The rise of freelance working has allowed creatives greater flexibility and autonomy in their careers but at times, freelancing can get pretty lonely. Community is an essential ingredient of creativity. Being a part of a community of like-minded creatives boosts productivity, provides support and keeps us inspired.
Thankfully, creative freelancers have figured out a way to secure the best of both worlds by, you guessed it, getting creative! Meet a selection of freelance writers, designers and creators who have found community in unconventional places—and learn just how they did it!
The Social Searcher: Amanda Guerassio
"I've been an independent designer for over 15 years, and I can tell you that having a community of people who get it is such a relief. As much as your family or friends may support you, if they aren't in the freelance trenches, they don't understand the everyday stresses and issues you face. Which can leave you feeling incredibly lonely. For me, it has been important to find two distinct communities: one that is centred around my creative field (design) and one that is centred around female business owners. They've both been so helpful in learning new things, inspiring new ideas, staying motivated and discovering opportunities. You do have to do a bit of trial and error with different groups and find the format and vibe that works for you—but it's totally worth it!"
Amanda Guerassio is a brand strategist, designer and founder of Studio Guerassio.
The Matchmaker: Daniel Tortora
"For me, the answer to building a network is LinkedIn. I look at my connections' connections, and then connect with them! I connect with people whose posts and comments I vibe with and when someone sends me a connection request, I only accept if what we do is closely related. I've also got a list of other freelancers whom I've met over the years that specialise in areas I don't cover but that my clients may need (cover designers, indexers, life coaches, etc.) It's like I have my own little club and I'll always refer my clients to people in that network! It's fun knowing that the people I know, know each other. When you're talking to someone and you know the same people, it always breaks the ice, right? And the best part? When you refer people (and it works out), people love to return the favour."
Daniel Tortora is a freelance nonfiction book coach and editor. Connect with Daniel on Linkedin.
The Social Introvert: Tara Reid
"I’ve been an online entrepreneur for 17 years, and in that time I've experienced the value of community firsthand. As a huge introvert, I need to have people who understand the struggles of being a freelancer whom I can connect with. The best place to find these communities is Facebook Groups. I am part of both free groups and paid groups (often included with a membership or program I am signed up with) have been invaluable for finding my 'business besties', as I like to call them!"
Tara Reid is a business coach helping even the most introverted creatives to scale their businesses. Learn more about her services on Instagram.
The Digital Mingler: Danny Browne
"The communities I am part of really influence the way I operate and create online content. The best way to search for community is by joining groups on Facebook and Linkedin—I've even gotten some work through friends I have made in Facebook groups. But a massively underrated place is Reddit. Joining the right subreddits can allow you to ask questions without anybody knowing who you are and find other people who are struggling too. Even experts don't know everything!
I would also advise hopping on to virtual events. They're really great for learning new stuff as a freelancer and with some of them you get to see each other on Zoom so it's a little more interpersonal. The old adage is 'it's not what you know, it's who you know' so, even if you're a bit of an introvert like me, get yourself out there! It's tough, but you'll be so much better for it and so will the work you produce."
Danny Browne is a freelance content specialist and founder of Found at One—a content marketing consultancy specialising in creating attractive and engaging campaigns.
The Self-Evaluator: Hayley Slade
"To find a sense of community you have to first know what you bring to the table. Your community has to be aligned with your values and goals, you need to know who you want to learn from and connect with. Get into groups, go to networking events, and find women-led events like brunches, luncheons, and online groups. Try all the different types of communities out there to learn exactly what you want to create for yourself. Then, start showing up. Hold your own events, post on social media, train, teach and open your virtual (or in-person) door. Community is the absolute biggest catalyst to business growth. Without it, we wither."
Hayley Slade is the CEO and founder of Slade Copy House.