Meeting New Friends that Help You Grow

As I’ve mentioned, my oldest is off to kindergarten. She’s thrilled, of course. She’s also a little worried, just like we all are when starting something new. Over and over, she keeps coming back to the same concern.

“Daddy, what if they laugh at me?”

She knows, intuitively, that in a couple of weeks, she’ll be meeting new friends. And those people will be her peer group for the next 13 years.

She also knows without being told that her place in the peer group supports her success.

I don’t know about you, but in my past, I can remember the kids that sat in the classroom never quite fitting in, never quite being accepted, looking at social opportunity and feeling isolated.

It’s a sad thing to see, neither right nor fair.

Thinking back, I also remember moving from one college to another and finding a very bright, capable peer group that elevated my performance and reset my expectations.

Dwelling on those memories, I need to offer some simple advice, an insight I drew from those experiences.

Don’t be on the outside.

As a freelancer, one of the challenges you’ll face is that you’ll naturally be isolated. You’re working on your own. That makes it very hard for you to learn and grow.

Freelancers can be a little introverted and comfortable with solitude. But solitude can inhibit your growth as a writer and freelance business owner. There’s a reason why learning institutions teach in classes. Classes foster interaction, and interaction promotes learning and growth.

AWAI offers many ways for you to interact with fellow freelance “students,” and they let you do it on your terms.

For example, I’m just back from a business-to-business marketing intensive AWAI put together in Denver. In October, they’ll be hosting an annual Bootcamp for direct-response copywriters. At that event, new freelancers will have the chance to interact with dozens of prospective clients and get to learn from and meet some of the freelancers in the industry.

AWAI also helps you communicate with your peers and make new friends. As you become more connected to AWAI, you’ll discover online forums and webinars. You’ll have endless opportunities to interact online with experts in your field, folks in transition, and people who are just beginning to scratch the surface.

For example, I write a blog for business writers called the B2B Reality Blog – where people ask questions, interact, and build off one another’s experience.

But I’ll offer a warning. It’s very easy not to participate.

I know some people purchase AWAI programs but never engage with the community. They’re shy, think they don’t have the time, or think they’re too inexperienced to contribute.

That’s a mistake. You’ll accelerate your professional growth by interacting with experts and peers. And this group is very welcoming. It’s an opportunity that’s an essential part of AWAI.

So I urge you to take advantage of these resources. You’ll be glad you did.

P.S. But if you’re still worried about pursuing the freelance life, read my article about overcoming your worries – you can find it here.

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Published: August 9, 2012

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