As a freelance business owner, you always need to be educating yourself not just on your craft, but also on how to run a business. The way I’ve been able to do that is by constantly having my head in a book and then implementing what I learn.

In fact, you’ll rarely ever see me not trying to learn something that can improve my freelance business, and I’m pretty sure that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been able to build a successful business.

Below you’ll find a list of books every freelancer needs on their bookshelf. This is mostly just my opinion so the list is by no means exhaustive. However, these are the books that have helped me hone in on my craft and make a business out of it.

The Money Book for Freelancers Part-Times and the Self-Employed by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan

This was the first book about freelancing I ever read and it is bar none probably the top book every freelancer needs on their bookshelf. This is the book that taught me how to deal with the variable income that comes with being self-employed. They walk you through emergency funds, taxes, and living expenses. Additionally, they lay out a simple savings system that I’ve been using for years. The book certainly stays true to it’s title that way.

Let’s face it, freelancers are notoriously bad at managing money. That’s why this book is a must for every freelancer. You can find it on Amazon and anywhere books are sold.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic is Elizabeth Gilbert’s exploration of creativity. It came about because she was always running into people who were terrified of finishing their creative work and putting it out into the world. This is a common point of tension for creatives, especially for people who want to make a living with their creativity, which is why I consider it to be one of the books every freelancer needs on their bookshelf.

I’m currently working my way through this book and I’ve had more “Aha’s” than I can count. She also has some interest notes on the idea of creating for a living versus creating just to create. For this reason and many others, this is one of the books every freelancer needs on their bookshelf.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Another book that explores the psyche of creativity, Steven Pressfiled’s War of Art is a staple for every freelancer, creative, entrepreneur and anyone who wants to play big in the world. It’s a book that explores our inner enemies when it comes to reaching our potential and was specifically written for writers in the middle of a creative battle.

This book doesn’t teach you how to write. It teaches you how to overcome the resistance to creating and putting your work out there. I’ve been coaching other creatives for a few years now and I’ve noticed that the number one thing that gets in the way of every freelancer building a business with their creativity is their own mindset. For this reason, this is one of the top books every freelancer needs on their bookshelf.

Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port

Book Yourself Solid isn’t a book about writing. It’s not even a book about freelancers. It’s a book about sales. Every freelancer needs to learn how to sell, and many freelancers are terrified of it, which is why this is one of the books every freelancer needs on their bookshelf.

A coach prescribed this book to me a few years ago when I was trying to build my business so I could quit my day job. Within a few months of implementing the strategies in this book I was able to quit.

Final Thoughts

As a creative business owner, it’s up to you to continue educating yourself in order to move your business forward. These three books every freelancer needs on their bookshelf is a good place to start.


Amanda Abella is a full-time writer who specializes in online business and finance. She's also an online business coach and the Amazon best-selling author of Make Money Your Honey.

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