Robert Vlach

Best Business Practices, Tools & Strategies
for Freelancers

The Freelance Way

The most comprehensive book for freelancers ever written — Packed with proven freelance know-how, including exclusive advice provided by world-class experts David Allen, Adam Grant, Austin Kleon, and David H. Hansson.

The Freelance Way


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About the book
Freelancing is by far the simplest approach to doing business on the free market. With very little capital, risk and equipment, you can turn gigs and side jobs into a successful business career, become your own boss and do meaningful, well-paid work.

European bestseller

Yet over time, freelancing may also prove to be quite a challenge for your self-management, for a freelancer is both an expert and a businessperson. Failing to recognize this leads many freelancers to a bitter end, so developing both your expertise and business skills is essential for attaining sustainable professional growth and better profits.

There’s just one more catch. You may soon find out that the rules for success written for companies and startups lack relevance for freelancers. Freelancing is so distinct, that what you need isn’t just any business strategy, but the freelance strategy. In other words, you need this book.

The Freelance Way is THE business book for independent professionals. It presents the best available and fully up-to-date freelance know-how, compiled from hundreds of quality sources, including surveys, the latest market data, advice from world-class experts, as well as real-life experiences and stories from hundreds of professionals in different fields and countries, which makes the book highly relevant to freelancers worldwide.

The contents of this volume cover all the basics and best practices for beginning freelancers, as well as advanced career strategies and tools for freelance veterans. There are practical tips for greater productivity, successful teamwork, smart pricing, powerful business negotiations, bulletproof personal finance, effective marketing, and much more.

Regardless if you've been in business for 20 years, or are just starting out, this book will help you to grow, avoid countless mistakes and develop a successful personal business based on your expertise and good name, to live a free, independent, and fulfilled life.

This book will help you if:

  • You are a freelancer.
  • You are dealing with freelance problems that people around you don’t understand.
  • You are considering quitting your job to freelance and are afraid to take risks.
  • You are just starting out in small business.
  • You have been freelancing for a long time and want to acquire new business skills.
  • You are thinking about your career strategy and where will you be in ten or twenty years.
  • You are doing gigs alongside your daily job or studies and it already resembles a business.
  • You are self-employed, working for a single client and want to be more independent.
  • You are running a company or agency founded by you and on your good name.
  • You want to understand freelancers, freelancing and the gig economy in general.
1 / Business
Can Business Be Learned? 13
Your Niche in the Market Universe Why is freelance business more than just the gig economy? 18
A Good Name Why is your reputation crucial for lasting success? 43
2 / The Professional
It’s a Freelance Life What are the pros and cons of freelancing? 67
The Foundations of Success What makes a professional a success? 82
A Business Plan Makes a Career What should be the foundation of your professional and career strategy? 105
3 / Know-how
Personal Productivity How can you do it all on time and with no headaches? 137
Professional IT How to keep your data safe and what tools should you use? 162
Teaming Up How do you team up and share work with the right people? 183
You’re Only As Good As Your Clients How do you care for your clients and build a clientele? 215
Pricing How much should you ask for your work? 236
Business Negotiations What are the best practices for negotiations? 288
Getting Paid Can you outsmart non-payers? 324
Websites, Blogs, and Social Media How can you fully harness the internet’s potential? 342
Freelance Marketing Which kinds of self-promotion should you choose? 377
Personal Finances and Risk Prevention How can you prepare for the worst? 411
The Freelance Way Where are the limits of professional growth? 435
Acknowledgments 445
Bibliography 446
Index 449
About the author

Robert Vlach

Robert Vlach is a senior business consultant, specialized in supporting independent professionals and business owners. In 2005, he founded one of the largest national freelance communities in Europe and later, in 2012, Europe's first think-tank for freelancers which meets regularly in Prague and other cities. He has been holding freelancing courses for more than a decade, and has consulted on over 300 business cases with individuals, startups, and companies. Robert lives with his family in the Czech Republic and Spain.

Praise for The Freelance Way

“If you want to succeed as an independent professional, it is essential that you educate yourself about running a personal business. You can either learn this the hard way through trial and error, or read this unique book instead. It covers virtually everything you need to know as a freelancer on how to start, manage and grow your business — be it a local or a global one, working remotely. Robert's book is packed with proven advice, tools, stories and wisdom from people who have gone down this road before you. It will undoubtedly help you live and prosper, the freelance way.” Steven Pressfield, world-famous author of Gates of Fire, The War of Art, and The Legend of Bagger Vance

“As freelancers, we know why we should run our indie careers as a business, but how is often a challenge. This essential book delivers actionable advice and practical tips you can use to build a solid business foundation right now.” Melissa Joulwan, author of the best-selling Well Fed cookbook series

“Are you an experienced entrepreneur? Then this book will save your ass several times over. Are you a newbie freelancer starting out? It may even save your life! The Freelance Way is one of the most useful books that I have read on my journey to a free(lance) life.” Michelle Losekoot, freelance writer and digital storyteller with major brands
like Puma, T-Mobile, and O2

