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My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire Paperback – September 30, 2008

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Frequently Bought Together

My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire + Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business + The Freelancer's Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams - On Your Terms
Price for all three: $34.84

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580052592
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580052597
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Since we’re all sh**ing our pants over the current economic situation, this book couldn’t come at a better time. My So-Called Freelance Life saunters its way through the ins and outs of becoming a successful solo professional, whether you’re a newly graduated 20-something trapped in a monotonous cubicle job or a new mom looking for flexible hours. Having accumulated a great deal of experience on the topic, Michelle Goodman (author of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide) leaves no paperweight unturned, explaining how to get started, maintain a budget and schedule, gather/weed out clientele, and legally cover your a**. Goodman includes a bevy of relevant links, contacts, organizations, and advice on everything from negotiating your hourly rate to when to quit working for the Man. While her book thoroughly covers every fundamental career intricacy you can imagine, wit and hilarity are also seated firmly within. (She even quotes Peter Gallagher on The OC, thus actualizing the poetry of my heart.) Not only is this book an incredible guide on how to get started, but it’s also inspiring and oddly comforting. “You can’t hitch your entire creative career on one big break—or one fat failure,” Goodman writes, “you have to keep moving forward, reaching for bigger and better.” It’s a book you will feel compelled to keep in your personal library (probably between your college dictionary and your religious tome of choice), or you can be like me and sleep with it in your arms."
Bust Magazine

"I love this book! I’ve never had a 9-to-5 job, but it took me years to burn through my conditioning as a woman (that taught me my work wasn’t worth much), my conditioning as a Gen Xer (that taught me I shouldn’t take my work seriously), and my general fear of organization and success. My So-Called Freelance Life would have saved me half a decade of bumbling around. A must-read for established and hopeful creative professionals.”
—Ariel Gore, author of How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead: Your Words in Print and Your Name in Lights

"Michelle is a freelancing superstar, and this guide is packed with indispensable information and stories from the trenches. With advice on everything from handling missed deadlines with grace, to creating a killer portfolio, My So-Called Freelance Life will show you how to make your dream career a reality and help you feel like you’re not alone in going solo."
—Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears, authors of The Boss of You: Everything a Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business

"A witty Seattle writer who has weathered 15 years as a freelancer pens a sage and encouraging guide for others hoping to cobble together various projects for differing employers into a sustained career."
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Michelle Goodman has done what so many of us are terrified to do (and may all be forced to do in our looming recession economy): cut the strings for a completely freelance existence. Luckily, she made all the mistakes first, then compiled her wisdom… a well organized how-to book about overcoming all those fears that keep us clinging desperately to our cubes.”
Seattle Weekly

More About the Author

I'm a freelance writer who fled the cube in 1992 and has yet to look back. My books -- "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" -- offer an irreverent twist on the traditional career guidebook. I write a weekly career column for and the work/life balance blog "Nine to Thrive" for the Seattle Times. My reported pieces about alternative careers, personal finance, and human mating rituals have been published by the New York Times, Salon,, Entrepreneur, BUST, Bitch, The Bark, Yahoo, AOL, and more. My essays appear in several anthologies, including "P.S. What I Didn't Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends" and "Single State of the Union: Single Women Speak Out on Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness." I live in Seattle with Buddy, my 80-pound lapdog. For more advice and dirt on the freelance life, visit me at

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I found this to be a very informative and inspiring read.
J. Gorman
I am letting all my creative freelancing friends know that this is a book they need to read.
K. Tyler
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is on the fence about going freelance.
S. Morgenstein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you're like me, you probably fell into your freelance lifestyle, rather than deliberately planned and strategically designed a solo career. Which is why Goodman's book had me at the title! This is a well-written, hilarious, solid resource for creative types who still have a 9 to 5 and want to switch to working for themselves, or those of us who kinda already are but not as professionally as we might like.

