A tribute to my freelance friendships
When you’re freelance, there aren’t always immediate ‘office friends’ to chew over ideas with, rant to, cry or worry to or have a cuppa away from the computer with. Instead, I’ve found as I’ve journeyed through my freelance life, that I’ve made some freelance friends who might not be in the same office but still keep me on the straight and narrow, quelling worry and anxiety, and bringing some order to the chaos that is often freelance life.
There is nobody else who ‘gets’ it more than another freelancer. I have a selection of freelance friends I’d like to talk about. And this could be the five freelance friends we all need, really…
The one who knows you inside out
The first is the friend I met while we were both staff. Back in the ‘old days’ on a weekly magazine, we’d churn out real life stories, go for after-work drinks and generally learned our trade side by side. Now, years later, we work remotely, me in London and she in Hertfordshire. She knows me so well, and is always honest and kind with her feedback. We have on-the-phone (I know! So old school!) catch-ups when we can, and often email to run ideas or thoughts past each other. As soon as you speak to this friend it’s like half the worry about the issue you’re concerned about is immediately erased. Another in this category often works and lives abroad - but I know with just one call or message, she understands completely the world we operate in - and her laugh makes me know that I might be frustrated with a client, but I'm not alone.
The ones you group what’s app
As part of the admin team for a freelance Facebook group, I am in constant daily contact with five women. One I’ve known a long time, three I’ve met once and the other I’ve never met. But I consider them to be some of the closest freelance allies and friends I have. Finding a posse is so important and I can’t imagine my day without these ladies. Finding people who just 'get' the freelance life is so essential.
The new one
In this freelance life, we’re always meeting new people. And it can be very daunting. But it’s important to network – even if it feels like going on a date. And meeting new freelance friends can help you move forward with your work, find new ideas or projects or just a greater understanding of what you’re doing and why. I’ve made some new freelance friends since I launched Freelance Feels and while I sometimes get nervous – will they like me, will we be friends forever – it’s important to try.
The ones you’ve never met
Including clients who might just be a name on the end of an email. These people are perhaps more colleagues than friends per se but they’re still part of the support network that keeps you going. For me, this is my admin buddy who lives in South Africa. I feel like she’s one of my best friends, even though we’ve never hugged. Friendships don’t have to be IRL to mean a lot, and that’s especially true when you’re freelance and the friendship isn’t made over a desk space or work nights out.
The ones you’re yet to meet
Think you’re done with freelance friends? Never! Every event is one where you might meet that best mate for life. You might find you reconnect with someone you used to work with who is now freelance or who is thinking about it and you help them on their way. Recently I saw a mate who went freelance last year and we vowed we’d meet up more often. Hearing her take on freelancing was refreshing and pushed me towards a new way of working this week. Perhaps it’ll be someone in another industry. One thing’s for sure, you’re never far from your next freelance friend. Be open to meeting new freelance people. I know it can be hard – I find it challenging to open up to new people (this might come as a surprise to some who think I’m super outgoing) but I always find it’s worth it.
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