How to Combat Loneliness as a Freelancer
Five ways to feel less isolated in your freelance journey
Here’s what they don’t tell you when you decide to become a freelancer: it can be incredibly lonely. Whether you’re a writer, designer, photographer, etc., the work most freelancers do requires tremendous concentration. As a result, our work can also be very isolating.
Towards the end of 2019, I started to feel extremely isolated, despite living in New York City. All of my friends work 9-to-5 jobs and, at the time, I wasn’t connected to many freelancers.
So, I decided to do something about it.
I followed the steps below and, in only two short months, have felt much more connected, inspired, and rejuvenated in my freelance career. Following these steps has connected me to freelancers around the world who have asked me to be a featured speaker on their video series, provide business coaching, and co-host a seminar. In addition to enhancing my professional growth, I have made some great friends along the way.
So, without further ado, here are the tried-and-true methods that helped me combat loneliness as a freelancer:
#1: Join a Freelance Group on Facebook
In January of this year, I made the decision to connect with new freelancers. I was approaching one year as a full-time freelance writer (after freelancing part-time for about seven years) and was starting to feel extremely lonely and isolated. I began to question if there was anyone out there in the world who could relate to the work I was doing. In less than two months, I have made incredible connections from the Facebook groups I have joined. I am so thankful for the remarkably supportive freelance community that is out there. I don’t know where I would be without all of you!
Here’s how I find freelance groups on Facebook:
If you are a writer, type “freelance writers” into Facebook’s search bar and review the groups that appear in the search results (here is my favorite freelance group for females). Do the same if you are a photographer, graphic designer, etc.
Join a few different groups, which typically involves filling out a brief survey that asks what kind of work you do, and wait to be approved.
After getting approved in the group, try to interact with other freelancers as much as possible. Respond to member’s questions, posts, etc. and try to provide value.
#2: Join a Coworking Space
Working from home gets very old, very fast. There are also a lot of distractions at home such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. Coworking spaces provide a more formal setting to work, meet new people, and get out of the house (and out of your PJs) a few times a week. I recommend downloading an app called Croissant and looking up coworking spaces in your area.
Here’s why Croissant is great for coworking:
Croissant allows members to purchase a package of hours rather than commit to paying a monthly membership fee.
Members can purchase a package of 10 hours, which is $45.00 USD, or a package of 40 hours, which is $145.00 USD. So it comes out to about $3.60 — $4.50 an hour which, in my opinion, is extremely worth it.
If you use this link, you’ll get a free trial and $20 off your first week if you do a paid membership after the trial period.
Your package of hours will not expire for six months, so you can space out your hours over a long period of time.
Croissant partners with tons of coworking spaces throughout the world. When you arrive at the coworking space, click “check-in” on the app, and you can work there until they close.
Most coworking spaces have great perks such as free coffee/tea, snacks, happy hours, etc. The coworking space I go to in Brooklyn has free bagels on Mondays, wine night on Wednesdays and lots of other great perks. (By the way, if you’re a freelancer in New York City and want to meet up at a coworking space, shoot me a message!)
If Croissant doesn’t have locations in your area, check out CoWorker.com, which has many other locations (although some may require a monthly membership fee vs. buying a package of hours).
#3: Schedule One or Two Non-Client Calls Each Week
There are days where I may go six or seven hours without speaking to another human (especially when I’m working on a deadline). Make it a point to call a friend, family member, former colleague, or fellow freelancer once or twice a week. Even if it’s only a 15 or 20-minute phone call, it will help you return back to your work feeling energized and refreshed. It’s also a great way to break up the day, as it is all-too-easy to sit at a computer for seven or eight hours without taking a real break.
#4: Travel Abroad to a Coliving Space
View from the house where I will be staying through Swiss Escape’s coliving program!
I will be traveling to Switzerland this year through a company called Swiss Escape (which I actually found out about after reading this great article on Medium!). The best part about being a freelancer is having the ability to travel anywhere you want, so take advantage of that freedom.
In addition to Swiss Escape, here are some other fantastic coliving programs:
If the locations on these sites don’t spark your interest, check out CoLiving.com, where you can search coliving spaces by city.
#5: Take Time to Hang Out with Family & Friends (Or Make Some New Freelance Friends)
Freelancing can be overwhelming at times and it can be easy to allow our work to consume us. However, it is important to take a break sometimes and spend time with friends and family.
Find some local freelance groups on Facebook or MeetUp and try to grab a coffee or a drink with some new connections. It is so refreshing to connect with new people who understand the work we do.
My name is Amanda Sapio and I am a freelance copywriter with 8+ years’ experience as a writer/editor.