4 Books You Need To Read If You’re Self-Employed (Or Want To Be)

4 Books You Need To Read If You’re Self-Employed (Or Want To Be)

Wondering what to do now that the shadow cast by Mercury retrograde is over? It’s time to get back on track with your goals and that might mean brushing up on your business knowledge.

Business books are sometimes awesome—and sometimes they’re stuffed with generic information, tiresome mansplaining, or they’re extremely under-researched! [Loudly groans into the void.] Fret not, we’ve done the diamond digging for you. Here are four books by women who have seriously been there and done all of that as freelancers and/or business founders.

The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams—On Your Terms, by Sara Horowitz

If you call your book a “Bible,” you better back it up. And Sara Horowitz absolutely does—she’s both a former freelancer and the founder of the Freelancer’s Union, an organization that represents more than 375,000 independent workers. (She’s also a MacArthur “genius” grant recipient, #casual.) So when Horowitz says there are rewards to be reaped in this seemingly ruthless work structure, we’re inclined to listen.

The Freelancers’ Bibleis super comprehensive. Clocking in at nearly 500 pages, itcovers logistical issues like how to deduct your home office as a business expense and deal with the IRS; tiny tips like keeping the top of the computer screen at eyebrow height (which apparently helps keep your eyeballs in-socket); and “advocacy alerts” that highlight where freelancers can be pushing for better policies. It’s also got moments of inspiration on offer, as whenHorowitz reminds readers that “all work is noble when you’re working for something you believe in: yourself.”We can’t guarantee self-employment salvation at the end of this bible, but we believe you’ll get something meaningful out of it whether you’re a noob or a pro.

My Creative (Side) Business: The Insightful Guide To Turning Your Side Projects Into A Full-Time Creative Business, by Monika Kanokova

At less than half the length of the Freelancers’ Bible, Monika Kanokova’s My Creative (Side) Businessprovides a less-comprehensive but more approachable, case-study-centered guide to self-employment. Kanokova highlights a variety of diverse approaches to turning your freelance side hustle into your full-time gig. And she provides words of wisdom from fourteen female entrepreneurs who have done just that.

Kanokova also explains the importance of building a consistent brand and helping customers to “associate something specific with you.” My Creative (Side) Businessis a quick, conversational read, perfectly suited for skimming on the bus or subway. And while the book is rooted in anecdotes, it’s also chock-full of tangible info about how to get your money in order—which is often where freelancing gets hairy.

Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide To Running A Successful Freelance Business, by Joy Deangdeelert Cho and Meg Mateo Ilasco

If you’re a visual artist, this book will be right up your alley. Meg Ilasco and Joy Deangedeelert Cho, the author of Craft, Inc. and founder of Oh Joy!, respectively, spark interesting conversations inCreative, Inc.Do you check off each of the nine qualities of a successful freelancer? Should you attend art school or pursue your craft straight out of the gate? Creative, Inc. will help you see your way through the beginning of your artistic career.

Plus, this colorful guide is informative and inspiring, mixing artist profiles, success stories, advice, and worksheets that will help you navigate the nitty-gritty waters of billing and attracting clientele—while also making your spirit sing.

The Multi-Hyphen Method: Work Less, Create More, And Design A Career That Works For You, by Emma Gannon

This one isn’t out yet. “So why the heck is it on your list?!?!” you may be gently asking. Well, it’s coming out soon—on May 31—and you can pre-order your copyhere.

We can prettymuch bank on this being an interesting read because Emma Gannon rules. We love her popular podcast Ctrl Alt Delete, where she talks to people like Ava Duvernay, Liz Gilbert, and Rowen Blanchard—ok, and also Girlboss editorialdirector Jerico Mandybur; that was extremely cool—about their relationships with the internet. Gannon is a multi-hyphenate herself, to the extent that it’s hard to even cover everything she’s up to—but in short order, she’s a blogger, writer, digital lecturer at Condé Nast College, podcast host, former social media editor of British Glamour, and charitably-engaged person.

Gannon writes that The Multi-Hyphen Method is about “diversifying skills, designing your own career and working LESS, not more.” Into it. Once we become multi-hyphens on May 31, it’s all over for you… brilliant friends.