The loneliness of the Freelancer


#1

Almost a year ago I got made redundant from my last job and started my own freelancing business working out of my home, mainly building Kirby sites for clients. The problem is, I am extremely lonely! I have no geeks to talk to. I live alone and most of my friends live to far away to pop round during the day. I love Kirby and I spend a while each day on this forum just to converse with other nerds. If it wasn’t for this forum, I’d be even more lonely. Sometimes I go a couple of days without talking to anyone at all (unless shop assistants count).

So, my fellow Kirbiers, particulalry those who freelance do you have any tips to get through the day without feeling isolated and cut off? I am still quite poor, so things like using co-working spaces and getting to networking events isn’t really an option, and I’m not very sporty.

If anyone is up for becoming old school pen pals (as in paper and snail mail), direct message me your postal address and wait for a letter. Especially those in other countries (i’m in the UK).

:slight_smile:


#2

Hello @jimbobrjames,

I’m freelance since 2008 and I know what your are speaking about.

My main advice would be “Raise your prices”. We are lucky to work in the IT web industry and there are a huge demand for web development skills. How can you still be poor?

Money is not the Graal of happiness but it allows you to go to conference, meetup, participate to social event, practice sport or art in an association, go to a Kirby Workshop …

You can also develop your network with social tool like Twitter, Facebook, Forum … or work with other freelance (designer, SEO expert …)

Be confident and raise your prices :wink:


#3

I sit in a company hotel (as we say in Sweden). We are about 20 companies and each company has a room. Because we share the kitchen (quite big) everyone here knows each other. That’s a great way to work by yourself and still have a break with others. But what I can tell from above, you can’t afford it. If you do one day, I can recommend it.

Also you do not like sport. I don’t like sport, but I’ve started working out in a gym. It gives the body some happy hormones. I also got a bit of a neck/back problem because of sitting too much. Workout really helped with that but I needed to do it about 9 month. Working out also costs money if you need a gym and more things to eat.

Vitamin D helps against depression in the winter, at least if you get too much darkness and too little sun. Fresh air is also good.

So there are never any people around you? So you need to talk to the shop assistants? It sounds like a thriller movie.


#4

My prices are set inline with current market rate (a set fee for each site based on the scale of the project + roughly 60 euros an hour for ongoing maintenance/updates after launch). I think I charge fine, the problem is i don’t have that many clients yet, so currently I can only pay my bills and not have any fun or invest in marketing & networking. I pay for LinkedIn premium, but I haven’t really got anything out of that yet.

I would love to do this but there is only one in the area that I can find (we call the co-working spaces or office shares), and it would cost me around £300 a month because its a ferry ride away (I live on the wrong side of a harbour) - I just don’t have that to spend right now.

I’m struggling because for 20 years I worked my way up the industry to senior developer level and I am used working in large teams and managing Junior Developers. It’s the human contact and just chatting about regular stuff i miss in between the work as much as solving problems with other people. I have nobody to high five :slight_smile:

I have a bike and I live on the beach so i can swim but the weather is awful this time of year.

lol… i guess that did sound spooky.


#5

60€/h is effectively a correct price so you probably need to improve your visibility and communication. It’s a long process but if your customers are happy they will speak about you to other prospect.

If you have few project, use your free time to build a side project (website, e-book, tutorial, video, start a newsletter …) and show it online, in social network, forum, everywhere. Start a blog and show your expertise, target your niche.

Propose some talk to conference or help the organizer team, you will meet people in the web community and get visibility along with participants where your future customer might be.


#6

My situation is different, but I can imagine how it feels. And chances are people will not come to you, so you have to go out to where you can meet other people. And I think there are quite a few options even if you don’t have that much money (yet). Invite neighbors to come round for a drink, get engaged in local politics (maybe even meet future clients there), go to the gym or a sports association or go running, walking, hiking, biking with other people (even if you were completely unathletic, you can go to the gym), go work in a pub/café/public library once a week, go to a language course, give web design lessons in a local community college, to name just a few options.

