10 essential books that all creative freelancers must read

in Resources / Books & Magazines

If you’re thinking about taking the plunge into freelancing or you’re already dipping your toes in at the deep end, you don’t need to feel alone. Loads of support can be found in the pages of many helpful books.

Whether you’re unsure how to get started, don’t know how to handle your finances, or need some advice on how to get your name heard; these essential freelancing books are here to help…

1. Work for Money, Design for Love: Answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions About Starting and Running a Successful Design Business by David Airey

Written with voices that matter, Logo Design Love author and international designer David Airey gets down to all the nitty-gritty questions that you’ve been too afraid to ask. From the starting point ‘How do I find new clients?’ to the trickier question of ‘How much should I charge for my design work?’ Work for Money, Design for Love gives comprehensive answers that will help any freelance designer just starting out.

2. Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott Belsky

Inspired by Thomas Edison’s famous quote that genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration, Scott Belsky has collected hundreds of interviews from the most productive creative people and teams all around the world. Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming Obstacles Between Vision and Reality is aimed specifically at what he terms ‘serial creatives’ – those who make their visions a reality. Even if you’re unsure about taking the leap to freelancing, this book will definitely offer some inspiration.

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

If you’re stuck in a 9 to 5 job that really isn’t inspiring you or engaging your creativity, author Marianne Cantwell’s Be A Free Range Human can help. Her quick and clever wit makes the book an enjoyable read, injecting energy into the possible avenue of freelancing by sharing success stories. The book challenges you to create a ‘free range’ career and do what you love (on your own terms).

4. Grow Your Handmade Business: How to Envision, Develop, and Sustain a Successful Creative Business by Kari Chapin

For those looking to take their creative hobby further, Grow Your Handmade Business is set out as a handy coaching book cum practical guidebook. There are tips on how to make your business sustainable and achieve those long-term goals with specific details on everything from controlling time management to understanding taxes.

5. Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist by Lisa Congdon

For artists dreaming of turning their creative work into a career, Art, Inc. are on hand with a whole host of tips. Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist unveils the multiple ways to make a living from art, offering step-by-step pointers and advice. With trade secrets from art world pros, it will get you in the business mind-set and cultivate your love for art into something that will actually pay the bills.

6. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

Less of a tips book and more of an inspiring read, Malcolm Gladwell chronicles the David and Goliath complex in David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, providing valuable insight into your our potential. The book turns what you consider advantages and disadvantages on their head, showing that even when the odds seem stacked against you, they could work in your favour and lead to success.

7. The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need To Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams on Your Terms by Sara Horowitz

Just like it says on the tin, The Freelancer's Bible gives you everything you need to know about freelancing. From the founder of Freelancers Union, the guidebook is a perfect road map and reference to help kick start your independent career.

8. Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business by Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho

This classic book for freelancers has it all, offering words of wisdom to all types of creatives, whether you specialise in illustration, photography, graphic design, animation or anything else. Creative, Inc: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business explains how to create a standout portfolio that people won’t ignore, as well as how to navigate some of the complicated legal issues of starting a business.

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

Written specifically for entrepreneurial women (sorry boys), This Year Will Be Different is a practical guide for carving a freelance career in the creative industries. It is filled with an abundance of tips, tricks, interviews and stories from acclaimed female bloggers, designers, photographers and other professionals working and breathing creativity.

10. How to Start a Creative Business: The Jargon-Free Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs by Doug Richard

Serial entrepreneur, business educator, and Dragon’s Den investor Doug Richard reveals his top tips for turning a creative business idea into something that works. The book is very easy to read with a ten-point plan to lead you along the path of freelancing, including real-life case studies from successful creative startups like Tatty Devine and Time Out. Cutting out all of the technical jargon, How to Start a Creative Business: The Jargon-Free Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs makes you access how to turn your creativity into a business.


Please note, this article is written with Amazon Affiliates

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