There are some great benefits in being self-employed. A whole stack of advantages came out of a recent post on the best things about freelancing and the comments.However, it’s not all plain sailing. One of the benefits of a normal nine-to-five job is the contact with other people. In another recent post I mentioned that loneliness is one of the potential disadvantages of the freelance life.
I’m a fairly gregarious person by nature. While I’m OK with my own company, there are days when I thirst for some human contact. At the moment I’m doing a contract job that puts me in an office with other people for part of the week but I’ve also had to come up with some strategies for the days when I work at home.
One thing I do is schedule a social/work day every couple of weeks. In my home city of Melbourne, there’s a social media breakfast every Friday morning. So, I plan to get to that every couple of weeks or so. As well as breaking the week up a little, it’s an opportunity to meet and network with new people. On that day, I also make a point of setting at least one other meeting with a potential client, interview subject or other business contact.
Email lists are also a great way to expand your network and keep in touch with people. Google, Yahoo and LinkedIn are great places to look for discussions on topics of interest and for contacting new people.
Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are excellent as well although you’ll need to make sure you have plenty of self-discipline so that you don’t waste time on them.
Finally, I use the phone a lot. Rather than just emailing or tweeting my contacts I get on the phone a couple of times a day so that I hear a human voice and get a chance to interact more directly.
What do you do to overcome the solitude of working alone? Have you come up with some special tricks to help you through the day? Please share your ideas through the comments.