The best books for freelancers, side hustlers, and portfolio careerists

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell into freelancing when I unexpectedly got the opportunity to act in Bollywood after graduating from law school and business school. With six figure student loans, I needed to make money and still have time for auditions. Enter freelancing! A decade later, I’ve helped other people expand beyond their day jobs, change careers, or tap into a different skillset, and I’ve collected stories of over fifty freelancers who are doing the same. I hope these books inspire and support you as you venture off the beaten path to create a career that’s just right for you!


I wrote...

The Freelance Mindset: Unleashing Your Side Hustles for Better Work, Play, and Life

By Joy Batra,

Book cover of The Freelance Mindset: Unleashing Your Side Hustles for Better Work, Play, and Life

What is my book about?

If you’ve ever wanted to think beyond the 9-5, The Freelance Mindset is your guide. Blending stories of fifty freelancers who make coffee, build robots, walk the high wire, and do everything in between, along with the author’s decade of freelance experience, the book shares warmth and wisdom to get you moving. Whether you’re all in on freelancing or just starting your very first side hustle, you’ll learn concrete ways to navigate uncertainty so you can create a life that follows your passions and also pays your bills. You won’t think about your career the same way again. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Multi-Hyphen Life: Work Less, Create More, and Design a Life That Works for You

Joy Batra Why did I love this book?

This book made me feel seen.

There’s something so surreal about going from having one very specific job title at a company to having multiple jobs when you start getting more serious about your side hustles. This book made me realize I’m not alone in having more than one career at the same time, while also teaching me why this is a smart decision and how to get better at it.

Plus, the book is funny and incredibly easy to read. Emma Gannon has no idea who I am, but I feel like she’s my new best friend after reading this. 

By Emma Gannon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Multi-Hyphen Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you've been itching to convert your craft into a career, your side-hustle into a start-up, or just want to think about work-life balance in a new way, then The Multi-Hyphen Life is for you.

In The Multi-Hyphen Life, award-winning British author-podcaster Emma Gannon explains that it doesn't matter if you're a part-time PA with a blog, or an accountant who runs an online store in the evenings—whatever your ratio, whatever your mixture, we can all channel our own entrepreneurial spirit to live more fulfilled and financially healthy lives.

Technology allows us to work wherever, whenever, and enables us to…


Book cover of Flux: 8 Superpowers for Thriving in Constant Change

Joy Batra Why did I love this book?

Ah, there is nothing more quintessentially freelance than riding the highs and lows.

Some months, clients are stampeding to work with you and other months you pitch your projects to a resounding chorus of crickets. This book about thriving in uncertainty helped me ground myself in moments of transition (a.k.a. always).

It also helped me understand that the more unique my career was, the better, because it helps me differentiate myself from the pack. Plus the book reads like a warm hug, and that’s exactly what you want when, well, everything is in flux. 

By April Rinne,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Flux as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover eight powerful mindset shifts that enable leaders and seekers of all ages to thrive in a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty.

Being adaptable and flexible have always been hallmarks of effective leadership and a fulfilling life. But in a world of so much—and faster-paced—change, and an ever-faster pace of change, flexibility and resilience can be stretched to their breaking points. The quest becomes how to find calm and lasting meaning in the midst of enduring chaos.
 
A world in flux calls for a new mindset, one that treats constant change and uncertainty as a feature, not a bug.…


Book cover of The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right

Joy Batra Why did I love this book?

A couple years ago, I accepted a full-time job on top of my freelancing so I could be part of a bigger team.

I thought landing the job would be the hard part, but on my first day of work I found out I was wrong. It had been years since I’d worked at a company and I had no idea how to navigate office politics. This book totally saved me.

It helped me transition from freelance to full-time, but it also made me a better freelancer because I understood my clients and what they valued more deeply, so I could communicate in a way that resonated with them. Whether you’re freelance or full-time, this book is a must.

By Gorick Ng,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unspoken Rules as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named one of 10 Best New Management Books for 2022 by Thinkers50

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

"...this guide provides readers with much more than just early careers advice; it can help everyone from interns to CEOs." - a Financial Times top title

You've landed a job. Now what?

No one tells you how to navigate your first day in a new role. No one tells you how to take ownership, manage expectations, or handle workplace politics. No one tells you how to get promoted.

The answers to these professional unknowns lie in the unspoken rules-the certain ways of doing…


Book cover of The Artist's Way

Joy Batra Why did I love this book?

I knew I wanted to write a book about freelancing for years before I actually did it. I kept trying to write, but procrastination always got the better of me.

This book helped me get out of my own way, not just with writing but also with consulting, dancing, relationships, and many other aspects of my life. As freelancers, we create our own careers out of blank space, so Julia Cameron’s creativity-nurturing tools were absolutely essential for me to see new opportunities, tap into my existing skills, and bring more passion to my work. 

By Julia Cameron,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Artist's Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"With its gentle affirmations, inspirational quotes, fill-in-the-blank lists and tasks — write yourself a thank-you letter, describe yourself at 80, for example — The Artist’s Way proposes an egalitarian view of creativity: Everyone’s got it."—The New York Times 
 
"Morning Pages have become a household name, a shorthand for unlocking your creative potential"—Vogue

Over four million copies sold!

Since its first publication, The Artist's Way phenomena has inspired the genius of Elizabeth Gilbert and millions of readers to embark on a creative journey and find a deeper connection to process and purpose. Julia Cameron's novel approach guides readers in uncovering problems…


Book cover of The Alchemist

Joy Batra Why did I love this book?

Existing outside the 9-5 can be scary. Sometimes you don’t know where you’re going, and other people won’t always understand.

When I was auditioning and not getting much work as an actor, this book gave me hope. Like the narrator, I went on a journey that didn’t take me where I expected to go. Acting led me to writing and eventually to creating my own freelance career that was absolutely perfect for me.

Whether the twists and turns of our lives pay off in the way we hope, or lead us down an unpredictable path, this book is a comforting and inspiring reminder that we can always grow, explore, and even reach our dreams in surprising new ways.

By Paulo Coelho,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked The Alchemist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide. Now this magical fable is beautifully repackaged in an edition that lovers of Paulo Coelho will want to treasure forever.

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book - a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life's path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is…


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Price of Vengeance

By Kurt D. Springs,

Book cover of Price of Vengeance

Kurt D. Springs

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Teacher Cook Barista Guardian

Kurt's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Liam was orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin. Taken in by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, Liam was raised with their older son, Randolf in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a soldier. After being cut off from the city, Liam finds that there is an alien intelligence behind the chitin. To defeat it, he must discover who he is and how to use his powers. Then, Liam discovers that a traitor, responsible for his birth parents' deaths, had…

Price of Vengeance

By Kurt D. Springs,

What is this book about?

"From the cover to the opening pages, Price of Vengeance grabs the reader and takes them on a wild ride. Fasten your seat belts for this book." -S. J. Francis, author of Shattered Lies

What is the Price of Vengeance? One could understand why Liam was angry. He was orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin. Taken in by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, Liam was raised with their older son, Randolf in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a…


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