The solopreneur lifestyle can be a lonely one.
If you’re working out of your home office or sitting with your headphones on at a coffee shop, you may not be getting in much face time with other professionals in your field. By connecting online and off, you can forge both meaningful professional and personal relationships, and find a sense of support.
Here are what I’ve found to be some of the best ways to meet up with and talk to fellow freelancers and solopreneurs in your industry, and in the freelancing world in general.
1. Join a Coworking Space.
While your home office might be steps away from the refrigerator, and your local coffee shop has free wifi and delicious lattes, you aren’t given the best opportunities to network in these spaces. Instead, sign up for a desk or office with a coworking company instead. You can try out global coworking space WeWork, which has offices in many U.S. cities and Israel, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. You might also want to look for local coworking businesses that offer similar benefits. A good coworking space will hold events and have networking opportunities, as well as provide discounts for its members.
2. Go to Freelancers Union Events.
The Freelancers Union, which has more than 270k members, is a community of independent workers. They gather for events, and can even receive healthcare from the organization. The events are held throughout the U.S. in places like New York City, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Seattle, and each one has a different theme. For example, the next one, being held September 2nd, is called, “How to Hook Clients with an Authentic Story.” Members of the Freelancers Union do everything, from writing, to graphic design, makeup artistry, web development, and more.
3. Attend Classes Relating to Your Field.
It’s never a bad idea to continue your education in your field. Aside from improving upon your skills, classes provide great opportunities for meeting professionals in your niche. Look up which classes are being held at your local community college or state school, or see if your city has any local businesses that hold workshops. For example, NYC has Gotham Writers Workshop while MaRS, based in Toronto, Ontario, offers workshops on startup pitching and ecommerce for entrepreneurs, as well as advice from mentors.
4.) Sign Up for Conferences in Your Niche.
Conferences are an excellent way to meet people, find new job opportunities, and educate yourself on the latest advancements in your field. You can either go to conferences in your specific industry, or try out ones specifically for freelancers. Check out these 8 Best Events for Freelancers to Attend Each Year.
On October 28, The Freelance Conference is occurring in Austin. The event, which costs $112 to $142, will feature speakers, kick-off parties, coworking times, and speed coaching sessions. There’s also the Double Your Freelancing Conference happening in Norfolk, Virginia from September 16 through 18. The conference is going to include freelancers talking about everything that will increase their income, from tips on developing better work habits to ideas for building your audience.
5. Network in Groups on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the premiere destination to network online. On there, you should join groups in your niche, connect with members of these groups, and post comments and updates to them. Don’t be overly promotional when you post. Instead, ask a question or only post content that is going to be helpful to the other members. For example, in the Freelancers & Self-Employed Professionals group, you might ask, “How do you stay productive in your home office?” or “What are your favorite web-based resources for your freelancing career?”
6.) Create Lists on Twitter and Reach Out to Other Professionals.
Twitter is not only for personal use. It’s also a great tool for networking. Within your Twitter account, you should create lists for the different kinds of professionals you’re following. To make the most out of your new follow, make sure you retweet their content and engage with them frequently, so that they’ll hopefully return the favor for you.
Though it may feel like it at times, you’re not on your own. There are many other freelancers and solopreneurs out there waiting to connect. You just have to know how to find them.