Book Review: The Freelancer’s Bible

Before we start the review proper, I thought it would be useful to discuss my situation, since that informs my perspective on the book. After all, every freelancer’s story is unique. I am not a full time freelancer; I have a regular 40 hour a week job at a web development firm, which I love. I freelance on the side because I want to keep my web design skills up-to-date, and because I really enjoy the work. Some day I’d like to become a full time freelancer, but that’s probably a few years down the road.

I mention all this because I have different needs and expectations from freelancing compared to someone who is doing it to pay the mortgage and put food on their kids’ plates. For me, it’s a future career path, but scoring that next client isn’t life and death. On the other hand, finding time for the work is never easy, especially with two young kids.

So the obvious question is, “With my situation not being full time, did I still fine The Freelancer’s Bible useful?”, to which I would answer an unequivocal yes!

The Freelancer's Bible

Who is The Freelancer’s Bible For?

As my lengthy preamble has probably answered, The Freelancer’s Bible is for freelancers of any stripe. Obviously this includes both full time and part time freelancers, but it’s also written with a broad enough focus to apply to people in any number of fields. I’m in web design and development, so I tend to think of freelancing as a mostly technical field. The Freelancer’s Bible opened my eyes on this; not only does it make its advice broadly applicable, but it uses examples that cover all types of different freelancing markets.

I really liked this because it felt inclusive. Freelancing isn’t any one thing; if you’re doing something for money without the typical structure and safety nets of a full time job, you’re a freelancer. This book makes you feel part of a bigger world.

What Does The Freelancer’s Bible Cover?

Long story short, if it’s related to the business of freelancing, odds are it’s covered in this book. This includes a lengthy and very informative discussion about what freelancing really is, and how it differs from typical employment. It’s a warts and all look at the way millions of people work, which is a refreshing perspective to say the least. From there, we cover all the bases, from finding ways to work more efficiently, growing your business, customer relations, finance and tax advice, and connecting with the community at large.

The last point is extremely important to the book. The Freelancer’s Bible was written by Sara Horowitz, who founded the Freelancer’s Union. As a former labor lawyer, Horowitz has a lot of wonderful insights on ensuring that freelancers everywhere get a fair shake. If you’re interested in learning more about this organization, check out their website: http://www.freelancersunion.org/.

What Works?

  • As mentioned above, the broad inclusiveness of this book is one of its biggest strengths. Reading it, you get the sense that you’re part of a bigger world, and that helps build confidence and lets you know that there are other people out there in your situation, and that they want to help.
  • The reading is very thorough, but also includes tons of additional resources – including a very thorough index – for you to investigate further, which is extremely helpful.
  • In addition to the primary content, the book is filled with little vignettes from freelancers telling about mistakes they’ve made, triumphs they’ve experience, and just the wonderful and varied world of freelancing in general. I found this to be a wonderful side-story in this useful tome.

What Doesn’t?

  • If I had one complaint about The Freelancer’s Bible, it’s that it refers a little too often to the Freelancer’s Union. I get that Horowitz is looking out for everyone’s best interests, but this occasionally comes off as a bit overbearing.

The Verdict

If you’re a freelancer, part time or full, this book is going to answer a lot of your questions and help you form a good plan of attack for getting work out the door, finding new business, and avoiding the myriad land mines in your path.

Buy a copy of The Freelancer’s Bible today!

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