The Importance of Personal Development When You’re Self-Employed

Jess Who in front of a pastel coloured wall in Nottingham

What happens when you leave your structured 9-5 in favour of the self-employed life and you no longer have a clear progression plan in place? You can wave goodbye to paid for courses and your boss highlighting the areas you need to improve on if you want to make your way up the ladder. There’s no one who’s going to be looking nudging you to prioritise your personal development anymore so instead you need to take charge and create your own plan to ensure you keep progressing!

Since going freelance almost a year and a half it has become extremely clear that if I want to continue improving my skills, gaining new clients and staying up to date with the industry I’m in then I need to prioritise my own personal development. Sometimes this can mean investing in workshops, courses, and business coaches (all of which can be extremely expensive) but I thought I would pull together some of the best FREE resources to help you in those first couple of years of self-employed life when you may be slightly more apprehensive about splashing the cash.


Over the past year and a half it’s safe to say that I have read a LOT of business/personal development books. Up until Janaury I honestly don’t think I’d read a fiction book in about twelve months, I became a little bit like a woman possessed and wanted to cram as much information about running your own business into my head as physically possible. Whilst I don’t neccessarily advocate going quite so over the top I definitely recommend delving into a couple of carefully chosen personal development books either specific to your industry or focused on improving skills such as confidence or public speaking.

A few of my favourites:

The Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba

The Working Woman’s Handbook by Phoebe Lovatt

The Multi-Hypen Method by Emma Gannon

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Jess Who in front of a pastel coloured wall in Nottingham

Jumpsuit – Joy | Bag – H&M | Sunglasses – Primark | Converse – ASOS | Necklace – Kate Spade


If you read my blog regularly then you’ll know that I am a HUGE podcast fan and I would say that a large portion of the knowledge that I’ve learnt over the past year has come straight from tuning into some of my weekly favourites. There are a lot of experts giving away their knowledge for free in such a large range of industries so you’re guaranteed to find something that’s both useful and interesting!

A few of my favourites:

The Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher

Blog it Boss it Radio by A Branch of Holly

Letters From a Hopeful Creative by Sara Tasker & Jen Carrington

Grow with Soul by Kayte Ferris

Facebook Groups

Personal development can come from a vast array of places and often just speaking to other people in a similar industry can be hugely beneficial. That’s why I think being involved in Facebook groups is such a great idea, you’re immediately connected with like-minded individuals who you can bounce ideas off and share experiences with. I do recommend choosing which Facebook groups to join carefully to avoid feeling bombarded with a large amount of new information on a daily basis!

A few of my favourites:

Fearless Hustle Collective

The Blogging Breakthrough Community

No Bull Business School

The Coven (paid membership)

Jess Who in front of a pastel coloured wall in Nottingham


Events are a great way to learn new things, meet new people and develop networking skills. Yes, some events can be pricey but it’s so worth scouring sites like Eventbrite and Facebook to see what local events are happening. I’ve been along to a huge array of free events over the past year and met lots of interesting business owners who have turned out to be really useful contacts.

A few of my favourites:

She Can She Did Midweek Mingles

Fearless Hustle Collective Monthly Meet-ups (Nottingham based)


A huge advantage of running a business in this digital age? There’s an absolute wealth of free knowledge online that’s at your finger tips! Of course you need to be careful with who you trust as everyone is able to portray themselves as an expert these days but when it comes to learning how to grow your mailing list, drive more traffic to your website with Pinterest or explode your Instagram account there’s a few marketing specialists that I’m more than happy to take advice from!

A few of my favourites:

Jenna Kutcher

A Branch of Holly

The She Approach

Do you devote time to personal development? What are your go-to tools or resources that you have found most beneficial?

Pin this Post For Later

Photography by Ami Ford.

*Post contains affiliate links


Author: Jessica

I’m Jess, a twenty-six year old self diagnosed Instagram and brunch addict. Whilst browsing Jess Who expect to find a hint of relatable personal style, Pinterest-worthy interiors, drool-worthy food and all of the latest happenings in Nottingham!