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8 Awesome Free Guides I Wish I Had Read Years Ago

Free Guides
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This post is for people who are in the same situation I was in just a few months ago. Dissatisfied with what you do for a living, you have a yearning to do something more fulfilling with your life, but you either don’t know what it is you want to do, you don’t know where to start, or you just don’t think it’s even possible. In short, you need help.

Also, I’m guessing you might not have a ton of spare money to splash out on courses and coaching, or at least you won’t if you plan on quitting your job any time soon!

So I’ve put together a list of some resources which I have read over the last six months, and which have helped me get through the times when I’ve doubted I can make it on my own.

Whether you need specific advice on how to make a living as an artist, help with discovering exactly what you want to do, or you just need reassurance that being self-employed isn’t a mug’s game, there will be something here for you.

Best of all, they are all completely free!

(Note: After two of the free guides, I have provided my recommendations for further reading from the same authors. If you buy the products I’ve recommended after clicking on those links, I get a share of the cover price. Just letting you know, in case you’re not comfortable with that kind of thing, but I assure you, those books are gold!)

So take a look, see if anything grabs your interest, and let me know what you think in the comments below.

1. 7 Keys to Discovering Your Passion

by Jonathan Mead

Seven Keys to Discovering Your PassionThis is a great place to start if you are stuck in a boring job, you have an aching desire to do something more fulfilling with your life, but you really don’t know exactly what it is you want to do.

In this short guide, Jonathan Mead offers 7 simple steps you can take to help you find out what you’re really passionate about. By the time you’ve finished reading, you should have a much clearer idea of what you want to do with your life, and be more motivated to start living the life you want!

Download 7 Keys to Discovering Your Passion from Illuminated Mind

2. The Undeclared For Life Manifesto

by Emilie Wapnick

Undeclared For Life ManifestoAnother great resource for those of us who want to work for ourselves, but haven’t quite figured out what that will look like yet.

Emilie wrote this manifesto for people with multiple interests and talents (whom she calls ‘multipotentialites’), after coming to the conclusion that you don’t have to specialise in a single field, and it’s perfectly possible to design a lifestyle and a career that revolves around all of your skills and hobbies.

The book contains a ton of useful advice to guide you through defining who you are and what you want your life to be like, as well as tips on how you can finance your multipotentialite lifestyle, and the skills you’ll need along the way.

Download The Undeclared For Life Manifesto from Puttylike

Further Reading – Renaissance Business

Renaissance BusinessIf you loved The Undeclared For Life Manifesto and want to take things to the next level, you need to check out Emilie’s other book, Renaissance Business, which will guide you step-by-step through the process of creating a business around your multipotentiality. Highly recommended for all creative types who can’t decide what they want to be.

Read my review of the book, or…

Buy Renaissance Business

3. 279 Days to Overnight Success

by Chris Guillebeau

279 Days to Overnight SuccessIn this inspirational free report, Chris documents how he became a full-time writer in 279 days, as well as sharing tips for avoiding nay-sayers, building traffic, and his views on Google AdSense (it sucks).

You may need to adapt Chris’ advice to your own personal situation, but if you’re interested in building your own career doing what you love doing, then you’ll finish this book feeling like it’s a lot more realistic than you first thought.

Download 279 Days to Overnight Success from The Art of Non-Conformity

Further Reading – The Unconventional Guide to Art & Money

Unconventional Guide to Art and MoneyFor aspiring artists, if you read nothing else before starting your art career, I would recommend that you read Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Guide to Art & money.

The book dispels the myth of the starving artist, and then guides you through everything you need to know about making money from your art without having to rely on endorsements from outsiders.

Read my review of the book, or…

Buy The Unconventional Guide to Art & Money

4. 18 Months, 2 Blogs, 6 Figures

by Corbett Barr

18 Months, 2 Blogs, 6 FiguresIn a similar way to #3, Corbett Barr outlines how he left his well-paid corporate job and developed his own business from scratch, based around his two blogs, which now earn him a six-figure income.

Another very inspiring read, one of the key take-aways for me is that you don’t have to be an expert on a subject before you can create compelling content that people will love.

