ICBA Blog

Networking Opportunities for Independent Contractors

Meet like-minded entrepreneurs, gain project leads, and find community 

The independent contractor lifestyle can be liberating, but it can also get lonely. Networking is important, not only to gain new clients and grow your business but also to stay on top of trends and advancements in your industry and to find camaraderie. A sense of fellowship with other freelancers can motivate, inspire, and challenge you to take your work to the next level.

Teach or attend a workshop
If you have a coveted skill set or have excelled at a job task, teach a workshop. Local colleges and universities are often looking for experts to teach community or adult education classes on evenings or weekends. You can also teach through local artist collectives, business councils, startup incubators, entrepreneurial centers, and more. Workshop attendees will often follow up to become clients or refer you to others. Attending a workshop that helps you cultivate or boost a skill is also a great way to make fresh connections and find mentors.

Network after work
If you find typical networking events to be a snore, try Network After Work. Parties take place at fun venues across 85 cities in a casual atmosphere. Sip a cocktail and meet other go-getters in your town. Don’t forget to bring a stack of business cards in case someone wants to connect, and have portfolio examples easily accessible on your phone to showcase your work. These events are a good mix of salaried workers and independent contractors. A new connection might lead to landing a big client or a valuable friend.

Join Facebook groups
Search Facebook for groups of people who work in your industry, and request to join. You’ll find gig listings, answers to questions, resources, and more. Plus, you’ll have a virtual community with you at all times that you can access for inspiration or even a little healthy commiseration. Facebook groups often have sections where you can showcase your work and congratulate others on jobs well done.

Attend a Freelancers Union meetup
The Freelancers Union Spark Events take place in cities across the nation on the first Wednesday of every month. These meetups often feature inspiring speakers, important topics of discussion, opportunities to showcase your work, and a chance to simply meet other independent contractors in your area.

Join a co-working space
Co-working spaces offer you a sense of physical community without all the office politics of salaried positions. You can find co-working spaces that cater to creatives or your industry specifics, or join one that hosts a hodgepodge of entrepreneurs. Either way, you’ll benefit from making new connections. Membership levels at these spaces vary, so if you thought pricing was out of your reach, take another look. Even participating in a co-working space once or twice a month can be helpful to your career.