If there is one thing I hear most freelancers complain about, it is working from home. Sure, not needing to leave the house for work might sound fantastic at first. After all, you can create your own schedule and even stay in pajamas all day if you want! (Plus, you don’t have to deal with a horrendous commute twice a day.) Sounds like the dream, right? Well, not always. In fact, you may find working from home lonely and isolating – longing for someone to chat to throughout the day. Even as an introvert, I’m right there with ya! And no, chatting with my clients via email or on Slack doesn’t count!
So, how to cope with the loneliness of working from home? One simple solution is to collaborate with other people who are self-employed. That way, you can work with others on some cool and exciting new projects.
Not too sure how to collaborate with others or how to find people who might be willing to team up with you? Here are some great ways to do it!
Side Hustle in Reverse
Lots of people choose to work for themselves, either freelancing or starting a small business, as a side hustle. Since you’re already working for yourself (or at least working remotely), consider taking up this idea in reverse. If you’re interested in a specific industry, why not pursue a part-time job outside the home? This is a great way to meet new people while also learning new skills and broadening your networking scope. After writing for a client in the wine industry a couple years ago, I decided I’d love to learn more about wine. I looked into some classes near me but settled on applying for a job instead. A couple nights and weekends spent in a wine store is a small price to pay for tons of on-the-job training and a chance to spend time with actual people…instead of just my computer screen. (Oh, and I get a paycheck, too!)
Find Tools To Help You Collaborate Remotely
In some cases, you won’t be collaborating face-to-face. Depending on the project you want to work on, you might have to work with people remotely. There are lots of tools that can help you with this. Set a time to check in via Skype or FaceTime so that you can have some proper conversations about your work. This will be a lot more effective than messaging via gchat or email. To ensure you can schedule in these calls, you might want to find out more about scheduling tools and platforms. These can help you arrange meetings and also schedule your work. Sticking to schedules and sharing those schedules with others I’m working with (clients AND collaborators) has gone a long way in helping me feel like my home-job is a REAL job.
Work In A Coworking Space
Even if you don’t fancy collaborating with another freelancer, working from a co-working space a few days a week can feel like a breath of fresh air for most extroverted work-from-home folks. These spaces are just like offices, only usually a lot more casual, and give freelancers the chance to work around others. Most of them require you to pay a monthly fee, though there are some free ones out there. (Some even have office kitchens so that you can enjoy coffee and snacks! And you know what you miss most about an office is the snacks, lol!)
Attend Networking Events
Most cities and towns have regular events that are aimed at small business owners and freelancers. You will find that there are a lot of casual events to help freelancers connect with others in the area. These are great for meeting new friends and collaborators. But there will also be a lot of professional networking events as well, which will be the best bet for you if you’re looking for a serious collaboration that could blossom into a new professional venture. It’s worth getting in touch with your local business network to see if there are any events coming up. You can also have a look on the Meetup website for what’s popping off in your area.
Use Social Media
If you want lots of chances to connect and collaborate, you could consider joining social media groups designed to bring together folks in your industry. Think: A Facebook group for yoga instructors or a message board for copywriters. Looking to branch outside your field on a collab? Instagram and Twitter are great platforms to link up with like-minded people in your area. Either way, social media is a great place to gain feedback from others, ask questions/for help, and share online resources. There are so many ways to connect online if you open yourself up to the possibilities. My very first work-from-home position came about through interacting in the comments section of a blog!
Consider Becoming A Mentor
If you would prefer to work with someone on a one-on-one basis, you might like the idea of becoming a mentor to another freelancer. You can take a newbie under your wing and help them on the road of self-employment. I’m sure that there will be lots of things that you can teach them about. For instance, you might want to give them some tips and pointers on budgeting or time management. Not only will this give you some human contact through the week, but it will also feel rewarding!
How do you guys take the loneliness out of working from home? Any paths to meaningful collaboration I’m missing?
P.S. Want an inside look into someone else’s “hustle”? I have a whole series dedicated to just that!
P.P.S. Have an idea about how you and I could collaborate? Let’s chat! Drop me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – don’t be shy!!