In 2017 she launched Freelancing Females as a Facebook group to get advice on how to deal with a non-payment issue with a client, but she soon realized the forum was a great way to connect with other women who are navigating the ever-expanding gig economy. When Carey Jordan joined the group after she quit her full job in 2019, she quickly found community among other women who understood the challenges of parenting, from the accomplishment of 1099 projects to making time to excel at work and at home, down to the fact that after-hours networking events are out of the question when you have a young child. In the year since the pandemic swelled as usual, freelancing females have swelled to 52,000 worldwide members in search of job leads, freelancing tips, career advice and perhaps most important a sense of community while much of the physical world is still off limits. Meyers and Jordan shared with CNBC Make It their top tips for making the most of your virtual network, both for professional and personal connections.
1; Join a group tailored to where you most need support. With lots of options for finding virtual networking and community groups, it can be helpful to be highly specific about the kinds of conversation and virtual events that will serve you at this moment.
For example, Meyers began Freelancing Females as a way to share questions and answers specific to the experience of finding, negotiating and navigating 1099 work, and it remains the core foundation that brings its members together. Some of the most interesting discussion topics are around how much to charge for a certain project or negotiation with a client. During the pandemic, however, Meyers has found that many conversations are divided between personal and professional, such as managing burnout and the unique challenges women have experienced during the pandemic. If you 're looking for this type of connection through networking, check to see if these types of conversations are encouraged on the online forum, or whether any personal events are tailored towards discussing the virtual side of working through a pandemic. Jordan says she was nervous to network when she first joined Freelancing Females.
In order to create more online connections, she encourages finding ways to create bathroom moments in an authentic setting, referring to moments of running into a stranger in the bathroom of a restaurant or bar and paying them a compliment. We should be creating more of those in an online setting, Jordan says, where you see someone cool and just say 'Hey, I resonate with your comment. It's that simple. Jordan adds that for the first few months she spent most of her time in freelancing women engaging with people one-on-one in this way, without any expectation that it would turn into a networking opportunity per se, but simply to get to know them. It is about those little opportunities and windows to build rapport with people, without expectations, says she. When you drop the expectation, it is easier to navigate. While many may think of networking as a good way to get your name out there, Meyers says it is a good opportunity to find new and interesting ways to tell your professional story.
Do n't go through your personal elevator pitch, Meyers says; instead, use the space of an online forum to tell interesting, and perhaps uncomfortable stories that fit into your career narrative. For example, Meyers might discuss how her freelance life has led her on a quest to find the best dog-friendly cafés to work from Brooklyn, alongside her dog Mango. And for her part, Jordan's conversations around her now 5-year-old son have led her to network with other moms about the ups and downs of parenting while working. The authentic conversations around the challenges of working through a pandemic have also led to more honest connections which can then turn into job leads and referrals. The beauty of this has been that people are more willing to share their work from home life and struggles, Meyers says, and that's been a huge way to connect. How one Facebook group is helping 52,000 women in the pandemic navigate freelancing As a post-pandemic year for people of color, founder Naj Austin built community across time and space How co-working spaces could succeed Do n't miss: Use this calculator to see how much your third coronavirus stimulus check could be worth?