The Freelance Manifesto by Joey Korenman

The Freelance Manifesto

The Freelance Manifesto by Joey Korenman


My son, Beau – who is a freelance motion designer, gave me  The Freelance Manifesto by Joey Korenman for Christmas.  This book is an easy and entertaining read, and even though it comes from a Motion Designer’s perspective, the advice and tools Joey introduces in this book can work for any creative.

Part 1 – The Freelance Manifesto

The book is divided into two sections. Part 1, entitled The Freelance Manifesto, encourages that the first order of business is to discover your why. While money is a big motivator one’s reasons for freelancing should have a more significant purpose such as having more control and creativity in the projects you accept or having a flexible schedule to spend more time with your family or being able to have more time off than the two weeks allowed by most employers.

He discusses the balance of what he calls the “Pain and Rainbow” jobs. The Pain jobs are usually the most profitable, but the Rainbow jobs can be the most rewarding and benefit your portfolio for future bookings.

“Freelancing is a way to get unstuck, own your time, and split it between Pain and Rainbows. You need to consciously choose Pain work and accept it, so you have time to do the Rainbow work.”

Another essential charge Joey delivers in The Freelance Manifesto is to improve your skills continually – the better you are, the better the projects. An incredible portfolio is a necessity if a designer wants the freedom to choose who, what, when and where they work.

Part 2 – The Freelancer’s Field Guide

This field guide brakes down the life/work style of a freelancer into five phases:

Phase 1 – I Know You

In this phase, he reviews the strategies and tools needed to get your name in front of the right people. Insisting that companies have a hard time finding reliable and responsible freelancers, Joey stresses that the right email to the right person at the right company will get you noticed and dispells the insecurities associated of cold call emails. He lists the online tools needed to accomplish this such as for research,,, and to find email addresses, and Excel to keep track of all this information.

Phase 2 – I Like You

Here Joey discusses the what to say and what not to say in the initial and follow-up emails to potential clients. He even gives examples of email content that a freelancer can use directly or tweak for each company. These ideas are not a hard sell, in your face kind of approach but encourage finding common ground and never sending an open-ended email. (I can hear marketers everywhere gasping). The idea is not to leave the receiver feeling guilty for not responding or obligated to respond. The idea is to get your info in front of the right person at the right company.

Phase 3 – I Trust You

The premise of this phase is to convince a client you are legit with an excellent first impression and an incredible portfolio. A designer must present themselves as reliable and responsible capable of producing above average work and delivering it on time. How to deal with time management, overtime, slow paying clients and business inevitables such as health insurance, bids, and contracts are highlighted in this phase.

Phase 4 – I Need You

A survey reveals that reliability trumps talent, personality, hygiene, and rate. Joey advises:

  • Be on time every day
  • Don’t leave early
  • Move heaven and earth to meet deadlines
  • Don’t participate in office politics or gossip
  • Stay off social media sites
  • Underpromise and overdeliver
  • Don’t panic
  • Be proactive

The consensus is to be the first line of defense for your client and develop a relationship that will assure the client that you have their back. When issues arise, that has everyone in a panic be the superhero who thinks outside the box for solutions.

Phase 5 – Your Freelance Life

After blazing through phases 1-4, the freelancer has quality returning clients, exciting projects and the work is flowing in at a regular rate. Now, in phase 5, Joey discusses how to make more money, how to work smarter and switching from a day rate to an hourly pay schedule.


I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book not only because of the relevant information and tools offered but the personable voice of the content. What a GREAT book! I highly recommend it for any experienced freelancer or anyone contemplating entering the world of freelancing. Enjoy!


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