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Networking In London: A Guide For Self-Employed Expats

As any self-employed person will tell you, there are pros and cons to the lifestyle that so many people covet. Whilst many people perceive freelancing as a dream come true and will tell you how lucky you are to work for yourself, do what you love, set your own hours and so on, we all know that it’s not always a walk in the park. In fact, many self-employed people often end up working longer hours on average than those in regular, mainstream employment. Another difficulty can be networking and getting your business out there when it’s just you promoting yourself. This becomes even more difficult when you’re an expat.When you’re new to the UK, let alone the capital, you may find yourself in a position where you don’t have as many connections as you once had, and you’re having to start from scratch. This article looks at networking in London for self-employed expats; how you can find networking events in the London area, and how to go about meeting new people in the city.

Useful Networking Websites And Apps

Meetup.com is a fantastic website that allows expats to meet new people in their area through organised group events. There’s a huge variety on offer, from running clubs to pub crawls, language exchanges to cooking classes, and even some business networking events. It’s a great place to get started, even if the site doesn’t have any specific business networking events in your area. You can choose by categories of interests, so you’re likely to find other people with interests similar to yours.

ThnikingBob.co.uk is another great website for meeting new people. It’s not specifically business networking buy hey, every little helps! You can view it in sections such as North, South, East, West and Central London. The website is updated weekly with fun and interesting events and activities for members to attend and get involved with.

SHAPR is a networking app specifically aimed at helping you connect with interesting and inspiring individuals. It’s effectively the Tinder of the networking world; you can browse profiles, swipe and match to connect with people who have similar interests to you. It’s a quick and easy way to find people looking to work on new projects and form new connections.

This is multi-purpose app, again similar to Tinder and SHAPR. Bumble has three modes: dating, friendship and (business) networking. It works more or less in the same way, by swiping through profiles and matching with others to connect with them. The key difference with Bumble is that it is more female-centric than other similar apps. With a match, women must make the first move and message first.

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Specific Business Networking Events

Glug hosts regular events – usually including the offer of alcoholic libations! – for those in the creative industry, which covers a broad spectrum from graphic design to copywriting, image editors, artists, UX designers and more. One of the leading companies spearheading informal networking events in London, they’ve been going since 2007 and have only increased in popularity.

Are you the founder of a startup company or wanting to connect with those involved in startups? If you’re looking for healthy food, good coffee and the chance to network, then head to the Campus Cafe. This café is funded by Google, and is also home to a free, first come first serve co-working space, an event space, and the Google startup residency space.

Find Networking Events
Findnetworkingevents.com is a handy website that allows you to search networking events by country or city. London can be further broken down into Central, North and South London. The site is regularly updated with all kinds of professional networking events including workshops, seminars, business shows and events exclusively for women.

City Networking London
UKcitynetworking.com is a similar website to Find Networking Events. It provides a curated list of professional networking events, exhibitions and networking groups in many major UK cities. It also allows free listings, featured listings and premium listings, and so is an easy way to submit your own advert, business show or workshop.

QUICK TIP: LinkedIn is one of the top websites and social media tools used for recruitment and networking in the United Kingdom. If you’re not already on LinkedIn and you’re looking to make connections and networking opportunities in London, then make a profile as you soon as you can! There are plenty of resources online to show you how to build the perfect LinkedIn profile.

Have you run your own business in London? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!

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