Finding a Design Community as a Remote Worker
Working for yourself is the dream. But, we need to find community and support within the design world.
Interior designer and small business owner seem to go hand-in-hand. So many of us are out there chasing our career dreams and hustling new business 100% on our own––which is AMAZING. But, it also means that we sometimes struggle to find community.
Yes, we have client meetings, but much of our time is spent working solo. Most days, it’s just us, drawings, and purchase orders hanging out in the office. That’s why building community is crucial to growing as a designer and avoiding burnout. You need a support group to build you up and inspire you.
So, how do you do that as someone who works for themselves? Here are the top ways we’ve found a design community as a small business owner.
Join Facebook Groups Geared Towards Designers and Creative Business Owners.
Over the past couple years, Facebook has evolved from somewhere you shared vacation pics to a platform that entrepreneurs and creatives use to connect.
Whether you’re looking for support, input on a new platform, suggestions for troubleshooting an issue, or even searching for client leads, Facebook is a wonderful place to find community.
With a quick search, you’ll turn up groups geared towards interior designers, female business owners, and solopreneur creatives. Request to join a relevant group, start a conversation, join an existing thread, or just put your voice out there and connect.
Personally, I’ve had the honor of learning, collaborating, and designing with a wide range of talented designers. I’m part of quite a few Facebook groups, headed by some incredibly talented designers. Here are a few of my go to groups you may want to check out if you’re an interior designer, decorator, or architect. Oh, and be sure to join my group too (request box to the right).
The Interior Design Business Forum- by Nancy Ganzekaufer | Business Coach to Interior Designers is my business coach and the woman who really helped me get my business going. Her group is invaluable for Interior Designers!
DesignWealth - by Leslie Carothers | Talk about a woman who is passionate about what she’s doing. Leslie does a great job engaging other designers and really inspiring us with more that just Interior Design!
Explore Meet-Ups for Creatives in Your Area.
If you live in a larger metropolitan area or a city that’s home to a bustling creative community, there’s likely a meet-up for creatives. Some of the groups you’ll find nationwide are Creative Mornings, Rising Tide Society, and Tuesdays Together. Another great option is to check out your local Chamber of Commerce or Junior Committee, they’re generally full of like minded business folks who’ll turn into some pretty amazing friends!
These groups meet monthly and bring together designers, photographers, and other creative entrepreneurs. You’ll meet each month to discuss relevant business topics, hash out issues you’re having in your own business, and to build a supportive community.
Plus, you’ll build a network of creatives that can serve as resources for your business! Need a great photographer for the project you just completed? She could be at the next meet-up––and she might happen to need her new office space redesigned.
Take the Social Aspect of Social Media Offline.
You probably follow more than a few talented, engaging designers on social media. Maybe you two send Instagram messages back and forth, comment on each other’s photos, and can always count on a like. So, don’t keep that relationship confined to an app!
When you find someone with whom you connect on social, take it offline. If you live in the same city, meet up for drinks. If you don’t, then exchange numbers and arrange a standing weekly time to chat about business, life, and a little bit of everything. It’s incredible how supportive someone can be in all aspects of life when you share a common career choice.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet some pretty incredible designers and business women online, a couple becoming what I’m now calling my ‘battle buddies’ (from my army wife days), specifically Sarah Durnez and Jenna Gaidusek . Having a close group of friends who really hold you accountable, with similar experiences and business incentives is amazing.
Start a Slack Channel with Other Designers and Creative Freelancers.
Remember AOL Instant Messenger? Who didn’t spend their evenings messaging with friends and keeping tabs on every detail of every day?! Well, Slack is the AIM for our professional life––and it’s free to use!
Companies utilize Slack to keep employees connected in the workplace, but you can use it to create a team with other designers and creative freelancers. Similar to the Facebook groups, you can come to your Slack channel with questions, issues, ideas, or anytime you need an ear to listen.
Make a Co-working Date with a Fellow Designer.
Joining a co-working space to use daily is an awesome way to build community and meet other remote workers, but it can be cost prohibitive, especially if you’re a small business owner footing the bill.
Instead, make a co-working date with a fellow designer a few times a month. Meet at a coffee shop, bring your administrative and desk work, and start knocking items off your to-do list. You’ll have someone there to chat with when you need a break, but you two will both commit to using this time to focus on productivity. When the day is done, you’ll already have someone there ready to head to happy hour!
Eager to get started in finding your own design community? Below are links to some of our favorite Facebook groups and creative meet-up communities.