Becoming a successful freelancer can be very fulfilling. However, the road to success is paved with potholes. I know, because I’ve been at this for almost 10 years – and while I’ve had some great times, it’s been more like a rollercoaster ride until I finally got a good grasp of things a few years ago.
One of the reasons that journey was so difficult was because I was pursuing uncharted territory – at least, within my real life circles. My parents worked at steady jobs all their lives and my friends all sought out jobs to boost their careers the moment we finished college.
So I turned to books. Authors became my mentors because they were the only ones who understood what I wanted to do and had the experience and expertise to guide me through. And while I’ve read a lot, there are a select few that I believe will change the lives on anyone who wants to pursue freelancing or solopreneurship long term.
The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
Gone are the days when you need lots of money to start a business. Many people are starting businesses with little-to-no cash, and sometimes these opportunities present themselves in unexpected ways. This books shares such stories and provides the perfect inspiration for anyone who might want to go off on their own but not sure where to get started.
Who Moved My Cheese – Spencer Johnson
This is one of those books you can finish in an hour. It uses the analogy of rats in a maze to teach a lesson on taking responsibility for your own goals and dreams. There’s little fluff and lots of insight, so it’s worth revisiting time and time again.
Essentialism – Greg McKeown
When you start freelancing, you’ll get pulled into multiple directions – and you may not be clear on which one to choose. Essentialism encourages you to pursue less, but more meaningful, things, and helps you to identify what those things are.
Company of One – Paul Jarvis
Hands down the most inspiring book I’ve read for people who love working solo and have no aspirations to grow their business into a massive enterprise. In a way, Paul gives credibility to lifelong freelancing or solopreneurship as a career path, and not just a stepping stone to the next big thing.
Time Management – Brian Tracy
Another quick read, this book gets straight to the point in providing brief summaries of all the best time management advice the world has to offer. If you’re looking for a primer on managing your time effectively, or you just need a refresher to help you change up your workflow, this is a great choice.
Atomic Habits – James Clear
There are two types of freelancers – those that work very little or ad hoc and end up struggling to pay bills, and those that work way too much and end up stressed and burned out. This book is for both. Understanding the psychology behind habits will help you create good ones, eliminate bad ones, and create a daily routine that works for you.
I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Ramit Sethi
This may sound like a “get rich quick” book but rest assured, it’s not. Instead, Ramit shares some valuable insight on how to think differently about making and spending money so that you actually feel good about it, and not like you’re depriving yourself of the fruits of your hard work. It may be a lot to handle if you’re not yet making a steady income, but it will provide a great foundation for whenever that day comes.