Carving a career path in the online world is exciting, fun, freeing, and sometimes, really lonely. It is a solo job, and while perks include not having to wear pants, it can also mean spending a tonne of long hours with just you and your laptop staring unblinkingly into each other's eyes/screens well into the night. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
"Real life" people don't always get what you do, and its exhausting explaining that no, you do not have endless free time at home and yes, it is a real job; pants or no pants.
Enter: online friends.
It's a revelation. Suddenly, not only do people get what you do, they actually respect it, and they are happy to talk about opt-ins and analytics!
Yes, these magical future friends do exist and they are all over the web. But how do you meet them? And how do adults even make friends?
Here's five useful tips on making those all important connections to help you stay sane in the online world:
- Join a Facebook or Meetup group for bloggers on online entrepreneurs in your geographical area or your area of expertise: e.g. coaching, lifestyle blogging, spirituality, healthy eating, yoga teachers. Do some searching or ask for recommendations from friends you already know. These groups are a wealth of knowledge, support, and connections.
- Interact with people online you specifically want to connect with. Leave comments on their blogs, favourite their tweets and repost their Facebook statuses (in a non-creeper way. Be cool, dude). Let them know you love their work! You could even email and offer to interview them for your site.
- Join a course with a community component. There are so many wonderful eCourses around that include a Facebook forum - pick one that suits your needs and go all in. Participate and make those friendships by being genuine and helpful. Offer to stay in touch once the course has ended.
- Create a mastermind group. Email a few people who are on your level, business-or-blogging wise, and ask if they'd like to form a mastermind group for friendship and support. It's SO nice to have a place to ask for feedback on ideas, push each other to make targets, troubleshoot the tough stuff and high five the successes. Bonus points: organise a retreat together!
- Go along to a shared working space. In many cities there are shared office spaces where you can hire an office or 'hot seat' a desk for a few hours or days. They're usually full of online entrepreneurs, freelancers and creative types who want to get away from their home environment. Take a few extra coffees and start a conversation!
I hope these five tips have been helpful. Do you find working or writing online to be lonely, or have you set up a network of friends? I'd love to hear what's worked for you!