Photo: Shapr

Meeting new people seemed all but impossible for me. As a freelancer, I spend most of my day parked in front of a laptop, cranking out blog content for small businesses and startups while also running I keep a packed schedule, which leaves little time for making meaningful professional connections. Shapr not only changed that for me but reinvented the way I approach professional networking.

For those of you that don’t know Shapr, it’s a completely free app for meeting potential friends and collaborators in your industry. I read about Shapr in an article and thought I’d give it a try. In my first 6 months on the app, I’ve connected with so many incredible people—writers, filmmakers, publishers—who’ve provided great value.

Prior to becoming a full-time freelance writer, I worked in big box retail for over a decade. Meeting people wasn’t a problem then. But as a freelancer, most of my communication with clients was through email. I wouldn’t talk to another person until my husband got home from work, and I had to find a way to break out of my bubble. The thought of going to networking events and spending hours engaged in small talk made me cringe. I needed an easier way. Which is why finding this app was a game changer.

Shapr is my digital rolodex. Every day, I log on and swipe through 10-15 profiles from other professionals who share my interests or work in my industry. I can choose to Meet them or Pass for another contact (no hard feelings). It only takes up a minute of my day but the impact lasts much longer.

The app has led me to new clients, potential mentors, and other creatives who want to collaborate or just share entrepreneur war stories. I’ve even connected some of my contacts with job opportunities and introduced them to other people in my network.

What I love most is that the app is not designed to engage in endless back and forth with a new contact. Once we match, we immediately talk about when and where to meet, and we bring the conversation into real life. It encourages connection, which is exactly what a lonely freelancer like me needs.

As a writer who works from home, I thought growing my network was something that would be incredibly difficult and time-consuming. But with Shapr, I’ve been able to induct a few new members into my tribe without sacrificing my workload. I’m glad I decided to start swiping.

Start networking now on Shapr!