Ask most freelancers what they get up to in their free time and many will respond with: READ! When deciding to take the leap, you may not yet be fully prepared for all aspects of the freelancing game. Learning from those with the know-how is one of the best ways to get started and stay on top.

Whether you’re working for yourself or as a solopreneur, it’s vital from day one that you get up to speed on how to run your business. Be it through blogs, e-books or books, there is a huge wealth of information out there. To help you know what to read first, we’ve asked our community for their hot picks. Narrowing it down to a top 10 was tough, but be it for handy tips, meaningful anecdotes, or great insights, we felt that all of these books had significant value to add to your freelancing journey.

Make the most of your break time and read the books that matter. Get that Kindle ready, here’s our recommended list of must-read books for freelancers (in no particular order):

1) The Freelancer’s Bible – Sara Horowitz

As Freelancers Union’s founder and executive director, Sara Horowitz knows a thing or two about freelancing. The Freelancer’s Bible is one book that gets mentioned time and time again with freelancers and for good reason too. It’s the one-stop, all-encompassing guide to every practical detail and challenge of being a nimble, flexible, and successful freelancer. A definite must-read for anyone new to freelancing, still learning the ropes, while also providing value for those seasoned freelancers. Oh and if you needed any further push, it was also named one of Forbes’ ‘Best Books to Boost Your Career’. Grab your copy here.

2) The 4-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss

When we talk about ‘taking the leap’, many freelancers (and entrepreneurs) will mention with much adoration, Tim Ferriss and his infamous book, The 4-Hour Work Week. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, this is the blueprint. It’s become the manifesto for the mobile-office types and provides handy tips on how to eliminate email and outsource more to have a better work/life balance. It’s a bestseller for a reason and will definitely shake up your perspective on how to run your business. Grab your copy here.  

3) Rework – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

This New York Times bestseller book by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried (founders of 37signals) is not new but is still definitely one of the best books out there for anyone looking to streamline greater success in their freelance business. Rework promises to change the way you work forever, showing you how to stop worrying about tasks that don’t bring income, to focus instead on money-making actions, and generally how to work smarter, not harder. It’s the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own (also recommend you check out their other book, Remote, too). Grab your copy here.

4) My Creative (Side) Business – Monika Kanokova

Big fans of Monika Kanokova’s work, this is her second book, after her successful This Year Will Be Different: The Insightful Guide to Becoming a Freelancer. This is a practical guide for creative freelancers, offering stories from entrepreneurial women within the creative industries who turned their side projects into full-time businesses with multiple income streams. As a successful freelancer herself and another book in the works, Monika is quickly becoming a keenly relatable authority on freelancing and is definitely one to watch or go see if she comes to your city. Many Peeps, include Peep Ash McGregor Day, recommended this one and we couldn’t agree more. A must-have in your reading toolkit. Grab your copy here.

5) Stop Thinking Like A Freelancer – Liam Veitch

FreelanceLift’s Liam Veitch doesn’t hold back when it comes to sharing home truths and reality checks on freelancing, direct from his early fails as a freelancer, in Stop Thinking Like A Freelancer. His no nonsense approach though is exactly what most freelancers need to read. Freelancing is difficult and it’s tough to plan for growth, especially when your income is too unstable to even consider anything beyond the here and now. Liam reminds you that as a freelancer, you are running a business, and need to start thinking like one to survive. With honest and handy actionable tips, this book is a must-read for anyone unsatisfied with their business growth so far and want to shake things up. Grab your copy here.

6) The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau’s book, The $100 Startup, has encouraged many people to change their lives forever. Chris shows you how to lead a life of adventure, meaning and purpose – and earn a good living while doing it. What’s great about this book is that it’s not just dishing out advice with no real-life examples. Chris identified 50 of the most intriguing case studies of individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less), and has distilled this knowledge down into this easy-to-use guide. If you’re looking to start your own business but felt it was unachievable, then this book just might change your mind. Grab your copy here.

7) My So-Called Freelance Life – Michelle Goodman

Peep Allison Vrbova found Michelle Goodman’s book inspirational for her step into the world of freelancing and she’s not alone! Author of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide, Goodman answers all of the unusual questions that may arise for women exploring the freelance world, making it a relevant read for any freelancer feeling like other books just don’t understand the women’s plight in this uncertain (initially at least) career move. With advice on everything from handling missed deadlines with grace, to creating a killer portfolio, My So-Called Freelance Life will show you how to make your dream career a reality and help you feel like you’re not alone in going solo. Grab your copy here.

8) Everything I Know – Paul Jarvis

You’ve probably heard of designer and author Paul Jarvis already. Whether you’ve joined one of his online courses, signed up to his Sunday Dispatches email list (which is fantastic), or listen to his podcast, you’ll know that Paul is basically the anti-guru with a load of real-life knowledge to share and isn’t afraid to embrace vulnerability. His book Everything I Know is a no-rules guide, based on his two decades of freelancing, that reconfirms that there is indeed a better, more satisfying path out there — if you’re willing to take risks and explore new territory. Described as “the friend that every creative needs”, basically everything Paul produces is worth reading or tuning into as a freelancer — and this book is no exception. Grab your copy here.

9) The Untethered Soul – Michael A. Singer

Choosing the path of freelancing is often a soul-searching journey of self-discovery. No matter what age you decide to take this leap at, most freelancers talk about some level of awakening happening at various stages of their exciting yet sometimes uncomfortable journey. One book that explores this is Michael A. Singer’s The Untethered Soul. This book is a step-by-step guide to the letting go of the ego. With very straight forward examples, the book emphasizes the pitfalls of relying on the mind to come up with ideas for making ourselves happy. Our founder Kate Kendall recommended this one, as did several in our community, and it’s well worth exploring. Grab your copy here.

10) The Freedom Figure – Adam Fletcher

For freelancers or solopreneurs living in Germany, you probably have come across Adam Fletcher’s bestselling yet hilarious books on how to become German and embrace German culture. That said, it may not be known that he also is a successful freelancer and entrepreneur and he shares his knowledge of taking the leap in his book, The Freedom Figure. In this humorous yet honest book, he explores how to win at marketing, how to become your own boss, and more. Particularly interesting for those of us living overseas while freelancing and working remotely, this book will show you how to create a more future-proof life of adventure, freedom, travel, and meaningful work. Grab your copy here.

Special mentions also go to Alan Weiss’ The Consulting Bible, C.J. Hayden’s Get Clients Now! and Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking, all insightful reads (and recommended by our community) jam-packed with handy tips for freelancers.

We’re also eagerly awaiting marketing expert and entrepreneur Jon Westenberg’s new book on failing (as a freelancer or entrepreneur) to be available. If his Medium posts are anything to go by, this is sure to be a valuable read for freelancers. Happy reading!

Which books would you rate as must-reads? Which book helped you take the leap or grow your freelance business? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

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Kat Loughrey
Kat is a digital consultant who specialises in digital strategy, social media and community management. Based in Berlin, she can be found talking social media at meetups, running her upcoming workshops and organizing the next Freelance Friday.
Kat Loughrey

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  • kevinjaquith

    I recently read “The Creative Truth: Start & Build a Profitable Design Business” by Brad Weaver and found it to be an amazing resource. It covers a great deal of information that I hadn’t been able to find in other books. I’d highly recommend checking it out if your a solo freelancer.

  • Monika Kanokova

    Thank you so much for mentioning my book in this list! There are some I’m definitely putting on my list.. 🙂