How to make freelance friends
When you’re a freelancer, self-employed or work remotely, the sense of freedom can sometimes seem too good to be true. Nipping to the shops in the middle of the day or taking a break to scroll through ASOS and catch up on podcasts are just some of the wonderful perks of a freelance lifestyle.
But at times, the flip side of the freedom is an unavoidable sense of loneliness. Without colleagues in the traditional sense, you might find yourself feeling a little lost. Don’t worry, though - there are plenty of ways to tap into a lovely community of like-minded gals and find yourself some firm freelance friends.
Don’t underestimate the power of the ‘gram
First and foremost is the obvious - social media. Instagram can sometimes be depicted as being a bit of a negative platform, showing a warped version of reality which can lead to unrealistic comparisons. However, when you use Insta mindfully and curate who you follow, it can be a wonderful asset and a helpful tool for finding friends.
Follow hashtags like #communityovercompetition, #freelancelife, and #mycreativebiz to inject some positivity into your feed. Check up on who’s posting from creative locations near you, like coworking spaces, to scope out profiles of local freelancers. Once you’ve found some fab gals to follow, keep an eye on who they’re following, tagging and interacting with to help you expand your network even further. Don't be afraid to slide into their DMs either! Instagram can be a lovely place to cultivate genuine friendships, so be generous with your engagement by commenting and chatting authentically with everyone.
Get involved in an online community
Over the last few years, an incredible and positive new movement has emerged to help solve the issue of freelance loneliness (shameless plug: us being one of them!). Online communities provide a means of connecting with hundreds of other freelancers from the comfort of your sofa - but with the additional opportunity to meet them in person, too.
The groups normally consist of paying a monthly membership fee - this is often tiered, so you can choose how much help, interaction and input suits you personally. Once you’ve joined, you tend to gain access to online resources, exclusive events and workshops, and a private Facebook group where you can chat to other gals, get plenty of advice and ask any burning questions you have about different aspects of freelance life.
Join a community-based co-working space (if budget allows!)
Whether it's a local co-working group or an actual space based on a specific community, co-working is one of the easiest ways to meet fellow self-employed friends. Somewhere where you'll see familiar faces and check-in on each on a regular basis - it's so good for both accountability and making sure that you interact with other humans!
Overcome your fear of networking
Even just the word ‘networking’ brings instant fear into so many freelancer’s hearts. It has connotations with being stuffy, forced, business-like and downright bloody awkward. But it truly doesn’t have to be this way. Find fun, lighthearted and informal events in your area, such as those organised by Bumble for Bizz. These can be things like flower arranging, baking, games nights, drinks, and other laidback activities that make the whole networking thing seem a lot more chilled - and they’re much more likely to be attended by young, creative, self-employed people, too.
Going along to unrelated local events like yoga or cookery classes can provide the chance for organic, natural networking too - you never know who you might bump into.
If in doubt, DIY it
Live in the middle of nowhere? If there’s absolutely nothing going on in your vicinity, don’t panic. You’re not going to be isolated forever. The chances are, if you’re sat at your desk feeling lonely and wanting to find a freelance community, there’ll be someone a mile away feeling exactly the same way. So if there’s nothing in place for you - start something yourself.
Put the feelers out on social media about starting something lowkey, like a weekly or fortnightly meet-up for a natter and some admin over coffee. Even just starting something informal could lead to you single-handedly create a freelance community and friendship group in your area. You never know until you try!
Have you found yourself a group of freelance friends? If you’ve got any more tips and tricks for those who are struggling, we’d love to hear your gems of wisdom. Head over to our Instagram and share your experiences with forging friendships in the freelance world.