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My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire
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My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  642 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Tired of clocking in and losing out? Want to pursue creative, fulfilling work on your own time and also make a living in the process? My So-Called Freelance Life is a how-to guidebook for women who want to avoid the daily grind and turn their freelance dreams into reality. Michelle Goodman, author of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide and self-proclaimed former “wage slave,” offers tip ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Seal Press (first published 2008)
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Feb 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Goodman has been freelancing for sixteen years at the time of publication. From the jump, her writing is accessible and fun. The follow-up to the somewhat well known The Anti-9-5 Guide: Practical Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube, Goodman is once again onto something. What other how-to guides (repeatedly) use phrases like “get this freelance party started”? When you read a book like My So-Called Freelance Life, it isn’t hard to wonder how anyone can break from a traditional mindset abo ...more
Apr 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Before I bought this book, I handed it to a friend and said, "Do I need to read this or am I buying it because it's pink?" I had my doubts--not only about the fluff-potential of a freelance book marketed so shamelessly to young women but also because I've had more experience as a freelancer than people who might pick up a Freelancing 101 kind of book. So I should say that some of this info applied to me, and some of it didn't, but overall I'm glad I took a refresher course. Freelancing in a void ...more
Oct 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Not 5 stars for me, but I've been freelancing for years so most of this was old hat. Anyone who's been freelancing on their own for a while will (or should) already know most of this material. Give this to your favorite cubicle worker who has dreams of setting out on the freelance path, and encourage them to take the leap...
Katrina Sark
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
“To fulfil a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labour, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.” (Bette Davis)


p.1 – “I used to be like you, thinking one day I’d pursue my own writing or take up painting again,” they’d say. “But eventually, you learn to let go of those silly dreams. You gotta grow up sometime and get a real job like everyone else.” Why? I remember thinking. What’s so juvenile about actually liking what you do fo
Ashly Lynn
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those looking to get into freelancing.
Recommended to Ashly by: Found at the thrift store.
5/5 Stars

This is a nonfiction reference book written to aid freelancers trying to startup their own business. Even though the writer works in writing and editing, she includes all types of freelance work in her book and tackles how you should go about things such as office space, rates, finding work, and even a bit on taxes. She shares resources and her own knowledge after having been in the business for 10+ years and gives her readers plenty of tips and tricks to help them get on their feet in
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire is written by full-time freelancer Michelle Goodman. With over fifteen years of experience under her belt at the time this book was published, Goodman provides tips, tricks and advice on how to set yourself up for success in the world of freelance.

My So-Called Freelance Life is divided up into three main sections: Section One explains how to adjust to a work-from-home lifestyle after being caught up in the
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really appreciated the honesty and real-world tips Goodman offers in this book. I think anyone who is currently a freelancer or seriously thinking about becoming one should read this book. It's funny, a quick read, and full of tips that I haven't read anywhere else.
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010, unjobbing
This book is chock full of practical advice about building and growing a freelance business. The author has a fun, light tone but is very down to earth and manages to be inspiring & grounding at the same time.
Even if you don't know Michelle, this book is like having a good friend teach you the ropes.
Oct 08, 2009 added it
another great book for learning about starting a business!
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, writing
I'll be honest--many of the topics covered in this book don't really apply to me--for example, health insurance, but they are definitely useful for those who need them. I have found, however, that reading books about writing, or freelancing, etc., basically provide the kick in the pants I need to be excited about my work again, and to actually GET MOVING. I did learn something incredibly important, however--one which may be career-changing: to get where you want to be, you need to stop clutterin ...more
Jinal Shah (If I Were Marketing)
there were so many places in the book that I said 'true that'!!!!! it was very relatable and hence, helpful. Nicely written- with a good dose of humor..
M.E. Kinkade
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you are considering a freelance gig--full-time or part-time, and especially if it's in a creative field--pick up this book. Goodman leverages her extensive background as a freelance writer and editor to explain the tricky points of starting your own business, and does it all in a friendly girl-next-door tone that is reassuring despite a sometimes-stressful topic.

The book is divided into three parts: Initial set-up ("You Fled the Cube, Now What?"), Getting Ahead ("Sell, Baby, Sell"), and gene
Jun 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Maybe it's because I recently started on my own full-time freelancer journey, but learning about making money by working from home in my jammies has been on my mind a lot lately. Graduation from my undergraduate college was in May and I start my new grad program in the fall, so I'm taking a big leap of job faith: instead of finding another part-time summer gig folding clothes at a retail joint I hate, I'm trying to support myself through my writing (yay book reviews!) and graphic design. Natural ...more
Mar 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
Should I have known that this book was for ladies only? Maybe. There are flip flops and pink letters right there on the cover (and I later found out the byline of publisher is "By women. For women."), which normally wouldn't raise any flags. Lots of women like flip flops and pink. My wife likes flip flops and pink and she offers me advice all the time.

As a man, reading this book was like being the only Jack at a Jack & Jill event. Or tumbling into somebody's girls' night. Or reading a blog c
Dec 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-projects
I have really garnered a lot of useful information from this book. As I delve further into freelance writing/editing, its been very practical to learn all aspects of working for oneself. There were so many things I didn't really know I needed to do or even how to do. She really stresses the points of creative versus "bread buying" projects, which not every freelancer wants to hear . . . but when you first start out in business foir yourself, you've got to do some nitty gritty along with some fun ...more
Lisa Brunette
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I reviewed this book on Amazon back in 2008 but find myself continuing to recommend the book to freelancers, so I thought I'd add it to Goodreads now as well. Here's my 2008 review, which still stands: As a freelancer for 16 years, I was skeptical at first that this book would teach me anything I didn't already know. I started out around the same time Goodman did, in my twentysomethings, and was just as green at the time (she and I both spent too much money on neat new business stationery). But ...more
Jan 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life. Seriously! I didn't realize how much I DIDN'T have my act together when it came to my finances and doing freelance work. Believe it or not I didn't think twice about taxes and a year into my official freelance life, I realized that I was supposed to be saving taxes myself and sending them in 4 times a year. Needless to say I'm kind of in trouble at the moment, but in many other ways this book has set me straight.

