In 2017, the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that over 16% of U.S. workers were participating in the gig economy, an increase of 56% in the past 10 years. Those numbers reflect the rise in technologies that gave birth to the likes of Uber and Grubhub but are hardly news to the legions of professional communications consultants who have been actively engaged in contract work for most of their careers.

Those professionals have found connection and comradery in SF IABC’s Independent Communicators’ Roundtable (ICR) and a valuable asset in ICR Connect, the quarterly meeting limited to eight consultants and freelancers who gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities of working solo in the Bay Area.

Moderated by Natasha Terk, the most recent ICR Connect on October 18 hosted five professionals who gathered for two hours at one of Oakland’s newest co-working spaces, Oakstop. Natasha artfully kept the meeting moving forward from initial introductions to Leads & Needs, Show & Tell, and a Run Your Business Clinic where participants brainstormed ways to address each other’s personal business challenges.

I drove down from Sonoma County and felt it was two of the best hours I’d spent furthering my business in a long time. Natasha will continue moderating the meetings for the foreseeable future and, as a solopreneur herself, had this to say about the value of ICR Connect: “We face a lot of the same — or similar — challenges, so when participants described their obstacle in front of others who have faced it before, they got a lot of support and actionable suggestions. That’s how we move past fear and act on our goals!”

I highly recommend the Independent Communicators’ Roundtable as a way to meet engaged, thriving, independent consultants who understand the rewards and challenges of going solo. For more information on the Independent Communicators’ Roundtable, here’s a thoughtful overview. For more information on the date and location of the next ICR Connect meeting. contact Natasha Terk at natashaterk@writeitwell.com.

Maggie Harryman is a freelance copywriter who specializes in long-form writing, including case studies, white papers, website content and ebooks for the real estate, finance, technology, medical devices and wine industries. She lives in Sonoma County and works throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.