One of the realities of working independently (as a freelancer, remote worker, digital nomad, whatever you call it) is, unfortunately, hitting a roadblock in your work and then having no one to talk to about it.
Gnarly client situation, late payments on an outstanding invoice, no motivation to work on growing your business…we all have days that are the pits, and sometimes the loneliness of facing it alone can be overwhelming.
Thankfully, with location independent work becoming more and more popular each year, many freelancers and independents have found the resources, support and motivation they need to keep going. And, big surprise, most of it is online!
No matter where you are in the world, your online community isn’t going anywhere. You can talk to them from your living room or while you travel abroad! It’s pretty handy to be able to take your friends anywhere in the word. At times like this, I sure do love technology!
Here are a few of my favourite ways to fight off the inevitable loneliness that comes with a location independent lifestyle:
Join a Paid Network of Like Minded Individuals
Networks such as Create Your Laptop Life™ and the Female Entrepreneur Association™ are just two of many great networks out there! Networks like these are often rather large (500+ members) and depending on the network, they provide you with some perks – accountability groups, resources, live Q+A sessions, paid trainings at a discounted rate, a forum where you can ask questions…the list goes on and each one is unique!
One of the perks of these paid networks is being able to find help when you need it. Web designers, graphic designers, funnel builders, facebook ad specialists, coders….all of these people benefit from joining networks like these because not only does it create an atmosphere of camaraderie, it also provides connections for outsourcing and subcontracting!
When you are looking to join a network, make sure you identify what kind of support you need, and make sure the network you choose has 90% of what you need. If you don’t know what you need yet, check to see what networks have refunds or trial periods – this way you can test out a couple and see what resonates with you.
Create Your Own Co-Working Group
If you already have connections online, pick a friend or two to start up a weekly or twice weekly working session. Co-Working Groups are great because they force you to hunker down and get stuff done even when you don’t feel like it, and has the added bonus of accountability buddy.
Even if no one shows up (because let’s be honest, life happens!), you still have to show up and do the work because you never know who might pop on to get some work done during the designated time.
For example, I attend a couple sessions each week where we hop on Zoom, tell each other what we are going to work on, and then hit the mute button and get to it. It’s like having co-workers but better, because it’s quiet! It can also be a great opportunity to have a quick vent, ask for feedback, share successes and learning opportunities.
I’ve also noticed as time goes on, that my co-working buddies become more than just co-workers – they become friends, and we have definitely shared a glass or two of wine during bonus social calls!
Join A Local Networking Group, A Social Activity Or Attend A Workshop
Many chambers of commerce or local associations host in person gatherings, workshops, or networking events. Meetup is a great resource for finding out about events near you. You can do searches based on both business and personal interests! If you love biking, join a biking group – you just never know who you might meet!
For example, I go to a gym in downtown Halifax. Because I work on my own terms, I attend a mid morning class full of retired folks, new moms who bring their babies, and other entrepreneur folk who don’t work a normal 9-5 gig.
Join A Paid Accountability Group
One of the primary issues most of us have when working online, is that there is a major oversaturation of the information marketplace. SO much information. SO many people to talk to. SO many ideas, opinions, and recommendations on what you should be doing next. It’s enough to make our productivity go down the tube, simply because of information overwhelm. I know this, because this is my modus operandi. I’m an expert at taking in way too much, diving straight into overwhelm mode, and the result is the paralyzation of my productivity.
Most networks are large and often don’t foster the deep connection we might need. Too many people, too many conflicting recommendations, and just too much going on. If you feel this way it’s probably an indicator that you are overwhelmed already. Adding 500 people and 500 opinions to the mix likely isn’t going to help you in your current state.
I’m not saying they don’t serve a purpose. Because they 1000% do! It’s just that if you have a tendency to do the overwhelm -> productivity paralysis thing, it’s probably not a good fit for you right at this moment.
In-person events don’t always work because of travel schedules or just life (plus some of them can be rather costly!), and Co-Working is great but if folks don’t show up for two many weeks in a row, the whole thing can lose it’s effectiveness.
I recently started a small paid accountability group. There are a few reasons why I think this is going to be super helpful to those of us needing both community, accountability, and a deeper connection to those like minded individuals I keep mentioning.
- It has a cap of five participants per group. This gives you a chance to really get to know your accountability buddies, benefiting from everything they know and have to offer.
- It’s a low cost but paid program – investing a small bit of money helps people put their minds and bodies into the game. Show up, get support, and do the work. It’s kind of like paying upfront for a 3 month gym membership. You’ve paid, so you’re going to show up and get ‘er done.
- You get supported by both the other participants as well as the group leader (in this case the group leader is me!).
- You get access to resources, group support via a group Slack channel, and, most importantly, the opportunity to really cultivate deep, strong relationships with your fellow freelancers!
- Getting to know like minded folks on a deeper level creates lasting friendships and comrades. People who you can build both working relationships AND friendships with. You learn to work together, support one another, and this relationship is one you can take out into the world and continue once you decide to leave the paid group.
- I do ask participants to commit to 3 months, as I truly believe that this amount of time is what it takes to build meaningful and lasting connection.
If you’ve been feeling lonely or isolated when you work at home, fear not. Depending on your personality, your need right in this moment, and how much of a social butterfly you are, there are options for everyone.
Extroverted, love a place of action and ALL THE IDEAS and need a place to make connections with other freelancers and location independent folks? A Network might be the place for you.
Just need a few people to get you up in the morning to get your work done, and are craving a co-worker feel but don’t want the noise and drama? Create a Co-Working group with a few existing online friends or connections.
Need in-person connection to feel connected to the world around you? Check out a local networking event or join a social group activity like a gym or a class.
Somewhat introverted, don’t want a full on coaching program, but would like to work with a few others, get and provide support to like minded entrepreneurs, and get together a couple times a month to hold each other accountable, create work plans and talk shop? A smaller accountability group might be you, and we should probably talk 🙂