How one freelancer is building community in a big way

Jan 16, 2015

For the past 3 months, we’ve been co-designing and building an online community for our members, by our members. It’s called Hives, and in each Hive you’ll find a wealth of information, conversation, and advice for freelancers new and old. The power of Hives is the power of you—our members are what make our community great. Add your voice to the conversation here!

If you’ve visited Hives, you’ve probably stumbled upon Work Work Work. Boasting over 1171 members, it’s our biggest Hive to date.

Work Work Work Hive creator Marc Scheff is himself a full-time illustrator—you can check out his gorgeous, intricate drawings here.

Why did Marc create Work Work Work? He tells us:

“As an artist, art director, and entrepreneur, I'm constantly looking to hire artists or people to hire me. I know that jobs come in all sizes and almost all of them come from word-of-mouth or chance meetings. Work, Work, Work is what we all do all the time. I wanted to create a place where people can share what they need, and what they do, and build those interactions organically.”

So far, it looks like Work Work Work has already gotten huge. Now it’s time to refine it and make it really sing. Says Marc, “I hope it grows. I hope people find each other and come up with new ideas based on not just their own ideas but on who is there and what is possible with all of those talented people.”

When Marc noticed that the hive was filling up with people raising their hands and not doing much else, he created another Hive just for folks to introduce themselves. Introductions is the first step to community building in Hives, and we hope you’ll take a moment to introduce yourself. Says Marc of community building: “I think the best approach is to go out into the world, online or in real life, and meet people. Find people you actually like and want to spend time with, and bonus if they have skills you can either use, share, or just admire.”

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Hives is a perfect place to meet those other folks—it doesn’t matter if they live across the country or next door, it’s the connection and conversation that matters. “It's those friendships that have gotten me most of my jobs and commissions. It's those friendships that build real, lasting communities,” says Marc.

And of course, Marc took this community building spirit to the field he loves most: Illustration. In his illustration Hive, illustrators can chat with each other and swap stories and advice about the trade. Why illustration? “Nobody freelances because they hate what they do,” says Marc. “It's a hard, hard road and the only thing that keeps us going is that it's in our blood. If we didn't love it, we'd go get a job that pays better. I HAVE to make art, and the art of telling stories through illustration is one of the ways I feed my soul. It's really that simple.”

So go and check out Marc’s gorgeous illustrations and swing by his hives: Work Work Work, Introductions, and Illustration. Share your thoughts, introduce yourself, and put up a gig if you’re looking hire a fellow freelancer. Come build a great community in Hives with us!

Larissa Pham is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, New York.