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Successful Freelancing for Web Designers: Our Brand New eBook


It’s time for something new. Recently, we launched an eBook series. The first eBook was about Professional Web Design1. And now our second eBook, brand new, is dedicated to Rules and Guidelines For Successful Freelancing2. The book contains 260 pages and articles that have appeared here on Smashing Magazine as well as a couple of exclusive articles.



Being a great Web designer or developer is one thing — running a successful freelance business another. Whether you already have work experience in companies or have just graduated from design school, being self-employed entails a number of tasks that you most likely haven’t had to deal with so far. As a freelance Web designer, you also have to be a project manager, office administrator, accountant, controller and IT expert.

The eBook is, like its predecessor, a summary, a “best of” compilation of articles about professional freelancing that have been published on Smashing Magazine and Noupe in 2009 and 2010. We re-arranged everything, corrected it carefully, added beautiful illustrations and — where necessary — updated the content. Many screenshots and links were removed to make the book easier to read and print.

The eBook, in PDF format, is ideal for archiving, for arm chair or mobile reading and, of course, for printing. In addition to the 21 published articles, the eBook contains 2 exclusive newly written pieces, with 20 exclusive beautiful illustrations by Ricardo Gimenes5.

Smashing Freelancer Guy10

The book is not protected by DRM and is available exclusively in the Smashing Shop. Please respect our work and the hard efforts of our writers. If you have received this book from a source other than the Smashing Shop, please support us by purchasing your copy in our online store.

The authors are: Robert Bowen, Tim Mercer, Cameron Chapman, Paul Boag, Andrew Follett, Sam Barnes, Graham Smith, Ryan Scherf, Aurimas Adomavicius, Andy Rutledge, Luke Reimer, Rob Smith, Jeff Gardner, Peter Smart, Aaron Griffith, Alyssa Gregory and Thursday Bram.

Table of Contents Link

In the 260 pages, spread over four chapters, you will read:

  • Essential Habits of an Effective Professional Freelancer (Rob Smith)
  • Common Questions of Web Designers (Andy Rutledge)
  • The Designer Who Delivers (Aurimas Adomavicius)
  • Critical Mistakes Freelancers Make (Robert Bowen)
  • The Importance of Customer Service (Robert Bowen)
  • Creatively Handling the Admin Side of Freelancing (Robert Bowen)
  • Pitching Like a Pro (Cameron Chapman)
  • The Finances of Freelancing (Luke Reimer)
  • How to Identify and Deal With Different Types of Clients (Robert Bowen)
  • How to Improve Designer-Client Relationships (Aaron Griffith)
  • How to Communicate with Developers Effectively (Ryan Scherf)
  • How to Educate Your Clients on Web Development (Aurimas Adomavicius)
  • How to Explain to Clients That They Are Wrong (Sam Barnes)
  • How to Respond Effectively to Design Criticism (Andrew Follett)
  • How to Persuade Your Users, Boss or Clients (Paul Boag)
  • How to Create the Perfect Client Questionnaire (Cameron Chapman)
  • Getting Clients: Approaching the Company (Peter Smart)
  • Converting Prospects into Clients (Alyssa Gregory)
  • Marketing Rules and Principles for Freelancers (Jeff Gardner)
  • How Many Ideas Do You Show Your Clients? (Graham Smith)
  • Freelance Contracts: Do’s And Don’ts (Robert Bowen)
  • What’s in a Price: Guidelines for Pricing Web Designs (Thursday Bram)
  • Quality-Price Ratio in Web Design (Jeff Gardner)




Footnotes Link

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  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12

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The Smashing team loves high-quality content and cares about the little details. Through our online articles, Smashing Books, eBooks as well as Smashing Conferences, we are committed to stimulating creativity and strengthening the web design community’s creative forces.

  1. 1

    Another ebook? You guys are outstanding..!

  2. 2

    What i was waiting for…..Thank you

  3. 3

    What about a printed book to ship ? Do you have any plan to have it in Hard copy ? and Ship on little bit higher price who don’t want e-book but a proper printed book

  4. 4

    I really love to have it, waiting the book

  5. 5

    I love you SM audience. You complain when they release a printed book that loses them money, then complain when they release much cheaper e-book; because it isn’t printed.

  6. 7

    Nice! I’ll buy it! Just give me some minutes. By the way, great you didn’t title this post “Smashing Magazine Needs Your Help Today” becuase it could be crazy again! Lol

  7. 8

    Great job SM – you guys are amazing and a true inspiration to us all. Looking forward to getting the book. Is it available for immediate download? I know there were some issues on the SM Book – getting them released to the states. Anywho – keep up the great work!

  8. 9

    After the insane debacle of the previous Smashing book, I’m not surprised this one is in PDF format.

    However, online books just don’t work for me, and printing them out is never the same. So, I’ll pass on this one, even though I’m interested in the subject.

    A bit of advice: Believe that your books are worth real money and charge real prices for them, so that you can afford to get the fulfilment right. The previous book was way too cheap and I’d have preferred to have paid twice as much and had good service.

