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A Book You Should Read as a Creative Freelancer

I’m a big self-help/entrepreneur/biz building book reader and I’m sure you are too. The one-click kindle purchase button might be the death of me one day, but for now it has been the catalyst for many ideas and a lot of kick-in-the-butt motivation.

I have quite a big list of must-reads that I plan on sharing with you soon. But right now? My favorite comes from Paul Jarvis, a web designer who has a lot of wisdom to share from his many years of freelancing.

Everyone is talking about New Years resolutions, and although I don’t believe in them, I do believe in reflecting on the past and setting intentions in life and biz for the year to come. “Everything I Know” will help you do just that.

It’s a series of short-essays, arranged into three “books” covering all the main topics every freelancer struggles with: Choose Your Own Path, Overcoming Obstacles On Your Path To Adventure, and Art, Craft & Passion. It will give you a boost of motivation whether things are going great or you are in a bit of a slump.

As a newbie entrepreneur, the wisdom of others I respect is priceless, and Paul is one of those guys I’d pay to take out to coffee. Considering he apparently lives out in the woods in Canada and I will likely not run into him in a coffee shop anytime soon, I’m very grateful that he shares so much through his writing.

I used my highlighter quite a lot, and want to share with you some of my favorite lessons:

Fear and Framing Your Ideas As Experiments

Paul can take a simple story (like the time he tried to put a puzzle together in a coffee shop and failed) and relate it to a big meaningful point about life & business.

“It was only because I tried and failed (until I didn’t fail) that I successfully got the pieces back into the box. It didn’t work at all, until it did. All I had to do was keep experimenting with different possibilities- making choices and moving forward in the adventure.”

It really hit home with me how he’s learned to frame his ideas as experiments. Fear keeps us from doing work that really matters and being our true selves in business and life.

“You’re just going to prove or disprove a theory you’ve arrived at through experimenting. And if it doesn’t work the first time, you can iterate and try something different. It doesn’t work until it does.”

Fear of The Creative Police and Theft & Iteration.

As a new freelancer, and new to selling my creative work, hearing his thoughts on copying others as a way to learn was a breath of fresh air for me. It’s hard when starting out to effectively learn from others, while simultaneously finding our own voice & style. Paul’s method for this is something I believe everyone does, but many are afraid to admit. His honesty is refreshing and so important for us newbies to hear.

“Our muse lives in the work of others and it’s literally everywhere. Use it as a base to build and refine your own unique story and flavour.”

There is so much more goodness in this quick read, so I definitely recommend getting a copy, as it is one of those books you’ll go back to often. You’ll likely even want to make a bunch of those Facebook quote graphics out of all the motivational gold you’ll find inside. 🙂

You can find the book on Amazon or through his website.


Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Love pjrvs! He’s been a great inspiration to my design biz as well.

    Filled out your survey, you’re doing awesome!

  • Thanks for the recommendation. Sounds like a book I’d enjoy. I added it to my wishlist on Amazon. 🙂

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