6 Ways to Make Life as a Freelance Writer Less Lonely

6 Ways to Make Life as a Freelance Writer Less Lonely
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Just launched your freelance biz but didn’t realize working from home all day meant also being alone all day?

Raise your hand if you’re an extroverted entrepreneur who has found it difficult to transition from being in an office full of coworkers to being in an office full of plants.

It’s true that working from home has its benefits, but for so many entrepreneurs, it’s the camaraderie and daily interaction with other people that fuel them creatively. And the one thing that no one tells you when put in your two weeks’ notice to go out on your own:

It can be excruciatingly lonely.

From one extrovert who spends most of her days alone to another, here are six tips to combat the solo business blues.

1. Plan out your day

By the minute, if you can. The loneliest days are days where no plan is in place because “the inspiration will just come, right?.” Nope. In fact, those days are usually spent refreshing social media or watching Netflix.

Even if you don’t have client work, make a list of nagging projects that are kept on the backburner (like “Write down 10 ideas for a newsletter opt-in” or “Get car registered” or “Pitch one new client”) and then SCHEDULE them throughout the day.

With a daily plan, you’ll feel more energized and productive, and less “I wonder what everyone else is doing today.”

2. Join a gym

Every foray to the gym (or yoga studio, or spin class, or…) will provide you with a) a good excuse to run into friends that belong to the same gym or b) the opportunity to make new friends (aka the web designer that attends your yoga class every Thursday).

Plus, any opportunity to get out of the house will make you feel like you’ve done something with your day AND you’ll get your sweat on. 3 birds, 1 stone.

3. Find a coworking space

This seems like a no-brainer, but as a brand-new, solo entrepreneur who is trying to keep a lean budget, sometimes it’s hard to justify the cost of a work space when there’s plenty of space at home. However, aside from being around other people, you’ll meet a lot of other entrepreneurs, get your water cooler conversations in, and maybe even gain a few clients.

To keep costs low, see if you can share a desk with another freelancer (and split the cost) or ask a marketing firm if you can command one of their conference rooms for a few hours every week for a smaller fee. Working around other creative, driven individuals can make you feel more inspired and productive. (Click to tweet this idea.)

4. Fill out your social calendar

Though most of your friends may work traditional nine-to-five jobs, they need breaks from their desks just as much as you need a break from…well, yourself.

Coffee dates, lunch dates, and the occasional 4pm happy hour (hey, we can do that because we’re freelancers!) mean that you have some human interaction to look forward to. It also requires that you get all of your  “Must Dos” done earlier in the day, which cuts down on Facebook-refreshing time. Less work, more play.

5. Reach out to other freelancers

It’s not an accident that many freelancers hang out together. If you’ve just started working from home, make “daytime” friends by reaching out to other writers, designers, photographers, and bloggers that you know will likely be working from home.

Under the guise of “I’d love to get to know more about the entrepreneurial community around here,” convince another freelancer or two to have coffee with you. I do this often, and it’s led to three new clients, an invitation to a “Freelance Ladies” networking group, and two very solid friendships.

6. Create networking goals

Networking doesn’t have to be sleazy and forced. If you give yourself two networking goals a month (like “Join a networking group” or “Hand out my business card 10 times” or “Sign up to give a presentation to the Local Entrepreneurs Group”), you’re not only giving your business a kick in the pants, but you’re creating a project for yourself that practically requires human engagement.

Even if you spend your time giving out business cards to the baristas at the coffee shops you frequent, who knows when they’ll need a writer to re-do their menu or revamp their website?

What other strategies can solopreneurs use to stay engaged with other people?

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Lauren Caselli is a freelance writer and blogger specializing in producing web content for creative companies with a sense of humor (think eco-friendly dog toys, wedding planners, and the occasional photo booth owner). She usually comes in like a wrecking ball.... .

Lauren Caselli | @lctraveler

Lauren Caselli
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Comments

  1. I like the idea of reaching out to other self-employed people! I have a couple friends who work from home. One of them lives four hours away, but technology makes it easy.

    Great tips! 🙂

    • I was always afraid that other freelancers were super busy with millions of deadlines until I started posting on Facebook that I was working in coffee shops and anyone was welcome to join. All of a sudden there were grad students and other freelancers and even people “working from home” who started asking to join me. Loneliness squashed! Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. I’ve been a part of a coworking space for many years and I can definitely recommend it!

    I normally work from home in my office (in the BASEMENT!) so socialization is not high on my priority list. But depending on the coworking space, you can generally get a lot of good stuff done, find some collaborators on projects, bounce ideas off folks, and even get a few people to read through your work and give you some informal feedback!

    (You do have to repay the favor, of course)

    Coworking is a fantastic idea (and it gets you away from the coffee shop so you don’t smell like a barista when you go home).

    • Co working reminds me of the library in college during finals week. Big conference tables with books and papers strewn out and people complaining about their professors (or in this case, tough clients or impossible deadlines). And it gives me an excuse to engage in water cooler talk without actually having to work in an office. Co working FTW!

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