How to Find your People as a Freelancer

How to find Community as a Freelancer

Freelancing is a great way to be your own boss, but what about the feeling of isolation? It’s bad for our health to not engage with others socially (and it’s also bad for our continuing careers). We all need to find our people and foster community! Here are some of the tried and true ways you can find and build your freelancing network.

Nurture Relationships You Already Have

With all the "how to meet people" lists you'll find across the internet... why doesn’t anyone start by reminding us to cultivate the relationships we already have? If you’re naturally an introvert, you know why—sometimes it can be harder to reach out to a former coworker randomly, worried that you’ll be “bothering” or “annoying” someone. But the opposite is normally true. When you reach out to grab a coffee and chat about the work someone is doing, you’re not inconveniencing anyone. It is really important, especially as a freelancer, to foster and strengthen the relationships you already have. It’s the easiest way to ensure you don’t get lonely in your industry and that you both look out for one another for opportunities.

Use Social Media Productively

Chances are that you have at least one social media platform that you use often and is a place where you’re comfortable engaging with people. While you’re on Instagram, Tiktok, Linkedin, X (Twitter), Facebook, or where ever, are you just scrolling? Stop the scroll and curate your feed so you are more engaged with people in your industry. Offer compliments when you see something you love from a fellow creator. Pause and ask genuine questions about style, craft, and methods of working. People love sharing their expertise. Eventually, this may be a way you can find your community or a mentor—someone who would share their industry knowledge in exchange for volunteer work or pay.

Try Volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to get to know people, period. If you’re looking to network with people in your industry, find out where they hang out and look for volunteer opportunities at events. Comic cons and other types of industry festivals often need volunteers and it’s a great way for you to make connections and learn. Don’t overlook community-based volunteer work, too! If you have an interest in, say, your local parks or library, join their volunteer group. You never know who you’ll meet in your own backyard and what types of inspiration can come from the community work you do.

Join or Start Your Own Group

There are many official groups out there for niche professions. You can join the freelancer’s union if you’re looking to bond with other freelancers or you can find a more niche collective near you (like the Society of Illustrators in NYC or the Chicago Writers Association). Look for events held at community centers, libraries, or bookshops. They're likely free and could lead you toward others who have the same work hours and interests as you. If none of these groups or activities in your area quite speak to you, you can always start a small group on your own using MeetUp to create remote or in-person events. Consider working together in a public space or going in a workspace together.

Find and Attend Events and Conferences

If you need an overhaul, not just on your freelancing network but also on your career, attending a conference can help you in both areas. You’ll learn about new trends and gain insights while meeting forward-thinkers in your industry. Conferences and events can cost a pretty penny, but if you can, it’s great to go once in a while. If you do attend a conference, make the most of the connections you develop by following up afterward with an email or virtual meet-up date. Connect on social media and keep up with these new connections as often as the ones closest to you.  

TLDR; In general, it’s important to begin with your closest freelancing friends, tend to those relationships, and work outward, creating your own group or attending conferences once in a while. Make social media and events work for you—have a strategic plan so that you don’t end up endlessly scrolling or procrastinating on fostering new friendships. Part of being a freelancer is making sure that you’re taking care of your well-being and career. Community is a huge part of satisfying the needs of both. 

Another great connection you should have as a freelancer—a recruiter who knows the industry well and can keep an eye out for future opportunities. If you don’t know any recruiters, allow us to be the first. Hi, we’re Artisan, and we’d love to hear about where you want to take your freelancing career.

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