Feeling Socially Isolated as a Freelance Worker
Freelance work can be hard for a social person because by its very nature it is a solitary profession.
Freelancers who work alone, often from home, can very easily begin to feel isolated and as though they’ve lost their social lives and any real connection to the wider world. To keep these feelings at bay, freelance workers must make a serious effort to engage in social events and attend social gatherings. Not only are these interactions good for their personal lives, but their professional lives as well as each new social situation will bring them in contact with more networks and therefore more potential clients. Joining online groups and forums, registering with professional organisations, attending networking events and selecting a social hobby are all ways that freelancers can avoid feeling socially isolated.
Joining Online Groups And ForumsSome freelancers find that they don’t have the time or the ability to travel far from home to socialise. For these people, joining online groups and forums may be a great way to find some social stimulation without having to disturb their schedules to find it. Online groups and forums exist across the Internet on almost every topic, so general freelance sites and sites specific to a particular job or industry are available. Most sites require membership, and some require paid subscriptions, but they can be a treasure trove of advice, information, tips and hints from other freelance professionals. They can also be a great place to replace the watercooler chats and inter-office socialising that many freelancers miss when they switch to working on their own.
Registering With Professional OrganisationsProfessional organisations exist across the world for almost all jobs and industries. The organisations often offer local chapters and events, and many offer online resources such as forums and message boards as well. Registering with such organisations should give freelance workers a built in avenue for finding opportunities to socialise and interact with others. Assuming responsibilities within these organisations, such as becoming a local or regional officer, will also increase a freelancer’s interactions with others on a regular basis.
Attending Networking EventsNetworking events may be hosted by freelance clients, professional organisation, private companies, community resources, religious institutions, educational institutions and much more. In fact, the more a freelance worker looks the more (s)he will likely find regular events in his or her area. Some of these events may be publicised specifically as networking events, such as alumni events for colleges and universities, while some may simply be a way for individuals from all walks of life to get together and have a good time, such as a local wine tasting. Freelancers can treat these events as social or personal, but attending them is a good idea to avoid a feeling of isolation.
Selecting a Social HobbyNot all socialising needs to be, or even should be, about freelance work. Selecting a social hobby such as joining a book group, dancing lessons, cooking classes or craft club will allow a freelance worker to indulge in a fun activity with likeminded others. If there are no such groups in a freelance worker’s local area then a freelancer could always start one for themselves. If there are no other potential club members interested in such an activity then tapping friends and relatives to enjoy a meal out or to go and see a film will also help get a freelancer out of the house and away from any feelings of being socially isolated.
Feeling socially isolated is a risk for all freelance workers. To avoid this feeling, freelancers can join online groups and forums, register with professional organisations, attending networking events and select a social hobby to have some fun and meet some new people.