Tim Aldred - The Frazzled Freelancer

Freelance commercial writer, successfully navigating self-employment one unexpected obstacle at a time. Contact me at twitter.com/tim_aldred

7 ways to beat freelancer loneliness

“No man is an island,” says John Domme’s famous poem, explaining that, as people, we need and appreciate company.


For the self-employed, company can be difficult to come by. Some days, it’s more akin to working on a desert island. No water cooler chit chat for us.


But fear not, intrepid freelancer, because if you’re home alone and hating it, solutions are easy and inexpensive. Here’s seven to get you started.


Head to your local café…

Many types of business undertaken by freelancers can be done from any location. All you need is a laptop, a mobile phone and an internet connection. Your local Starbucks, Costa, or even your local independent, probably has a quiet corner to relax whilst putting in a few hours’ work, whilst others mingle around you.


…or your local library

Whilst a café may be an ideal setting, it’s not always a good idea to spend the day sipping coffee and eating blueberry muffins. Libraries have quiet corners, too. They often have wi-fi, they allow conversation (so that you can answer your phone) and the studious environment promotes the desire to get stuck in and get some work done.


Log on to social media

This is similar to snooping through and commenting on your friend’s holiday pictures on Facebook, but if you sign up to Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+, you’ll be mingling with companies you’d like to work with, colleagues you’ve not emailed in a while and industry movers and shakers that can put you in touch. Which means it’s a perfectly acceptable way to spend an hour of your day. Conversations range from serious debate to pictures of funny-shaped clouds. Jump in, and get connected.


Go face-to-face networking

Some freelancers love this aspect of business, others avoid it at all costs. Remember, it’s a room full of people and we’re all in the same boat. Pack a pocketful of business cards and go find out who’s doing business in your town. Don’t go with the intention of making a big sale,simply turn up, converse, find out what’s what. You’ll be surprised how much you take away.


Try hot-desking

There will be occasions when a freelancer needs to look like a larger operation than the picture of us sitting at our kitchen table with a laptop could ever paint. Buying an office, at the same time, is well outside our budget. The mid-way point is to rent space from a local business centre. You can hire meeting rooms for an hour at a time, a desk for half a day or a full office for the full day. Book some space, and whilst there you’re sure to be surrounded by professionals in similar situations.


Rent an office

If you’ve cracked a steady income, it might be time to consider some dedicated premises. Can’t afford an office to yourself? Speak to some of your freelance friends or colleagues, and see if it’s an option to chip in together and share an office between you. But pick wisely, don’t share an office purely because they’re good for the rent at the end of the month. Make sure you’re happy spending your working day opposite them.


Go back to school

Schools, colleges and universities offer all manner of topics and hold classes of 20 to 30 adults at a time. You might fancy studying something which will boost your business, such as management studies or the Chartered Institute of Marketing course, or simply something you’ve always dreamed about, such as pottery or traveller’s Italian. It doesn’t really matter, so long as you’re out the house and mingling.


Mixing with fellow freelancers brightens up the day, and we work better when we’re having fun. It’s also a benefit to know lots of people and to understand what they do and who they’re working with, because that’s the moment we can put ourselves forward and take a slice of the action.


The seven above are just ideas. They might not all work for you as an individual. And you may have ideas that I don’t yet know of – in which case, I’d love to hear about them.

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Written by Editor on January 25, 2012 and filed in Entrepreneurs, Frazzled Freelancer, Freelance Jobs, Freelancers, Opinion , , , ,

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