Freelancing can be an isolating career. We mostly work on projects by ourselves, more so than ever during this pandemic season.
I know many freelancers actually enjoy the solitude but it can also slow down our careers. Don’t get me wrong, isolation is amazing from time to time, but freelancers need a community.
Communities can offer knowledge, networking opportunities and protection. Prior to joining freelance communities, I didn’t know how to make an online portfolio, or draft a freelance contract.
Joining a few freelancing communities really boosted my career and improved my understanding of the field. Best of all, I’ve made friends that mentor me and are willing to answer any freelancing questions I have!
Some might think finding a freelance community is hard, but it’s actually surprisingly easy. Here are 9 sites you can visit to find one!
The famous gaming chat room, Discord, allows users to join groups that in line with their interests. Contrary to popular belief, Discord has many non-gaming related chat rooms. Some of them are a freelancer’s paradise where freelancers from all over the world gather and have friendly discussions.
Digital Nomads is currently one of the biggest freelancer chat rooms on Discord. With over 3.5k users, the chat is lively 24/7. Users in the server share industry tips, motivate each other and joke around.
Being a gaming chat room, Digital Nomads presents itself in a very informal manner. If you join the room, be prepared to be bombarded with a weird mix of professional advice and NSFW jokes.
As charming as the chat room is, users are also able to find clients and source for other talents globally, and connect with each other instantly.
The commonly accepted “front page of the internet” hosts thousands of subreddits, all catering to different demographics. Of course, there would be a subreddit for freelancers.
r/Freelance is a unique place as the first rule is no soliciting, no promoting and no marketing. The page itself functions as a forum for freelancers to seek career advice, share personal stories and seek legal aid.
This subreddit allows freelancers to share valuable information with each other without the intent of business. It is merely a community for freelancers to feel at home amongst each other.
So, if you are searching for a contract, r/Freelance will not accept nor entertain you. There are other subreddits meant only for soliciting freelance services such as r/ForHire and r/UpWork.
Leapers is a community dedicated to supporting the mental health of freelancers and solopreneurs. This support community offers tangible aid and guides freelancers globally. They provide workshops, downloadable PDFs and much more.
There is also a leaper’s slack group that consists of about 2.5k active members. The Slack group offers support to freelancers through many categories. Examples of such categories are #askanything, #littlewins, #worktogether and many more.
Due to the pandemic, they have recently started a new segment on how to work well when self-quarantined. Titled “Coronavirus and Work”, Leapers provide guides, articles and support groups for the freelancers who are isolated at home.
4. One Woman Shop
One Woman Shop is a community and resource hub dedicated to supporting the goals and assists in the success of women-led solo businesses and female freelancers.
This community of freelancers and businesswomen provide strength and encouragement for each other. As the website says “even the boldest women need a community”.
One Woman Shop understands the inherent inequality in the industry, and fights for equal rights within the field of freelancing.
5. Freelancers Union
Freelancers Union is an organization that represents more than 50 million independent workers across the country. Their mission is to provide freelancers safety and a sense of belonging to a community.
The organization has provided more than half a million members of the community a powerful voice through policy advocacy and benefits.
Memberships are free of charge and open to freelancers of all kinds. Other than a sense of community and advocacy for freelancer’s rights, Freelancer’s Union also offers health insurance and resources for their members.
Members are invited to participate in Freelancer’s Union webinars and SPARK events, which is a monthly event where freelancers gather to network, share thoughts and advise each other.
Contrary to popular belief, LinkedIn is not just about finding jobs. LinkedIn is home to many groups specifically catered towards freelancers and clients, groups such as Freelance Writers’ Connection, Freelance Professionals or Freelance Remote Projects.
Through these LinkedIn groups, other than finding contracts, freelancers are able to network and meet like minded people and connect with them instantly.
Slack has become the staple platform for any work-related communications. Comparable to a business version of Discord, Slack is also home to many chat rooms for freelancers.
Notable freelance chat rooms are Workfromanywhere, Creative Tribes, WeCoffee, Remotely One or Online Geniuses.
These channels allow freelancers to connect with each other for instant communications, remote coworking, collaborations and much more.
By joining these groups, freelancers are always connected to their community. They are able to access peer contacts and seek aid or friendship anytime, anywhere.
When it comes to searching for a community for freelancers, Twitter comes up as a dark horse. Freelancers are able to connect and follow each other on their pages.
Through hashtags such as #FreelanceChat, freelancers are able to meet every week to discuss topics related to the industry. Topics discussed range from how to build a blog, how to make yourself into a brand, fixing rates and much more.
The downside of using Twitter is the need to sift through a good deal of unrelated content. You can ease the process by listing people by geography and interest to easily find fellow freelancers in your area or industry.
Overall, freelancers are encouraged to make a Twitter account and join in these discussions to the benefit of their business and branding.
Freelance groups in facebook can be industry or location specific.
For example, many travelling freelancers are a member of Digital Nomads Around the World Facebook Group. Freelancers who specialize in writing can check out The Write Life.
Some pages function as a hub for freelancers to share and network, such as Freelancers Community.
There are Facebook groups for every type of freelancer everywhere in the world. The one’s listed are the more prominent ones, but do try to search for it in the search bar; you’ll be surprised at the results shown.
Overall, Facebook is a great way to start networking with other freelancers and further boost your network.
Always remember, no man is an island. There is no doubt you are a very capable freelancer indeed, but a home, a sense of belonging and a helping hand comes a long way in pushing your freelancing career to new heights!