Mike Monteiro’s short book about successfully running a design business, Design Is a Job, was released by A Book Apart a few weeks back. I bought the ebook version so I could get started reading it right away and finished it over the course of two days. It’s a purposefully short book that I think most readers would recommend to anyone in the “web industry.”
The whole book is written with a slant towards web design but Monteiro constantly reminds you that the lessons can be applied to most client service businesses. A lot of the topics discussed are general in nature: lawyers, contracts, client relations, project management, etc. If you’ve been doing freelance work for any length of time some of these points of discussion will seem like old hat but he has an interesting take on most things so you might come away with new opinions and ideas.
My big wish, when I was done, is that there was more discussion about running a business as a solo developer. Design is a Job has a strong emphasis on doing work as an agency or small firm. Monteiro is the co-founder of Mule Design which, at the time of this post, has 11 employees. A business of that size, as small as it might be, does things in a much different way then I do as an individual. There still isn’t a good guide or book out there that addresses life as a one man army.