Wouldn’t you like to earn more money in your freelance career, without working harder, and preferably even doing less work? Well, who wouldn’t?
And so if a world-class business coach offered you free sessions to help get you there, you’d jump at the chance… right?
Well that probably isn’t going to happen, but you know what? There are so many podcasts out there right now that offer pretty much the same thing, in the comfort of your own home, and they’re all free to download.
So why aren’t you taking advantage? One reason may be because there’s just so many to choose from, you don’t really know where to start. In which case, let us help you out.
Get started with these five brilliant podcasts for freelancers, and you’ll soon be more inspired, informed and motivated to make changes in your approach to freelance work, that will boost your income, well-being and happiness levels to new heights. For more freelancing advice, see our article on how to manage your freelance cashflow.
01. The Accidental Creative
Most freelancer designers and illustrators will immediately identify with the title of this podcast. You didn’t originally set out to be a business person, you just wanted to make cool stuff. Freelance turned out to be the best way of doing so and pay the bills, so you basically became an entrepreneur by accident. And you often feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, when it comes to setting fees, billing clients, and so on.
The huge audience for the Accidental Creative podcast (opens in new tab) stands testament to the fact that you’re not alone. And so around once a day, host Todd Henry shares his insights on how to build your freelance practice, to help you become successful both in terms of income and work-life balance.
Most episodes come in the form of a monologue from Henry. These typically address a single topic (such as how to keep your passion burning, or the gap between ambition and ability) or answer a question set by a listener (such as “How can I stay creative in the midst of a plateau in my work career, instead of always daydreaming of switching jobs?”).
There are also occasional interviews with authors and speakers, such as Austin Kleon and Laura Gassner Otting.
Best of all, episodes are generally short, some coming in at just three or four minutes, but are still packed with useful information, as not a second is wasted.
The tone is calm and measured, so if you’re looking for someone hyper to get you fired up, you’ll need to go elsewhere (we might suggest Gary Vaynerchuk (opens in new tab)). But if you just want practical advice that you can act on to improve your freelance operation, there’s none finer.
Head over to the website, and there’s a huge amount of episodes to choose from, with archives on the website going back to 2007.
02. Clients from Hell
Clients from Hell (opens in new tab) is a popular website that delivers what it says on the label: a cathartic collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from designers. If you've never checked it out, we'd urged you to do so when you've got a few minutes to spare; it really is a lot of fun.
You might expect the Clients from Hell podcast (opens in new tab) to be more of the same, but actually that would get a bit wearing. So its good news that Clients From Hell editor Bryce Bladon has taken a slightly different direction with this show, and one that works brilliantly.
In each of the episodes, which appear roughly every two weeks, Bladon and a rotating panel of guests address the current landscape for creative professionals, providing insights into survival and exploring the future of the self-employed.
That's something that a lot of other podcasts do, of course. But the secret sauce here is the laser-focus on clients (who are, after all, the people who pay our wages), combined with the mix of humour and helpfulness that's in the DNA of the original Clients from Hell website.
Recent episodes, for example, have included Annabelle King's tips for pitching to clients, Alison Knott on recognising your ideal client, Ami Sanyal on how to get clients on board with value-based pricing... you get the idea.
If you feel underpaid or undervalued by your freelance clients, or simply want to find better ones, then this is the podcast that can help.
03. The Freelance Podcast
Launched in 2014, episodes of The Freelance Podcast (opens in new tab) appear infrequently, and there hasn't actually been an episode since last October. So why is it on this list?
Quite simply, because rather than focusing on experienced and successful freelancers, this show addresses the specific question of how and when to leap into freelancing, and how to survive your first months.
Its casual and likeable host RJ McCollam started it because, when he was starting out: "I found [that] some of the advice was a little beyond where I was at in my journey to make the jump to a full time freelancer. That is where The Freelance Podcast jumps in and tries to bridge the gap."
And it does so brilliantly, with each episode examining in a friendly, approachable way the nuts and bolts of topics like how to put together a portfolio, the benefits of working in a niche, and the importance of establishing a freelance routine.
Some episodes feature guests; in others McCollam answers listeners' questions. He's recorded a total of 42 episodes to date, between 2014 and 2018, but you don't need to listen to each of these in order. Instead, we'd suggest scrolling through the list on the website and picking the ones that are most relevant to you.
04. Being Boss
When you go freelance, you automatically become an entrepreneur. Yet many freelancers don't feel comfortable with this. If that applies to you, you need a regular dose of inspiration and advice from two successful independent creatives. In short, you need to listen to the Being Boss podcast (opens in new tab).
Episodes appear around one a week, and last about an hour. This gives presenters Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon ample opportunity to dig into the habits, routines, marketing tactics, strategies and processes that can help you make money as a creative freelancer, entrepreneur or side hustler.
The pair interview bosses such as Brené Brown, Brooke Castillo, Marie Forleo, Ramit Sethi, Danielle LaPorte, Chalene Johnson, Mike Michalowicz of Profit First and Melissa Hartwig of Whole30, to get insights that can be shared with creatives across the board.
They also discuss topics between themselves, such as the importance of rest for productivity, how to overcome your self-limiting beliefs, and the best ways to collaborate with others.
The tone is light, upbeat and positive throughout, and you're sure to leave every episode feeling re-energised and full of ideas to boost your own freelance business.
05. The Six Figure Freelancer Audio Course
Part of the charm of your typical podcast lies in being casual, chatty and frequently meandering off topic. But if you're truly pumped to develop your freelance career, particularly if money is a great motivator, then you might like to try a different kind of show.
This Six Figure Freelancer audio course (opens in new tab), created in collaboration with AND CO from Fiverr, is squarely aimed at explaining "exact formulas for success in starting growing, and maintaining a six-figure freelance career". With a total absence of waffle or idle chat, each of the 12 episodes packs as much practical, actionable advice as possible into around 20 minutes.
In each one, host Juan Felipe chats to experts like Ryrob, Kaleigh Moore, Paul Jarvis, Justin Gignac and Dane Sanders, about topics including "How to Charge 10 Times More Than Your Competition", "How to Get High-Paying Clients No Matter Where You’re Based", and "How to Get Big Clients to Trust You Enough to Pay You".
These goals may all sound ambitious, and of course they are. But the experts all explain in simple terms how they did it, and how you can do it too. And think of it this way: if you learn just one tip that helps you increase your earnings as a result, can you afford not to listen to this podcast?