10 Tips for Getting More Personal Interaction as a Freelancer
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Having the ability to work from home rather than in a traditional office setting was probably one of the major attractions to freelancing for most of us. However, working solo from home can be a real challenge due to the lack of personal interaction. Although the peace and quiet of working alone is a great benefit, there are times when most of us would prefer to be around more people. If this is ever the case with you, here are ten things you can do to get more interaction as a freelancer.
1. Localize Your Business
One of the primary reasons many freelancers lack personal interaction is because clients can come from all over the world. Most freelancers have the ability to do work for clients regardless of where they live, and as a result, the local aspect of the business is often overlooked.
If you’re looking for more personal interaction, one of the best things you can do is adjust your strategy to focus more of your efforts on getting local clients. With local clients you’ll be able to meet face-to-face with no distance and time zone challenges.
2. Go to Local Networking Events
Most likely there are some networking events in your local area that are hosted by a chamber of commerce or some other organization. These are great events to attend if you’re interested in meeting other professionals in your area. Many freelancers don’t take advantage of these opportunities to find potential clients and make contacts with professionals in various fields.
3. Collaborate on Projects
Depending on the scope of a project, it may be more effective to work with other freelancers. Collaborating is a potential solution to getting more personal interaction and it can also help you to build a stronger network that may lead to more opportunities in the future.
4. Use Skype Calls or Video Conferences Instead of Email
Email is a great means of communication, but it obviously lacks the personal touch of most other forms of communication. For simple tasks email is perfectly appropriate, but most of us have situations where calls or video conferences will also be justified. In these situations, try taking advantage of the technology that’s available and get more interaction with clients or other contacts.
5. Get Outside the Office
Instead of just working from your home office, try working from a local library or a coffee shop for a few hours. Sometimes just being around other people, even if you’re not involved in much conversation, can help you to feel better than staying inside at home all day. You may even find that a change of pace like this can have a positive impact on your productivity as well.
6. Add a Consulting Service
Many freelancers have skills that may be valuable in the form of a consulting service. While you may not be interested in doing the bulk of your work as a consultant, even just taking the occasional job here and there will give you more chances to work closely with others, and it can be an alternate source of income as well.
7. Attend Conferences and Seminars
In most industries there are plenty of interesting conferences that you could attend if you want to learn some new things and get to meet others in your field. Being in or near a major city helps, but there may be others within driving distance even if you’re in smaller towns.
8. Go to the Gym
Those of us who sit in front of a computer all day need to get some physical exercise, and going to the gym is also another opportunity to get personal interaction. Whether you go to exercise on your own, with a partner, or as part of a class, it can be a big improvement to just staying inside the office.
9. Get Involved in Recreational Sports
In addition to going to the gym, or as a substitution for going to the gym, why not consider joining a recreation sports team? In most areas there are plenty of opportunities to play a variety of sports at a number of different levels of competition. Team sports are excellent for making friends, enjoying working with others, and improving leadership skills.
10. Share Office Space
If you work out of a home office, consider leasing an office and sharing the space with other freelancers or small businesses. You may find that the costs are pretty reasonable this way, plus you’ll have much more interaction throughout your day. If you’re looking for potential officemates you can post a classified ad in a local newspaper or a local website.
How About You?
Do you ever struggle with the lack of personal interaction involved with your work? If so, do you have any tips for the rest of us?