Working as a solopreneur shouldn’t translate to “forever alone,” but going full-time freelance can be a setup for an isolated existence if you aren’t proactive about finding a community. The good news is that, at least statistically, you’re not alone: 55 million Americans identify as freelancers. The other piece of good news is that there are a plethora of ways to go about your search for connections.
Whether you’re hoping to meet your kindred spirit or just looking for someone to share some entrepreneurial lifehacks with (like software for effectively managing the back office operations of your business), you’re bound to mesh well with someone from one of these opportunities.
If you can afford a spot at a brand-name coworking space, it might be worth trying even if you have access to high-speed WiFi, comfy couches and coffee at home. The networking value at the WeWorks of the world is paramount. Who knows who you might bump into at the Keurig? If you’re on a budget, look into the coworking spaces in your area, or even services like Croissant (ClassPass for coworking). Maybe a few days in, a “hello” will turn into something more.
Coffee shops and libraries
These haunts offer fewer perks than official coworking spaces, but if your loneliness can be diffused by merely being around people and you don’t want to dish out a monthly fee, coffee shops or your local library branch may be your best bet. From experience, I can say that it’s 100 percent possible to meet long-lasting friends at a cafe. Need some advice for where to go? Workfrom crowdsources and curates the best places to post up.
Meetup is full of groups for like-minded workers to join together and mingle. Writers, tech-pros, artists and anyone else living the 1099 life can find a meetup that suits their interests. There’s also an endless number of events for socializing, learning and volunteering that have absolutely nothing to do with work. Want to go bowling with other musical theater fans or try meditation with other vegan millennials? Interested in painting your own pottery and participating in a midnight picnic? Venture forth and meetup!
Meetup isn’t the only way to find events near you. Use Eventbrite or even Facebook to scroll through event listings, and local news sites and papers for the calendar section or event announcements. Mailing lists from nearby organizations, stores or publications are also a great resource for filling up your agenda.
If you’re only looking to connect with other freelancers, attend Freelancers Union Spark events. Meetups are held on the first Wednesday of every month in locations all over the country. Spark events are great for both networking and gaining the necessary skills and knowledge you need to be a successful worker bee. Freelancers Union also has Hives, a message board forum for sharing info, asking questions, planning gatherings or just venting about the struggles of freelance life.
There is no limit to knowledge. Whether you want to brush up on something useful or indulge your fantasies of becoming the next Ken Jennings, consider enrolling in a class to gain some wisdom and meet new friends. Coursehorse lists thousands of classes ranging in topics from comedy writing to Turkish to glass-blowing in cities all around the country. Also, be sure to check out any college or university in your area for their continuing ed classes as well as any local community centers, libraries or other organizations that offer classes.
Online classes can also be a gateway into finding a community. Sites like General Assembly, Coursera and Skillshare can connect you with other eager learners who would rather not leave their house, but are equally invested in being a part of the discussion.
Find worthwhile conversations on Twitter, Reddit and Facebook by searching relevant keywords or following people you know and/or admire and engage with them. Facebook has a bounty of groups for freelancers of all kinds to share opportunities, thoughts, feelings and newsworthy announcements, and a Reddit thread can occasionally produce intellectual banter.
Get outside of your solopreneur comfort zone with these quick tips! Putting yourself out there, like anything else, will get easier the more that you do it.
Content sponsored by AND CO