I saw a question on /r/freelance the other day about how to meet other freelancers. Here’s how I’ve met other freelancers.
Local tech meetups. Grand Rapids has a number of tech meetups including a Ruby meetup, a general web development meetup, and a few others. I only go to the Ruby one and the web development one. At both those meetups I’ve met a number of freelancers.
National conferences. I’ve been to Windy City Rails in Chicago a couple times and met freelancers there. Last September I went to Double Your Freelancing Conference (DYFC) where I met a ton of freelancers. The people I met at DYFC are some of my favorite people I’ve ever met. One thing about national conferences is that due to their cost they tend to filter out people who aren’t very serious about what they’re doing, meaning every single person you meet there is probably pretty serious about what they’re doing.
Jobs and freelance gigs. In the past I’ve tried to keep in touch with my former employers and co-workers after I’ve left jobs. Sometimes these people go freelance later. I’ve also found that the kind of clients who will hire me as a freelancer will also hire other freelance developers. I like to reach out to these people and make it a point to form relationships with them because these relationships can be mutually helpful as time goes on.
Online communities. When I bought Double Your Freelancing Rate I was given access to something called The Freelancer’s Guild, on online forum. This forum has been a good place to ask and answer questions with other freelancers. The other day I reached out to someone I found on /r/freelance and had a Skype with him. Now we have each other in our network. I also run a Slack organization full of freelance developers.
By following influencers. I listen to a number of freelancing podcasts, follow freelancers on Twitter, and occasionally read freelancing blogs. Sometimes I comment on what these people are saying. Sometimes a conversation emerges, and sometimes out of those conversations a relationship develops.
This blog. Just like I sometimes engage with people I follow, there are some people who follow me (inexplicably) and engage with me. This is another way I’ve met people. If you’d like to meet me this way, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to talk with you.