Freelancing can be scary. There’s the instability, feelings of isolation if you’re working from home by yourself and, of course, the inevitable pressure to work for free — ahem — or for “exposure.” At the same time, freelancing has tons of perks. You get to set your own schedule, choose your own projects, be your own boss… the rewards can definitely outweigh the risks. But if you’re considering the freelance life, it is important to know your industry inside and out before taking the plunge. That’s why we’re recommending any potential freelance #girlboss read these super insightful books before making that leap. Scroll through and update your reading list accordingly!


1. Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business by Joy Deangdeelert Cho and Meg Mateo Ilasco ($24): If you’re the crafty type (and let’s face it: who isn’t around these parts?!) you’ve probably heard of this one’s predecessor, Craft, Inc.. Now the publishers are letting freelancers in on the action. This one’s a super practical guide to everything from building a portfolio to navigating all the legal systems freelancers will run into.


2. Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey by Chuck Wendig ($5): This ebook is a hilarious, brutally honest, no-nonsense kinda guide for anyone crazy enough to want to be a freelance writer. A collection of more than 50 essays on all aspects of freelance life, it’s the perfect way to peek inside a real-life writer’s world before diving in yourself.


3. Independent Stardom: Freelance Women in the Hollywood Studio System by Emily Carman ($33): Here’s one that’s less of a guide and more of an opportunity to soak up some badass vibes from #girlbosses who’ve gone before us. It’s an account of women in old Hollywood who refused to be locked into dreaded seven-year contracts, instead opting for the freelance life. Give it a read and channel the badassery yourself.


4. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport ($28): Okay, so this one isn’t freelance-focused per se, but it’s super helpful for those of us (AKA all of us) who struggle with buckling down and focusing when you’re your own boss working from home. Read up on how to train your mind to seriously focus on tasks at hand and your freelance business will thank you.


5. My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire by Michelle Goodman ($26): The cover features a woman sitting at a desk in pajamas and flip-flops. We relate so hard. This one’s the ultimate #girlboss’s guide to freelancing in any creative field, and you can count on Michelle to give you answers for all the issues you might run into.


6. Make Your Own Luck: A DIY Attitude to Graphic Design and Illustration by Kate Moross ($39): We’re all about a DIY attitude, so naturally we love this one. If you’re diving into the super competitive freelance art world, be sure to pick up this in-depth guide to navigating everything from art school to the business world.


7. The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work and Thrive on Your Own Terms by Zachary Petit ($19): Want to get started in freelance writing but don’t exactly know where to start? This one touches on all the basics. From coming up with amazing ideas to conducting interviews and “getting steady work while avoiding financial panic attacks and unpleasant ulcers,” this guide has you covered.


8. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert ($30): From the author of Eat, Pray, Love comes this super insightful guide to harnessing creativity — and telling our worst inner critic to get lost. In other words, it’s completely essential reading for anyone about to go out on their own in a creative field.

Are you thinking of going full-time freelance? Tweet us at @BritandCo with which of our picks is on the top of your to-read list!