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, if you’re interested, here are the best books about freelancing to help you get started.
Some are riding in the big, beautiful, and profitable wave. But other committed creative freelancers built their solo businesses from the ground up well before the freelancing business was so popular. More and more people are entering the so-called freelance life — some by choice and others by necessity.
Are you new to the freelancing blueprint? To find your feet, you could do with some practical business 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? Some independent gig workers are already skillfully riding the emerging gig model.
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, 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 look at some of the best freelance books 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
There’s no doubt that the economy is transforming, and increasing numbers of people are making the leap from employees to freelancers or solopreneurs. That giant step offers some remarkable things — freedom! — but it’s also undeniably intimidating, and for a good reason.
Newbies 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 shifting to create a very successful freelance business in the creative industry.
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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 penned with aspiring professional writers in mind — and it’s going to be supremely useful to you 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 offers universally-applicable grit-building and time-management tools that will benefit aspiring freelancers in other sectors as well.
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2. The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams―On Your Terms — Sara Horowitz
You can learn everything there is to know about freelancing from The Freelancer’s Bible. The detailed road map and reference will help you launch your freelance career.
Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union and the Freelancers Insurance Company, arms new freelancers, who are bound to feel 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 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.
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3. Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business — Joy Deangdeelert Cho and Meg Mateo Ilasco
Another of the most insightful 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. It 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 beneficial.
Creative, Inc. offers motivational interviews, successful business-building tips, and professional advice – all in one.
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Genuinely Useful Productivity Books for Freelancers
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.
On the other hand, working from home determines their working hours. They might have deadlines, but they have to manage their own time.
The freedom to decide when you work offers is one of the greatest appeals of 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 learning freelancing resources, learning about productivity and time management is the key. Here are some of the best books to learn freelancing the right way.
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4. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich — Timothy Ferriss
In this book, Ferriss promises to teach you to earn $40,000 monthly even if you don’t end up working four hours a week. The 4-Hour Workweek is still one of the best freelancing books to dive into for a simple reason. This popular freelance book opens your mind to a new way of working. It represents a paradigm shift.
Depending on the line of work you’re in, you may get some useful tips, including outsourcing the work you can in an effective manner.
If you don’t, the sheer creative and optimistic flow that spills into your brain straight from this book still makes The 4-Hour Work Week worth a skim.
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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 practical 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. The book 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 professional field because nobody can reach their creative peak if they’re just not feeling it.
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6. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results — Gary Keller
This book can work wonders for anyone, but it’s also one of the must-read books about freelancing. As Keller drags you along on his personal life against multitasking, you’re likely to cover a lot of familiar territories — 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 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.
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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 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.
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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 because you are the sort of person who hates blowing their own trumpet.
Book Yourself Solid is the book you need! Port teaches you why and how to dedicate time to growing your freelance business online without guilt.
It builds a solid network of fellow freelancers and quickly establishes solid working relationships.
You might even work up the courage to try cold pitching once you’ve embraced the principles in Book Yourself Solid.
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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 (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. It also highlights developing smooth working relationships, setting up rock-solid contracts, and excelling as a freelance designer.
Starting with the initial question, “How can I get new clients?” to the more tricky topic, “How much should I charge for my design work? Any aspiring freelance designer can benefit from the comprehensive solutions provided in “Work for Money, Design for Love.”
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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 a newbie to a pro in the profit department by helping you work on your business mindset.
Time is money, and investing your time in these books will give you the edge you need to succeed!
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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 convinced that your freelancing career necessarily means going through periods of “famine” as well as “feast.”
You Are a Badass at Making Money will transform the way you think about yourself and your profitable potential, and that’s why it should be on your list of books about freelancing to read.
Despite that fact, it’s also a fantastic 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 reason your attitude toward money has a lot to do with how much of it you make.
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11. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine — Mike Michalowicz
Those seasoned freelancers who would instead prefer a business book that shows how to make your business sustainably profitable.
Those using practical step-by-step tips will love Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine.
It’s an important read for freelancers (in any field) who are early in the freelance world because the accounting strategies Michalowitz offers are simultaneously underused and proven effective.
Do you want money to flow in, and do you need to know how to use it to grow your freelance business and become a business owner? You are in the right place.
Some of the best freelance books to read aren’t books about freelancing — 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 essential for your current and future success.