Wednesday, 8 November 2017

You don't have to be a recluse to be a freelancer

For some the joy of freelance work is being able to get your head down, get on with it and then get out (thus being the first to the bar). But for others the isolation can be an issue, in this post our new fintech writer and researcher, David Black looks at measures you can take to replicate those 'water cooler' moments.

Remember, a dog is for life not just for freelance companionship
There are pros and cons of being a freelancer ranging from flexibility on the plus side to occasional periods of lack of work as a negative. But one aspect that particularly affects those working from home is potential loneliness: you’ll miss the face-to-face social interactions of office life. It’s one of the many things that those thinking about making the leap in to the freelance world should contemplate carefully.

Some will have more difficulty than others in dealing with the isolation but there are many tactics which freelancers can adopt to alleviate the potential loneliness.

Without having to endure the time, and cost, of the daily commute to work, you don’t need to feel guilty if you take exercise before, during or after your working day. For some it may be taking the dog for a walk, going for a run or swimming. Your choice. Maybe meet up with an ex-colleague for lunch, or other freelancers in your local area. You are time rich compared to your fellow commuters.

Advances in technology have made it much easier to work from home, but you can harness this for interaction by making more use of things like Skype and Google Hangouts. Social media is also an option but remember time is money.

There’s also the phone – you don’t have to do everything by email.

It’s useful to develop a network of other freelancers who you can meet, discuss things and bounce ideas off. There may be a local professional organisation that you can join or help set up. People have different skills and one of your network may be able to help if you’ve got a problem, say computer related or whatever, and vice versa.

There will be numerous industry events that you can attend. Ok, you may not be earning anything when you go to them, but they may well provide useful networking opportunities.

It’s commonplace to have business meetings in a coffee shop and there’s nothing to stop you going to a coffee shop with your laptop to do your work just so you can have the buzz of having other people around ( you may need to rotate coffee shops if it's a regular habit).

If you enjoy the work that you do but really can’t cope with the isolation maybe consider using a co-working office space. Yes it increases your overheads, but there are synergies to be had that can off set these including networking, shared costs, reduced taxes etc.

You don' t have to be a recluse to be a freelancer, in fact the joy of being your own boss might well make you the life and soul of the party.

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