting and well-paying freelance gigs, building a strong and appealing web presence, and (yay) making more money in less time.

See Related: How to Choose A Fiverr Logo Design

8. Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling — Michael Port

So, you’ve come here to find great books to learn freelancing? Chances are that what you’re really after is advice on marketing yourself and getting clients to trust you, perhaps exactly because you are the sort of person who hates blowing their own trumpet.

Book Yourself Solid is exactly the book you need! Port teaches you why and how to dedicate time to growing your freelance business without guilt.

It builds a solid network of fellow freelancers, and quickly establish solid working relationships.

You might even work up the courage to try cold pitching once you’ve embraced the principles in Book Yourself Solid.

See Related: Skyword Reviews

9. Work for Money, Design for Love: Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Starting and Running a Successful Design Business (Voices That Matter) — David Airey

Written specifically with (fairly new, or newly freelance) graphic designers in mind, Work for Money, Design for Love is brought to you by renowned designer David Airey.

The book is packed full of no-nonsense anecdotes and case studies that act as somewhat of an apprenticeship in finding clients.

Also, developing smooth working relationships, setting up rock-solid contracts, and ultimately excelling as a freelance designer.

See Related: Awesome Freelance Business Cards

Great Freelancing Books About Making Money and Running Your Business

Your freelance business might be quite unlike any other, but it is a business. Some of the best freelance books take you from noob to pro in the profit department, by helping you work on your business mindset.

Time is money, and investing your time in these books is going to give you the edge you need to succeed!

See Related: Best Freelance Graphic Design Online

10. You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth — Jen Sincero

All of Jen Sincero’s “Badass” titles are very much worth your time, particularly if you’re just not sure how to get everything done or you’re still convinced that freelancing necessarily means going through periods of “famine” as well as “feast.

You Are a Badass at Making Money is going to transform the way you think about yourself and your profitable potential, though, and that’s why it absolutely should be on your list of books about freelancing to read.

Despite the fact that it’s also a great read for anyone who isn’t a freelancer.

Embrace the spiritual side of the book, even if it feels unnatural to you, and it will deliver results for the simple reason that your attitude toward money has a lot to do with how much of it you make.

See Related: What Freelance Site is Best [Quiz]?

11. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine — Mike Michalowicz

Those freelancers who would instead prefer a business book that shows how to make your business sustainably profitable.

Using practical step-by-step tips, are going to love Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine.

It’s an especially important read for freelancers (in any field) who are early in their career, because the accounting strategies Michalowitz offers are simultaneously underused and proven to be effective.

Do you want money to flow in, and do you need to know how to use it to grow your freelance business? You are in the right place.

See Related: Mistakes to Avoid When You Need A Freelance Writer For Hire

What Next?

Some of the best freelance books to read aren’t books about freelancing at all — but rather important works that help you build skills in your chosen profession, or keep up to date on the latest developments in your field.

Don’t forget to dedicate some time to these trade books, too.

When you’re in the thick of growing your freelance business, reading books may feel like a waste of time.

You may feel guilty, as you’re under the impression you should actively be working all the time. Don’t fall for that trap — professional and business development are an integral part of your current and future success.

Related Resources