When it comes to what you do, you might feel pretty unique. Your friends probably tell you how jealous of you they are, naively assuming that you spend all day sleeping in and then watching videos instead of having to report to a real job.
What they don’t understand – and what you probably understand all too well – is that freelancing is a lot of work. As nice as it might feel to be the one in your circle of friends with the most unconventional lifestyle, there are real advantages to networking with other people who walk their own path.
Finding Other Freelancers
Depending on where you live, finding other people that you have common interests and careers with may be difficult. If there aren’t any local freelancers to collaborate and commiserate with, there are plenty of online communities that you can tap into.
Now just like any job, just because you do the same thing as someone else doesn’t mean you’ll get along with them, and that’s fine. Some people you’ll want to chat with to make the work easier, others you may just need to file away as an impersonal contemporary.
Participating In Your Personal Freelancer Support Group
Whether they live on your block or on the other side of the Equator, it is good to build up a network of like-minded freelancers. You’ll find that you can pick their brains for anything; from advice on a project, to methods for beating procrastination.
Make sure you put in as much as you take out. You don’t want to wind up the needy one that always seems to be complaining more than working. Before long, you might realize how liberating it is to have friends that understand the challenges and struggles you go through every day with freelance work.
An Opportunity For New and More Satisfied Clients
A referral is a powerful tool for any freelancer. By becoming familiar with other freelancers and the kinds of work they do, it may not be long before somebody gets in touch to ask if you’d be interesting in helping them with a client’s demands. If somebody’s workload is too much at that time, you might benefit from coming recommended from a professional they already trust.
Likewise, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with your own assignments, you can always see if anyone else would be interested in taking over a project for you. Always remember when doing this to do it without the pretense of having somebody “ghost” for you. The byline credit and the greater visibility is part of the reward, and also prevents anyone from cheating you out of payment.
Spending Time at the “Office”
If you’re lucky enough to have physical access to other local freelancers, a great way to break the monotony of work is to organize regular “work-ins” that can take place anywhere where there is enough space, wi-fi, and outlets to accommodate your group. This will help put you into a social environment away from your usual distractions, and shake up a routine that might be getting stale.
Having other people actually present also can speed up the process for brainstorming, can provide real-time face-to-face feedback, and create a deep sense of community and camaraderie that having an open Skype chat just can’t match.
Bear in mind that some people may freelance because they don’t work well with others. So if someone expresses hesitation toward participating in a work-in, you should respect their decision.
It Pays to Work Together
Overall, knowing other freelancers is never a necessity for anyone to be successful. But like all business it so often comes down to a matter of who you know rather than what you know. By sharing ideas, working together, creating a network of clients looking for work and freelancers who can be trusted to do the job right, you can stay motivated, stay productive, and stay sane by having others to share experiences with.
Photo Credit: Slova