Freelancing Resources for Designers

Making the decision to quit your steady paying day job and go freelance is one of the most important life decisions to make. Thankfully there are plenty of resources offering guidance. I stated reading up on freelancing a good six months before making the jump. Here is a list of the resources which helped me, and have been guiding me ever since.


Nothing else has been more educational to me than these books. If you have the time I would recommend reading all three, each offers something different and you'll be a better freelancer for it.

Design is a Job - Written by the co-founder of Mule Design, Mike Monteiro. Mike guides you into doing your job better. From contracts to selling design, from working with clients to working with each other, you'll learn why navigating the business of design is just as important as the craft of it. Cultivated from his own experience, Mike packs this brief book with knowledge you can't afford not to know, you'll be a better freelancer for reading it.

Work for Money, Design for Love - This refreshing, straight-talking advice guide from Logo Designer David Airey answers the questions designers have about launching and running their own design businesses. David presents a vast number of situations many designers will come up against by using anecdotes and case studies garnered from his own experience. The book also includes lessons learned from other creative professionals from different fields.

Frictionless Freelancing - Freelance designer Aron Mahnke exposes all of his tricks and secrets, talking about the friction we encounter through our mistakes, and how broken procedures can hold us back from success. This book will teach you how to improve your productivity methods, craft successful client interactions and get a firm grasp on your finances.


I'm a big fan of Podcasts, I actually listen to them more than music. There are plenty of great ones available for freelancers.

Unfinished Business - Hosted by Andy Clarke who has run his own web design business Stuff & Nonsense for over ten years. The shows original focus was the business side of web design with co-host freelancer Anna Debenham. My advise would be to start from the beginning as the first 30-something episodes with Anna will be the most valuable. They share their experiences and tips with a splash of banter (including soap and apes).

The Freelance Web - Together Sean Johnson and Liz Elcoate host a podcast for freelancers working on the web, discussing the everyday ups and downs of freelancing life. Sean and Liz have some great tips that the everyday freelancer can relate to.

Home Work - I recently discovered this weekly podcast by accident, with over 100 episodes Aaron Mahnke (author of Frictionless Freelancing) and Dave Caolo give advice to people who work from home. I don't usually listen to American podcasts but what I like about the show is that they are two regular guys making a living from their spare bedroom, just like me. Aaron and Dave share their experience on staying focused, avoiding distractions, planning your day and taking regular breaks.

The Business of Web Design - The new kid on the block, Joel Hughes hosts this fortnightly podcast. In each show Joel talks to various folk from the world of web freelancing and agencies to find out more about their business and how they run it.


The likes of Net Magazine and Computer Arts have had an influence on my design career for years. They include articles from industry experts and quite often feature business related tips with advice on running a design business.

Computer Arts have even created a Freelance Handbook packed with practical tips and essential advice for making it on your own.


There are plenty resources online for freelancing. Here is a small collection of my favourites.

Freelance Rate Calculator - Make sure you are getting a fair rate for your services, this calculator put together by Cole Henley will give you a pretty good idea for what you should be charging.

Contract Killer - I use this like many other freelancers as a base for my own contract. You won't find a better starting point.

F*ck you pay me - In this video a passionate Mike Monteiro gives valuable advice on how to protect your work and get that all important payment.


The Business of Web Design - To my knowledge there's never been a conference focusing on the business side of the web industry. Held on 18th July 2014 in Cardiff this conference has eight great speakers giving key business advice and lessons learnt from the front line. This conference will be packed with fellow freelancers to chat to, so grab a ticket and I'll see you there!

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Posted on 05 June 2014 in Design, Freelance

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