3 Books to Read if You Want to Do What You Love and Be Able to Eat

At the start of college (or even last year) if you had asked me what a job entailed I would have said a desk in a cubicle, working at least 9-5, a lot of CCing on e-mails, and playing to office politics. I thought that if you didn’t have one of these traits in your daily routine then you must not have a “real” job. The word “freelancing” rang a bell, but I didn’t think people actually did this for a living. Needless to say a lot has changed in the past few months. I’m realizing that many people make a very nice living freelancing. Entrepreneurship is a wonderful, possible thing. I’m seeing the working world with different eyes and it is awesome. I’m realizing that you can control your own work schedule, the kind of work you do, and the kind of money you make. Instead of being forced to sit in a cubicle for at least eight hours a day as you e-mail people who sit next to you, you can work from home or Starbucks or your patio or wherever.  You can work your own schedule as long as you’re motivated enough to put in enough time to get things done. If you want more money you can solicit more clients or writing jobs. No need to ask for a raise. I’m completely re-thinking the word “job” and am trying to pursue freelancing and entrepreneurship. I used to think these things weren’t a way to make a real living, or that you had to be at least 50 to work for yourself. Not at all. And I’m glad.

The more I talk to other working people, the more I realize that many people my age feel the same way. We may be young and new to the work force, but we know what we want and we’re going to get there. I’ve read a few books that have really helped me learn about the freelance/entrepreneurship path. It’s definitely not as simple as just having motivation to go out on your own. That’s a big part of it, but you also need a money-making plan. Sometimes you need to spread that plan out over a few years. The best part is, you don’t even necessarily have to give up a steady paycheck if that’s something you enjoy. Maybe your plan just involves adding freelance projects to the mix.

Here are three books that I’ve found to be really helpful if you’re interested in freelancing and/or being an entrepreneur. I’m interested in freelance writing, so these books are geared more towards the writing industry, but the basic concepts of freelancing apply to almost any industry:

1.) The Anti 9-5 Guide by Michelle Goodman: The book is written in a terrific, conversational style that will immediately
draw you in.  As I read the book I find myself nodding my head, laughing and completely relating to the stories Michelle tells and the feelings she has about the working world. The information contained inside is extremely valuable. Michelle Goodman left her cube in 1992 with no real plan in place. She’s able to offer advice based on her own mistakes and triumphs. I just started this one and I love it. This is a must-read for aspiring freelancers and entrepreneurs.

2.) The Wealthy Freelancer by Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage and Ed Gandia: I’m reading this and Michelle Goodman’s book at the same time, and together they tell you everything you need to know about starting out on your own. Having drive and skills and passion are crucial to success as an independent business person, but if you don’t understand the money aspect of things you won’t succeed no matter how talented you are. You need to learn how to treat yourself as a business. It’s great if you love what you do, but you should also be getting paid appropriately for your talents. This book helps you figure out the “money stuff” using real examples from people who have done it successfully. I’m also finding this book to be extremely helpful and would definitely recommend it.

3.) The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman: This is another book that I’m reading and loving. It’s a different type of book. If you’re not interested in writing then this isn’t for you, but I will say that this book has changed the way I look at my writing. I used to think I only wanted to pursue more “creative” writing opportunities (writing for websites, blogs, magazines, etc.) but this book made me re-think that. The book focuses a lot on commercial writing, which means writing websites, brochures, newsletters, and other materials for businesses. I had never thought about this before, but now I’m picking up a few commercial writing projects on the side. I love
writing, I think I’m a good writer, and I love freelancing. Why not pursue commercial writing? I’m glad I read this book because I would never have even thought to pursue commercial writing work. But the author, Peter Bowerman, explains why it’s such a great choice for writers, and how you can make good money doing it. If you’re a writer and/or love writing, this is definitely something you’re going to want to read.

These are three great choices if you’re looking to learn about the basics of freelancing and/or entrepreneurship. Are there any others you’ve read and found to be helpful? What are your freelance/entrepreneurship goals and plans? I’d love to hear about them!

 

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