Working within the gig economy is becoming increasingly popular, with people moving away from salary-based roles, going out on their own and choosing freelancing as a better option.
Gig workers are also in high demand with businesses looking to outsource their work to reduce overheads and top up with experts when they need it.
With every business decision, there's an element of risk and the taking a leap of faith into the freelance world is no exception. But as we covered in previous blogs, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Otherwise we would have called this blog series "How to survive in the gig economy."
So let's cover the first risk: isolation.
Indeed, working remotely as an independent or contract lawyer can be lonely and isolating at times. So its important to stay connected, keep up with industry trends and collaborate with like-minded individuals. Here are our tips on how to achieve collaboration over isolation.
1. Stay connected with communication technology
It's crucial for anyone working independently or remotely to have the right communication tools. We are huge fans of Slack which enables you to collaborate with clients using 'channels' so that everyone has a transparent view of all that’s going on. You can also send direct messages, make phone calls and share files securely between yourself and your clients.
Another great tool is Trello, an oline tool which uses boards to organise projects and tasks. You can invite clients and contacts so that everyone can see the same board and the whole picture all at once. It is also a great way to schedule tasks and due dates so no one misses a key milestone.
Meetings are crucial to any project so check out GoToMeeting which offers HD video conferencing that is a simple yet powerful way to collaborate in real time. Available either at the desktop or via mobile you can meet with your clients anywhere, anytime. You can also use the screen-sharing option to collectively review important documents.
2. Get yourself some time in a collaborative office
While it's great to have a home office that affords you working-from-home benefits, sometimes you need the inspiration and professionalism that comes with a traditional office. There's a range of co-working spaces out there that can help you stay part of a community.
At Crowd & Co, we use co-working options such as WeWork and Space & Co to meet, innovate and collaborate. Often you'll meet like-minded people who are on the pathway to achieving similar goals, plus it's a great way to share ideas and keep up to date on industry trends, just by getting to know your workstation neighbour.
Collaborative workspaces generally come with all the mod-cons of a 'normal' office such as meeting rooms, high-speed Wi-Fi and break-out areas plus you might also gain access to in-house events featuring thought leadership and information sharing forums. Added bonus: you'll probably get your social fix while you're there (think after-work Friday wind-down).
3. Connect using LinkedIn Groups
We touched on the use of this collaboration tool in our Marketing for Lawyers Guide. LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, get answers to industry questions, post and view jobs. You can also extend your network with new business contacts or create your own focus group on a particular topic.
4. Join an online community marketplace
One downside to working independently is access to a mentor or colleague who can help you with your own productivtiy and efficiencies to become better at what you do. Like the Crowd & Co marketplace, look out for online communities that can provide you not only with job opportunities, but also the ability to connect with a community of peers. This way you'll get the benefits of choosing the work you want but also knowledge sharing opportunities, training, CPD and back-office support.