Working as a digital nomad in the gig economy comes with some amazing benefits, like determining your own schedule Monday-Friday or weekends, if preferred, and working from wherever you want.
One of the biggest challenges that self-employed and independent workers face, however, is how to meet other professionals. Regardless if you prefer working strictly as a one-man (or woman) show, even solopreneurs need to collaborate on a project every once in a while or simply meet other like-minded people to feel a sense of camaraderie.
But we understand that networking as a freelancer in the digital space can be hard.
Where do you meet people? How do you know the right spaces online to find a professional tribe that you mesh with? Are there opportunities to meet other independent workers in person?
We’re shedding some light on how to network better within the digital nomad community as an entrepreneur.
The Many Benefits of Building your Professional Network
Networking and collaborating with others allows you, at minimum, to meet new people you might enjoy spending time with, and at most, gain some new beneficial skills or take on a new project. Spending time with other professionals can also help you look at a work-related challenge from a different viewpoint.
If you’re used to working alone at your house every day, or from the crowded corner of the coffee shop, meeting new people may feel super overwhelming at first.
Start by becoming familiar with some of the amazing benefits of networking, to get yourself excited about the process.
- Working independently can sometimes lead to a super narrow viewpoint on an issue. Work.com found that 97 percent of employees agree that the level of collaboration directly impacts the outcome of a task or project. More opinions can sometimes mean more (and better) solutions.
- Collaborating with other professionals means learning about the resources they rely on for their business. It’s a great way to find your new favorite task or project management tool or payment app that you never knew existed!
- Networking increases the exposure to your company and its services. This one is huge – the more people you meet, the more you’re introducing your business to a subset of people who may be in need (or know those who are in need) of your expertise.
Let’s dive in and explore 5 ways to network virtually in the digital nomad community.
1. In Person Meetups (Found Online)
There is no shortage of in-person networking events to take advantage of. If meeting new professionals in your area is more of interest to you than finding a group of people virtually, consider searching for some of the following options online:
- Upcoming local chamber of commerce events – they’re usually listed on their Facebook page or official website.
- In person meetings organized via a reputable site, like MeetUp
- Your town may also offer educational or business-related events. Explore their Facebook page for info (check out the Events tab).
- Local or national seminars within your field – think marketing events, technology-focused seminars, etc.
- Consider seeking out coworking spaces to work from. You’re guaranteed to meet other independent workers and a variety of professionals this way.
2. Online Webinars
Webinars are a fantastic way to get to know other like-minded professionals. Try to seek out webinars that occur weekly, so you’re more apt to be chatting and interacting with the same group of people throughout the month, and therefore building more meaningful relationships.
Use these steps to do:
- First, consider the influencers in your field that you follow. It may be a particular marketing expert, life coach, or blogger.
- Next, search their website and social media profiles for any news of upcoming webinars that they’re hosting.
- If you can’t find any, consider sending them a quick email and asking who they recommend for great webinars, or if they know of any coming soon. Chances are, they will.
- Once you find a webinar you’re excited about, be sure to participate throughout the presentation. You can take part in the chat option and easily connect with other attendees.
3. Facebook Groups
A Facebook group exists for just about any and every topic you can imagine. New mom? Dog lover? Marketing professional? Travel hackers that share their digital nomad tips?
They’re all there and full of like-minded people. Consider joining a few different types of FB groups in the following areas:
- A group specifically for Digital Nomads like yourself! Check out Digital Nomad Community or Women Digital Nomads.
- A group centered around your profession. There are endless marketing-focused and tech-related groups for you to geek out in and support groups for online writers and bloggers. Explore Dear Blogger Community and The Creative’s Corner to get started.
- A group that posts job opportunities – why not meet new people in your field and potentially pick up more client work, too?
Sometimes, you’re required to be invited into private FB groups. If there’s a group you want in on, consider searching through the members list and reaching out to someone you already know to ask if they’ll invite you to the group.
4. Social Media Influencers
As Instagram continues to take over the online world, digital nomads are beginning to use the social networking app in a different way.
Although it’s tempting to simply scroll through endless beautiful photos on the platform, consider exploring some of these tips for better networking online. Here are three steps to begin engaging:
- Make a list of 5-10 of your favorite Instagram influencers. Keep their URLs within your phone’s Notes or Evernote app so you won’t easily forget them.
- Then scroll through their last several posts. See who is commenting on their photos- are their other marketers or freelancers engaging on the pics? Chances are, the answer is yes. Don’t be afraid to begin a dialogue with other commenters!
- Remember not to be spammy and push information about your own services, instead, look to begin meaningful conversations with other professionals in your field.
Now consider doing the same thing on Twitter! You’ll hit an entirely different segment of people by doing so.
Try some of these networking moves as well:
- Search for people within your field, and then re-tweet some of their statuses that you love. This is a great way to start a dialogue with the user, as they’ll get notified when you share their content.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Prompt people about how they network online, what resources they’re loving lately and more. Start that dialogue!
- Include hashtags that relate to networking, your area, or the field you work in to attract other like-minded users to your profile.
- Join weekly chats that are of interest to you! Seek out various brands, bloggers or other organizations who are chatting and doing live videos each week about topics like nomad hacks, business tips and more.
Lastly, Slack also has an amazing user-created community where people from all over the world go to network. Whether you’re looking to meet new people, or simply talk about various topics that are of interest to you, it’s worth exploring the site.
Check out these two resources to get started:
5. Online Seminars + Conferences
It’s no longer necessary to spend thousands of dollars traveling to your favorite professional event. Instead, they’re often available to stream online (for a big discount, too).
Most seminars allow attendees to communicate with each other in some of the following ways:
- Exclusive message boards or chat groups on their website, available during and after the seminar
- Private Facebook groups for attendees to mingle online
- Chat options within the live streaming apps themselves
Begin Networking Better Online as a Digital Nomad
As a digital nomad or remote employee, it’s completely normal to feel secluded and a bit lonely at times within your work environment.
We understand that freelancers work in a variety of settings; whether you’re traveling around the globe while doing your work, or working mostly at home, without a lot of social interaction from others.
The great news is that there is a huge variety of ways you can meet other professionals, both online and in person. Consider some of the tips above to begin meeting new people today and read tips and stories from those in our own digital nomad community.