Book Review: The Freelancer’s Bible

Freelancer's Bible Cover

Image Credit: Freelancers Union

When I first started my freelance law practice, a friend told me about the Freelancers Union. Founded by Sara Horowitz (now a MacArthur Fellow), the nonprofit Freelancers Union provides information, contract forms, and an online community for freelancers throughout the United States. They even provided health insurance to freelancers in New York before the Affordable Care Act, and now are making insurance available nationwide.

Horowitz’s book, The Freelancer’s Bible, is meant to be the go-to resource for freelancers in any field, not just law. And it delivers. Seriously, folks, this is the best book on freelancing I’ve read, and if you’re going to do this kind of work, I heartily recommend it.

Horowitz breaks the start-up process into seven steps—from understanding why you want to freelance, to targeting your market and setting rates. She discusses office options (from working at home to coworking to renting space); client relations (finding them, establishing a working relationship, setting boundaries, troubleshooting); networking (from events to social media to email marketing); and business decisions about finances, transportation, time management, insurance. Horowitz even offers diagnostic tools to help you optimize your freelance gigs (doing your preferred tasks at the time of day you’re most productive).

The book is full of great tips, including building a “freelance portfolio”—that is, a stable of diverse clients necessary to ensure a productive and (relatively) even workflow over time—and also a “love bank” of relationships with other freelancers who can help you take on projects even when you’re busy. I have found both to be incredibly helpful. Three years in to my freelance practice, I find Horowitz anticipates the issues I’m facing, and has great answers I can use right away.

So whether you’re new to the game or experienced, consider adding The Freelancer’s Bible to your reading list. At a sturdy 486 pages (including index), it’s a comprehensive resource, beautifully designed and easy to read. Horowitz includes her contact information to invite comment and collaboration.

Here at MFAN we’ve often noted that freelancing is common in other fields but still relatively rare in law. Connecting with the Freelancers Union is a great way to plug in to a larger community where the legitimacy of freelancing is taken for granted, and where you can find people who have encountered similar issues in different fields.

Sound good? Visit and check out the Hives (I started a Hive called “Lawyers” which you’re welcome to join). Or come to the next After Hours get-together at the CoCo workspace in Uptown, the first Wednesday of every month. Hope to see you there!

Karin has been a litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton; a law clerk to three Minnesota federal judges; a legal writing teacher at NYU Law, William Mitchell College of Law, and the University of Minnesota Law School; and a sole practitioner and freelancer in Minnesota…

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