OK, so you’ve chosen to be a freelancer. You’ve walked out on the 9-5 (laughs, 7-7), Monday to Friday, chained to a desk, commuting, meetings, office politics, the stresses of corporate life, the frustrations of no control and many more things that come with paid for employment.
You now have freedom, you’re the boss. You can choose when to work, for how long, where you work, who you work with, what customers you want, what your website will say, the logo, the company name, the services you offer and so on.
No more waiting for the board approval, no more committees, no more arse-covering emails, no more being patient and understanding when all you want to do is yell.
So, why are so many freelancers lost, struggling and often unhappy?
Simple, they have become disconnected.
When we had a job, we had all the not such great things that I mentioned previously, however, we were connected to something, an organisation, we had a place, we belonged, we even had a job function, a title, a desk (well not always) and most importantly we had work colleagues, that’s right other human beings.
We are, remember, human beings, we are designed to be connected to other humans, we are designed to be social, we are not loners, we are not cut out to be isolated, we need to belong.
It is isolation that ‘kills’ most freelancers. The lack of interaction with others is the challenge. Facebook messages, Hangouts, and texts will never replace real human interaction, the power of just sitting at the same table as others are enough to inspire, energise and motivate action. But go further and become involved in a community and that will bring back all that we have lost from our employed world.
Going to a physical place and being part of a group, a tribe, having a place that we can become attached to is all part of the wellbeing factor that comes from being around others.
Forget the cost, because the cost of staying on your own at home is not a financial one initially, it is a human cost that then impacts our ability to feel good, to produce our best work and as consequence earn money. It becomes a downward spiral of disconnection, declining mental well-being that leads to poor results and a further decline in results and well-being.
Connecting with others is the most vital part of what we do, and it is the thing that we lose when we leave a job to become independent. It is the one thing that is overlooked and yet it is the most critical to being a success as a freelancer.
If you feel good about yourself, you will create great work, you will make a difference and be successful in achieving your goals. Without other humans to laugh with, chat to, share ideas, share experiences, learn from, and be around, we lose our soul, we lose our connection, our place, we are no longer part of something and that is a huge loss.
The solution is simple, get out more, join clubs, go to events, spend time in community coworking spaces, get involved in community projects, and belong to something. One of the biggest drivers in choosing an independent freelance career is often freedom, so you will not want to be tied to a full-time desk in a space, but becoming part of a community somewhere, still gives you a choice and freedom.
Being around others brings the vital energy, inspiration, something that you can not buy, something that is almost difficult to put into words, a sparkle, a collective force that without it, we wither like a plant without water.
Stay connected, stay happy, belong.