    Joel Spolsky sold a lot of books that were just his blog articles. He charged proper prices and you can too.

  9. 10

    I just bought the book (whilst cursing the euro -> pounds exchange rate) and skimmed through – it looks fantastic so far. I’m happy to be able to contribute something for all the great content you’ve put out.

    I hope you sort out a relatively pain-free way of getting print versions out there eventually though, I’m not a big fan of reading pdfs on my laptop. Maybe I should just get an iPad, think of all the *cough* productivity benefits!

    • 11

      Smashing Editorial

      June 9, 2010 9:53 am

      Thank you for your support, Jonny. We really appreciate it and we will see what we can do!

  10. 12

    is it a phisical book or just an ebook(pdf) not print ?

  11. 14

    9.90$ = 9.90€?
    why when the $ is cheaper than the € the conversion is 1=1 but when it is the other way around the “correct” exchange rate is applied?
    You do not have to deliver anything, no extra costs.
    I do not get it? sorry.

    • 15

      Smashing Editorial

      June 9, 2010 7:05 am

      Dear koko, ever heard of taxes for books? Sad but true for us; they are a fact in the EU.

      • 16

        Different countries have different taxes, if any. Taxes or not, this is the first time I’ve seen 1=1 price for $=€, eBook or not. When went there – why those two? Why not pound sterling or Australian dollar?

        But seriously, one price (in dollars), let customer pay with preferred currency (not all US customers pay in dollars and not all Europeans pay in euros). Add taxes, if any, on the shopping cart. Standard e-business.

      • 17

        $9.9 + tax != €9.9
        and so i won’t purchase any of your ebooks, until they have a fair pricing!

    • 18

      Peter Paullson

      June 9, 2010 2:03 pm

      Yeah, didn’t know Euro is sooooo low :) Strange exchange rate you got there guys…

  12. 19

    Thanks for the great book! I downloaded the entire book a few minutes ago. Thanks again!

  13. 20

    Too bad it’s a PDF book. I bought the smashing book just because it’s a book. Ten euros for a PDF is a waste of money.

    • 21

      I think the book is a good investment even if it is a pdf.

      • 22

        The articles in the PDF are just a collection of posts. I read most of them, and I can still search for them and read them on my computerscreen.

        A book has the advantage that you don’t have to read on your computer screen, but just in your lovely reading chair in the sun or something!

        That’s why I DO want to pay for a book, and i DON’T want to pay for a PDF.

  14. 24

    SM, is there any way you can use an on-demand printing service for people who really, really can’t get past the fact that this isn’t a printed book? It looks like you may be missing out on a few sales. Just a thought.

    Looks great though.

    • 25

      I agree, SM could do something like or similar. Adjust price to still make a profit, I would consider buying a print version.

  15. 26

    Ohh fabuloso!

  16. 27

    No thank you.
    I really don’t like pdf’s as a learning book format and the Smashing Book was in my opinion a failure. The crappy build really took the reading fun.

    Something with good reputation takes years, destroying it seconds…

  17. 29

    I would have bought the book (and I was on the conversion tube already), but for some weird reason you want me to register to actually buy the book. No thanks. I didn’t remember my password, nor I will have the patience to find out did I have it stored somewhere. Maybe next time.

  18. 30

    Gonna wait for the torrents to show up.

  19. 31

    Essential! Really looking forward to reading this. Definitely struggle with some of the day-to-day taks of running a successful freelance business…

  20. 32

    Christopher Healey

    June 9, 2010 5:34 pm

    I’ve purchased every product Smashing has put out thus far. Keep em coming, my wallet loves to empty on your stuff haha.

    Seriously though, always putting out amazing products that are very useful, thanks for always providing quality that is actually useful. You roxx0r!

  21. 33

    awesome! I won the 1st printed copy from FreelanceFolder, definitely will buy this one too.

  22. 34

    Nice Work SM…It really gonna be a great book for the free lancers

  23. 35

    It should have been free to download. And when is the SM logo going to be changed??

    • 36

      Uh, what and what?! Why should it be free and why the fuck should the logo be changed? You’re drunk.

  24. 37

    Thanks SM! This is a very useful product. You are the best! :)

  25. 38

    Shame it’s a PDF, I hate reading books on a computer screen.

  26. 39

    Cathal Mc Carthy

    June 10, 2010 2:36 am

    I like the design and user experience of your checkout – what shopping cart did you use for Smashing Shop?

  27. 40

    As a juggler, I must say I find the cover artwork quite offensive! That is certainly not how seven balls are juggled!

    • 41


      I’m the author of the cover.
      Although I know that seven balls are not juggled in a circle I made the choice to simplify the design to keep the illustration as simple and powerful as possible. Please don’t be offended by what is purely an illustrative device.

  28. 42

    Some of you commenters are so whiny.

  29. 43

    this ebook will be available in the philippines? i want to buy it but i dont have any paypal account.. :(

  30. 44

    Would love to buy this but would prefer a print copy so I’ll give it a miss for now.

    Why not publish through


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