I am not anything, if not a planner, so before I looked for my first client I wanted to do some research on how to get started as a freelancer. I had completed some contract work in school and built some websites for friends, but nothing as involved as create my own design business, so I purchased several books to help me.
The Freelancer’s Bible has been helping me organize the business side of freelancing. It has great information on getting started, getting work, growing your business, and managing your business. It talks about setting goals for your business, buying the right equipment, and even shares real life examples/mistakes/stories from freelancers like myself.
Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines by Graphic Artists Guild
Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines has been helping me with the designers side of freelance. It is a great reference to explain the professional and business side of design. It talks about trademarks, copyright, general industry pricing, and about bidding on jobs.
This book was recommended to me by Marsha Mill of Wake Tech. It has a legal form for almost every situation you can encounter as a graphic designer. It is not a substitute for a good lawyer, but is a great starting point.