Before diving into freelancing full time, I bought a dozen books on the subject—books on networking, books on communicating, books on finding more effective ways to live and work. Some of these books were incredibly helpful to me as I became an independent contractor; others, not so much.
Along the way, I found three books I firmly believe every freelancer should own and read.
1. “Crucial Conversations” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler
Geared toward guiding you through the conversations that make your toes curl and your anxiety rise, “Crucial Conversations” gives you the tools you need to defuse any sticky situation you might find yourself in. While freelancers don’t often work in office buildings, we face crucial conversations just like everyone else, whether we’re negotiating contracts or discussing a negatively received project.
“Writer’s Market” (or “Photographer’s Market” or “Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market”)
Chock-full of advice and practical information, “Writer’s Market” covers many basics of freelance writing from finding work to managing it once you have it. Of course, that’s not all this 800-page guide offers. Thousands of listings for magazines, literary agents and book publishers offer basic information and submission guidelines. These listings are helpful and provide a good look at different writing niches available.
Purchasing a current copy of this guide will help you get a feel for present industry trends and pay.
“The Art of Work” by Jeff Goins
“The Art of Work” is geared toward helping readers identify their own “callings” in life, something that is extremely helpful for anyone who isn’t quite sure which direction his or her career is headed.
This book is a tad more ambiguous than the others in what it has to offer freelancers; however, several major lessons can be learned from the stories of hardship and success that grace its pages. One of my favorite lessons from the book: Pay attention and learn all you can from those around you. People are constantly teaching us, even if we don’t recognize these lessons for what they are in the beginning.
Looking for more? Other great books we highly recommend include “On Writing” and “Creativity, Inc.”