Edit: I don’t know if something like this exists where you live, but maybe there are freelancer’s meet ups you can go to to meet with people in a similar situation?


#7

This is an excellent idea!

@jimbobrjames
You should try this.


#8

Sure, that’s a good option i think but will mess up my taxes (I’m registered as self employed now, which complicates things with the tax man when you get a job as well). I’ll look into it.


#9

I have found some but they are difficult/costly to get to. I live in a small town on a peninsula on the least exciting side of a harbour, anything fun is usually miles or a ferry ride away :slight_smile: i don’t drive :frowning:


#10

I probably didn’t express myself well, I didn’t mean to take on a job, but take your computer and do your work in a pub etc. so you are not all alone at home all day. But maybe a part-time job helps as well to make a living as long as you don’t have enough clients.

Do these ferry rides really cost a fortune? I mean, if you go to such an event maybe once a month or every fortnight, is that out of the question?


#11

A lot of the ideas mentioned came up in a podcast I listened to recently, Pursuit Podcast, and the episode where Jessica talks to Remy Sharp. In fact, I find listening to podcasts a good way of feeling a little less lonely when working on my own. Hope this helps!


#12

Thanks @paulrobertlloyd I dont really listen to Podcasts much but ill certainly give it ago. I don’t get a very good radio signal (eco house, signal cant though insulation) which is a shame because I like the confessions on radio 2. At least i can catch up with those now.


#13

Hey @jimbobrjames,

since 6 years im working as an system engineer for my company. I’ve never really learned how to code. But there was this one day where a friend of my asked me if I have the time to look after a non-profit organisations website. I randomly said yes of course. So I found out that this website was absolutely a mess… the code the cms everything.

After a little bit of research I found getkirby :hearts: and started to code from scratch something easy (still ugly) but better then the previous website. After I launched the website and the organisation which hosts a running event once a year published that new site in their newsletter people (private and companys) contacted me and asked me to work on a project/site for them. I found out that they were all sponsors of that event and talked about me with one of the organisors.

So what I want to say is that maybe you can find a good project/organisation which needs help with their site to help them and also make your bussines/company more well known. Cause its all about getting in contact with people and make your bussines known in your area. Also you do something good and your helping people :slight_smile:

Florian :slight_smile:


#14

Hi @flokuek Sure, thats a good idea. I have dont plenty of work in the last year, but alot of it has been outsourced from other companies, so although it earns me money, nobody really knows it was me that did it :frowning: I havent advertised yet, its all been word of mouth and playing on contacts i already knew.

I will have a look around the local area, see if theres a community project I can get behind.


#15

@jimbobrjames Yes definitely try to find a community project… I contacted my local administration a few months ago and asked them if they know for example sports clubs etc who need someone whos working for free on a new site. So just a normal site nothing really special.

First I was a little bit shy to asked people etc but right know im glad that I did it :slight_smile:
Hope you find something out !

Cheers
Flo


#16

hi @jimbobrjames

you’re definitely not alone :slight_smile: i’m freelance designer since 18 years and I experienced it all too.
every idea that would have occurred to me, was already addressed by the colleagues.
even when coworking should not be realistic in the moment, I would strongly recommend it!
in case of need – i’ve done that many times – you could set up your own office community with friendly guys.
i don’t know your local rental fees, but it don’t has to be a shiny showroom :wink:
coworking is much more than having a chat in the kitchen. bad moods or distractions flying away, if you’re surrounded by other working people and it does’nt matter, if they are working in the same profession or not.
i don’t like sports or social clubs, too. but there is a variety of other possibilities like culture, politics or social commitment, that costs no money (and gives a lot to you and other people). and @gillesvauvarin is absolutely right – raise your prices and find people who appreciate your work.

p.s. direct message is on the way …