In a world where freelancers can run entire businesses from our laptops and order lunch from our phones, there is still an inherent human value in connecting with other people face-to-face.
Studies have shown that people with strong social ties tend to live longer, and the United Kingdom recently appointed its first Minister of Loneliness to address the social and health problems associated with isolation.
Luckily, Austin offers numerous opportunities for freelancers to step away from our computers and meet fellow industry professionals in real life! Here are five popular ways that freelancers can find local networking events in Austin:
- Become a member of Freelance Austin
Freelance Austin offers opportunities every month for its members to connect, share their business cards, discuss current challenges, and learn from local experts.
As a Freelance Austin member you can attend monthly “Careers Over Coffee” events held in North and South Austin, attend the organization’s educational sessions, claim your spot in the Talent Directory, and share knowledge with a diverse group of fellow Austin freelancers.
- Work from a coworking space
Coworking spaces offer a productive and focused work environment – without the bureaucracy and office politics that you escaped when you became a freelancer.
By providing a workspace that encourages human interaction among freelancers, remote workers, and entrepreneurs, joining a coworking space can combat loneliness and lead to referrals or new business partnerships.
Austin is home to dozens of coworking spaces, and many of them provide drop-in options to fit your schedule. Coworking spaces frequently offer after-hours social and educational events to increase a sense of community among members.
The next time you find yourself feeling distracted or isolated when working from home: find a nearby coworking space, plug in, sip some coffee, finish your project, and build connections with others. Your health and happiness levels will thank you.
- Join a Meetup group
Meetup.com launched in 2002, and it remains one of the most effective ways to meet like-minded friends and contacts in Austin. After you sign up for a free account, you can join Meetup groups and find in-person events that fit your schedule – most of which are free of charge.
Popular local meetups for freelancers include Digital Media Exchange, Austin Virtual Workers, and Freelance Mastermind Austin.
- Browse Facebook
With over 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is still a popular way to connect with new people and broaden your reach.
You can bring the benefits of Facebook into the non-virtual world by using the Facebook “Events” tab to find local festivals, book signings, volunteer opportunities, and educational events that interest you. Be sure to connect with Freelance Austin while you’re there!
- Make any event a networking event
You are more than just a freelancer: you are a creative and multifaceted person, and you likely have interests that are separate from your freelancing career.
Sometimes the best way to meet new people is to step away from our current project for a few hours, soak in some sunshine, and enjoy our other hobbies. You never know who you will meet on the volleyball court, in your friendly neighborhood skateboard shop, or at the happy hour down the street.
When the question of “So what do you do?” inevitably arises, you have a perfect opportunity to share about your freelance work. Every person you speak to could lead to referrals, projects, clients, and connections in the future, but you won’t know until you introduce yourself!
- 5 Ways to Find Freelance Networking Events in Austin - September 14, 2018