Back to School: 10 of the best books to help you ditch your job and go freelance

It’s September. And some of us have that “back to school” feeling. Not the type when you’re excited about new stationery or trying out your latest uniform. But the kind that fills you with dread, knowing you have a job to go to that you hate.

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

If you’re feeling blue today, and you’ve been pondering the idea of going freelance for some time, then grab a few of the following recommended books to start planning your escape:

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

Freelancing is difficult. It’s tough to plan for growth (in client volume and revenue) when current income is too unstable. This book dives deep into 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 a laptop and rented desk to $1m web agency.

2. Brilliant Freelancer: Discover the Power of Your Own Success by Leif Kendall

Whether you’re new to freelancing or a seasoned freelance operative, Brilliant Freelancer is packed full of ideas and case studies to help you build a happy, productive and profitable freelance life quickly and easily. From building your client portfolio right through to staying motivated and surviving the tougher times, Brilliant Freelancer gives you everything you need to take charge of your career and start moving in the direction you want to go.

3. I Can Start Your Business: Everything You Need to Know to Run Your Limited Company or Self Employment – for Locums, Contractors, Freelancers and Small Business by Russell Smith

Thinking of starting a business but don't know anything about business finances, tax or accounts? This book will tell you everything you need to know in an easy-to-understand way by an accountant who grew his practice from no clients when he started to over 400 clients all over the UK. It covers such topics as whether you should be a limited company or self-employed, finances you need to understand and which parts can you ignore. Whether you become VAT registered. When your tax is due and how much it will be. How to set up bank accounts, get paid by your customers, manage your cash flow, and get your pricing right. It's an essential read.

4. Grow Your Sales, Do What You Love: Mindful Selling for Entrepreneurs and Freelancers

Do you dream of being your own boss, quitting the rat race, generating a stable income doing what you love but have no idea how to attract customers steadily? If you serve other businesses - whether it be as a startup, entrepreneur or freelancer - you have to make sales and win customers. Otherwise, you’ll have to dust off your CV and put off your dream of independence. Perhaps no one taught you selling techniques. Maybe you’re shy or introverted. Perhaps the idea of selling makes you sick to your stomach. Or maybe you’ve been doing the selling thing but keep losing sales and have no idea what is going wrong. This concise book will guide you through how to overcome your self-doubt so you can effectively sell, giving you practical tools and strategies to sell mindfully and without being typically salesy.

5. This Year Will Be Different: The Insightful Guide to Becoming a Freelancer by Monika Kanokova

This Year Will Be Different is a book for and about entrepreneurial women; a practical guide for anyone who wants to start their own business or become a freelancer. It’s filled with tips, tricks, stories and interviews with women who are now making money as bloggers, designers, consultants, photographers and many more great professions within the creative industries.

6. The Human Freelancer: A Guide to Happy and Honest Self-Employment for Conscious Newcomers by Chris Kenworthy

Self-help business books perpetuate the myth that success is relentless growth and more of everything means progress. They preach about bookkeeping and market research: things you might need to do of course, but let's face it they're boring. The Human Freelancer is your antidote; stuffed with emotional support for vulnerable newbies to self-employment like you. Whether you're freelance, part-time, a contractor or a tradesperson - buy this book if you're sensitive, brave and want to do the right thing on a happy journey of fulfilment and self-improvement.

7. Starting Up on Your Own: How to Succeed as an Independent Consultant or Freelance by Mike Johnson

Are you thinking of starting up on your own and working for yourself? Do you need to know the nuts and bolts of setting up; marketing yourself, prospecting for new business; keeping things running on a day-to-day basis? Have you already made the leap and want to get more work, new clients, higher fees? This practical, no-nonsense book pulls no punches and gives you all the guidance you need to set yourself up and get work in the first place, plus all the know-how you need to survive, prosper and expand once you’re up and running.

8. Be a Free Range Human: Escape the 9-5, Create a Life You Love and Still Pay the Bills by Marianne Cantwell

Are you trapped in a job that's just not you? Always dreaming of your next holiday and counting down to the weekend? Imagine getting paid to do something that brings you alive, without ever having to walk into an office again. It's all possible with this smart guide that breaks you out of the career cage and puts you in control of your life. Be a Free Range Human is a breezy, energising and straight-talking guide to creating a fantastic lifestyle and a high income, doing what you love (on your terms).

9. How to Start a Business Without Any Money by Rachel Bridge

Do you dream of starting your own business but don’t have any money? What if you could set up a venture with nothing but a good business idea and the determination to make it work? It’s an appealing idea, particularly in the current economic climate where no one has the cash to spare and austerity rules the day. As the former Enterprise Editor for the Sunday Times, Rachel has interviewed hundreds of successful entrepreneurs. Join her on her journey as she starts up her very own enterprise,, and covers all the ups and downs she encounters, while giving examples along the way of how real-life entrepreneurs have coped with the same problems that beset everyone in business at some point.

10. Escape – The Definitive Guide to Escaping the Rat Race, Starting a Business and Becoming a FreedomPreneur by Amanda C. Watts

It's time for you to create a life of freedom, running a business that you love. It's time for you to become a niche celebrity and learn how anyone, with any background, can turn their talents into products and profits. Whether you have had it with your day job, are struggling to grow your business, or are juggling a hobby business with young children, this book is your escape to freedom.


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