All types of people are choosing to be their own boss, and reaping many benefits.
I'm sure there is a lot of "office life" that these professionals do not miss- the grumpy boss, the strict hours, the politics.
But working at a company does offer one big perk- the chance to meet lots of people and make friends.
If you are self-employed, here are some tips to keep networking, making new connections, and meeting friends and new people.
Network within your industry
Join a networking group. All kinds of industries have these networking groups, from the Canadian Public Relations Society for people in PR to the AIGA for graphic designers in America with 67 chapters across the country, to the ISPA organization that brings together people in the Internet industry in the UK, there's something for everyone!
These groups normally cost a small, tax deductible fee for membership, which will make you part of a community of professionals in your industry. They often host networking events and workshops, great for business growth, networking, and meeting with other professionals like yourself!
Attend trade shows with business cards, conversation topics, and a positive attitude
Make it a goal to network with one person each week, meet for a coffee or lunch and talk about work, compare notes, or learn how to help each other
Host your own networking event. For example, throw a drop-in holiday party for others in your industry, both clients and competition
Participate in Learning Opportunities
Sign up for a class that can give you new skills in your work, e.g. accounting, or presentations
Join skills groups such as Toastmasters, a very social organization that helps you to build public speaking confidence, and also hosts conferences
Subscribe to news feeds from local organizations that support entrepreneurs in the community, for example the Women's Entrerepise Network, which regularly hosts workshops and networking events for entrepreneurs
Work out of a Shared Co-op workspace instead of home
These office buildings bring entrepreneurs together, allowing you to rent a cubicle and share the services of an administrative assistant, working alongside other self-employed business people
The networking trick that keeps on giving, find something that inspires you and give back some time by becoming a volunteer!
I know someone who is a contractor, but would volunteer to be the bbq-er at an annual women's sports tournament, it was a great opportunity to have lots of conversations, show off his competence (he always ended up doing some kind of handy man thing, like help to set up a tent, or fix a sign), and spread the word about his services in a fun environment.