There are many great business books and courses that can take freelancers and solopreneurs from zero business knowledge to – Jeff Bezos in no time.
So in this article, we are sharing some of the business books that have had the biggest impact on how we run our freelance businesses, and we are sure other freelancers and solopreneurs will find them really beneficial too!
Table of contents:
- Business books for freelancers and solopreneurs:
- Reading helps you learn business foundations
- Related articles
Business books for freelancers and solopreneurs:
Rework, by Jason Fried, founder and CEO of Basecamp, and David Heinemeier Hansson is a great read for those who are just starting out or thinking of going freelance.
The book is packed full of advice that will make you rethink a lot of what you might have assumed is necessary to build a successful business.
Here is some of our favourite advice from the book:
“The easiest, most straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use.”
In other words – scratch your own itch. You don’t have to come up with something extremely innovative, new or extraordinary. Think about what annoys you or could be done better.
Very often, the best ideas for services and products are right in front of us.
“Pour yourself into your product and everything around your product too: how you sell it, how you support it, how you explain it, and how you deliver it. Competitors can never copy the you in your product.”
This is a quote that is really relevant – especially if you are a freelancer working in a highly competitive market.
You can have the same services as thousands of other freelancers, but you can still provide a unique service and attract the audience that is right for you.
We’re big fans of Donald Miller and his simple and effective ways of building and running businesses. So it’s probably no surprise that you see us recommending his books often.
Business Made Simple is his latest book, but it’s hard to classify it only as a book – it’s more like a compact business school course. It’s super practical and each chapter covers a specific area to help you run a successful business.
Chapters contain daily lessons, and the entire book has 60 days of lessons in total. When you purchase the book, you also get access to “Business Made Simple” videos that follow the daily lessons.
The idea is you can watch the video after reading the chapter and see Donald explain the concept further through real-life examples.
Reading or listening to the daily lesson and then watching the video will take you only around ten minutes a day, and by the end, you will know exactly what you need to do to improve yourself as a professional and your business.
We have been listening to it and watching a video every morning before we attack our work, and we recommend you do the same. It’s great for sparking ideas and getting you to think long-term more consistently.
If you need a little business guidance and mentoring, this book is for you!
Derek Sivers is a musician who’s become an entrepreneur and built a multi-million dollar business completely unintentionally. And he shares his biggest lessons and business advice in this unconventional and inspiring 80-page book.
Even though you can read this in an hour, each chapter is jam-packed full of so much valuable advice, that you want to make sure you give yourself enough time to soak it all in. You’ll also likely want to re-read it regularly.
Derek talks about running a business from a place where you have your customers’ best interests at heart and explains how this is always going to be rewarding on every level.
He also encourages you to remember that you set the rules – just because others say things have to be done one way doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.
When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you control all the laws. This is your utopia.Derek Sivers
As a freelancer, it’s vital to be good at money management – which may or may not come easy to you.
Having a system to manage your finances from the very beginning – will save you a lot of headaches later.
That’s where this book comes in handy – it breaks down a simple but effective system to handle your business finances.
In a nutshell, you will learn a system to help you divide your income and ensure you have enough money for everything you need – from taxes, to marketing spending.
There are pros and cons to this system, and some parts of it are a little redundant nowadays. For example, there’s no need to create multiple bank accounts when you can set up separate pots in one account using something like Monzo.
So I don’t recommend implementing a direct copy of the system, but the principles are solid and you can use it as a guide to set up your own system that will help you always stay on top of your finances.
Never Split The Difference is a superb book about negotiations written by Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator.
Kidnapping is, as horrible as it sounds, at the end of the day, usually just a business. When you understand that, it’s no surprise that the same techniques that you can use lessons from the tactics that negotiators use to save people’s lives to get the rates that you deserve for your projects.
Learning how the very best negotiate when the stakes couldn’t be any higher, and the proven techniques they use can really help you when you’re dealing with pricing discussions.
This fantastic book takes extreme situations and translates them into the business encounters you’ll face every day as a freelancer.
If you’re even slightly interested in motion graphics or animation, then you have probably heard of Joey from the School of Motion.
He has created some amazing courses in that field, but his book – The Freelance Manifesto – is great, no matter what kind of freelancer you want to be.
It includes a fantastic strategy for reaching out to and getting new clients, along with countless other tips and insights.
The Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns is a great read for all freelancers and service-based businesses.
This ‘Manifesto’ has a set of twelve proclamations, jam-packed with tips and advice to help you start valuing your time and work properly, and gaining the confidence in yourself that makes clients want to work with you.
The book covers many areas – and will help you to develop a good money mindset, learn the value of your work and, most importantly, charge for it with confidence.
If you are serious about your freelance journey, this book should definitely be on your bookshelf!
No list of freelance business books can be complete without mentioning this modern classic from Tim Ferris.
This is perhaps the most famous book about taking control of your life and living the freelance dream, and you can’t help but feel inspired after reading it.
Some of the content is a little outdated now or a little over the top, but if this book doesn’t inspire you to at least give freelancing a shot, and start to live life on your own terms, then nothing will.
The Freelance Roadmap is a complete guide to building your freelance business and living life on your own terms.
This book will teach you how to develop a clear vision for your business, use storytelling that makes others want to work with you, develop a rock-solid freelance mindset, build the confidence to bring your ambitions to life and more!
Reading helps you learn business foundations
We come from different backgrounds – some of us have a knack for business stuff, and some of us dread it. In my experience most of us creative freelancers absolutely hate the business side of the job.
But that doesn’t mean we can avoid it. You don’t have to become an expert or have an MBA, but it is important to build a solid foundation and learn a few business fundamentals – and this is where reading can really help you.
So dedicate even 15 minutes a day to reading a business book, and your future business will thank you!
What business books would you recommend to fellow freelancers and solopreneurs that are not on this list? Let us know in the comments!
Until next time,
Let’s connect on social media!
We sometimes include affiliate links in our articles for products or resources we use and recommend, which we think you will love too. There’s no extra cost involved for you – it’s just a little way you can help support us. Thank you!