7 Books that made me a better freelancer

If you read one of these books, you’ll make your entire business better. These are part of the toolkit I offer my coaching clients. Read on if you’re new to freelancing (or new again, having recently been laid off).

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Freelancers are nomads, but business is still business!

The first thing to understand is that freelance work is genuinely nomadic work. You work on different things all the time: Different projects, different clients, different locations. Today you might be editing something; tomorrow writing SEO copy; the next day pitching a feature for a lifestyle magazine.

It’s one of the most perfect ways of making a living, because it allows you to follow your heart, follow your interests and follow your instincts.

But you also have to have enough stability, enough process, to keep your clients coming back.

It’s no secret that the most profitable client is one that you already have. You don’t have to do any outbound marketing, there are no advertising costs. It’s all inside the relationship that you have with those clients.

The key is making your business feel to the client that you’re a professional, smooth-as-silk operator. This isn’t about smashing work out to deadlines. It’s about every little nuance that you can imagine.

Once you’ve got the nuances sorted out, you can still operate from the heart as you did while flitting about. It won’t restrain you. What it will give you is a framework that will support you even as your business grows.

Make no mistake: Once you’re making money, the next challenge is keeping that money, and then scaling while at peak capacity. They’re all different challenges, they all require different approaches.

These resources will see you through all of them. (If you apply what you learn, anyway. Very few do!)

The Top 7 Books

Ready? Let’s go. These are in no particular order.

Book 1. Profit First

The book Profit First is an absolute game-changer. In my first year of (this) business, it paid for a two-week trip to NZ with almost unlimited spending at Hobbiton.

It was on the basis of this book that I reached out to Mike and made friends; I even appeared on his podcast.

I love this book, and actually everything Mike Michalowicz has written. He’s a lovely dude too. And fearless! When he and I went out to dinner, he ate through Australia’s coat of arms, and I loved that!

Buy book. Use book. Profit.

Book 2. Make Your Bed: Little things that can change your life (and maybe the world)

This is a tiny book nobody really talks about much. And yes, it will tell you to make your bed.

It is the foundation of almost all systems thinking in my life. Ironically, this was sparked off by a coach who asked me how many things I had left unfinished. I wrote a list. The list ran to a full A4 page.

I began making my bed and putting the dishes away (after washing them)… and the impact on my business life was immense.

Book 3. Extreme Ownership

One of the things you learn when you start creating a silky-smooth business is that everything is your fault. Literally. Everything.

Client got something wrong? That’s your fault.

Something misunderstood at the other end? That’s your fault.

Virtual assistant screwed something up? That’s your fault.

Client driving you nuts and emailing you every ten seconds? That’s your fault too.

Read Extreme Ownership to learn why.

Book 4. Systematic Magic: 7 magic keys to Disnify your business

Building beautiful client experiences is about as easy as it gets, but somehow we think it’s hard. Let Vance Morris show you why this is so easy, and give you concrete steps he actually uses to do the same thing.

The irony is that Vance published everything he does, all his systems, and his competitors still went out of business. Why? Because they were too lazy to do what he does. If they did, competition would be robust!

This is where your customer systems thinking begins.

Book 5. The Productivity Planner

I am a massive fan of Intelligent Change. I even wrote an article for them, on how I adapted their productivity planner.

This tool is an absolute must-have for anyone working for themselves, so for you it is an absolute no-brainer. It will completely change your approach to task-lists, because it shifts you to getting shit done as opposed to writing lists.

Book 6. The Ultimate Guide to Project Management for Creatives

Project Management is the one thing that lets creatives down, in my experience. It sure was with me! I agonised about it for years. I built system after system after system. I used hundreds of apps and software packages.

And then I went back to basics.

When I did, I realised that other people need to understand it the same way! So I wrote this book.

Use it. It’ll change your entire approach, drop your risk, and improve the quality of every project you handle–one by one.

Book 7. How to Win Friends and Influence People

An oldie but a goodie!

This is honestly my most-recommended work after Profit First. Here’s why: Business happens in front of people, not in front of screens.

Yes, you’re a freelancer. Yes, you’re a working nomad. That makes it even more important for you to learn how to make friends and influence others in person.

Dale Carnegie is an absolute legend. And like all the other books on this list, it will meaningfully change your life for the better.

If you’d like to see how coaching with me can improve your freelancer and writer life, book a free taster call.

Calls run for a full hour, and you get a complete set of notes and actions to take away, just as you would if it were a paid (real!) client call. Send me a message to get started.

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