Many of us want or are forced to work alone. Isolation is often an unintended downside of the digital revolution. The Internet allows people to work alone when previously they needed to work as a team. It frees people from geographical constraints and allows them to work from home. Despite these benefits, individuals can get isolated. Over time, this could take a toll on your career and mental health. People can still feel isolated when they lead a team of junior employees. They need a colleague or a peer whom they can discuss their projects and share ideas. These are a few dangers that can affect freelance web designers and developers:
- * Dried up creativity: Interaction is important for creativity. Being creative consistently while working alone is difficult. Best ideas often come from collective brainstorming sessions and one good idea usually leads to another. You need a peer to bounce ideas around; without colleagues your project or business may lack sparks of creativity.
- * Decline in confidence: Eventually, people who work alone lose confidence in their abilities. This is particularly true when things go wrong or after they make mistakes. Peers can reassure and encourage you, when you start to second-guess your own decision.
- * Being over-confident: While some people lose confidence, others become too over-confident. Without someone to restrain them, freelancers may dive headlong into tragedy. It’s easy to move your business in the wrong direction without the presence of people who constantly question your ideas.
- * Get overwhelmed: Running a design business requires a wide range of skills and we can’t be experts at everything. When tackling problems and working in isolation, you may move beyond your comfort zone, eventually you reach your limits and flounder. You know things have started to go wrong when you consider your business a burden. You often need to make significant decision, especially related with financial matters. Making these decisions alone can be a big responsibility and for many it can be really scary. It would make a huge difference if you share the workload with someone else.
- * Have a blinkered perspective: People who work alone often dwell on a single perspective. By having a colleague, you can approach issues from different angles and gain a broader vision.
Can you recognize any of these drawbacks? If not, perhaps you should consider whether you’re being over-confident! Virtually every freelancer would benefit from outside perspectives. So, should you find someone? An obvious solution is to work with a person at the outset. Whether you work people who understand how to work with legal or financial matters, you could benefit from positive partnerships. Perhaps, you wouldn’t regret it, because people could be lost easily without co-founders or colleagues. Of course, there are cases where the relationship with partners hasn’t been rosy. Also, the opportunity to form a lasting partnership may have passed years ago. If this is the case, what other options are available to get ideas bounce around and to seek an outside perspective.
These are a few things you can do:
- * Mentor: You should approach a respected web designer or developer and ask him to mentor you. Of course, he is already busy with his own work, but you can get some valuable advices if you’re willing to pay for his time. Ask whether he can allocate one or two hours a month to keep you on the right track
- * Paid consultant: If you’re not comfortable in approaching a well-respected individual, you may look for an external consultant who would agree to work with you on an ongoing basis. Admittedly, this is a more expensive approach, but a consultant can provide you with valuable outside perspectives.
- * Buddy: This is a cheaper alternative; he is likely a person who is in a similar situation. If you also have something to share, both of you could agree to meet on a relaxed setting and exchange knowledge. Often you can discuss different ideas and approaches.
- * Community: Find a supportive online community, where experts are willing to share their knowledge. Try to make people in the forum to remember your identity and circumstances by sharing your knowledge to less experienced members of the forum.
You can choose any of the above alternatives, but whatever you decide to focus on is completely up to you. The point is, you need the encouragement and helps from others to realize your own potentials. People by nature work more effectively by working in a group and freelancers are no exception. We are not meant to do everything alone.