You might think these 10 books that have changed the way I live and do freelancing are just for freelancers and business owners. You’d be wrong. In fact, all of these books have little to do with freelance writing, content creation, and monetizing a hobby. Those skills you grow out of necessity and work upon when the time comes for you to change your job forever. When it comes to a better way of living, yes, that’s where these books have helped me a lot.
Reading is the easiest way to get better as a writer. I read everything, from books to newspapers and from magazines while waiting at the dentist to ingredients lists on the back of candy my dentist says I shouldn’t eat. Reading helps you expand your vocabulary in a way that writing will never do. It’s the same with great coaches. They don’t have to be amazing players at the sport but instead know the rules and moves of the sport inside out.
In this guide:
Freelance writing books about life
Being a freelancer and a content creator for that matter has very little to do with writing. When you’re on your own, the last thing you are worried about is the actual writing. That comes naturally after doing it for a few years, or more than a decade in my case. The things that you need to constantly get better at are time management, dealing with clients of all sorts, knowing when to write up your goddamn taxes reports, managing income and savings, and so on. Freelance writing has 10% to do with writing and 90% with other aspects of self-employment.
While these are books about life, they don’t really fall into the category of self-development. Those books are all about how to breathe, how to meditate, and how to be kind. These books, while also about getting better at life and yes, at your job, are also about how to actually put these ideas into motion. And even though some of them are hundreds of years old, they are still important today as they are true to the letter.
This has to be the most important book on how to actually work that I’ve ever read. This book had a big impact on how I approach work nowadays, teaching me the difference between wasting time pretending to work and actually doing meaningful, deep work. If you are all over the place with tasks and deadlines, like I was years ago, read this book right now. Close the phone and read it.
Raw talent, genius, extraordinaire, these are all terms used to describe the different, the unique, the mind of minds. But the truth is that work and consistency are able to create genius, even if it’s not naturally born within a person. Nurturing your talent, be it existent or invented, or found, is the right way to “do” life, work, and everything else. This idea is less sexy than raw genius but it is practical, which beats anything in my view. Hard work and perseverance can change a person even if they are not born with innate talent.
This is a barely known book but one of my favourites on the topics of creativity and the history of innovation. It comes with interesting stories and anecdotes, as author Steven Johnson does a fantastic job of remembering the stories of history’s greatest inventors. Learning by example is the best way to learn, in my opinion, which is why I found this book incredible.
Or, as I call it, “The Book About Getting Sh*t Done!” For some reason, this was a “required reading” for my online psychology school. If you are new around here, GTD is one of the more popular time management tools ever created. I tweaked the method for my taste but it does work beautifully, and I’m still operating by the fundamentals of the method in both my private and business lives. Empty your mind, sort tasks into contexts, and the list of features and methods goes on and on. Read the book, it’s very smart!
I read this book a long time ago, along with the one about the 4-hour workweek, which for me worked into more of a 4-hour workday. This is still awesome considering I make good money working 4 hours a day, Monday to Thursday! This book is all about habits, I think of it as the predecessor of the newer one about atomic habits. Which I found too generalistic, to be honest. The book at hand had a huge impact on me, setting the tone for how I would approach complex situations later in life, how I talk to people, and how I deal with… myself!
This is one of the books that was recommended to me before I even launched my freelance business. And boy, am I glad that it was! Book Yourself Solid is basically the Bible for running a service-based business. This book will teach you how to price, market, and sell your services to others, all without being cheesy or spammy. If you have no idea how to start a business, read this book. It will get you going better than any online course, paid or free.
I have but one complaint about Book Yourself Solid. It lacks solid information on how to handle money. Profit First comes in to rescue the day, instructing you on how to use a super simple bookkeeping system that will keep you from overspending, a major issue for me and the majority of new service-based business owners. For the first few years, I had no idea how to save or even make money. Thanks to this book, I now actually have money in the bank and I no longer need to worry about where my money is going.
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