147 Best Resources for Freelancers (Updated for 2017)
Being a freelancer is tough. Building your website, finding projects, writing proposals, communicating with clients, chasing down payments… You name it. You need to DO IT ALL.
As an entrepreneur and freelancer for 14 years, I have come across some amazing tools and resources that have made my life so much easier. These tools can save you valuable for mundane tasks such as tracking your time and submitting your invoices so you can focus on more important work.
Check out the following 147 books, guides, articles, tools, websites, and blogs that I have collected over the years. This is literally internet's largest collection of resources for freelancers.
Best Books on Going Freelance
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you would know I am a big advocate of learning through books. Reading 10 blog posts or watching 10 YouTube videos is simply not the same as reading a 10-chapter book. It may take 50 hours to write 10 blog posts, but it takes months, most likely years, for someone to put their life-long learning into a book.
Here are my recommended books on how to become a successful freelancer, many of which I have read myself. You might be able to borrow some of them from your local library without having to buy them.
By Nick Loper
The Side Hustle Path is for people who want or need to earn some extra money outside of their day jobs. Maybe you need a few extra dollars to make ends meet. Maybe you want to pay off debt. Maybe you want to save for a rainy day, or for your children’s education. Maybe you just want to treat yourself to a nice vacation or a new car without feeling guilty about it. Maybe you’re looking for a way out of the corporate world, an escape plan. That’s the ultimate financial freedom, right? That’s how I got started down this entrepreneurial path, and it’s been the best choice I ever made. You’re willing to work for it, because your future is worth working for. The challenge is time is limited, and you may not know where to start. There are a million and one ways to “make money online” and everyone wants to sell you their “proven system for Internet riches.” It’s hard to tell what’s a scam and what’s legit.
This book offers 10 real-world examples of how regular people just like you and me are earning side hustle income outside of traditional employment. Many have even turned these part-time ventures into full-time businesses, throwing off the shackles of their corporate overlords for good. And the cool thing is, there are no special technical skills or prerequisites to get started with any of the ideas presented. Most don’t require any big scary upfront investment.
By Kelsey Humphreys
Have you been waiting to leave your suffocating day job? Have you been wondering if you should turn your side hustle or hobby into your own business?
Go Solo has your answers.
This book is not about start ups, apps, or making easy money online. This book is perfect for the aspiring freelancer, writer, designer, consultant, coach, photographer, counselor, event planner, interior designer or decorator, software developer, crafter or blogger, even plumbers, builders, realtors and developers, or insurance agents.
This book is for you if you ARE your brand or want to become your own brand, long to live on your own terms and do work that really matters, all with little overhead.
Starting the journey from employee to owner brings up a lot of questions. Go Solo will answer:
How do you know you’ve chosen the right passion?
How can you be sure you’ll be great at what you choose?
How do you start and gain momentum while you are still employed?
How can you position yourself so your ideal clients and customers can easily find you?
When should you launch?
What should you name your business?
How do you market effectively as a solopreneur with no big office or employees?
By the end of this book, you’ll have a mission, vision, plan and marketing strategy. You will enjoy passion-filled days and know that every ounce of effort actually affects your bottom line. You will be impacting lives and serving others with your unique talents. Pick up this book and get started.
By Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho
As the hipster classic Craft, Inc. did for crafters, this book will teach all types of creatives illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, animators, and more how to build a successful business doing what they love.
Freelancing pros Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho explain everything from creating a standout portfolio to navigating the legal issues of starting a business. Accessible, spunky, and packed with practical advice, Creative, Inc. is an essential for anyone ready to strike out on their own.
By S.J. Scott and Rebecca Livermore
(Don't be misled by the title. Although titled The Daily Entrepreneur, the book is immensely helpful for freelancers. Freelancers are indeed entrepreneurs and these two roles share many traits.)
Entrepreneurship can be exciting. It can also be stressful, frustrating and full of challenges. Most entrepreneurs begin with a dream of financial freedom, but often the reality fails to match the expectations. The good news is, the problems you face are common to most--if not all--entrepreneurs. In fact, if you study the lives of successful people, you’ll find that regardless of industry, they encounter the same challenges you face and found a way to overcome them. Their secret? They focused on building specific daily habits. It’s not that hard to become a successful entrepreneur. Really, all you have to do is form the same habits used by the super-stars and make them part of your routine. While these people often have the same fears and limitations as you, they're able to take consistent action because they’ve trained themselves to do so. The Daily Entrepreneur talks about the power of habit development and show how to use it to overcome your specific challenges. What makes this book different is it's organized according to obstacles that we all face on a daily basis. You will learn:
The Five Challenges that Hold Back Many Entrepreneurs
9 Steps for Developing Entrepreneurial Habits
The #1 Focus for ANY New Business
The Secret to "Getting More Time" for Your Life and Business
What Successful Entrepreneurs Do to Stand Out from the Competition
How to Maximize Your Productive “Sweet Spot”
How to "Get Things Done" in the Morning--Even if You're a Night Owl
7 Habits to Overcome Stress and Burnout
An Action Plan for Networking and Building Solid Business Connections
You can train yourself to build a successful business. The trick is to form habits that spur you into action on a daily basis.
By Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage and Ed Gandia
The book title may seem a little eccentric but it lives up to its name. Whether you call yourself a freelancer, consultant, independent contractor or solo professional of any kind, The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle shows you how to get the clients, income, and lifestyle you deserve. So you can put more money in the bank, enjoy more time with your family and make a great living doing what you truly love to do, free from the burden of employment. Filled with proven ideas and real-world examples from dozens of successful freelancers, The Wealthy Freelancer is essential reading for any solo professional who wants to enjoy a lifestyle that's "wealthy" in every sense of the word. Here's a glimpse of what's waiting for you inside this book:
Why the typical one-size-fits-all marketing advice rarely works, and a fool-proof system for determining the optimal mix of marketing activities for your specific circumstances and goals
How to get more prospects to say "Yes!" to the fees that you propose
Why striving to be the "best" in your field almost never works, and what to do instead
How to charge more - and earn more - by creating new income streams closely related to your core business
How to have more time for the life you want and still have a great income
How to "test the waters" and land freelance work now, even if you're already employed
Why freelancing has moved beyond creative fields and into mainstream careers such as engineering, software development, bookkeeping and more than 160 other professions
Stories of real-life freelancers who destroy the myth that freelancers barely scrape by
And dozens more proven tips and strategies to build a more profitable and fulfilling solo business.
By Liam Veitch
Freelancing is difficult. It’s tough to plan for growth (in client volume and revenue) when current income is too unstable to even consider anything beyond the here and now.
This book dives deep on making freelancing more stable, beating "treading water" cycles, repelling 'bad apple' clients, multiplying online exposure and follows the journey of Liam, with honest, clear advice and guidance from laptop and rented desk to $1 million web agency.
A perennial business builder who 'finally got something to work', Liam Veitch has many strings to his bow along with many failures to learn from. Web designer and now founder at UK based web agency Tone (tone.co.uk) as well as freelancer community FreelanceLift (freelancelift.com) this book comprises everything he wished he knew first time around.
In his own words, he did freelancing 'right this time' and this book comes from a realization that in the three years which passed - this second time round as a freelancer - the business has generated over $1.1 million. This debut, feature length book lays out the key mindset fixes which made this possible.
This 226-page book consists of honest, actionable advice to help you build something incredible from your tiny freelance business. It shows you how to:
Make freelancing more stable
Beat "treading water" cycles
Repel 'bad apple' clients
Multiply online exposure
Build income predictability
Have dream clients find you
Leverage recurring revenue
Work less while earning more
The purpose of this book is not to show you how to build an agency, nor is it to improve the actual service you're providing (that should be taken care of first). This book is here to help give a fresh perspective in a space dominated by mediocrity.
As a one-person business, it’s easy to think that you’re somehow exempt from that word… ‘business’. This book shows you how to run your freelance business like a real, well, business.
By Sara Horowitz and Toni Sciarra Poynter
One-third of the American workforce is freelance―that’s 42 million people who have to wrestle with not just doing the work, but finding the work, then getting paid for the work, plus health care, taxes, setting up an office, marketing, and so on. Now help is here, and consultants, independent contractors, the self-employed, “solopreneurs,” and everyone else living a freelancer’s life will never be alone again but instead can be part of a strong and vibrant community.
Written by the authority on freelance working, Sara Horowitz, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and founder of the national Freelancers Union and, most recently, the Freelancers Insurance Company, The Freelancer’s Bible will help those new to freelancing learn the ropes, and will help those who’ve been freelancing for a while grow and expand. It’s the one-stop, all-encompassing guide to every practical detail and challenge of being a nimble, flexible, and successful freelancer:
The three essentials of getting clients and the three most important ways to keep them happy.
Five fee-setting strategies.
Thirteen tactics for making it through a prolonged dry spell.
Setting up a home office vs. renting space.
The one-hour contract.
A dozen negotiating dos and don’ts.
Building and maintaining your reputation.
Dealing with deadbeats.
Health Insurance 101.
Record-keeping and taxes.
Productivity, including a quiz: “What Is Your Ideal Day?”
Building a community.
Subcontracting and other strategies for taking your freelancing career to the next level.
Retirement plans, plans for saving for education, and how to achieve financial freedom.
This is probably the most comprehensive and practical book on how to build a freelance career. A must read!
By Tess Vigeland
Until recently, Tess Vigeland was a longtime host with public radio's marketplace; it was a rewarding, high-status job, and Tess was very good at it—but she'd begun to feel restless. Without any definite, clear sense of what she wanted to do next (but an absolute certainty that what she'd been doing was no longer truly satisfying), she walked away from her dream job and into a vast unknown. Suddenly she was no longer “Marketplace’s Tess Vigeland,” she was just Tess Vigeland. For the multitude of Americans who change jobs mid-career by choice or circumstance, the growing legions of freelance workers, and the entrepreneurially-minded who see self-employment as an increasingly more appealing and viable option, Tess Vigeland has created a personal and well-researched account of leaping without a net. With her signature humor, she writes honestly about the fear, uncertainty, and risk involved in leaving the traditional workforce—but also the excitement, resources, and possibilities that are on the other side. Leap is also about finding a new definition of success. Tess poses the important question – “Who am I without my job?” She shares the accounts of people who struggled with this question before and after they took their own leap of faith, and ended up finding out more about themselves than they’d thought possible. Success doesn’t have to be measured by salary or a traditional career path, as so many of us are conditioned to think, but by your own happiness and fulfillment. Part memoir and part field guide, this book offers a funny, thoughtful, and provocative look at how to find satisfaction and success when pursuing a career less ordinary.
By Joseph D'Agnese and Denise Kiernan
This is a book for people like us, and we all know who we are. We make our own hours, keep