Finding support and creative connection when you run your own business or work for and by yourself can seem like a pretty big ask. Perhaps you’ve just gone freelance and are really missing the company of others in the workplace? I can still remember the feeling of isolation after I quit my job of fifteen years and started working at home - it was a challenging time.
I need to connect with others in order to feel remotely creative. My nature means that I’ll often find myself craving feedback in some form or other or just a conversation that helps me remember there’s a whole human world out there beyond the computer screen...
I loved this post from Cate St Hill on what the first six months of freelance can feel like. It goes to show that any preconceptions we have may be sometimes inaccurate. And I nodded along to Cate’s point about reaching out to other freelancers as colleagues - whilst they may be on a different path, they’ll have the same goals and face the same challenges as you.
If you’re a lover and user of Instagram hashtags, don’t just add them to your own feed images - use them to explore the kind of communities you’d like to find out more about. If there’s something you’re really passionate about, you can bet your life it’ll have a hashtag! Type it into the search bar of your profile page and get exploring. Leave meaningful comments and start conversations on the feeds you love. It’s a simple and easy way to make an online creative connection and takes away that icky stats and validation factor from the platform too.
Hunt around for a local, shared workspace or coworking facility. With the number of people working for themselves and increasingly, based from home, they’re on the rise. There are those that you join as a member such as This Workspace in Bournemouth or a space where you can book an occasional time slot or day. Laura’s beautiful workspace facility at hero is my idea of heaven - go work among the clothes and multiple Instagramable spaces? Yes please!
It holds happy memories for me and not just of the workshops that I co-hosted with Laura. More recently, myself and Louise from Every September spent a day there for the final handover of this very website. One of the first conversations about simply START living began there with Laura so it felt only right that I took charge of this new chapter in the same place!
Find out more and book your hero workspace slot here.
And speaking of workshops and events, seek them out, vow to make space in your diary, book a ticket and attend one!
I saw, on repeat, the benefits that attendees from the hero creative workshops walked away with, myself included. It’s not just about learning a new skill but also the chance to connect with others in a similar situation to you. And it becomes self-perpetuating. You attend one and sometimes go on to make connections that lead you on to more…
Listen to Letters From A Hopeful Creative podcast - it is SO good! I was pointed in the direction of Jen Carrington and Sara Tasker’s podcast chat by my friend and fellow creative, Jennie from Lois Avery… and now I’ve gone back to the start of the first season to listen from the very beginning.
Jen and Sara’s approach and advice on running your own creative business is right there for me. No girl boss, no hustle - just a whole lot of goodness around what different definitions of success look like, seasonal working and a slower, more heartfelt approach to running a business on your own terms.
Take a look at this blog post on why Instagram likes are not what connection or validation is really about. It’s way more fluffy than that…
Go and work somewhere else. I know… the coffee shop/laptop thing might feel like a cliche but cliches are cliches for a good reason. Choose the tasks carefully that you need to do though if you’re working on the go - I doubt you’ll find quiet, intense concentration in your local Starbucks. Besides there are places to go other than coffee shops.
Pick a favourite local hotel where the facilities are open to non-residents and set up camp there once in a while. Just being out and about in amongst the world and alongside other humans is good for morale and I’ve forged relationships with some lovely local businesses this way. Although I’m still working on the Lime Wood to let me move in permanently…
And to finish, I’m going back to Jen Carrington again. Having become hooked on the podcast mentioned above, I clicked over to Jen’s site to take a look at her blog…if you haven’t scrolled through her amazing content library before, here is a very good place to start.