But as social media platforms have developed and we’re seeing the effect of regular use, I think that advice needs to be refined. With a little care, you can still stay connected, but with maximum benefit for your own wellbeing and that of your business:
Always be aware of your response to social media – recently I’ve been surprised by how often Instagram users openly declare that they find it difficult to use the platform consistently.
And that includes people with beautiful galleries, lots of followers, or those making money from sponsored posts, who you’d think would be loving their success.
They use words like ‘pointless’, or ‘endless’, ‘constant battle’, ‘risk of constant comparison’ and ‘coming up short’.
Only stay connected as long as it’s a pleasant and positive experience. At the first sign that it’s becoming negative, log off and take a breather.
But is that any use to you apart from momentary distraction?
For a more meaningful connection follow some local people, get to know a bit about what they do, what they’re like, establish whether you have shared interests, and then suggest you have a phone call or meet up for a coffee.
It’s so easy to meet someone like this as you feel you know each other already, so it’s perfect for introverts! I have a close friend I met in this way, who has been a blessing in both my work and personal lives.
Take care in building this kind of network and it will mean that although you’re a freelancer you don’t have to do it all yourself.
Try and cover as many aspects of freelancing as you can eg. an IT person, a bookkeeper or accountant, an experienced freelancer, a writer, someone in marketing or sales, people in unrelated industries etc.
From time to time get them all together either in one location or on a conference call. Ask them to bring one current challenge to present to the group, and get feedback from everyone. It’s a breath of fresh air to hear a new angle on a situation you’ve been struggling with.
Have you made friends IRL with people you met online? How has it helped you and your business?
This post was kindly sponsored by ConferenceCall.co.uk.