Brick & Mortar Breakout: Finding your freelance community

2014-12-17 BREAKOUTBrick & Mortar Breakout: Finding Your Freelance Community

The holidays are a time of year when freelancers might wax nostalgic for an office environment. Working for a brick & mortar establishment comes with a built-in professional network. As freelancers, our offices house a party of one.  There aren’t any cubicle walls over which to prairie-dog companionably with colleagues.

How, then, to get your professional holiday party on? It begins much earlier in the year. Go shopping – for a professional network! Some places to look:

  • Your local chamber of commerce. Joining the chamber can sometimes be financially daunting for freelancers, especially when you’re just starting out. You don’t need to join the chamber in order to benefit from some networking opportunities such as low-cost or free seminars and workshops. Check your local chamber’s website for such opportunities.
  • Co-working spaces. Where do you go to work when you need to escape your home office? Whether it’s a formal co-working space, the public library, or your favorite cafe with WiFi, you will find other freelancers working there, too. Say hello. When you click with one, add them to your professional network.
  • Professional clubs and associations. You’ll find camaraderie and networking opportunities wherever people in your industry flock together. Look for something specific to your field, or a more general professional association, such as ABWA.
  • Online event planning sites. Meetup.com and Eventbrite are two places where you can keyword-search for events and happenings within your professional (or even personal) interests. You never know who you’ll meet on a hike or at a free local lecture. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, create an event yourself – and invite all those people you’ve been collecting from the cafe and the library. Voila, instant professional social circle.

If you haven’t made the effort before, now is the time. Make a New Year’s resolution to find your local professional network.  When it comes to networking, being brick-&-mortar-free is not a liability.  Find communities that interest you, be active, and come next December, you’ll have no shortage of holiday party invitations.

INSPIRED BY: No Office Party? Holiday Networking Tips for Freelancers – FlexJobs

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