Being a full-time freelancer is an all solitary job. This is probably one of the biggest things that freelancers get stuck on. When you get a project and you start to get into that project whether you are designing, developing, writing, or marketing, before you know it there could be three or four days that go by that you don't leave the house. The feeling of being isolated is a thing all freelancers go through from time to time.
For some people this isn't too much of a problem. For others though it is a huge problem. They need the social interaction of others. Personally I don't have too much of a problem with this. However there are freelancers that I talk to on a consistent basis and colleagues of mine that can only stay at home a day or two before they get massive cabin fever.
There's a number of things that a freelancer can do to get over this cabin fever and not feel as if they are alone all the time. I want to share with you some of these things that I know have worked for me when I start to get all squirrely and get cabin fever.
Meet ups are great way to get out after a long day of work. These are meetings that get put together for folks that are like-minded. If you go to meetup.com and search for a topic of interest within a specific location you'll see meet ups in your area that you can go check out.
Attending these meet ups allow you to network with people that have the same view or same interest in a specific topic. These have a wide range, but chances are there's something out there for you.
Going to a meet up allows you to be able to bounce ideas that you might have about your business off of other people that may have been down the road a little bit further than you. You can get feedback on something that you've been thinking about doing. Maybe even find a resource or service someone provides for a client of yours.
Meet ups are a great place to network locally. If you want to get out and grab a beer or a bite with some like minded folks, check out a local meet up.
These are usually paid memberships sometimes on a monthly basis where it's a closed community of business owners. These communities are virtual (obviously) so you are still sitting at the screen, but the ability to communicate and share ideas with others gives you an avenue out from behind the 4 walls of your home.
Now don't get me wrong you can easily purchase one of these and not get anything out of it. In fact I have done that myself. Much like everything else in this world you get what you put into something. So if you going to invest in your business by joining one of these online communities, you need to put in the effort to communicate with them, participate in the weekly phone calls, participate in the forums, and try to reach out and connect at a personal level with the folks that have also invested in their business in these communities.
The one thing I will point out with these online communities is that you really do have to connect at some level with the leader or leaders of that community. If your personality doesn't mesh with them then chances are you won't get too much out of it. The leader of the community will drive that community in a certain direction. So if you can't get behind that leader or jive with their personality it's going to be a difficult road for you and you probably won't get too much out of it.
I don’t mean the $9 online course that you download and it sits in your downloads folder until you realize that you bought it when you start to run out of disk space.
The higher end courses tend to have a community aspect to it. These courses albeit a learning experience for you as the student allow you to also communicate with other students. This can be in the form of a private Facebook group, Slack channel, internal forum to the course, and even a Skype group.
Basically you know that everybody within the course is taking that course for the some of the same reasons that you are. So whether that course is to build your email list, create a podcast, learn how to build a website, or learn how to take photographs in the wild, each and every student inside of that course is at some point along that same road that you are on.
It allows students to share their journey with all the other students that are taking the course. But seeing as the "why" is similar, connections can be made at a business level as well.
Traditional mastermind groups have been around for decades. These are a small group of people, 4 to 7, that meet on a regular basis to discuss their businesses. They tend to meet weekly, biweekly or monthly and go around talking about each of their businesses in regards to both their successes and failures.
This allows everyone to celebrate the wins within each of their businesses. This also allows everyone to share in the experience of those things that aren't as successful and be able to learn from them.
Mastermind groups usually contain people at different levels within their businesses. Mastermind groups usually, but not always, have folks in a different industry than the others. Both of these restrictions allow for an honest and open line of communication from an outsiders point of view. This is critical to that “outsiders” point of view so that you are the only one that's real close to the issues and hurdles within your business.
Having an environment where you feel safe to express things like financial situations and new ideas helps you feel that you are in business with somebody else. These mastermind groups are fantastic ways of getting rid of that sense of being alone. Folks within the group usually are or have been in a very similar spot as you and can tell you how they've gotten past that spot.
You are not alone
So even if you are home and find yourself talking to your cat all day, get out there and talk with other humans. It’ll do you and your business good.
If you are an introvert and social interaction puts you out of your comfort zone, then here’s a tip for you. As a freelancer I know you will always make any effort to build your business in a positive way. Before the meet up or any sort of social interaction, just put it into your head that this is for your business. This will build a solid foundation for your business. Who knows, this conversation you are about to have could change the course of your business and you will be able to accomplish your goals.
There’s no reason to feel isolated. Even in this competitive world we live in, there’s plenty more customers than their are business owners.