Colleagues are really important. Even for freelancers.

There’s nothing like the feeling of working in a team but when you take on life as a freelancer, you often find yourself working alone. When you’re doing freelance jobs, you might not have colleagues in the traditional sense but don’t be surprised if they appear along the way.

Solo working benefits and drawbacks

If you’ve already discovered lone working, you’ll know it has plenty of advantages. These include increased flexibility, extended choice and decision-making freedom. However working without colleagues also means you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off, understand your grievances or help you work out your priorities.

Freelancers can have colleagues too

Of course all of the above can be done alone but with a little bit of careful cooperation, it is possible to work with colleagues at the same time as being a solo freelance worker. Even when you are working from home. With a friendly and supportive approach, you really can have the best of both worlds.

Meaningful connection

One of the best things about colleagues is that they share at least some of your experience, and understand the ins and outs of your industry, as well as how you might be feeling. Many freelancers have varied elements to their working lives. By necessity, this can lead to an eclectic mix of colleagues.

Social media, especially Linkedin have made it easy to connect with people on a business level but the concept of colleagues need to be more minimal. Social connections are all about building numbers, collegial support needs to be far more focused on quality.

How to find freelance colleagues

So how exactly do you find freelance colleagues? The easy answer here is that you don’t. Just like in the world of regularly employed work, freelance colleagues you relate to well come along as your business develops. In other words, they find you.

This of course takes time. When you first step out on the freelance path you will be absorbed with building your brand and finding paid work. As time goes on however you may find yourself working regularly with some people, and discovering shared values with others.

These are the people who may go on to be your freelance colleagues.

Cooperation not competition

Just like any working world, freelancing can be competitive. On one level that makes finding colleagues important, on another it makes choosing them carefully even more so.

When you’re a freelancer you don’t have the benefit of the organisation to fall back on. This means that finding people you trust, with whom you can agree boundaries, and share work and reward equally can take more time than you might imagine.

You say colleague, I say friend

Of course, by the time you’ve developed this type of working relationship, you may well find that the colleague you have grown to value so much, is also a friend.

But isn’t that the same in the employed world?

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