Tag Archives: remote office work

Collaborations Can Take the Loneliness Out of Working from Home

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

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 – ebeth.berger@gmail.com – don’t be shy!!

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3 Ways to Pack Your Tom Bihn Synapse 19

in-the-metro

As you may have guessed from previous posts (like this one and this one), I’m low-key obsessed with my Tom Bihn backpack. I could regale you for hours with info about all it’s features. It is just so. dang. packable. But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding…

So, instead of tell you about all the versatile pockets and roomy compartments, I’m gonna walk you through a few of my favorite ways to pack the Tom Bihn Synapse 19.

how-to-pack-tom-bihn-synapse-19

The Pockets:

1. Main Compartment

2. Shallow Center Pocket

3. Deep Center Pocket 

4. Left Pocket

5. Right Pocket

6. Bottom Compartment

For 1 Bag Air Travel:

1. You’ll be amazed at how many clothes will fit in the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 with the help of a packing cube (or two). The double-sided packing cubes are genius if you want to keep your clothes organized (think: tops on one side / bottoms on the other OR day clothes on one side / loungewear on the other) or separate dirty and clean.

Your laptop or tablet will fit comfortably in this compartment as well.

2. This is the perfect space for all the small bits you may need readily available while up in the air. Tuck in your earbuds, your favorite lip balm, and a snack.

3. Slide your toiletry bag down in this front pocket and you’ll have no qualms about pulling it out when you go through TSA. This one from Tom Bihn has clear sides and was designed as a 3-1-1 toiletries bag for air travel. There’s plenty of room inside for all your essentials.

4. This side pocket has a space for your writing implements so you might want to tuck in a little notebook as well. It’s also a great place to stow a small flashlight, your sunglasses, and a collapsible bag.

5. Think of this as your electronics pocket! There’s plenty of room for a camera and there’s an additional pocket along the lining that’s perfectly sized for a phone. Clip a clear organizer pouch to the O-ring inside and fill it with your various chargers. No need to frantically search for cables that have made their way to the bottom of your bag!

6. Finally, the bottom compartment will hold a pair of sandals or flat shoes, a pashmina to keep you cozy when the plane gets cold, and a collapsible poncho if you’re headed to a rainy climate.

For Working On-the-Go:

1. As this is the largest compartment, this is where your bulkiest items will go. If you’re working on-the-go this probably means your laptop as well as any notebooks, folders, and books you may need.

2. Slip in a pair of earbuds that will cancel out any annoying noises you may encounter. You could also keep a stockpile of business cards tucked in a fancy holder.

3. Amazingly enough, this pocket was designed by the folks at Tom Bihn as the perfect place to hold a water bottle. This is great for keeping weight distribution even and totally cuts down on spills. You could go with a classic or class it up.

4. Store your pens, memory cards, and a wireless mouse in this convenient side pocket.

5. The other side is perfect for all your chargers. Again – one of the clear organizer pouches would be perfect for corralling them all. And don’t forget to throw in a snack bar or two! It’s hard to work when  you’re hungry!

6. Finally, the bottom compartment is a convenient location for your wallet. And it’s wide enough that it will accommodate a billfold style design. Don’t need that much space for your wallet? This is a great place to store an umbrella, as well!

For Having Outdoor Adventures:

1. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or just urban exploring; you’ll want to have a few essentials in your Tom Bihn Synapse 19! The main compartment is a great place to store an extra layer of clothing, in case it gets cold, and any equipment you may need to bring along. (Think: camera or video gear, tools, DRONES!)

2. Safety first! Don’t forget to bring a small first aid kit. Buy one or make your own out of an Altoid can. Making your own allows you to really customize the contents for your particular adventure.

3. Again, the Deep Center Pocket is the perfect place for your water bottle. Toss in a bandana, too. They have SO MANY uses. (Here are 25.)

4. This is a great place to keep sunscreen and bug spray close at hand. You might also want to toss in a multi-tool or your eating utensils. Spork? Chopsticks? 3-piece cutlery? Your choice.

5. If you’re venturing away from civilization, it may behoove you to reserve this pocket for “I can pee anywhere!” materials. Think: tissues, wet-wipes, anti-bac, etc. Of course, these could come in handy for other purposes, too!

6. Finally, pack a lunch! This bottom compartment will ensure your sandwich won’t get squished amidst all your other equipment and it’s spacious enough to accommodate an adventurer’s appetite! The menu, of course, is up to you.

Where would you take your Tom Bihn backpack? Do you have a favorite travel accessory you recommend to anyone who will listen? Tell me about it below! 

P.S. A Tom Bihn-accompanied trip — Festivals Acadiens in Lafayette, LA