My Top 6 Reads to Exercise your Freelance Muscles

Yesterday was a great run, short but great. First run in quite a while. See it below:

Not too long and it was in my new running shoes. You always run faster in new shoes or at least that’s what my 2 year old says.

Today my legs are in pain. They aren’t just sore they are in pain. Going up and down the stairs is hard enough that I’m avoiding it as much as possible.

You’d think with all the cycling I do that a short run would be just fine. I mean I typically ride 1000km a month and my ‘big’ rides are over 100km on Sunday’s. My really big event ride was a 200km romp through the local mountains.

Cardio and web development

The thing is that my cardio system wasn’t stressed at all during the run. It was easy, but the leg motion and muscle activation is so drastically different that my legs are literally in physical pain as I write this.

So much pain that I’m avoiding going downstairs for a second cup of coffee until I have other things to do. So much pain that I am walking down the stairs backwards.

If you’re building websites for a company (as in you are their employee) you are gaining experience (training) in a set of skills and are probably good at it. That makes it easy to think that the jump to running your own business is going to be simple.

You can already build websites right? You’re going to be selling your website building services so you’ve got 90% of the equation down.

The fact is that running a business is going to use a bunch of muscles that you aren’t used to exercising. You’re now the bookkeeper, and the marketer, and customer service rep, and Q&A and…

When it comes to physical pursuits like running/cycling/swimming reading about doing it can only get you knowledge. Untrained muscles will still feel pain until you’ve done the workouts for a while. Only with practice will you get to the ‘good sore’ place of your workouts.

Lucky for us that running your own freelance business isn’t quite like that. There are no real muscles to use so you can read about how to run a proper business and then go do it.

Sure there will be parts that are painful as you get started. You won’t learn everything from books and you will have to learn some things the hard way. Sometimes you’ll learn them the hard way 3 or 4 times before they really sink in.

To jump start your learning process here are my top 6 reads to exercise your freelance muscles.

Top 6 reading recommendations

Cory Miller

My first set of recommendations is Cory Miller’s books. They are all short reads and awesome no matter what point you are at in your business. Best of all they are free if you don’t mind trading your email.

I wrote a review of them as well.

Get Cory’s Books

Book Yourself Solid

If you don’t have clients then who cares if you can build sites. This is a great book to learn how to actually book clients in.

Book Yourself Solid

Duct Tape Marketing

Want a systematic approach for marketing? Here it is and they are low cost methods perfect for most freelancers.

Duct Tape Marketing

Getting Naked

Yes it’s a fable but it shows you how to really interact with your clients and provide value for them. If you learn the principles used by the characters in the book you’ll inspire awesome customer loyalty.

Getting Naked

Ignore Everybody

Want to be more creative in a cynical world? Then ignore them. This is short and to the point.

Ignore Everybody

Getting Things Done

You may not buy in to the whole GTD methodology (little too rigid for some) but if you read the book and then try it out for a few weeks you’re going to be more productive. You’ll pick up a bunch of awesome tips to help you track all parts of your life.

Getting Things Done

My Book

I’ll throw my book in as a recommendation as well as a bonus. It’s a collection of my thoughts on how to run a proper business. Covers everything from time management to marketing to budgets.

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

2 thoughts on “My Top 6 Reads to Exercise your Freelance Muscles

  1. Thanks for the list, Curtis. I’ve read some of Cory’s on your recommendation and you’ve mentioned the “Book Yourself Solid” books enough times that I figure I’d better read it already… 🙂

    As a massive side note, I downloaded the book from We have an Amazon Prime membership (which pays for itself many times over with the free shipping) and prime members get 1 free Audible book per month. Just an FYI!


    1. I’m a US Prime member but living in Canada. I wonder if I can make the free book work here to. I guess I’d probably have to change my Audible account over to an Amazon account though. I’ve been an Audible member since before the Amazon purchase and account integrations.

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