I’m surrounded by dozens of freelancers, busy talking with each other about their lives, their work and their hopes for the future.
Some are meeting each other for the first time. Others are catching up with people they have met before.
And all of these people are creating for themselves an advantage over freelancers who stay at home. They are not marketing themselves. Nor are they picking up new clients. But what they are doing is invaluable. They are creating relationships with other people who also work for themselves, and spend most of their time at their desks at home.
Why is this important?
As freelancers we live isolated lives. We don’t go to work and find ourselves within a crowd of coworkers. We are isolated, and responsible for everything that happens, or doesn’t happen, each and every day.
This isolation can be tough on us. If we have a bad day, it can sometimes be hard to drag ourselves up out of the fog. If we feel lost, we can’t push our chairs back and chat with the person in the cubicle next to us.
Beyond our daily challenges, we also face longer-term struggles when we work alone. For example, at the beginning of the year we might have set some ambitious goals, and created a plan to help us achieve them. But, being alone, there is nobody around to help us stick to that plan.
In other words, building your freelance business can be hard when you work alone.
That’s why the people I am looking at right now have an advantage. They are getting to know each other. They are finding out that others share the exact same challenges.
When everyone goes home, some of them will keep in touch with the people they have met here. Maybe they’ll form a private group on Facebook, so they can keep the conversation going.
And if they create small groups and keep in touch, they’ll be giving themselves a big advantage. They won’t be isolated anymore. They will have people they can reach out to when they are having a bad week or bad day. They will have people they can celebrate with when they have a really good day. And they will have people around them who can help them stick to their most ambitious plans for the future.
My advice? Get out to a conference at least once a year and make friends with a few other freelancers. If you can’t do that, then make friends online and create a small group of fellow freelancers.
Either way, you’ll perform at a higher level if you are not alone.
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…