It takes a (freelance) village

Fellow freelancers are your colleagues, not the competition

I used to think that I hated working with other people. I disliked offices, networking events and – to be honest – working on something as a team. So, when I started working for myself, I assumed that I’d be working by myself.

At first, I was happy in my bubble. I worked completely alone from home. I wasn’t even interested in working in a coffee shop, let alone a co-working space. I quickly learned how shortsighted that attitude was, and indeed how different it is to work with other people as a freelancer.

For starters, fellow freelancers are your colleagues, not your competition. I realised this when something went wrong with a client in the early days; I panicked and looked around the room for someone to help me. My dog stared back at me, blankly. I grabbed my phone, but had no one to call.

In that moment, I realised I needed someone on my team. Thankfully, now I have an army of freelance buddies, who are a voice note away; ready to calm me down, pep me up and help me put things into perspective. People who just get it. What I know now is that it takes a village to freelance.

When I look at the projects I'm working on right now, the majority of them involve another freelancer. Everything from my co-hosted podcast and co-founded freelance writing awards, to even the ads in this newsletter, which are now run as a collective. And the projects that give me the most stress are the ones I’m working on by myself for a client. What’s different now, however, is that while I’m doing that work alone, I definitely don’t feel alone anymore.