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

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  706 ratings  ·  85 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
Hannah Flowers
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I wasn't a huge fan of Goodman's writing style, but I gleaned some useful tips for running my business from the book. A lot of the content didn't really apply to me--being a harpist and not "scoring" big corporate contracts and having a lot less control over the work I do get.
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those looking to get into freelancing.
Recommended to Ashley 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
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, business
A little dated (it came out 10 years ago) but still mostly useful. A very encouraging and chatty book aimed at women- it was nice that it was encouraging, and other books can fill the gap with additional practicalities. She seemed to give good advice, and I definitely felt like I needed to finish it before starting to freelance in case I made some grievous error.
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: unjobbing, 2010
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. ...more
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.
Even if you don't know Michelle, this book is like having a good friend teach you the ropes.
Melody Warnick
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
A good how-to manual for freelancers, like a kick-in-the-pants about what I already know I should be doing.
Oct 08, 2009 added it
another great book for learning about starting a business!
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-to-read
I received a scholarship to take a writing course from Michelle Goodman at the Richard Hugo House many many years ago. I recall her teaching as clear, concise, and incredibly practical. So, too, is her book. I had purchased Goodman's book at a time when my employment was uncertain, and I reasoned that the whole workforce was gradually transitioning to a gig economy. I, like every other woman in the 21st century, it seems, have my side hustle. It turns out I got full time employment elsewhere, bu ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, writing, kindle
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
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a freelancer, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it for new freelancers as an eye opening introduction to what you can expect. The writing style is friendly and honest but also helpful and practical.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Good read for anyone dreaming about a freelance career. There is plenty of advice for the beginner but you can find that in other books too. The tips or stories aren't that unique or different. This book will just give you the basics. I was hoping for a bit more inspiration and new ways.
Aug 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: marketing, business
Skimmed through this one to get to the ‘meat.’ Goodman offered some useful tips for running a freelance business but failed to connect with a broader audience. Unless you’re a writer, I’d say skip this book and go directly to the SBA for straight to the point advice on how to start your business.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
My So-Called Freelance Life by Michelle Goodman is a humorous but helpful primer on navigating the freelance career path. I would recommend this book to freelancers or anyone who is considering becoming a freelancer.

Goodman's novel reads as a friend giving helpful advice. She shares lessons learned from her own freelancing career and experience, and from other freelancers.

At times the puns and jokes were a bit much for me, as I wanted to get to the heart of each concept. With that said, as a fr
Sara Hall
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Good intro to freelancing, but many of the references (specifically tech-related) are outdated at this point 😕
Aug 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Short chapters, lots of good info. Takes some of the fear out of freelance.
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was good but it is ten years old and set in America so not all of it was relevant. Useful though and readable.
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
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
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 calle
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: women, business
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
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
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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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