“Just because you're a freelancer, you don't have to figure it all out on your own. There is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom out there from people who have succeeded on their own terms as independent professionals — and Robert Vlach puts it in your hands with The Freelance Way. The book is packed with practical advice on the challenges you will encounter, from the mundane to the artistic. And whatever your current level of freelancing experience, Robert reminds you and me that there is always more to aspire to.” Mark McGuinness, creative coach and host of The 21st Century Creative Podcast

“If I was going freelance today, this book would be an eye-opener for me. Because what's in there, are things that I had to figure out on my own for a long time… A fantastic book.” Petr Mara, prominent technology evangelist and influencer for Apple products

“Six weeks ago I finished reading the final manuscript of Robert Vlach's new and reworked freelancing bible. (I guess I was a good boy all year!) I have been waiting for the launch day so I can finally recommend this sledgehammer combo of business practices. So… Today's the day: Bad news for everyone else writing about entrepreneurship, because I doubt you will ever need any other book. Bad news for your competition, who hasn't read it yet. Warning: It may also make you feel like you don't know anything about business or wonder how the hell did you even survive up to today. But you came to learn, so give yourself a pat on the back, take a deep breath and slip into Robert's book of dreams. I mean tools.” Adam Hruby, designer and artist, awarded Czech Digital Marketer of the Year 2016

“Robert is passionate about creating and realising individual business stories, taking that inspirational spark and enthusiasm for an idea and making it real. To make it real you need to understand the details and dynamics of doing business. Robert’s book is a must read, full of practical and actionable advice, allowing you to discover the entrepreneur in you and to make that passionate idea come to life. I can’t recommend this book enough.” Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, three-time UK barista champion and entrepreneur at Colonna Coffee, author of The Coffee Dictionary

“I had the privilege to work with Robert many years before he wrote this book. He is the best business advisor I’ve ever had and he played a significant role in my career move from the corporate world to freelancing. The Freelance Way is a must-read for anyone leaving the corporate bubble and taking back control of their professional identity and destiny.” Eva Skornickova, leading data privacy and GDPR advisor, former diplomat to Canada and top executive in Fortune 500 companies

“There’s an estimate that freelancers will make up the majority of the workforce by 2027. Do you want to succeed in this new economy? By buying this book, you can make Robert your personal advisor. I don’t know anyone who could be a better guide for you on this journey.” Peter Fabor, founder of Surf Office’s international network of company retreat venues

The Freelance Way is a book you will be returning to…for years, over and over again. It is written for both beginners and established professionals, so as you grow, it will give you new insights each time you read it. This book is a must for every freelancer, regardless of their profession.” Michael Petrus, illustrator and art director, founder of the comic book app Nanits

“Robert’s upbeat book about freelancing ends on a fascinating and unexpected twist. Even seasoned freelancers will find this work a great opportunity to go back to their roots and recalibrate their freelance business.” Jan de Graaf, senior business developer and expert on EU exports to China

The Freelance Way is a comprehensive and well-structured masterpiece on freelancing, and rightfully the main go-to resource for independent professionals, entrepreneurs and creators alike. The book sums up years of experience and tons of advice and research, yet it is super pleasant to read. Robert presents a complete roadmap with hundreds of real-world examples on how to seriously upgrade your freelancing toolbox. Going freelance is a lot of fun, but it also brings a lot of challenges. Reading this book will surely allow you to enjoy more of the former and put you in control of the latter.” Petr Klymec, EMEA Expansion Manager at WeWork

“Robert Vlach is one in a million. Friendly, hard-working, fully engaged, but most of all a true professional, who walks the talk. His book is precisely like that. Before I opened it, I wasn't really aware that I was half-freelance myself. I was awestruck by the sheer number of things I could improve on. Ever since, the book has been my go-to business guide. It has helped me a great deal and I am sure it will help anyone who reads it as well.” Daniel Gladis, investor and founder of the EU-based Vltava Fund, best-selling writer

The Freelance Way took my business to the moon and back. A very readable and enjoyable book that taught me how to professionalize my work.” Eliska Vyhnankova, senior social media consultant with major brands like Bayer and Johnson & Johnson

“A breathtaking business guide that will take your freelancing to the top. The Freelance Way leads you safely through valleys of failure, financial risks and tough business decisions. While climbing higher, Robert teaches you to avoid pitfalls and master the survivor’s toolkit to fix problems. Together you cross challenging spots like negotiations, pricing, and marketing to reach the peak of success, a good reputation and clients who appreciate you and your work. Standing there, up on the top, as an accomplished freelancer, you look back and know in your heart: It was worth it.” Imre Jernei, world-class brand designer, founder of the Ziijn studio

“I could have saved myself countless blind alleys and wasted hours; miscalculated budgets for my services; neglected self-presentation; trials of useless tools; accounting and tax-filing errors, if only Robert had written this book 10 years ago, when I left my corporate job and went freelance. The Freelance Way is a must-read for all of you, who are just starting to take their lives back.” Radek Hrachovec, a leading loyalty marketing expert, The Loyalty Magazine Awards judge

“For Robert, freelancing is not a fancy hashtag. For Robert, freelance means business. His truly eye-opening book is here to help you in setting the right prices, keeping your inbox sane and preventing the most common deadly mistakes.” Michal Kasparek, writer and editor-in-chief at