THE pandemic has taken a toll on the workforce across all sectors, the creative commercial industry included. In an effort to help freelancers during this difficult time, brand strategy and communications agency Dual Story thought of creating an online space where Cebu’s creatives can collaborate and possibly help each other economically—thus, the genesis of Hustle!
A group page on Facebook, Hustle! is an opportunity and knowledge sharing platform for creatives and startup entrepreneurs in Cebu. Here, one can post job opportunities, relevant news articles and infographics, and even the occasional meme.
Dual Story felt firsthand the setbacks caused by the pandemic, with projects being either cancelled or temporarily halted. The company empathized with the freelancers who are clearly just as, if not more, affected by current circumstances.
“Other than the economic blowback, I think another struggle is the psychological pressure to create when survival and physical well-being is threatened. Some can thrive on that type of pressure, while others close themselves off and self-preserve,” says Johanna Michelle Lim, Dual Story’s chief brand strategist.
The mandatory physical distancing also poses a hurdle for those whose work involves a lot of face-to-face interpersonal engagement like meetings and pitches. With only a presentation for a potential client to peruse, a freelancer can only bank on substantial research and impressive visuals to close a deal.
“With the pandemic, many creatives will have to upgrade their skill set to factor in the distance and detachment. We have to lean more into the integrity of our work and optics, of course, in the hopes that it can convert to a connection,” Lim said.
The Hustle! Facebook page is private but anyone interested to join can simply send a request, answer a set of questions and adhere to the guidelines. More than just for job postings, the page is also a space to initiate meaningful and healthy conversations. Users can ask fellow members what they think of working from home, of politics being incorporated in arts, or something as simple as asking how they’re doing. These days, it’s especially important to have an outlet for our ideas and thoughts.
On the purpose of Hustle, Lim says: “As with most Dual Story endeavors, it is really social impact through creativity and communication. As a social mission itself, we believe creativity has deep implications in terms of citizen engagement, culture and heritage, poverty alleviation, and the reduction of inequality.”
While this pandemic continues on and eventually subsides, it may be too soon to tell how and when Hustle! will further evolve. Will it still be a creative marketplace? Or will it grow to be a much bigger platform? Only time will tell but one thing’s for sure though, with Cebu’s bright collective of creatives at the helm, it’s an evolution worth keeping an eye out for.