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12 Books That Will Help You Grow Your Freelance Career

David Yeo
March 26, 2023

books help grow freelance career


I think one of the best things about being a freelancer is all the unique learning opportunities we have.


In fact, there’s so much information dedicated to the career floating about. Websites, podcasts, whole communities.


Books, probably hundreds of them. Which is what we’re gonna be looking at today.


I’ve compiled a small list of the best freelancing books (in my opinion) that you should check out! Best of all – many are written by our fellow freelancers in the field!



Read These 12 Books To Grow Your Freelance Career


1. The Freelancer’s Bible by Sara Holowitz



The Freelancer’s Bible covers almost every essential thing a freelancer needs to know about the career. It dives into detail on essential topics like creating contracts and negotiating with clients.


Not to be blasphemous, the Bible is written by a freelance messiah herself. Sara Holowitz is the founder and executive director of one of the biggest freelance NGOs in the world, Freelancer’s Union.


If you’re devout to the career and willing to dive deep into it, definitely always have your Freelancer’s Bible by your side!



2. The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss


The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss


Tim Ferriss is one of the most peculiar yet influential people around. Through his antics such as trying to master japanese horseback archery for productivity, he’s earned the moniker of The Human Guinea Pig by New York Times.


Tim approaches life and career development in a whole different way. To quote, him in The 4-Hour Workweek:


Tim Ferriss

To enjoy life, you don’t need fancy nonsense, but you do need to control your time and realize that most things just aren’t as serious as you make them out to be.”


In this book, with his laid back yet focused attitude, Tim surprisingly touches on many interesting, overlooked but essential topics with masterful wit.


Topics such as scalability, outsourcing, automating the menial tasks and much more. His thought process shines light on an ingeniously lazy and lackadaisical yet highly effective means of working less, but getting more done.


Any freelancer would benefit greatly from understanding his thought process and how he maneuvers around being so efficient yet chillax about everything.


If you want to build towards sitting back and sipping on a coke while generating a decent income as a freelancer, give this book a try!


Also, if you’re interested in learning more about Tim’s insights, you should also definitely check out his podcasts where he expands upon his teachings and goes in-depth on specific topics.



3. Company Of One by Paul Jarvis


Company Of One by Paul Jarvis


Described as “the friend that every creative needs”, author, tech designer and seasoned freelancer Paul Jarvis is quite famous for his “against the grain” approach to freelancing.


When most freelancers focus on getting bigger and expanding, Paul’s ideas focus on the contrarian views that business growth isn’t always good, and isn’t always required.


The anti-guru is chock-full of real world knowledge to share and isn’t afraid to show the less pretty side of things, explaining how working alone as a freelancer is more than enough to earn a high income. And how focusing on different aspects of the career can help you grow as a solo artist.


Packed with over 20 years of freelancing experience, Paul also encourages true soloists to take risks and explore new territories as a means to grow and shine in the industry.


If you’re the type of freelancer that thinks soloing is the best approach for the career, then Company Of One is the one for you!



4. Stop Thinking Like A Freelancer by Liam Veitch


Stop Thinking Like A Freelancer by Liam Veitch


Oh boy, when every other book in this list is like a cradle that nudges you softly into the career, this book slaps cold hard reality into your face like a cruel mistress.


When it comes to sharing ugly truths and hard reality checks on freelancing, nobody is as brutally honest as FreelanceLift’s Liam Veitch.


Veitch shares his experiences and countless failures from his early days as a freelancer in his book, Stop Thinking Like A Freelancer, and how he climbed up, broke through and came up on top of the industry.


Like said cruel mistress, this book keeps you coming back for its invaluable tips and lessons on surviving and excelling in the industry.


Through a no-nonsense approach, Stop Thinking Like A Freelancer highlights the dark underbellies of freelancing, while igniting your hopes by providing honest and handy actionable tips to overcome the bad stuff.


For any freelancer that wants to be fully aware of all the potential lows of their career path and be prepared to face the problem, definitely give this a read.



5. The Freedom Figure by Adam Fletcher


The Freedom Figure by Adam Fletcher


The Freedom Figure is a humorous and light hearted yet honest book about the ins-and-outs of the freelance industry.


For example, Adam starts off by explaining the whys and hows of the global market shift in an hilariously witty and thought-provoking way. He talks about it through weird metaphors about overcrowded parties and goes off on a tangent of roasting old people.


Yet, somehow through all of this funny shenanigans, what he says about the industry and society make so much sense. It’s such an out of the box style thinking, yet once readers grasp it, it’s so simple you’d feel a d’oh moment for not figuring it out yourself.


That’s just the beginning.


Adam masterfully shares much more witty insight based on his experience on freelancing topics that really matter. Things like how to make the most of your marketing, how to become your own boss, the formula to “luck” and much more.


Overall, The Freedom Figure is a charming book that shows you innovative ways of creating a more future-proof life of excitement, adventure, freedom, travel, wealth, and meaningful work.


I’d recommend this book for all freelancers, just because of how funny yet thought provoking and useful the information is.



6. Dear Freelancer by Brittany Melton


Dear Freelancer by Brittany Melton


There are dozens of books out there that talk about how to get into freelancing, but not a lot that discuss the mental and emotional investment you have to make as well.


