- The Freelancer's Bible
- By Sara Horowitz
- Workman Publishing
- List Price: $17.95usd
- 474 pages
- Published Fall 2012
Horowitz's Bible is positioned to usurp some of the freelance heavies in the book market due to the depth and expertise within. Horowitz manages to put a fresh perspective and spin on the career, providing new information for veteran freelancers as well as beginners. This is likely due to the author's unique viewpoint as a labor and worker's rights advocate (she is the Founder of the Freelancers Union.)
By the Founder of the Freelancers Union
Horowitz's credentials are noteworthy here. She describes her family history of advocacy and worker's rights interest, which likely had an influence on her eventual study of Labor and Industrial Relations. She also has a law degree and a Master's from Harvard's School of Government.
Despite these and other equally commendable credentials (such as a Genius Fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation), Horowitz's tone is approachable, friendly, and clear, making the book an easy read.
In addition, her passion for the freelance cause is bright and evident. She founded the Freelancers Union in 1995, which has enjoyed recent success in establishing the first freelance-oriented medical clinic in Brooklyn and has received grants to begin co-op health insurance exchanges.
(Side note, freelancers: did you know that the Freelancers Union has its own 401K retirement plan specifically for freelancers, AND you can set up automatic deductions from your bank account? Because, I just found out today and I am on cloud nine over here. I've been looking for an automatic option ever since we talked about freelance retirement planning here.)
"The Freelancer's Bible" Offers You:
One great, big clue-in that sums of this book is in its intro: "curated." Horowitz has collected and curated all the information you need to become a successful freelancer. This concept works because there are so many very different facets to this work, and no one person can be an expert in everything. So, Horowitz leans on a long list of experts in their respective fields, such as ergonomics, taxes and marketing. (Oh, and one of those experts is one of my fave resources, Brigitte Thomson, author of "Bookkeeping for Writers," which I recommend here.)
Experts and other freelancers offer up their best practices and insider's views of the career, all curated by Horowitz's engaging tone. The book is laid out in a somewhat chronological manner, beginning with launch and ending with growth strategies. This makes it easy to find what you need, especially for veteran freelancers. Although the book and tone are upbeat and positive, this is a real-world look. Plenty of barriers and problems are presented and discussed.
In addition, the "Bible" is straightforward. There is no waffling here. You know what I mean: ask a freelancer how they set their rates, and you'll get a "some-of-this-and-some-of-that" dance, but Horowitz walks you through a linear, clear process. This is done throughout the book with things like writing contracts or dealing with problem clients. It's quite refreshing.
But What's the Difference?
What sets this book out from the crowd is the obvious passion and support of worker's rights that you will find throughout. Horowitz's philosophy and beliefs about freelancing tend to frame everything in a different way. In addition, she includes several "extras" that line up with her values in this way, such as notes on pertinent government policies, attention to the absence of protections that other workers get, and ways you can contribute and move the field forward.
In addition, this book goes beyond the basics. Don't worry, they are covered thoroughly, but the depth is so outstanding that even a veteran freelancer will benefit from a reading. Some highlights in that vein:
- Specific, scripted ways to deal with common client problems.
- How to calculate hourly rates, including how to figure a realistic "profit" in addition to your salary.
- A specific guide to the "right" mix of clients (your portfolio of clients), and how to arrive at that mix.
Rating: Five stars! The Freelancer's Bible is definitely a good edition to your office library, no matter where you are in your independent career.