There’s an unfortunate trope that freelancers sit alone in coffee shops all day doing “computer things”, like poring over the minuscule details of their work, scrolling through portfolios of fellow creatives for inspiration, or sending cold emails out to people who could potentially offer them their next freelance project. At the end of the day, they return home only to realize they haven’t used their voice at all for warm conversation, and all that typing on their computer has been nothing close to personal or meaningful.
Here’s where Shapr comes in. Shapr is a free networking app that’s designed to help creatives—and aspiring creatives—to connect with the right people. If you’re a producer looking for freelance DPs, or a photographer hoping to team up with a writer on your next documentary project, chances are you’ll be able to find someone on Shapr.
The best part is that, unlike LinkedIn where people portray an image of professionalism and success in their headline (think: “seasoned industry professional with track record of boosting business sales”), Shapr takes a more personal approach served with a dash of vulnerability. You don’t have to be at the top of your game on Shapr; instead, you should be someone who’s working towards something and interested in learning more. When setting up your profile, the app asks you to describe your goals as well as how you can help others. It promotes a caring and sharing community, with no pressure to put your best face forward.
Shapr is also designed to encourage users to network for a small amount of time every day, instead of in spurts of hours. To make networking a daily habit, users are presented with a maximum of 15 profiles (or double that for a premium account), and then have to come back again the following day day for their next batch of people. The point is that these connections should be meaningful, and not mindless thumb swiping left and right when you’re bored.
The app also presents a lot more interesting information on each user’s profile page to encourage you to take pause, read, click around, and get to know someone. Click on their LinkedIn if you want to learn about their career path. Click on their Instagram if you want to see where they like to go on vacation. The point is that Shapr makes an effort to present a multi-faceted image of a person.
If you just matched with an awesome, super inspirational person who’s juggling 5 projects that you’d LOVE to be a part of, and you don’t know how to start talking to this person, Shapr’s got your back. The app takes the awkwardness out of first conversations through a user interface that offers suggestions on conversation starters. Here’s an example first liner, short and sweet: “Thanks for swiping right! Are you up for grabbing a coffee?”
Another lovely feature is the “How we can meet” portion on everyone’s profile. Users can choose up to 4 options, these include: “on a walk,” “video call” “breakfast” and “weekends.” Alas, no more being afraid of encroaching on personal time by suggesting a weekend rendezvous. Go ahead and have an early morning meetup over croissants right before work, if you know your match is a breakfast person too!
If you think that Shapr is not for you because you’re not creative or cool, take a pause and listen up. While targeting creative professionals and freelancers, the app is also remarkably popular in other industries as well. In just a few days on Shapr, I’ve come across lawyers hoping to make a career change, businessmen looking to invest in a new project, executives offering mentorship, and even a health coach who’s interested in discussing ideas about how to live a life of wellness and meaning.
A close friend of mine who has been in the finance industry for the past 6 years recently asked me for some advice. He’s hit a stalemate. He wants to branch out, meet new people, and work on a creative project—it’s about time for a change! The problem? He doesn’t know how to get started doing that. He needs mentors and partners but his social circle is so limited to the same people. My advice to him? Try Shapr! You should too.
So what are you waiting for? Download Shapr today and get started!