Freelance to Freedom
November 14, 2009 2:05 PM   Subscribe

Books on freelancing? Looking for inspiration to take the plunge.

I get out of my current academic position in 1.5 years and I am not returning to academia. My dream is to launch a freelance consulting career (consulting on my research topic). Sometimes I am confident I can do it, other times I am pessimistic.

What books can I get to inspire me to keep pushing towards launching a freelance consulting career?
posted by Spurious to Work & Money (5 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Hi Spurious - there are lots of books out there. I like Consulting for Dummies for its simple approach. I don't know if you are open to blogs, but I run a site with about 1100 articles on starting and running a consulting business. I worked as a writer for entrepreneurship and career magazines at one point, so that and my own experience as a consultant is included in the blog.

When I was starting out, I found that the works of writer Bob Bly were really inspiring. I think this was because he was a real, live freelancer and so his story allowed me to complete the vision of my future life. I've probably read 100 consulting books over the years, but his Secrets of a Freelance Writer book always stands out in my mind.
posted by acoutu at 2:21 PM on November 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've read many books on consulting, freelance writing, and small businesses as I launched my freelance writing business. To be honest, I found most of the books to be a waste of time, especially the freelance writing books, but YMMV.

The following resources, however, were very helpful for me:

The E-myth Revisited: I'd also highly recommend that you read this book a few months after you start your business. The author discusses a very unique way of thinking about running businesses in a voice that will make sense to you especially if you are immersed in a business and struggling.

The podcast "Small Biz Pod" (also on itunes): This podcast interviews people who have their own businesses, authors of business books, etc. Very lively discussions. Some of the interviews were inspirational to me (eg, person starts a business because he envisions a certain lifestyle and wants to create a certain product).

Check out the free services for small businesses in your area. I've used SCORE, and they can provide you with mentors who have successfully run a business in the past. The mentors can be online or in person, depends on where your live and your preferences.

PS: Just take the plunge and start the business. You will learn along the way.
posted by Wolfster at 3:47 PM on November 14, 2009

Consulting for Dummies is worth reading and having on the shelf. Working from Home and Finding Your Perfect Work by Paul and Sarah Edwards are the 2 that I think are indispensable when it comes to having a mix of practical information along with a lot of food for thought and inspiration.
posted by The Deej at 3:50 PM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @Wolfster: I too am really skeptical of the "how-to" books. Most of them seem 95% fluff and 5% useful information.

I am actually more interesting in inspiring nonfiction stories about people who launched a startup or new business.
posted by Spurious at 3:52 PM on November 14, 2009

Response by poster: I mean, if there is a must-read resource on starting a consulting company I'd love to read it.
posted by Spurious at 4:01 PM on November 14, 2009

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