Last week, I talked about the importance of networking as a freelancer, which isn’t a topic that many freelancers necessarily think about—being lone workers and independent spirits. However, studies show that freelancing can be lonely, so networking offers the perfect opportunity to get out, meet new people, and develop useful contacts. Today, we’ll look at a few ways to network as a freelancer.
Join a meetup group
The easiest way to network as a freelancer is to find a meetup group that already exists, as this takes a lot of the hard work out of the process. If you live in a city, the likelihood is that there’s already a freelance network somewhere in your local area. To find groups, checkout Meetup.com, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Find out when their next meeting is and go along. If, like me, you can’t find any existing groups in your local area, then be bold and create your own!
At our freelance meetup this week, 15 freelancers came along, including a videographer, photographer, digital marketer, football kit designer, engraver, virtual assistant, translator, illustrator, writer, and more. We get a really wide range of people, and the group is usually split between regulars and newbies, established freelancers and aspiring ones.
If you’re in Birmingham or the West Midlands, feel free to join the group and come along to one of our meetups.
If out-and-out networking isn’t your thing (yet!), then another option is co-working, as it offers a gentle way to meet other freelancers in a less pressurised setting, for example, when you’re making a cup of coffee. Most major cities have co-working venues that you can rent a space at, though they can be expensive.
If you live in the UK, there’s a great alternative to paid spaces: co-working company Dispace. They provide free co-working in ‘disused spaces’ such as quiet coffee shops in many major UK cities. There’s free Wi-Fi, food and drink discounts, and abundant plug sockets. You simply sign up and check-in to the venue online, then see who else is coworking there that day.
They also run “Dressed for Coworking” events where you can get to know your coworkers. These events are great fun—you meet interesting freelancers, get some work done, and get out of the house for a bit.
Building your freelance network
Developing a network of freelancers takes time (like most things in freelancing), so keep at it and don’t be discouraged if it takes a while. Try a few different meetup groups to see which you like and give co-working a shot. In future blogs, I’ll look at other ways to build a network as a freelancer, but for now, these two are enough to keep you busy!
Have you tried co-working or meetup groups? How did it go? Comment below or get in touch.
And stay tuned for more freelance tips every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!