As a freelancer, you know your career has grown leaps and bounds thanks to technology which allows you to work remotely through various online tools. Even new freelancers can use multiple online networking and job posting sites to develop their new careers.
It’s easy to focus on the online environment for networking to find clients, work, and any other type of assistance. However, there is still much to be said for offline networking where you meet with other people and get numerous opportunities from this face-to-face time.
One of the great things about freelancing is your ability to work from anywhere. You may want to consider moving to one of these eight cities which are known to have excellent networking opportunities, including organizations, events, and hubs that have attracted companies of all sizes that are looking to hire freelancers:
- Austin, Texas: Within Austin, there is a culture of entrepreneurship and a focus on the small business owner. Numerous large corporations are located within the city limits, providing numerous freelancing opportunities. These companies, local businesses, and city organizations, host networking events, as does the University of Texas and its McCombs School of Business. Just a few examples of freelance groups in the Austin area designed for networking are Freelance Austin, Texas Freelance Association, Freelance Playground Network, Women Communicators of Austin, and Spark.
- Chapel Hill, North Carolina: As part of the tech triangle, the city has networking groups plus a vast network of alumni from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that also is an excellent resource. With the growth in technology companies and startups, many organizations have emerged to assist all types of freelancers and entrepreneurs. These include Chapel Hill Leads Group, North Carolina Writers’ Network, and Triangle Area Freelancers. Numerous other networking events can be found on the Eventbrite page for Chapel Hill.
- Boulder, Colorado: While Denver gets a lot of attention, Boulder is a prime choice for freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to network with the burgeoning small business organizations that offer all types of networking events. The University of Colorado offers numerous networking events as does the Boulder SBDC and the Economic Vitality Program. With such a beautiful landscape, there are also various fun informal networking events that incorporate this very favorite aspect of living in Colorado. Denver freelance networking meet-ups include the Boulder Writers Alliance, Freelancers’ Hub, New Tech Colorado, and BoulderNet.
- Ann Arbor, Michigan: The city is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and freelancers through its economic development department, known as SPARK, which hosts seasonal entrepreneurial boot camps. There’s a long list of all types of networking events that would appeal to freelancers to be found on the Ann Arbor Eventbrite Networking page. There are also many organizations like the Ann Arbor Connectors Club and Made in A2 for software developers.
- Seattle, Washington: As another regional tech hub, Seattle hosts numerous networking events thanks to local organizations as well as Microsoft, which hosts various events for freelancers. Additionally, there is the Creative Freelancers and Co-Working Union and the Editorial Freelancers Association. For a long list and complete guide to all the various networking events and associations for all types of specialties, be sure to check out the I Love Seattle site.
- San Jose, California: San Francisco can be an expensive city in which to live. Moving farther away from the city to one of Silicon Valley’s other cities or tech hubs still links you to a massive network of opportunities. All Silicon Valley cities provide trade shows, conferences, networking groups and other types of events that will help you fuel your freelance career. Networking groups include Freelance Café, Ellevate (a group for professional women), the Bay Area Creative Freelancers Guild, and SF Artist Network.
- Las Vegas, Nevada: The city is home to some of the world’s biggest conferences, trade shows, and seminars, offering an ongoing stream of networking events not to mention all the local networking activities. Networking groups to consider include the LV Entrepreneur Business Network, The Danny Vegas Business Event, BNI Las Vegas, and the Henderson Writers’ Group.
- Decatur, Georgia: Just eight miles outside of Atlanta, this city is a great place to call home that lets you partake in the city’s numerous networking events plus reach out to those down the road. Some of the local Decatur organizations available for networking help include Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative Atlanta and the Entrepreneurship Center of the Urban League. Between Decatur and Atlanta, there are numerous opportunities for freelancers like the Georgia Writers’ Association, Freelancers Union, the Decatur Business Association, WIN! (Women Intelligently Networking), and the Atlanta Creative Freelancers Meetup.
With so many opportunities to leverage in-person networking for more freelance gigs in these freelance-friendly cities, it may be time to think about packing your bags for new digs in one of these locales. Before hitting any of these events in your local area, make sure you are prepared to do networking correctly to get the most out of it.
About the Author:
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the online invoicing company Due. John is best known as an entrepreneur and connector. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and a Blogging Expert by Time. He currently advises several companies in the San Francisco Bay area.