Community is integral to creatives, and in an era of social distancing, connection is more important than ever. COVID-19-induced isolation is causing many to feel alone, helpless, or hopeless. For creatives and freelancers who tend to fly solo, the isolation is just as tough.
Sure, we’re used to working by and for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we don’t communicate with friends, peers, and our larger community. These relationships push us to achieve big goals, dream up even bigger goals, and stay motivated when times are tough. So how do we foster those essential connections while sheltering in place?
Here are some easy-to-implement suggestions:
1. Community Video Calls
By now, you’ve likely seen your friends and family members share their Zoom or Google Hangouts get-togethers, and you can easily do this with your own community. Reach out to your go-to creative friends and schedule a brunch meeting or happy hour to talk about life and business via video. Crowdsource questions and topics ahead of the call so you can have a light agenda to guide the conversation and make sure each participant is best served.
2. Virtual Social Media Meet-Ups
If you’re the type who thrives on new connections, put a call out to your Twitter or Instagram community to see if anyone wants to join you for a video hangout. This will give you the chance to connect with like-minded new friends and followers, and perhaps you’ll stumble upon a creative who has the exact message you need to hear to get you past your roadblocks. Keep in mind, video calls can get a bit clunky when you have dozens and dozens of participants, so if you want it to feel like a true meet-ups (versus you just speaking to participants), you may want to cap it at about six or seven people.
3. Go Live
Facebook Live and Instagram Live aren’t new to the social media world, but these live-streaming platforms are more relevant than ever. Going live on social media will give you the chance to connect with your followers on a deeper level. You can source questions to provide advice based on your own experience, or take followers through a creative task (such as a photography or photo-editing tutorial). If you’re stuck for ideas, ask your followers what they most want to learn from you, then follow suit with your live content.
4. Call Clients
If the pandemic is teaching us anything, it’s that we need to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n. Creatives and freelancers are impressively efficient, but with more time on your hands and limited social interaction, you could benefit from scheduling phone or video calls with your clients instead of relying solely on emails. Client communication is key in the creative industry; the more your clients know, like, and trust you, the more work they’re likely to give you work — and the better off your business will be post-pandemic. Plus, they’re going through the anxiety of COVID-19, too. They may welcome a pleasant distraction!
5. Contact a Role Model
We all have those role models who inspire us to chase our dreams, but how often do we actually thank them for the motivation they provide? Almost never. But our role models are human, and they’re going through the same stress as you. Your kind words and gratitude with a simple, quick, and specific note thanking them for the inspiration could be the pick-me-up they need. And, who knows — it could foster a new creative friendship for years to come!