be free, lance / create connections

Most people who freelance do so solo, meaning that they work by themselves most of the time. I am one of those people. I work from home, in my own office, and am not surrounded by co-workers or design partners during the work day. While I am an introvert at heart and love my daily work routines, I know deep down that human interaction is key. Because honestly, there is nothing like bouncing ideas with another creative to get your gears rolling.

With that said, the biggest thing I have done to increase human interaction within my workday is to utilize Skype as a communication platform. I have made a few really amazing friends online who are in the same boat as me, so it’s nice to take small breaks throughout the day and simply say hello. We talk about everything from design + collaboration to what we’re having for dinner. It almost feels like you have a little cubicle mate ( or two or three ), which is really nice when you work by yourself. Conversations with like minded individuals is always a good thing, at least in my book it is!

Another HUGE thing is collaboration, which I’ve been craving a lot as of late. Some of us ( raising my hand over here!! ) get set in our own routines and forget to jump out of that comfortable box we’ve created. Working with another creative individual can be a great learning experience, full of inspiration and growth for all parties involved. When you’re used to working by yourself everyday, collaborations are a good way to test the waters and try something new. Who knows, you may end up loving it!

But no matter how you do it, try opening up that connection with other creatives as much as you’d like. Resist the urge to get TOO comfortable in your own space. There are just so many wonderful people and amazing opportunities out there, it would be a pity to miss out. So here is my goal for you : try reaching out + saying hello to somebody new today. You never know what may come of it! That’s the fun part.

* OH, and of course, meeting up face to face is always great. My favorite thing is grabbing a bit to eat with new creatives in my city. New friends + food? Perfection.

  1. maddie says:

    I’m an introvert too and just like you, I have to force myself to interact with people. Even though I have a 9 to 5 that keeps me in contact with other human beings, I still keep to myself most of the workday. Luckily, I have a blogger friend/coworker and once a week, we meet up for coffee to chat and bounce off ideas. Our weekly dates are just like your Skype sessions and I completely understand how invigorated you can feel walking away from them.

  2. erica says:

    so true, Brenna! i find that i love/crave the thrill of introducing myself to someone new (introverts are easily amused?) it’s like a secret little challenge for myself. i’ve made it a point to do it every time i go to yoga — just to smile say hello to the person next to me. it’s so easy and it lifts your spirits in a snap to see someone smile back in appreciation. it’s even helped my jewelry business grow. dang, being friendly pays off BIG time!

  3. Ffion says:

    I’m an introvert when it comes to work and prefer working alone. However, I very much agree there’s nothing quite like bouncing some ideas off other creatives to generate new input and get you out of a creative rut. :)

  4. Alexa Sonken says:

    Amen. Food + new (freelancer) friends = the best!!!

  5. Noor says:

    I love being around people and doing things but when it comes to my work I am to myself. I always feel like that no one will have the same ideas or thoughts that I do or want. I guess I am just super picky over my work. And I am one of those people that get distracted really easy so when I work I HAVE to be alone or else I just want do it.

  6. I’m lucky enough to live with my best friend who also works from home, so I have a healthy roommate/cubicle mate situation. I can easily get pulled into working nonstop (and further ruining my eyesight) so having her around to break up my day with funny anecdotes is always a huge bonus! The other thing you can do to open the connection is to rent a desk at a co-op building or hang at a coffee shop. For the latter, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get a conversation started with the person working furiously on their laptop next to you.

  7. Angel Y. says:

    I am all about collaboration right now as well. I’d love to work with other designers to create something. It’s a great way to challenge your skills and learn more about your peers.

  8. Vanessa says:

    Totally agree, and I’ve loved chatting with you almost everyday!!! It’s like we’re hanging out and eating pizza in real life together, but not. ;)

  9. Kelly Brito says:

    I’ve learned that working with other creatives can be great and difficult. When you’re used to working alone and making all the calls, having someone being too specific, insisting on ideas you don’t really like, working on a flow that is not your own… can be tiring. On the other hand, the work usually turns out great! And that’s because 2 creative minds do think better than one. :)
    I absolutely miss working with more people, if not daily, maybe sometimes. But I believe I work better alone (most of the time). Still, grabbing a coffee, talking arts and design, exchanging experiences with another creative is simply terrific -and I absolutely need to do this soon, as I haven’t in a long, long time.

