From freelancer to full-time: Alexis Nunez talks career and Wethos
By Basma Humadi
Alexis Nunez is Community Manager at Wethos, a platform built to connect freelancers with more meaningful work and connect with other professionals in complementary skill sets to collaborate on larger projects. Nunez first started off freelancing for Wethos out of college and later ended up committing full-time to the organization. Now she’s been at Wethos for one year. She’s a success story in showcasing how it’s possible to lead a purposeful career working with a mission-driven organization and make a living off of it.
Let’s backtrack first and hear you talk more about your college days. Where did you go to school and what was your major?
I graduated from SUNY Delhi with an Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS) in business administration and just graduated from CUNY Queens College with a bachelors in Media Studies where I focused on race and cultural studies.
What did you learn most from college? What were your takeaways?
Media Studies really taught me how to view the world critically. I really walked out of school having a new vision for the world and, that’s where I found out about social impact spaces. [I learned] that this is a way to use an understanding of media, and apply that to the social impact space — versus pushing the same narrative that’s told at large corporations.
What did you see yourself doing when you first graduated?
I thought I was going to do journalism; I thought I was going to be a writer and work at The New York Times or something.
How did you fall into freelancing?
So, I actually considered studying Computer Science, which led me to getting involved with the tech talent pipeline at my school-- they’re really connected to startups in New York. [Wethos] had reached out wanting people in media for the summer -- I got the internship first and they approached me with the idea of freelancing when I was returning to school. Before that, [freelancing] was just something I kind of thought about like, “Oh, I can maybe write and blog as a freelancer,” then because I was going back to school, I was like “Okay, I can freelance for you and still contribute to your organization” .
Branching off of that - why do you think it’s important people keep those non-traditional routes to careers in mind?
You never know where it’s going to lead. It was great because I was in school and the things I was learning in school were directly applicable to my work with Wethos. It was also a great way to supplement [income].
What advice would you give to freelancers starting out?
I would say to try everything and don’t be afraid of not being an expert. Something that tripped me up a lot was that, and this could even applicable to working at a startup in general, everything is new and you don’t know what you’re doing and there’s a lot that could be done. It can be intimidating when you feel you have nothing starting out.
Be open to trying new things and finding out where your skills lie. And it’s okay too if you’re good at different things. You don’t have to have one niche.
That’s what Second Day wants to address - how young people face many challenges when they’re in the social impact sphere when they’re first starting out. What has been most challenging for you and what have you learned or gained from that challenge?
[For me], it’s been that [feeling] of not feeling like an expert. When you first start out especially— I first started out in college [and] I didn’t really have any real job experience yet so it didn’t feel legit, but I was making money from it - so obviously it was legit.
I think I had a hard time owning my strengths at first and taking myself seriously to be like, “No this is a job.” Looking at yourself that way is hard because a lot of work [is] put on us (freelancers) to brand ourselves, market ourselves, and go out there to network against competition.
But I think [where I’ve] worked before has been very open to spending time on training and [having me come] in and be like “I’ll take on that task. I’ll learn it. I’ll figure out how it’s done,” I’ve started taking myself seriously and trying new things—and being open to that really helped.
It sounds like it has to feel authentic to you if it’s going to work out. What about Wethos felt authentic to you when you started working with them?
It felt authentic to me because I felt close to the people who were behind it. I’ve always felt like you have to be passionate about something if you’re going to give your all to it. Passion means something different to everybody and everyone has a different purpose, but finding that purpose is really essential. I think, also, we’re told purpose has to look one way, it can’t be other things.
So I really aligned with Wethos because they are a place where anyone can find a mission they care about, and know and trust there’s a way they can give back and contribute to it. Opening that up to freelancers and seeing the impact directly as a freelancer—getting connected with nonprofits and the work that comes out of it— that couldn’t happen without passion [as a driving force]. That’s how I live my life [and] that’s why I connected with Wethos directly.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m proud that I was able to stay focused and develop my skills where they mattered and not be overwhelmed or give up and still have a bigger picture in mind of what it’s for and what it will lead to. I think when it helps to have that bigger picture in mind—you can really celebrating those small wins.
Anything else you wanted to add?
There are organizations or a social-impact startups out there who need help from talented professionals. Reach out to your college’s tech department, or someone that’s connected to businesses in your city. I wouldn’t have met Wethos without that.
Wethos.co is a platform enabling freelancers to collaborate around more meaningful work by forming teams with professionals in complementary skill sets, to tackle large projects at some of biggest nonprofit organizations. And P.S. — they’re hiring for an Account Executive!
Second Day is your go-to hub for building a social impact career. The organization offers resources to those who feel forced to choose between doing good for the world and doing good for themselves. Second Day offers users a personally curated job board that features top social impact jobs. Their team creates original content through company profiles, interviews, and professional development articles to give people a clearer window into the industry. Finally, the Second Day team is readily accessible to offer additional support and mentorship. Headquartered in New York, the team is spread across the United States. For more go to secondday.org.