Taking the solo out of solopreneur
Here is the truth: running your own company can get a bit lonely. Nobody tells you that when you sign up, but it is true. As much as I love being able to call all the shots, I also need to hang out and collaborate with other people. So we can laugh together, talk about our personal lives and be part of something bigger. I've found a number of ways to do that over the past few years as a solopreneur. From coffee dates to taking classes; they all work to take the solo out of solopreneurship.
I've made a habit of grabbing a coffee (or tea) with fellow creatives in town. Simple, but effective. We talk about our work, our side projects, anything really. Amsterdam is a city with a large creative community, but I think this can work in smaller towns as well. I don't randomly ask people though. Usually, we've connected on Instagram before or met through a friend.
I meet up with a small group of fellow designers from time to time to talk shop. We host little meetups in our apartments, eating cake and talking about the ups and downs of our current design projects. I've also recently attended a monthly meetup for creatives called The Gatherists. The format was simple; we introduced ourselves and then sat down to drink tea (and yes, eat cake) and we just hang out. There was no set agenda which meant we could all just relax and talk about whatever came up.
I'm part of the volunteer team that organises CreativeMornings in Amsterdam each month. With 100+ attendees, this is not a very small gathering. However, being part of the team makes it feel a lot more intimate. I now see a lot of familiar faces in the crowd, not to mention my fellow team members. I'm not really keen on being in a room full of strangers but having a role there makes it fun.
Nine months ago I joined StudioWZ80, a shared studio space in the east of Amsterdam. It was an investment and I was a little hesitant at first, but I really wanted to have some work friends that I could talk to every day. It turned out that I was not the only one who felt that way; most people in my studio are there for that exact same reason. And those little conversations throughout the day definitely make a big difference.
Client projects have turned into lovely opportunities for collaboration as well. I've worked with Design Studio Nu on a number of projects, as well as with photographer Aline Bouma, writer Margot van der Krogt and quite a few other designers, photographers, copywriters and stylists. Whenever I think it makes sense, I will suggest to a client to bring other creatives on board. Sometimes I might be able to do the work myself, but when I know someone else will do a better job I much prefer to collaborate with them instead.
Taking a course
I'm a little bit of a geek and I've always loved learning new skills. I take a couple of workshops or courses each year, some of them online and others face to face. Taking a course by someone whose work you admire is a great way to connect with them. Plus you'll get to hang out people who share at least some of your interests. I've taken courses that are highly related to my work (e.g. a typeface design masterclass) and ones that are more of a personal outlet (e.g. a styling workshop, pottery classes).
All these opportunities for connection make me feel way less lonely. Tell me, how do you take the solo out of solopreneurship? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Hop on over to Instagram and let me know!
Tip: The Brand Clarity Weekend Getaway is something you can do with others as well! Did you know that the (free) guidebook includes an email invite you can simply swipe?