Loneliness is not reserved for freelancers. There's an epidemic of lonely people in a time when one can connect with thousands of people instantly online. The feeling of loneliness can be debilitating. It can prevent us from going out, pursuing our goals, following our passion. You may even be questioning if freelancing is right for you. It can be a dark time for some and, although it can be difficult to admit, we could all do with a little help from time to time. Freelancing is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling career paths you can take but finding stability and success doesn't come easily. So, we'd like to talk about community and how you can build one! We've compiled a few tips to get you on the right track. 

Re-learning how to socialise

Let's start with your own mindset. It's easy to get into a spiral of negative thinking. The pandemic has also impacted our social skills and we're less inclined to step out of our comfort zones. The way to break out of this is to slowly start reconnecting with others. That might be a chat with the Amazon delivery person or local coffee shop owner. Instead of a Zoom meeting with a client, offer to visit their office. Bit by bit, you'll start to rebuild your confidence in social circles and feel connected again. 

To help your confidence, if you've been freelancing for a while, look back over the past year and find the positives. Whether thats an amazing job that you landed or a project that you're really proud of, connect with it. You may have started freelancing recently - that, in itself, is a brave and worthy reason to feel proud. We're hard on ourselves when we're down so ensure that you celebrate the good times. 

Know yourself and your audience 

Another self-reflective one before we talk about building a community. Do you know who you are and who your freelance business is aimed at? Do you offer a service for the general public, such as a wedding photographer or nail technician, or do you service businesses? Quick tip. List the last 10 paid jobs you landed. Note down where and how you got them. Are they all from the same sector? Congratulations, you've just compiled a marketing flow chart. Next, ask 'am I satisfied with this' and 'can it be replicated?'. If the answer is yes to both, repeat. 

Start small and grow naturally 

You might start by sending a few members a message about their work. Perhaps you're keen on organising a test shoot or you could see who is in your local area and up for a coffee. A community starts with a small number and grows from there. 

Ask the right questions to the right people 

Asking your mum if your work is any good is not going to give you the feedback your freelance business requires. Unless your mum happens to be Anna Wintour, you'll most likely get a positive response. Sometimes, brutal honesty is what's required. If you're applying to tons of jobs but not getting a reply, you need to know why? Is it your brand or portfolio, maybe your prices are too high or your site looks all wrong. Often it's only a few small changes that will lead to success. There is no place for sentiment in freelancing so take a deep breath, have someone critique your freelance business and move forward with purpose. Our team are happy to help members with their profile, get in touch if you'd like a Profile Review and we'll give you a straight answer. Altnerativeltly, ask the community to offer advice by posting your work on the Discussions board

Freelance loneliness

Develop your skills when not working

January can be a slow month for many freelancers but that shouldn't stop you from developing your business. Could you portfolio do with some new work? Set up a Test Shoot. Would you like to offer more services? Learn a new skill. Couldn't be bothered with either of those options? Meet a local Freelancer Club member for a coffee and a chat. Now is the time to reach out to your community, get out of the house and stay active. You've got this! 

Photo credit: 
Matheus Bertelli