Freelancing can be a lonely business (perhaps explaining why the stereotype of the tortured artist has persisted for so long!) But everyone needs friends and by staying isolated you’re affecting your social wellbeing and missing out on a wealth of opportunities – the chance to learn from others and find amazing people to collaborate with. So how can you combat this and make the world your oyster?
1. Don’t overlook the human touch
Real-life networking is essential to winning pitches: take the time to meet someone and you’ll come to mind quicker than a name on an email signature. Find out about your local networking events and which ones suit the industry you work in – they might be lectures, discussions or a drinks event. Figure out where you’re likely to meet your target clients or collaborators and focus your attention there. With networking, there’s always something going on.
2. Go to meetups
As well as networking, it can be really fun to go to more informal meetups to find likeminded creatives. Yo Illo runs monthly meetups for illustrators in pubs in London, whilst Glug runs events aimed at creative people from all walks of life worldwide, often with really incredible speakers. Abd there’s The Big Draw which organises the world’s largest drawing festival. It’s also a great idea to attend exhibitions to really immerse yourself in your local creative community.
3. Stay social online
Use social networks to seek out clients and advertise your own work. Establishing an online presence is key to success in our hyperconnected age. Twine is great for this as it lets you build a profile and communicate both with clients (so you can find paid work) and other artists so you can collaborate on something awesome.
4. Be open-minded
Don’t just stick to events for your own industry. Going to events for different industries broadens your horizons and lets you see the bigger picture. You can seek opportunities across different creative fields – if you’re a graphic designer or illustrator, go to gaming conventions. Game developers are always looking for artwork to bring their concepts to life. The same applies for musicians – your track could be the soundtrack on that next big indie game.