July 27, 2020
Psychotherapist Matt Lundquist says that 75% of the people in his practice who work from home are burning out after spending so much time in isolation. “Work relationships, even the ones we take for granted, are deep sources of meaning,” he says.One way to avoid loneliness is to connect with like-minded people online. For solopreneurs, social networking sites and groups provide not only human connection but also advice, collaboration, and even a source of new jobs.There are plenty of places to gather virtually. Some are job-specific, such as for marketers or designers. Others bring solopreneurs of all types together. To help you find your community, we’ve identified 15 well-moderated, highly engaged online groups.
In these groups, you’ll find members asking and answering questions about running a business. Topics include filing taxes, dealing with challenging clients, and living and working remotely.
Sometimes you need a quick solution to a particular business challenge you’re facing. The subreddit r/Freelance is a great place to go for a rapid answer. Since there are 144,000 members, there’s a lot of experience to draw from. Just how engaged is this group? A recent question about a client refusing to sign a contract was answered by 82 people in two days (most commenters agreed that it was a huge red flag).
This Slack channel specifically for self-employed workers costs $10/month. (Charging a fee helps keep the group spam-free, since bots don’t typically pay to join online groups.) The community is overflowing with top-notch advice from people who are serious about running their businesses. When a UX/UI designer recently shared their portfolio with the group, three experienced designers offered detailed feedback.
This closed Facebook group of 62,000 women offers personal and professional support to others living the nomad lifestyle. For example, copywriter and content strategist Alex Sheehan was all set to move abroad when COVID-19 hit. With most of her possessions sold, she found herself living with her parents and feeling a little lost. She reached out to her network in the Female Digital Nomads group and found someone going through the exact same problem. The two were able to share professional advice and personal support.
Since 2008, Outburo (pronounced Out-bureau), has grown into the largest LinkedIn community of LGBTQ entrepreneurs and business people. For its 46,000 members, the group offers a chance to network, collaborate, and promote their businesses. It’s also a place where people with similar challenges can share their stories. (One user shared an article about her experience as a trans person in the workplace.) The group’s founder, Dennis Velco, has also launched Outburo.com— a website that expands upon the mission of helping their community succeed by connecting job seekers with requiters.
This free Slack community of 4,400 remote (mostly self-employed) workers is where you should go for advice from experts in an "ask me anything" format. In a recent AMA, the director of talent screening at Topal—a high-end freelance recruitment platform—resulted in 13 discussions. Topics included project management certifications, how to stand out on recruitment platforms, and which IT skills are the most in-demand.
Discussions on the Millo Mastermind Facebook group regularly focus on the details of running a creative business. Topics often center on pricing strategies, productivity tools, and personal branding for the group’s 7,800 writers, designers, and marketers. In a recent fruitful discussion, a designer’s pricing question drew 77 comments. With the help of the group, the designer increased her price by 20 percent.
These groups are great at helping marketers stay on top of what’s new.
The Slack group of 25,000 digital marketers regularly hosts guests from some of the most recognizable companies in the world (think: Uber, Red Bull, and Microsoft). Plus, every member of the group is vetted, so you know you’re getting advice from experienced, professional marketers.
The subreddit r/marketing is especially active with dozens of new posts each day. A member recently asked for advice on marketing his company to construction firms—a niche that doesn’t spend a lot of time on LinkedIn or Facebook. More than 30 marketers came together to help the member create a step-by-step plan to engage firms with case studies, sales scripts, and email templates.
The support you’ll find in the Social Media Managers Facebook group goes beyond traditional paid marketing advice (though you’ll find plenty of that, too). The community of 40,000 social media professionals offers encouragement and uplifting comments. In fact, when one member posted that she just landed her first paying client, 109 other members shared congratulations and happy memes.
These groups help copywriters and content writers find qualified gigs, launch their businesses, and become better at their craft.
To find interesting writing jobs, look no further than the subreddit r/hireawriter. For example, a cat-sitting company recently requested blog posts about cats on the forum. Every job listed has to meet basic criteria—like having clearly defined payment terms and scope—and the group is monitored by volunteer moderators.
The Black Copywriter Coalition is a growing Facebook group to learn from each other and share job opportunities. The group is moderated by Donnie Bryant, a successful copywriter. “A writer told me a referral made inside the group enabled him to make his mortgage payment when he was running out of options,” Bryant says. In another post, a writer said that after using some strategies shared in the group, he landed a job writing copy during the lowest point of our recent recession.
The group’s founder and moderator Martin Sayers—a copywriter since 2007—who readily jumps in and answers questions the group poses. He also offers his own tips on both the creative and business sides of being a professional copywriter, sometimes in unexpected ways. For example, he recently posted a list of fiction authors that he believes offer wisdom about writing sales content.
These communities give designers a space to have those highly specialized conversations, whether that’s discussing a font or laughing at the odd color palate of a book cover.
Share your design project with this group of more than 60,000 professionals and they’ll give you constructive feedback on what works and what could be better. When a member recently posted their landing page design, another member put the project into an editing app called Bubble and shared feedback on the copy, images, and call-to-action buttons.
This Facebook group operates a bit differently than others. Instead of group members sharing their work for feedback, the group’s moderators post other designers’ projects—from buildings to visual art—simply for the inspiration those great works provide. A recent post dug into the unexpected genius of the brand design behind Oatly, a milk alternative.
Designers often post on this 4,300-member Facebook group when they have a project that’s too big for one person to handle—which makes The Designers League a great place to snag a design gig. Not to mention, there are plenty of lively debates over font and color schemes (hint: never use green on grey, apparently).
When you need answers to your toughest business questions, members of online groups are ready to give you advice. And so are we. Become a Wingspan member and we’ll help you through the challenges of getting benefits, getting your taxes done, and getting paid.
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