The top ten jobs in the United States are not lonely jobs. If you’re a retail salesperson, cashier, food prep staff, or even a general office clerk, you get to be around people all day long. Millions of people leave their house every day and meet people.
Freelancers are generally not among them. Most freelancers work from home. And a lot of us are lonely.
I realized this one day when the power went out at home. I had a stack of work to finish so I called the local cafe to see if they had power. They did. I packed up my laptop and left.
When I arrived, I wasn’t the only freelancer who had the same idea. We made a line that stretched out the door. So many of us were in the same situation that I shared a table with an acquaintance.
If I were single, this would be a dismal situation. I enjoy the solitude of my work but I also get to talk to my wife when she gets home. Some of you might not enjoy this benefit.
I’ve decided to help you out. Here are a few ways to beat the loneliness of this profession.
1. Join a Coworking Space
As it turns out, enough people feel lonely while freelancing that an entire industry built up to solve the problem. It’s called the coworking space and even my small winery town has one.
It’s predicted that by 2020 more than 3.8 million people will utilize a coworking space by 2020. But what is a coworking space?
Imagine what it’s like to work at a hip silicon valley company. No cubicles. Lot’s of places to stretch out and sit. A foosball table in the corner. That’s what a coworking space is like.
It’s a place to work in peace while being around other freelancers. But it’s also a place to network.
Say you’re working on building a mobile-friendly site for a client. You can turn to your recent acquaintance who also builds websites and ask about their favorite plugins. You can use the technology God gave you and have a face-to-face conversation with someone.
2. Join a Local Excercise Group
I run alone a lot. That might sound odd for someone who also works alone, but I train for extremely long races nobody local would run. But once a week I make time to run with other runners.
Your thing may not be running. But we’ve known for a long time that exercise can mitigate some of the symptoms of depression. Intense exercise especially boosts your dopamine. If you’re lonely, get out and get moving. Do it with other people.
If you’re looking for a place to start, check out your local YMCA. You can find classes to join or you could even volunteer.
Otherwise, contact your local community college or university. Often community members can join the university gym and take advantage of group classes.
3. Go On a Group Trip
If you’re a freelancer and you can afford it, you might already be the traveling gypsie. Great! Tons of people aren’t comfortable traveling alone. That’s OK. There is something for everyone out there.
Just as co-working spaces arose to fill the need for freelance workspaces, travel abroad programs turned up around the same time. And they take you pretty much anywhere in the world.
The great thing about this is that you don’t have to worry about anything. They take care of your transportation, your tour plans, and your lodging. And many travel groups design their itinerary around time to work.
This way you can explore the world, make friends, and afford to travel.
There is No Need For Loneliness
It doesn’t matter what kind of freelance work you do. There is a place for you. Find your friends in the community.
For some, this could mean just heading down to the local game shop once a week to throw down some Magic cards. Or it could mean traveling the world. Whatever you do, find companionship in some way. There is no need to let the loneliness of this profession consume you.