#041: How to Overcome Isolation as a Freelance Professional

Working for yourself often means that you’re working BY yourself.

If you’re tired of long commutes, office politics and cubicle hell, that may be a blessing.

At least at first.

But for many freelancers, this can often lead to a feeling of isolation — of being disconnected from the rest of the world.

Fortunately, there are many creative ways to combat isolation when you work at home. And in this podcast, you’ll hear from Hannah Braime, a freelance writer and self-employed professional who has learned how to cope with this common challenge.

Hannah shares 10 very practical and effective ideas for dealing with isolation. And she explains why each idea can work so well, even if you consider yourself an introvert.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

Tell us about who you are and what you do.

Hannah Braime teaches people how to be kind to themselves through writing, coaching and on and offline workshops.

Before launching that business, Hannah was a freelance writer. She decided to become a freelance writer because she values autonomy and freedom. She’s been self-employed for most of her working life.

Tell us about your own experience with isolation.

Adjusting to working alone can be a challenge, especially if you’re used to working in a professional environment. And not only do you have to adjust, but so do the people around you.

Today, Hannah lives with her partner who works from home as well, so isolation is less of an issue. Before, she lived and worked alone in a studio apartment, which could leave her feeling isolated.

Initially, she fell into the trap of feeling she had to work all the time. After about a year of this, she was really unhappy and had to stop and reassess. Why did she want to become a freelancer in the first place? How free was she really?

Since then, Hannah has completely changed her work schedule and tries to live by the values of freedom and autonomy. She makes time to connect with her partner, friends, clients and peers.

What are your tips for overcoming isolation?

Tip #1: Recognize that there’s a difference between being solitary and feeling isolated

You can be alone and content. But at some point, you can tip from being alone to feeling isolated. When you feel isolated, your needs are not being met.

If you can identify where that tipping point is for you, you can take steps to prevent it from happening.

Tip #2: Use the Internet

Facebook and LinkedIn make it easy to find groups of people who’re similar to you and understand what you’re doing. Some of Hannah’s strongest professional alliances and friends came from connecting online.

Tip #3: Form an accountability group

Find a small group of freelancers who also work from home. Make time to connect with them every week or two via Skype, Google Hangouts or in person.

Alternatively, you can also find an accountability partner and check in with him or her on a daily basis.

A mastermind group is another great way of getting support and holding yourself accountable.

Tip #4: Find a local co-working space

Having co-working space helps to separate your home and work life. You get to meet other people who’re working on their own projects. These people understand what it’s like to work from home as a creative freelancer. Co-working spaces can become great informal communities.

Working in a co-working space is often more effective than working at a café. In a co-working space, you’re surrounding by other working professionals. At a café, you’re surrounded by people who’re out having fun.

If you have room in your home, you can create your own co-working space and share it with your freelancing friends.

Tip #5: Volunteer your time

Volunteering not only gets you out of the house, but you also get to meet interesting people. As writers, we spend so much time “in our heads” that it’s helpful to find ways to use our hands or do something completely different.

A few other ideas:

Find a job outside your home that you can do one day a week or so. Do it for fun and social contacts. This is especially useful when you’re building your business and you need a steady income.

Join an association or local group. It doesn’t have to be business related. Join a committee, help plan an event or become a board member.

Attend meetups (http://www.meetup.com) or start a meetup of your own.

Start your own audio or video podcast. It’s another great way to connect with other professionals.

Tell us how you manage to work while traveling. 

Two years ago, Hannah and her partner grew tired of England winters. They decided to travel during the winter of 2012 and went to Argentina, Chile and different places in Mexico. They stayed in each place for about a month and continued to work throughout. In total, they were away for about 7.5 months. When they returned to England, they decided to do the same thing again this winter.

Most of her clients are in the U.S. so the time zone actually works better. When they moved locations too frequently, it became more challenging to manage their work. That’s why they now spend at least a month in each place.

Slow travel can help reduce your costs if you stay in places with a lower cost of living. You may end up spending less while maintaining a higher quality of life.

Traveling has also helped Hannah’s work/life balance. Because there are always new places to explore, it keeps her work hours in check.

Where can listeners learn more about you?

Hannah’s website is: www.becomingwhoyouare.net. You’ll find details about her podcast there.

Her email is: [email protected]

When you subscribe to Hannah’s email list, you get a free e-book on overcoming blocks to authenticity. The book contains a section of community and surrounding yourself with the right people.

Want More of This Stuff?

Want to get more tips and strategies for boosting your writing income? There are

three ways you can enjoy these tips and strategies, share them with friends and help me grow this movement to banish the starving writer syndrome:

  1. Sign up for this podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
  2. Subscribe to this podcast through the Podcast app on your iPhone or Android phone (free from the app store).
  3. Leave a review — Share an honest sentence or two about the show on
    the iTunes page and give it a star rating (this makes a HUGE difference in helping others find the show).
  4. Share the love — Share this episode with friends and colleagues. An easy way to do that is by using the social media buttons down below.

Finally, if you have a question you’d potentially like answered on a future show —or if you’d like to be considered as a guest for a future episode — please let me know: ed at b2blauncher dot com.

Thanks again for your support!

Till next time,