Download 18 Months, 2 Blogs, 6 Figures from

5. Eleven Tips for Success for Fine Artists

by Aletta de Wal

Artist Career TrainingThese great tips really get into the details of what it takes to be a successful artist, from clarifying your artistic voice and artistic direction, to investing in your business skills and learning about applicable laws and tax requirements.

You have to subscribe to the free Ezine to download the 11 tips, but if you want to be an artist, then that Ezine is probably something you’ll benefit from too.

Download 11 Tips for Success for Fine Artists

6. How to Be Creative

by Hugh McLeod

How to Be CreativeIf you feel like your artistic passion has been slowly dying, and you are wanting to reclaim your creativity, Hugh McLeod’s excellent free eBook is full of great advice to inspire you and get your creative juices flowing again.

As Hugh says – “doing something seriously creative is one of the most amazing experiences one can have, in this or any other lifetime”.

Download How to Be Creative from Change This

7. How to Be a Starving Artist

by Elgin Bolling

How to be a Starving ArtistA bit of comedy never goes amiss, and this free eBook really ramps it up by offering a complete 30-step guide to becoming a starving artist.

If you do the exact opposite of everything suggested in this book, then you will be well on your way to success as an artist.

Download How To Be a Starving Artist

8. Zero Hour Work Week

by Jonathan Mead

Zero Hour Work WeekThis one is again more for inspiration than artistic advice. Jonathan describes his journey to “getting paid to be me”, and reveals why the world needs you to do what you love.

You may have heard about the 4-hour work week. Well Jonathan Mead has a zero-hour work week. That’s not to say that he just louges about all day doing nothing. The disctinction is that he loves what he does, so it doesn’t feel like work at all. Sounds good eh?

Download Zero Hour Work Week from Illuminated Mind

Bonus Items

After publishing this article, several other awesome free guides came to my attention, which I feel are also worthy of a mention:

9. The Tower

by Chris Guillebeau

The TowerAnother awesome manifesto from Chris, who really should be charging for this stuff! The Tower is all about the concepts of urgency and legacy. “How can we incorporate creative work and the desire to build something into our routine? What truly¬†matters?”

Download The Tower from The Art of Non-Conformity

10. Unleash The Beast

by Steff Metal

Unleash the BeastSubtitled Releasing Your Inner Creative Monster, this is a very refreshing guide for those of us who have always been told we need to grow up and stop dreaming.

There’s some great insight into turning your hobby into a career, as well as ten quick tips to unleash your creativity beast. Well worth a read!

Download Unleash The Beast from Grymm & Epic

11. Take This Job And Shove It

by Tyler Tervooren

Shove ItThis is a great guide for people who are on the verge of taking the leap into self-employment, but need to save some money to tide them over as they make the transition.

There’s some great advice in here about different imaginitive ways to save money, as well as tips on things like how to deal with different reactions from your family.

Download Take This Job and Shove It from Advanced Riskology

Other Suggestions Welcome

I hope you found something in this list that inspired you to take the next step toward your creative career.

Obviously, there are tons of eBooks out there, and I’m sure there are other great guides that I just haven’t come across yet, so if you know of any similar free resources that you found particularly valuable, I would love to hear about them.

Did you find any of these free guides inspring? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, along with any other suggestions you may have.

9 Comments on 8 Awesome Free Guides I Wish I Had Read Years Ago

  1. That’s a blogpost I’ve been meaning to put together for a while haha
    Well done, you!!
    Just awesome how much super valuable free resources are out there. I love the blogosphere, really. Finally some business ethics I can get along with (most anyway).

    • Dan Johnson says:

      Yeah, I found I was repeatedly recommending these things to people, and it was taking up a lot of time putting them all into emails. Now I can just refer them here!

  2. Wonderful post Dan.

    I have never heard some of these, and perhaps just to add a bit to your list, I would add The Tower, by Chris Guillebeau, it’s one of the most beautiful manifestos I have ever seen. And with truly encouraging stuff inside.

    • Dan Johnson says:

      Ah, I actually meant to add The Tower, I read it earlier this week and you’re right, it’s great. Might add it to the post as a bonus item. Thanks.

    • Dan Johnson says:

      You’re welcome, Peggy! There’s always some more great free content just waiting for someone to show it to you!

  3. Pingback: Violette's Creative Juice » Blog Archive » Art Journaling Workshop preparation

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