Being a freelancer definitely has its perks — having the freedom to pick and choose projects, clients and schedules to name a few– but it can be a lonely profession. Many deals are struck through emails or even IMs, and close, personal relationships don’t often exist. If you’re a freelancer, there’s no need to get discouraged, however; this list of 40+ networking tools will connect you to a new world of both solidarity and professionalism, where you can find jobs, vendors and other freelancing friends.
These networking tools will help you find support and assistance within the freelancing community.
- Writers-Editors Network: This community connects writers and editors with special tools for finding inspiration, mentors, jobs and more.
- All Freelance Work: All Freelance Work provides freelancers with articles and messages boards about creating a marketable portfolio, pursuing work-from-home assignments, starting your own business and finding gigs.
- Freelance UK: Freelancers based in the UK use this network to learn about the business, get tax and insurance advice and meet up with other freelancers through the site’s forum.
- Freelance Mom: Freelance Mom sponsors “a support network for women working from home.” Get tips on finding a job and marketing your business or link up with the Freelance Mom Network to promote your work and meet other moms through blogging.
- FreelanceSwitch: This go-to website provides a wealth of resources for active freelancers. Visit the job board to search jobs, read and comment on blog posts to get great advice from the pros, or network on the site’s inclusive forum.
- Freelance Folder: Become a part of this freelance and entrepreneur community by linking up with its blogroll or contributing blog posts of your own. You’ll also find tons of articles about dealing with clients, setting up a home office and networking.
- Freelancers Union: Becoming a member of the Freelancers Union grants you access to insurance deals, new jobs, and plenty of community support.
- Canadian Freelance Union: Empower yourself as an independent Canadian writer against large media corporations by joining the Canadian Freelance Union.
- The Society of Professional Journalists: The SPJ provides all kinds of support and resources for journalists, including freelance journalists. Discussion boards, blogs, special events, mentor programs and other networking opportunities abound.
- Media Bistro: This online community welcomes all kinds of media professionals who want to learn how to improve their craft, sign up for classes, meet other professionals or search for jobs.
- Breaking Out of Solitary Confinement: Networking Tips for Freelancers: The Washington D.C., chapter of the Society for Technical Communication has put together this podcast that shares valuable networking tips for lonely freelancers.
- Write From Home: This “freelance writing community for parents” shares tips for finding jobs, finding a work-life balance, and managing a career and parenting schedule while working from home.
- National Writers Union: All kinds of writers are eligible to become members of the NWU, and payment plans are available. Members enjoy access to a job hotline, various seminars, copyright guides, grievance assistance and more.
Search for jobs by visiting these sites and connecting with other professionals.
- Guru.com: This popular site lets freelancers search for projects, post resumes, place bids on interesting projects, and get paid safely and securely.
- Elance: Elance is “the world’s largest professional services marketplace.” Post your resume and bid on projects to meet new employers.
- iFreelance: This professional network of freelancers and employers caters to both the job searcher and the headhunter. Create and post a project or resume to find your next gig.
- Sologig: Find freelance, contract and consulting jobs with the help of this networking website.
- Freelance Marketplace: UK-based freelancers can check out Freelance Marketplace online to help them search for jobs and connect with new clients, vendors and other freelancers.
- Freelance India: India-based workers seeking part-time projects can network and post resumes on Freelance India.
- Contracted Work: Professionals in the Web design, software, writing and graphics industries can find jobs and employers with the help of ContractedNetwork.com.
- HireGeeks.com: This site encourages companies to “hire geeks” to obtain “freelance support from technical to tutoring.” Freelancers can get together on the forums, catch up on industry news and culture on the blog and set up a personal geek account to safely store funds.
- Xchangeteam: This site not only connects freelancers with new jobs, it also supports a solid community of freelancers that includes an annual Freelancer of the Year Award, flexible benefits package, expert advice and more.
- TheWorkNet: TheWorkNet is a “marketplace for skilled contractors, freelancers” and other independent workers to meet and find quality jobs.
- GoFreelance: This “freelance work exchange” helps freelancers in many industries find work.
- Freelance Job News: Use the job bank to search specific postings, or visit the “For Writers Only” page to find publications that are currently accepting submissions from freelancers.
- Freelancers.net: This site helps British freelancers find jobs, but freelancers everywhere can benefit from the active forum community.
General Networking Tools
These articles and websites are designed to help independent professionals link up to find support and improve their businesses.
- Weekend Writers Cafe: This weekly discussion group sponsored by the Grow Your Writing Business Blog brings freelance writers together for a chance to inspire each other, rant about projects and clients and learn how to improve their businesses.
- Networking: How to Network Offline and In Person: Stop hiding behind your computer and get out in the real world! This post shares ideas for networking offline.
- Diva Networking: This blog hosts a networking group one hour each month. Work-at-home professionals can connect, communicate, and even market their projects to amp up their business.
- Talkfreelance: Join in the discussions on Talkfreelance’s many different posts. Over 12,000 members in the Web design, SEO, programming and hosting industries visit to network and share support.
- Network Freelance: This British site sponsors a tight freelance, PR and marketing community, provides links and articles about industry news and allows members access to open contracts up for bidding.
- Networking for Freelance Writers: Check out this resource for help mapping out a networking strategy that will help you meet more people, land more jobs and become a more confident, in-demand writer.
- How to Successfully Network Online: This article gives lots of tips for freelancers who want to increase their networking presence online.
- The Fast Track to Freelance Success Includes Networking and a Strong Portfolio: This article from Associated Content explains how and why freelancers can improve their networking skills to augment their careers.
- LinkedIn: This popular networking tool maintains that “relationships matter.” Meet up with others in your industry to find support or search for new jobs.
- ecademy: This online business network brings together professionals who want to further their careers by meeting new people all over the world. Join clubs, sponsor networking meetings or events and get marketing tips from other experts online.
- Meetup: Meetup is the “world’s largest community of local Meetups, clubs and groups.” Join an existing group or search for clubs in your city to organize activities and events for freelancers like you.
- Ryze: This free networking community assists forward-thinking professionals “make quality contacts
re-connect with friends” and find jobs.
- Ziggs: Ziggs is a popular site “that organizes the Internet around your people, your work, and your life.” Join for free to manage a profile and control the way others view your business and “online identity,” as one user testifies.
- hi5: Create a personal Web page on hi5 to advertise your business for free. Freelancers can network freely to share information about jobs, marketing strategies and more.
Who said the life of a freelancer is a lonely one? Now that online communities are cropping up all over the Web, freelancers can network to achieve solidarity, find jobs and market their businesses.