Goodman covers the fun stuff like getting your online portfolio up and hobnobbing with fellow freelancers. She talks about the icky stuff--like recordkeeping and invoicing and working with a tax professional. And she keeps it real, with discussion on how to not "sell out" creatively while keeping your bills paid and maintaining the work/life balance. All the while, Goodman freely admits her mistakes as proof that it's never too late to get in shape, businesswise. Her popular 1st book, The Anti-9-to-5 Guide, website of the same name, and columns and writing gigs give her advice plenty of street cred.

I have shelves of books on the freelance writing lifestyle, many of which are dear to my heart and great references (Bowerman's "Well Fed Writer" is one example). But "My So Called Freelance Life" is now #1 with a bullet because it's a targeted blueprint to laying the foundation and building my writing business, delivered in a hip, conversational tone that spoke directly to me.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By SJS on October 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Michelle's last book, The Anti 9-to-5 Guide, and loved it, so I was eager to read this her new one. I have to say that she did not disappoint. Her candor is refreshing, as is her contemporary yet tried-and-true advice for those of us in the freelance trenches. Some stuff in here I'd never thought of, like renting a spot in an office co-op to avoid climbing the walls with loneliness.

I'd recommend this book for new and experienced freelancers alike - in fact, I've already bought a copy for a friend.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Bell VINE VOICE on March 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
Goodman dishes on what it's like to be a creative professional in this guide for freelancers. She covers everything structurally (business plan, anyone?), as well as important (licenses and lawyers?) and unimportant (do you really need 1,000 sheets of letterhead on your first day?) issues.

Broken into three categories:
You Fled the Cube, Now What?
Sell, Baby, Sell
Your So-Called Life

and followed by the epilogue and web resources, Goodman dishes it to her readers straight. She doesn't pretend to know it all or have been the star student in her learning process, but she does impart her knowledge in an approachable way.

She even suggests that if you can't take the rejections that come in with selling yourself and your work, for a quick pick-me-up, you should Google "famous rejections." I LOVED that piece of advice.

Goodman also breaks down game plans into do-able pieces. What would you do to write for your favorite magazine? She has suggestions on how to make this happen. She lived it and learned it, and she shares it with us here.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Janice King VINE VOICE on January 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book provides good information and resources for freelance writers that aren't covered elsewhere. However, the appeal of this book is somewhat limited by these factors:

* It will be relevant mostly just to other writers, and much less applicable to other creative freelancers as implied by the subtitle.

* If you are a new freelance writer or are exploring an escape from a corporate job, first read one of the other books about getting started as a freelance writer. This book will be more helpful to someone who has at least a little experience, in part because the practical information is less well structured than in other guides such as those from Peter Bowerman or Steve Slaunwhite.

* The author's very informal writing style and bleep-worthy language get tiresome after a while, so you'll learn to skim for the useful information.

Still, given the increasingly complex and competitive freelance market, this book is worth a look for any freelance writer.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Moon on September 15, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My favorite sentence in My So-Called Freelance Life is, "Nobility, to me, is using your crative talents to invent a job for yourself and getting paid a decent wage to do it." And, that's the premise of the entire book, finding your way to creatively earn a living outside of the traditional workplace--and sustaining your ability to do so.

I read Michelle Goodman's My So-Called Freelance Life as as much a motivational book as a how-to guide from freelancers (which it is). Goodman adeptly covers the nuts and bolts of freelancing (taxes, accounting, finding clients), but does so in a way that really motivates the reader to feel like each of these potentially daunting tasks is achievable--and she does so with the humor of someone who has been there, done that. Because of that, I see this book as equally valuable to newbie freelancers, old pros and folks (like me) who have popped in and out of freelancing over the years.

I very much appreciate Goodman's willingness to talk about her own mistakes as well as her successes--this is not one of those obnoxious, "I've done everything perfectly, be like me!" type of books. She's learned by doing and that's apparent--intermingled are stories from other people's real world experiences to help you understand the many ways to live the freelance life. What I also like is that it's very much written for my generation (Gen X), in a tone that is the way I speak. So many business books feel like their audience is the Baby Boomer generation (understandably so), and the tone and references don't resonate with me.
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