  10. So wonderful of you to write about this, Breanna! Because this is one of my goals for this fall — to communicate and work with other creative types. I have so many collobartions planned and as well chat sessions and even coffee date with my artist friends! Some near and some far off. I’m pretty excited about it, actually because I agree — that social connection is key! And as an introvert like myself, sometimes I have to make myself get out of my office and do that. Thanks for the kicker! :)

  11. Sarah Cauble says:

    This is really great advice! I’ve never really thought about IM-ing other creatives for the benefits you mentioned. Soo cool. Sitting at the computer sure can get super lonely! Now, if only muscle up the courage to try to make a new online friend today! Maybe I’ll reach out to someone from the above comments :)

  12. Adriana M. says:

    So agree! I fortunately go to college and do most of my socializing there + I’m taking a Web Development class in campus so I get to meet others who share similar interests as me. It’s so refreshing & a nice change of pace from being at home all day long! Though, I had never thought about Skyping with my blog buddies – so exciting. I definitely wanna give it a try. :D

  13. I was super shy growing up and even though I don’t consider myself all that shy anymore, I know that I can have a tendency to be an introvert/homebody. It’s so great to go out an get together with other creatives. It makes me that much more excited to work on my own thing…

  14. ackie says:

    Awesome that you talk about this because I really needed it and relate! I am also a freelance graphic designer working from my flat everyday even though i study Fashion design via an online portal (Our college introduced a bit of graphic programes and i decided to self teach the rest- which I am loving). I was commissioned to design a website for a company that i have been doing logos and business cards for and was not too sure about getting another creative type to help me with it, i was scared of ideas clashing though i need the help…but you have put me to ease there. My boyfriend asked if he could introduce me to a friend who does websites so we may work together on it seeing as i still need teaching with dreamweaver.Even though I was reluctant I am now happy to take the collaboration on and meet a new creative face. :) #thank you! Social connection is truely key everywhere!

  15. Nesha says:

    This is something that I’ve been trying to work on lately. I want to start connecting with other designers more and maybe even video chatting, but I never feel as though I have the extra time to commit to it- so frustrating! I will make the time though, because making friends + connections is well worth it.

  16. Emmadime says:

    Hey BP –

    So I started working with Cuyana yesterday! I’ll be going into their office twice a week to do face-to-face freelance work for them. I had such an amazing day because – I WAS AROUND PEOPLE!!! haha…. It’s crazy how different an afternoon can feel / play out when you’re physically interacting / discussing / & collaborating. It felt so good & left me wondering if the lonely land of solo freelance is all it’s cracked up to be!?

  17. I was commissioned to design a website for a company that i have been doing logos and business cards for and was not too sure about getting another creative type to help me with it, i was scared of ideas clashing though i need the help…but you have put me to ease there.

  18. day cat toc says:

    I absolutely miss working with more people, if not daily, maybe sometimes. But I believe I work better alone (most of the time).

  19. I have so many collobartions planned and as well chat sessions and even coffee date with my artist friends!

  20. I can easily get pulled into working nonstop (and further ruining my eyesight) so having her around to break up my day with funny anecdotes is always a huge bonus!

  21. alicia says:

    Couldn’t agree more! I seriously look forward to meeting you and all the other amazing ladies at deisgner vaca soon. I need to start seeing more people in person for a quick snack or coffee. I’ve also been itching for a collaboration. I love working with other creatives, especially if they are in a different field from yours. It allows for such magical things to come of it.

  22. day nail says:

    I was reluctant I am now happy to take the collaboration on and meet a new creative face. :) #thank you!

  23. can have a tendency to be an introvert/homebody.

  24. My favorite thing is grabbing a bit to eat with new creatives in my city

  25. sheishelen says:

    that’s me as well! so true! i work by myself, i study correspondence… i need human interaction!

  26. fathima says:

    That’s my favourite thing too! I have a “let’s do coffee” page on my blog to encourage people to connect. I always find that it’s in those moments of connecting with someone different that sparks fly and your creativity and thought processes gain new life.
    A also work alone, which is the way I’m most productive anyway, but always make time for coffee shop working to encourage interaction and serendipitous meetings :)

  27. I completely understand how invigorated you can feel walking away from them.

  28. I have so many collobartions planned and as well chat sessions and even coffee date with my artist friends!

  29. I can easily get pulled into working nonstop (and further ruining my eyesight) so having her around to break up my day with funny anecdotes is always a huge bonus!

  30. I work from home, in my own office, and am not surrounded by co-workers or design partners during the work day. While I am an introvert at heart and love my daily work routines, I know deep down that human interaction is key.

  31. I’ve never really thought about IM-ing other creatives for the benefits you mentioned.

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