Community over competition: why support is vital for freelance success
Have you ever thought about the way you view the people who do the same job as you?
Do you consider them to be your competition?
Or do you see them as your community?
I’m willing to bet that those of you who answered community find freelance life more fulfilling, supportive and fun – and I’m here to tell you why.
But first, there’s really no shame in answering competition.
We go freelance to share our skills with the world, and woe betide anyone who gets in our way.
It’s natural to feel cautious when we come across those doing the same job as us, for fear they’ll poach our projects or steal our ideas.
But that thinking is based on fear – and being rooted in fear is not a nice place to be. Nor does it help you feel fulfilled or satisfied in your job.
The sooner you adopt an abundant mindset – that knowledge that there’s plenty of work to go around for everyone – the happier you’ll be.
The importance of community
So, why is community so important?
When you started freelance life, chances are you loved the idea of being your own boss, and having complete control over where, when and how you work.
But we’re often unprepared for just how lonely and isolating freelance life can be.
Never has this been more of an issue than over the past 12 months.
Thanks to the various stages of lockdown, it’s easier than ever to feel alone with the challenges of freelance life.
Without colleagues and workmates, you’ve no one to offload on about that difficult client, or what to charge for that piece of work.
You’ve no one to turn to when the fear of failure, self-doubt and imposter syndrome kick in – or to ask for advice when you’re struggling to deal with procrastination and lack of focus!
And that’s where community comes in.
You’re not alone
As I say in Survival Skills for Freelancers, going solo doesn’t mean going it alone.
Because those likeminded people who do the same job as you can support you through thick and thin as a freelancer.
So where do you find them?
Let me take you back…
When I started my freelance journey back in 1999, there was no freelance community because there was no social media. And there was no social media because there was barely any internet!
I know, right?!
Today, you’re spoilt for choice. So where do you start?
Finding your tribe
You have the professional bodies, with all the fabulous events and support they provide.
You have thriving Facebook groups, such as Being Freelance and Freelance Heroes.
You have active communities on Instagram and LinkedIn.
You have real life networking groups.
You have Twitter hours you can take part in to find and connect with likeminded people.
I have a WhatsApp group of fellow copywriters that’s become invaluable. We support and help one another through challenging days, we’re a sounding board for new ideas, we share work and we collaborate on projects that are too big to handle alone.
Once you’ve found your community, jump on in!
Like most things in life, you’ll get out of it what you put in, so show up, be authentically you, contribute, share advice, support and wisdom… and you’ll get those things back in spades.
There really is no need to feel isolated as a freelancer.
Once you start to grow and nurture your community, you’ll feel a lot less alone and a lot more supported – and get more fun and fulfilment from freelance life as a result.