We all know the perks of being a freelancer: set your own hours, work from anywhere, be your own boss. But there are also some aspects unique to freelancing that can be challenging. It can be harder to find a professional community and, if you’re working primarily from home, it can be downright lonely sometimes. The good news is that there are a myriad of ways to connect with other freelancers, both online and offline. They offer freelancers the chance to join a freelance community to chat about experiences, ask questions, and even find new job opportunities.
Local coworking spaces
Perhaps the best way to connect with a local freelance community is to join a coworking space. Most cities have a selection of coworking spaces, including larger offices that house startups and individual freelancers, as well as more casual café-like settings. Moving from the home office to a coworking environment, even for 1 day a week, can provide social and creative stimuli. For many, this can improve motivation and productivity, while also creating an opportunity to make connections in the local freelancing community.
Facebook is not only a place to see the latest updates from your great-aunt. It has also become a fertile environment for finding a freelance community.
In general, private Facebook freelancer groups tend to be more community-oriented, since they are less prone to spam. There are also many more localized freelancer groups on Facebook if you’re looking to make connections in your region of the world.
Twitter is another online platform freelancers have started using to connect with each other and share stories, advice, and trends. While there aren’t any formal groups on Twitter, like there are on Facebook or other social media platforms, there are some frequently used hashtags to follow. Among some of the more popular ones are: #FreelanceTwitter, #FreelanceChat, and #FreelanceTips. Freelancers from around the world contribute to these hashtags and build a freelance community with like-minded folk that engage with their posts. For content creators especially, Twitter can also be a great place to showcase your talents and find new potential clients.
Reddit is home to a massive freelance community with over 300,000 members. Unlike some of the other online groups on this list, the r/freelance subreddit does not allow any promotion, marketing, or work solicitation. Instead, the forum is intended as a place where members can give helpful tips or ask advice, and share interesting articles or content about freelancing.
While instant messaging platform Discord is most associated with the gaming world, it has become a popular communication tool for many areas of interest. Freelancing is no exception. The “Digital Nomads” Discord group has an active community of nearly 3,000 freelancers from around the world. In it, people communicate via multiple channels, which cover topics like work opportunities and motivational tips, as well as food photos and memes. It’s also a great platform to ask questions about the digital nomad lifestyle and to find freelance-friendly towns and cities if you are planning on working and traveling.
There are LinkedIn groups dedicated to freelance writers, to graphic artists and web designers, as well as other popular freelance fields. The Freelance Writers’ Connection group, for example, is a space where new and experienced freelance writers can support each other, network, and share opportunities.
Slack has quickly risen to the forefront of workplace communication apps, but even for those of us who don’t have a formal workplace, it has some interesting features. Notably, Slack offers independent contractors a number of groups and online communities. Some are general, like the “RemotelyOne” group and “Leapers”, which has over 3,000 members and is specifically dedicated to supporting the mental healths of freelancers. Other groups are focused on particular freelance specialities, like web development (DevChat) and design (Designer Hangout). Of course, that’s only the tip of the iceberg, you can find many free and paid Slack communities to join as a freelancer.
Build your freelance community
If ever you’re looking for guidance or support as a freelancer, or even just looking for a friendly place to chat with people, these online and offline pathways can help you find your freelance community. Having a supportive network is vital to independent contractors, so it’s important to seek them out. It’ll make all the difference to your productivity and your mental wellbeing. You can also find more freelance resources on our SkillPack blog.