As a freelancer, I spend the majority of my day alone. After my morning workout, I shower, get dressed, and plant myself at my local coffee shop for hours. Most days, the only human interaction I get is with my loving boyfriend and the barista.
Don’t get me wrong; I love this life. However, I can’t dispute that networking is an essential mechanism for building my career. The value of getting my name out there, learning from others in the industry, and forming professional relationships cannot be understated. But, when I spend hours alone with my laptop every day, how can I network effectively? Here are some tips for networking as a freelancer:
1. Reach Out To Other Professionals
Whenever I see a job posting, I always look for the people who already hold the position. Sometimes I just check out their educational and professional credentials. Sometimes I request a connection on LinkedIn so I can strike up a conversation and learn how they got to where they are. Either way, you will gain something valuable from doing your research.
2. Search For Meet-ups In Your City
Search for meet-ups on social media or even your coffee shop’s notice board. Establish a connection with people in your region who are doing work similar to yours. This will help you establish your own network conveniently located at your home base.
3. Stay Connected With Classmates
Be sure to stay in contact with classmates or peers you went to school with. When you have a moment, taking some time to catch up can help you. You never know what work you can whip up together or who they can connect you with.
4. Use a Coworking Space
The coworking industry has seen a boom in recent years, and with good reason. Coworking offers the amenities and convenience of an office without the traditional expense and long-term commitments. Even people who hate offices have found coworking spaces beneficial for meeting and collaborating with other entrepreneurs. A coworking space allows you to feed off others’ creative energy while maintaining the freedom to withdraw whenever you need space.
As a freelancer, I often find myself in a personal bubble of my own making. Sometimes, this bubble is exactly what I need to hyper-focus on my work and reach peak productivity. However, this bubble can be dangerous if maintained for extended periods. Getting out there and meeting other creatives and professionals is a great way to keep my ideas fresh and information current.