On the one hand, freedom, on the other, isolation. If you’ve been working from home for a long time, you’ll probably start to miss contact with colleagues with whom you create friendly relationships and share ideas and knowledge. If you feel like your business is stagnating, it might be time to join the freelancer community. What can it offer you and where can you get it?
What can the community offer freelancers?
When you find people who speak the language of your tribe, there are a lot of benefits. We have highlighted the most important ones here.
A sense of belonging
Even if you prefer to work independently in the quiet of your home office, that doesn’t mean you want to be alone all the time. Contact with others and a certain sense of belonging sometimes begins to be lacking even for the most introverts. And that’s exactly what a community of like-minded freelancers can give you.
Sharing knowledge and experience
Who hasn’t suddenly gotten stuck and couldn’t move? The community is a great repository of knowledge where you can reach for advice if needed. And thanks to the experience of others, you don’t have to repeat the same mistakes. Next time, you’ll help someone more junior like this.
Broadening your horizons
Even if you do business in the same field as others, it doesn’t mean that you all have the same experience and perspective. Being able to discuss a problem from different angles is sometimes really priceless. In addition, if you venture out of your comfortable and safe bubble a little beyond your field, you will discover a fresh perspective that works as an antidote to the creative block, or you will even find the possibility of establishing new collaborations.
Developing communication skills
There are fields where you can talk a lot even in the home office, but it’s not entirely common. The ability to communicate is a skill like any other. When it’s not used, it rusts, if you practice it, you’ll get better at it. Good communication skills are key to growing your business as well as dealing with issues with (potential) clients.
As a freelancer, from time to time, you deal with the stress associated with irregular income and uncertainty about the amount of work you have to do. And what better way to discuss these worries than with someone who has also been through it? Having people around you to discuss the joys and sorrows of freelancing can help manage stress, loneliness, and other psychological aspects of freelancing.
Where to find a freelance community?
Involvement in the freelance community is therefore a valuable source of support, education and opportunities for professional growth. It expands your capabilities, helps you better cope with challenges, and allows you to build a network of contacts for future collaborations. But where to find such a community?
Online platforms and social networks
Social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn are the easiest way to get involved in your community. There you will find more general freelancer communities as well as narrower industry communities. However, it is also possible to connect with other specialists, for example, using the Slack work tool, which, in addition to communicating with the client and planning work, offers the opportunity to establish contact with other freelancers.
Even though online communication brings a lot of benefits, at least occasional work among people is irreplaceable – it can reduce stress levels and even increase motivation to complete projects. Coworking centres that offer shared workspaces have been experiencing a boom in recent years.
If you’re afraid that you won’t have enough peace and quiet to work in coworking because there’s always something to work on, there’s no need to worry. Of course, there is a certain amount of hustle and bustle, but this can be solved, for example, by a separate office, from which you can only go out for a piece of socialization when you feel like it.
Workshops and trainings
Another way to get to know each other is to go to industry workshops, where a certain level of interaction is required in addition to listening. You will also get to know each other at the training, but it requires more initiative. In this regard, online trainings are suitable, which often also have an associated group, where you have the opportunity to discuss your impressions with others.
Of course, networking is also suitable for building a network of contacts, and it has this ability right in the name. When you set out to collect new contacts, you will come across specialists in the field with whom you will exchange experiences, as well as a mentor who will help you with your development. As a nice bonus, you can also come across potential clients.
Professional associations may seem forced and unappealing, but don’t be intimidated by the reluctance to associate that has been with us since the previous regime. Such a membership can give you a competitive advantage, an overview of current events and a lot of new useful contacts.