Sans the sunshine and rainbows, Dear Freelancer also highlights the mental toll this career can bring.


Topics cover often overlooked concerns such as once we’ve figured out our deliverables, how do we survive the constant hustle? How do we overcome loneliness? How do we survive a dry spell?


Through Dear Freelancer, web designer and professor at PBAU Brittany Melton shares her story and the harsh and painful lessons that she has learned in her career along the way.


The book acts as a guide and mental support for freelancers with its bite-sized, easy to remember, nuggets of wisdom.


In high hopes, Dear Freelancer was written with the intent to help fellow freelancers break out of the typical “Feast and Famine” lifestyle by providing freelancers with encouragement and a mental toolbox needed to conquer the industry.



7. The Freelancing Blueprint by Tyler Ford


The Freelancing Blueprint by Tyler Ford


Tyler Ford dives deep into the secrets of the freelance industry in The Freelance Blueprint.


In the book, he argues against the vicious cycle of freelancers bidding against each other for $5/hour gigs and proposes a blueprint that most top earning freelancers seem to follow.


Tyler breaks down the freelance blueprint in small, precise and practical steps that any freelancer can follow to become a top earning freelancer in 90 days or less.


The Freelance Blueprint also encourages everyone to try out freelancing, while giving solid reasons and solutions as to why it’s not as hard as it seems. However, for those who already have a specialized skill, Ford goes further in depth on how to best monetize this.


This all encompassing blueprint to the industry has something to offer for every freelancer at every skill level with its general, yet career-specific guidelines and “loopholes” to weave about the industry.


So if you’re looking to build the career, you better [email protected] well have a blueprint with you!



8. How To Be A Rockstar Freelancer by Collis & Cyan Ta’eed


How To Be A Rockstar Freelancer by Collis & Cyan Ta’eed


Despite the corny name, How To Be A Rockstar Freelancer is a hidden gem packed with vast knowledge, tips and tricks on the industry.


You know Envato right? Of course you do!


Well this book was written by founders, Collis Ta’eed and Cyan Ta’eed.


With their extensive knowledge of the industry, they share easy to understand and actionable tips to freelancing.


How To Be A Rockstar Freelancer covers many topics about the career, from foundational knowledge to more specific expert level trade secrets utilized by the highest paid bracket of freelancers.


With the deep amount of rich yet easy to absorb information this book has to offer, it’d be greatly beneficial for any freelancer to give it a read.



9. The Creative Truth by Brad Weaver


The Creative Truth by Brad Weaver


The Creative Truth prides itself as a freelancer’s playbook for starting, building, and enjoying a profitable design business.


Through his experiences, Brad aims to educate creative freelancers and help them prepare for the next step by giving them a roadmap to success.


This roadmap includes actual numbers, real tools and best practices for any freelancer to get started ASAP. Sharing practical tips along the way such as best approaches to get clients and building networks.


They’re all pretty straight forward topics but the best thing about this book?


It offers a companion website that offers up-to-date resources, articles, tools and discussions, allowing freelancers to continue learning as they grow.


Yes, you read that right, it’s a freelancing book that has the power to indefinitely keep on giving!



10. Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson & Jason Fried


Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson & Jason Fried


Rework is a timeless New York Times bestseller that offers freelancers advice and tips on achieving great success in their business.


The book promises to change the way freelancers approach their work forever, showing them how to stop worrying about tasks that don’t bring income, ways to focus on money-making actions, tips on working smarter etc.


Through Rework, Jason and David show freelancers the way to work smart, not hard, and yield exponential results by giving solid advice and tips on the right things to focus on, and how to do it.


Rework is a must-read for any freelancer that has goals of expanding their career into something more meaningful beyond themselves.



11. Creative Inc by Meg Mateo Ilasco


Creative Inc by Meg Mateo Ilasco


Creative Inc aims to teach all types of creative freelancers how to build a successful career doing what they love. The tone is quite fun as it’s accessible, spunky and packed with actionable advice.


With that lovely old “aayyy gurl lemme tell you whaddup real quick” chic type soul sister vibe, long time freelancers Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho explain everything from creating a standout portfolio to navigating the legal issues of starting a business.


If you’re a creative, eg, illustrator, photographer, graphic designer, animator etc, you’ll definitely want to check this one out!



12. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau


The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau


The $100 Startup is a life changing book about living to the fullest, finding meaning and purpose — while earning a good living doing it.


The best thing about this book is that Guilleb eau doesn’t just give out advice without any real examples. In fact, he identifies over 50 of the most intriguing case studies of individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment of $100.


He expertly breaks down these case studies into realistic, easy and actionable tips so every freelancer can follow in their footsteps.


If you’re thinking of growing your freelance business into an agency, The $100 Startup is your best bet as a compendium to refer to.



Wrapping Up: Read – To Lead Yourself To Success


Reading is one of the most interesting ways to absorb knowledge.


With these 12 books, all with their own unique tone and insight, you’re transported into different realms; different worlds where various freelancers from different walks of life share their own insights and experiences.


Every author on this list has valuable freelancing knowledge to learn from. By checking these books out, you’ll gain a lot of insight and level up in the ways that you approach freelancing!



About The Author

David is a content creator and freelancer. His journey started with writing songs, poetry and academic dissertations in Vancouver. David has freelanced for multiple companies around the world. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.