Book Review: The Freelancer's Bible

You may have heard of Freelancers Union, a nonprofit organization for freelancers, contractors, and independent workers. Sara Horowitz, who founded Freelancers Union, has released a comprehensive guide to freelancing – The Freelance Bible - that's everything the title suggests. Sara’s accolades includes being named a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” fellow and one of Forbes’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs.

Packed With Information

As you’d expect of any book with “Bible” in the title, The Freelancer's Bible is packed with essentially everything you need to know to start, run, and grow a successful freelance business. Another plus: this Bible is a much simpler read than King James’ version.

At 474 pages, The Freelance's Bible initially feels overwhelming, but it’s broken down into 5 digestible parts that follow the freelance workflow: Getting Started, Getting Work, Growing Your Business, Managing Your Business and Your Business and Your Community.

Something for Beginners and Experienced Freelancers

Beginners can benefit from The Freelancer’s Bible as it guides you through details like figuring out what your business will be (writers, we've already done that part!), setting rates, figuring out where and how you’ll work, finding clients, networking, and building your business. It even includes minor details like choosing a computer monitor and knowing who you’ll call if your computer equipment fails.

Long-time freelancers can pick up some fresh tips about things you may have forgotten and ways to solve ongoing problems, like balancing work and life and dealing with family and friends who impose tasks on your work time. (This week, I’m going to use the good-medium-bad day chart (page 404) to track how I spend my days and work on moving closer to an “ideal” work day.)

One of the things I loved about The Freelancer’s Bible is that it didn’t sugarcoat the complexities of being a freelancer. Instead, Horowitz offers viable and creative solutions to problems even seasoned freelancers face.

Sections on the Finances of Freelancing

From a money management perspective, some of the best parts of the book are the ones about setting up a pricing structure (page 33) and creating an investment-like portfolio of clients so that you’ll have a steady flow of income (page 76). You’ll also find a chapter on taxes (page 369), a budget worksheet (page 445), and a full chapter on the necessary safety nets, i.e. insurance, retirement, etc. (page 433). One downside: there's not a ton of information about day-to-day money management. Horowitz instead points to other resources, like The Creative Professional's Guide to Money by Ilise Benun.

The Freelancer’s Bible is a book for all freelancers and independent workers, so you won’t find any advice that’s slanted towards freelance writing. Fortunately, the advice is easily adaptable. Overall, The Freelancer's Bible is a great resource, packed with detailed advice for virtually every freelancer.

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Disclosure: Freelancers Union provided a review copy of this book.

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LaToya Irby is a full-time freelance writer and a graduate of the University of Alabama. She primarily writes about personal finance, freelancing, and other self-employment topics.

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