10 WAYS TO CONNECT IN LONDON
I wrote this for The House of St Barnabas to help promote the upcoming event - BUSINESS QUEERS - please have a read and let me know if any of the tips are useful :) aaand if you are a freelancer, creator, business owner, artist, community organiser - come along to Business Queers!
Loneliness is really having it’s moment right now. Especially among those working for themselves, Freelancers, Founders, Startups, Entrepreneurs, Creators and Artists.
Working from home and setting your own deadlines, with no team to talk and bounce ideas around with. Even when you’re a homebody who loves to spend time alone like me - it can be easy to forget how to connect with other.
Here’s my 8 places to find connection and 2 tips to make it easier to connect:
Working in a cafe isn’t for everyone, and the coffee is certainly cheaper at home, but chatting with your local community is about much more than consuming copious amounts of caffeine. Having a connection with people you see regularly, as well as the potential of meeting new people is wonderful for your mental health. It is a great place to work, when you aren’t solely prioritising productivity - in many ways a cafe is a less convenient for a work place, but the benefit of feeling part of the local ecosystem is invaluable.
Anytime you see it beneficial to you, collaborate with another creative, business, individual or venue. Not only are you doing something business savvy by increasing the number of eyes on what you do but you are providing yourself with a learning experience, and working with someone who might spark new connections and ideas, or even a friendship.
SHARED WORK SPACES
Shared work spaces and members clubs like the House of St Barnabas are amazing places to get work done, host meetings and socialise with others. Where there are communal spaces there are connections to make.
A membership with St Barnabas also supports their work in breaking the cycle of homelessness, and will get you a discount on events (e.g. the upcoming Business Queers Event!) so there are even more benefits!
As a queer person the internet has been a vital way to connect. Honestly, even more so when I moved back to London. It can be so hard to commit to an event, especially when going alone, it all seems so impenetrable - but when you get introduced online, it's much easier to attend.
The online communities that I love are:
The Stack World - built for women founders to connect, learn and grow on and offline. As woman adjacent myself, there is so much common ground for us to connect over, and the in person events vary from so chill and relaxed that it is easy to show up alone, to totally lux and fabulous :)
Daisie - a learning, connecting and collaborating space for creatives - a lovely app and concept that can help with creative block for all types of artists, creators and makers.
Polyester Zine - the Dollhouse - Polyester is a beacon for art, culture, fashion, beauty and all the discourse around what is happening today. The Dollhouse is an online space for conversations and connections to happen, and they are always hosting gorgeous events to go to
Lex - it’s technically a text only app for ‘queer lovers and friends’ but I have found so many wonderful people through lex - including Shumi, a queer counsellor who I hosted an event with in July - a wonderful place to find connections of any kind!
Of course, those aren’t for everyone, but there are so many online communities out there - there will be a group of wonderful people in a virtual room somewhere waiting for you.
SOCIALISE IN YOUR INDUSTRY
It is too easy to stay behind the scenes - to stop attending the types of events you put on for your community, to be so focused on creating and making and producing you forget to absorb.
Of course your life is multifacited and not everything is connected to your work - but there is a reason this is your FIELD, remind yourself of the reasons by going to the places where people discover it for the first time.
That means galleries, conventions, lectures, cinemas, symposiums, talks, book shops, workshops, creative markets, breweries, and meet ups - like Business Queers - please get ur tickets now :)
REACH OUT TO UR IDOLS
Consider no one out of reach. Use linkdin or instagram - depending on your area of work - and send an honest message to someone you admire in your industry. I can’t guarantee they’ll reply, but as long as you reach out with no expectations - it's a win win. Worst case scenario; someone you admire feels that love from you, best case you get a reply, or meet for coffee, or some advice, or a collab, or a friendship :)
REACH OUT TO UR COMPETITION
Yes yes this is my favourite. Anytime you get a twinge in your tummy that someone is taking your piece of pie, or overlapping your work, or stepping on your toes - reach out - you will have so much in common, lots of useful info and insights for eachother and you both could have the chance to find the overlap, get more specific in your work and even start referring people to eachother.
Plus the jealousy is smushed and you have more brain space for joy.
Once you’ve connected with some people - invite them for work dates. We could all use a body double to help us stay on task - plus someone to chat to during breaks and when we are stuck on a problem. Coworking is very smart indeed.
SET URSELF SOCIAL LIMITS
I love doing this for mixers, meet ups etc. I decide beforehand I will talk to at least 3 people, and then I can leave if I’m not feeling it. I will sometimes also think of some topics beforehand as well so that I feel more confident talking to strangers.
WHEN UR NOT USED TO SOCIALISING
…it’s really nice to ease yourself into it and ease yourself back out of it again - having some alone time to get ready for the social event, and then some planned alone time afterwards as well - even if that’s just the walk home, or a cup of tea and a biscuit before bed.
Thats it from me - hope this helped and if you want an event to connect at - come to BUSINESS QUEERS and I'll see you on the 12th of September!