Michelle Goodman, who fortunately for me seems to be work
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When I checked this book out from the library, I at first wasn't exactly sold on it. The premise seemed like something that could be helpful, but the first couple of chapters didn't quite feel like new information to me.

However, now that I have finished it, I am quite literally sold on this book - I'm going to buy a copy of my own for future reference. It's just that useful. Tucked in among the witty writing are some true gems of information covering everything from naming your business, to avo
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, women
This book offers some great guidance and advice for those just starting out with freelance work. It's written in that whole cutesy/blogger kind of language (with chapters like "You're so Money!") which started to really grate on my nerves after awhile. It's hard to read a whole book in that kind of language. There is plenty of information in here that applies to everyone, but I did find that she was a little too copy-editing/writer-focused in her advice (which is what the author does). There are ...more
Oct 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Goodman's got the freelance experience and the clever, easy accessible narrative voice to back it up. Most of the info here is fairly basic, which I actually found very helpful, though it didn't quite cover the more specific freelance issues I've been having. While the intended audience seems to be primarily women interested in freelancing for large-ish companies, the advice here is good for any gender in any work situation.

I've been reading a lot of how-to freelance books lately, and this was o
Feb 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Even if you're not a "creative" freelancer (and I count myself among the noncreative types), this is still a very informative and entertaining book. And let's face it, when it comes to discussing nitty gritty business and work-life matters, entertaining helps. A lot. Goodman's style is easy and casual, but she's not just writing this to have fun. She comes across as sincere in her desire to help others learn from her mistakes and successes in the world of being in business for yourself. And she ...more
Kathleen Dupré
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I am destined to reference again and again. I am not normally a big reader of nonfiction, but I was riveted to this book from the beginning. Michelle Goodman has a frank, funny voice that supplements her invaluable information perfectly. It is clear that she is not only a truly seasoned freelancer, she has also done her research. And she's so likeable. Normally I feel condescended to when I get advice from authors in books, but reading Goodman's advice genuinely felt like hav ...more
Sonnet Fitzgerald
Jan 09, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a very well-written book, but aimed mostly at those who are just considering going freelance and making plans. As someone who has been a freelancer for years, I found very little new information. Many of the suggestions also assume the freelancer will be working for corporations, instead of for individuals as is more common in today's gig economy.

That said, while I personally didn't find it overly useful, it's a great book. The writer's voice is friendly and fun, and there are solid tips
Jun 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I purchased this book almost two years ago after hearing a friend rave about it. I didn't get past the first chapter and let it sit until about two weeks ago. Two weeks ago, I picked this book up and made notes. And what my friend raved about? I get it now.

As someone who will be transitioning from the 9-to-5 in a few months to a full-time freelancer, I feel like I have a gameplan for my little business and a direction to aim for now, before I leave the corporate grind forever. And I cannot wait
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
If you're thinking about starting a freelance career and have never read a book on freelancing, you'll find a lot of useful information in this book. If you've read other books about the subject like me, you probably won't learn anything new. I had picked this book thinking it'd be interesting to read a book written by a woman on this topic. Unfortunately I quickly found out Michelle Goodman is not married and has no kids, so she's got a lot of working time on her hands, something I don't have. ...more
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: freelancing
A book I wish I'd had when I was starting out as a freelancer. A book I could have written by now--though not with half the flair and fun that Goodman brings to the endeavour.

Time--and colleagues who generously shared their advice--eventually taught me most of these lessons. But even this seasoned freelancer learned a tip or two from Goodman.

I enjoyed it so much that I've subscribed to her blog at (for people who "think outside the cube").

Highly recommended.

Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! To any young freelancer just starting out, it’s like a bible! The way she writes is just hilarious, and makes even the boring topics like math seem very interesting! She covers a range of topics from names to money/financial things. It’s a great read for anyone who might be thinking of making the freelance leap before they actually do it. Although she’s a freelance writer, she had other freelancers of different specialties who contributed to the book.

I just gave it to my siste
Jul 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Good advice for structuring and growing a freelance career, tho mostly targeted towards creative freelancers. The principles can definitely be applied towards more service-based work (like massage therapy or doula services), but it is written by and for someone working as a writer, illustrator, or designer for clients.

I will definitely think about how to balance "bread-and-butter" clients or jobs with the clients that really make me feel passionate about my work in the first place. Goodman offe
Lesley Looper
Dec 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a good, basic book on freelancing. I picked it up thinking, "I may want to freelance someday." This book seems to lean more towards people who are looking to replace their 9-5 job with freelancing, where I'd just be doing it as a moonlighter, or perhaps in retirement. So, maybe I read this book too soon in the process for me. But still, it gave me some good things to think about for the future. The back of the book lists some good resources, both websites and books, for freelancer-wannab ...more
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Hey there. I'm author of "My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube." My articles and essays about alternative careers, human mating rituals, and cultural trends have graced media outlets such as,,, The Seattle Times, BUST, Bitch, ...more
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