I know just how lonely and isolating the life of a home-based business owner or professional service provider can be. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to reach out to your peers for camaraderie, freelancer tips, and cross-referral help as a community of soloists joined together as one (virtually)?
You don’t have to feel like the boy (or girl) in the bubble who works in a “hidey-home” any longer – here are some online resources for your consideration:
Love Your Home Sweet Home-Based Business Chamber of Commerce: I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this site pop up in a Google search – who knew? Founded by Beverly H. Anderson in 2008, the HBBCofC is meant to provide exposure for business owners and freelancers who can’t promote and market themselves the way larger companies can (and do).
Established chapters exist in Delaware, Mississippi, Tennessee, metro Atlanta, and South Florida, and would you believe there’s a chapter in southern New Jersey? According to the HBBCofC website, chapters are now forming in North Carolina, Texas (Houston), and Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). If you really want to get in on the ground level, the Chamber is looking for micro entrepreneurs interested in starting a local chapter in their hometown. I say go for it!
Home Based Business Program Can Be Your Shelter from the Social Media Storm: The Home Based Business Program is a funky little website. It’s a place where home-based peeps can promote themselves to their peers via a multimedia smorgasbord of features: blog posting, forum discussions, groups, video posting, photo posting, event posting.
Additionally, this site doesn’t seem to limit membership to U.S. citizens. I suggest you click around and view some pages before you decide to create an account.
Home Business Online Offers “Extraordinary Good Advice for the Home-Based Entrepreneur”: This is another site meant to serve as a one-stop resource if you’re running a business from home.
Unfortunately, Home Business Online/HBO (not to be confused with a certain premium cable channel…) has an outdated blog that hasn’t been touched since end of 2012. But the site does offer a subscription-based newsletter called HomeBizBytes that focuses on “little-known ways of making money that you can use to make your living online (and in your slippers).”
HBO’s site navigation is a wee bit convoluted, so make sure you have some time to spare when taking it for a test ride.
FreelancersUnion.org Is “A Federation of the Unaffiliated”: The Freelancers Union online community is unique – it actually offers basic health and insurance benefits to freelance entrepreneurs. Once you register/join the FU (love it!) site for free, you can determine your eligibility for the group-rate benefits offered via Freelancers Insurance Company (for health insurance) and Guardian (for dental, disability, and life insurance).
There’s a freelance directory, freelance stories, and even member-to-member discounts awaiting your eyeball attention. The founder, Sara Horowitz, is a visionary leader and activist who believes America’s evolving economy will be “built on the collective strength of 42 million freelancers.” She’s a friend to home-based entrepreneurs everywhere and one fired-up visionista! (That last one was for you, Lynn Bardowski.)
Other intriguing features include business book recommendations (right now, Freelancer Beach Reads) and a political action page focused on grassroots support of freelancers and the changing laws that impact them. If you’re flying the business world solo from the privacy of your home, I think FU is a “must-stop” on your itinerary.
As a home-based entrepreneur or freelance service provider, what online resources are your go-to, bookmarked sites? If you tried any of the resources mentioned here, which did you like? Which sites did you try but never made a meaningful connection on them? If you’re willing to unlock the door to your (home) office complex, please share with the rest of us who also walk the floors “barefoot” during summer. Thanks!
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing copy. Call her (856-810-9764) or email her (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a no-obligation project quote today!