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9 Sure Fire Ways to Beat Freelancer Isolation

Freelancer Isolation
Suffering from isolation? Here are nine ways you can beat freelancer isolation.Click To Tweet

How can we help fight the feelings of isolation, loneliness and the lack of community? Here are nine ways you can beat freelancer isolation.

Long before I was a freelancer, self-employed, I wrestled with depression. No, I do not mean the feeling or the emotion of being depressed, but the diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder. Depression is a monster and a beast, but it can be contained.

Being a freelancer has some very difficult hazards among of which is depression. But, other emotions range from loneliness, vulnerability, and isolation.

There is a danger, according to Anya Kamenetz at Fast Company, of a freelancer dealing with depression and social isolation

A lack of strong relationships is an acute risk factor for major depression and addiction. At a minimum, going into an office every day requires you to shower, get dressed, and at least nod to a couple of people. Freelancers are in danger of having less sustaining human contact.

The importance of self-care, depression, and isolation has begun to be hot topics, even in the WordPress community. Recently, a new project was launched called WPHugs where the community can find support dealing with various mental health issues.

The project was started by Leo Gopal who wanted to share his story and encourage others to be open.

WPHugs offers an open safe space to connect & share about our mental & emotional well-being with other like-minded people in the WordPress Community. The aim is to raise the bar on our awareness of Mental Health issues and what it truly means to us as a community and to truly realize what is a balanced life.

A quick search on Google led me to terms in posts such as:

  • loneliness
  • depressed
  • vulnerable
  • pitfalls to avoid
  • hazardous to your health
  • work and life challenges
  • coworking
  • isolation

If you are a freelancer, chances are, those words resonate with you.

Jon Perez of Surefire Web Services recently became a full-time freelancer. Perez told me how via email how difficult isolation can be for him,

Freelancer Isolation is very difficult!  It’s one thing to get caught up on some work when you don’t realize it, but then when you have a little downtime or want to take a break, what are you supposed to do?  I started doing more videos because as crazy as this sounds, it’s one of the only times I actually get to talk! IG has been a life saver.  I also hop on my Devenaires group and start chatting it up, or just on FB in general.  Slack is nice too, but none of these will every replace actual human interaction.  Once in a while, I just leave and walk the mall, or take my laptop to Panera Bread.  No like-minded folks but at least there are people around.  Another cool thing is to go to a bar (coffee or beer) and start to socialize with folks around you.  The bottom line is WE NEED HUMAN INTERACTION.

Don't do it alone
Don’t do it alone

How can we help fight the feelings of isolation, loneliness and the lack of community? Here are nine ways you can beat freelancer isolation.

9 Ways to Beat Freelance Isolation

  1. Networking
  2. Masterminds Groups
  3. Social Media
  4. Coworking spaces
  5. Coffee shops
  6. Mentorship
  7. Build your community
  8. Disconnect & connect
  9. Conferences & Training

Networking

Networking has multiple benefits of which helping with isolation is one. Think about it, while you are meeting other people for business partnerships or to generate leads, you are also fighting isolation. There are a whole host ways to network.

You can network locally through your chamber of commerce, tech groups, meetups, Business Networking International and other various freelancer groups. Joining a WordPress Meetup is an excellent way to begin meeting other local WordPress professionals.

Mastermind Groups

A mastermind group comes under the banner of professional development, and it usually isn’t very cheap. Nevertheless, a well-run mastermind group can help move your business to another level while letting you interact with other human beings.

Social Media

I use social media to help fight isolation as well. The drawback, of course, is it is easy to get sucked in and not get any work done. Social media lets me have friends all across the world who are doing the same kind of work that I am doing. I interact in many Facebook groups that offer help and support. Twitter is also useful for interaction.

Coworking Spaces

Coworking spaces are often the best of both worlds. It gives you enough of an atmosphere of work without being tied to someone else’s schedule and meetings. Coworking spaces are designed for work productivity and usually includes and an unlimited supply of caffeinated beverages. As Let’s Reach Success recently noted, Coworking naturally helps tackle freelance isolation.

For those who are feeling isolated from the rest of the working population, joining a coworking space may help bridge that particular need to interact and socialize with other people while still achieving one’s daily freelance goals.

Coffee shops

For those who aren’t near a good coworking space, coffee shops double as offices. For the price of a cup of coffee or latte, you can get some work done and still feel the buzz of energy and human interaction. Coffee shops are a fantastic place that includes lots of ambiance noise, the smell of coffee and free wifi. Do you want to strike up a conversation with someone? Your opportunity to do so is just a table away. You never know who you will meet and what kind of new friend you will make.

Mentorship

Mentorship is another way to break the barriers of isolation. Regular interaction with a seasoned business veteran has a tremendous upside.

Build your community

Fighting isolation may mean you have to build your community, both personal and professional. Creating and connecting with a community is not often an organic task but takes initiative. Regularly connecting to your community will help with bouts of isolation.

Disconnect & Connect

Do you ever just feel burned out? Overworking can lead to burn out as well as isolation. Another good way to combat isolation is to disconnect from your work and technology and connect with loved ones.

As Stephanie Faris points out at the Creative Live blog,

Disconnect and Connect

It’s easy to feel as though Facebook messaging your best friend from high school counts as socializing. It doesn’t. The Internet is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. While you shouldn’t completely cut off your online friends, force yourself to occasionally log off and go out into the real world to talk to people the old-fashioned way. When you do leave the house, try to resist the temptation to check your email every ten seconds and instead interact with those around you.

Conferences and Training

WordPress professionals have the advantage of WordPress meetups and Wordcamps, and that is just to start. Several niche conferences cater to WordPress professionals as well. In-person training courses not only provide the opportunity to learn a new skill but the chance to build relationships with new and old friends alike. Consider a conference each year to help fight freelancer isolation.

 

Conclusion

There are many ways to help fight freelancer isolation. They are as numerous as your creativity will allow. There are also a number of serious reasons to fight isolation such as our mental health and not having enough support to run your business.

Make sure to become a part of a community, especially local communities, to help decrease isolation.

What do you do to beat freelancer isolation? Let us know in the comments below.

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Todd Jones
Along with being the resident writer for MainWP and content hacker at Copyflight, I specialize in writing about startups, entrepreneurs, social media, WordPress and inbound marketing topics.

6 thoughts on “9 Sure Fire Ways to Beat Freelancer Isolation

  1. Very well written and thorough article. Definitely gives practical steps to get out and deal better with oneself and the world. Thank you for sharing this Todd.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Leo! I appreciate what are you doing.

  2. Love this Todd!
    I don’t know what I would have done without the connections I’ve made in my business. It’s kept me sane!

    Also disconnecting…
    Every time I take time away from my business I feel more inspired.
    Thanks,
    Kim

    1. Yeah, disconnecting is important! Connections are important. Thank you so much for being one of my connections Kim!

  3. Thank you for writing this Todd!
    As an Introvert, I love the solitude to work in and I don’t function well in coffee shops and coworking spaces.
    However, it is important to keep human connections open. Social Media has certainly helped but even before that technology helped. I remember sitting in a satellite office in Frankfurt, Germany falling into depression and loneliness. The simple solution that solved the issue was connecting on Skype with my colleagues in the Berlin head office.
    Often things don’t have to be complicated and small things can make a big difference.

    1. Introverts have their own set of challenges that are often different. Social media can be a life saver. Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by!

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