Over 3 million Americans have filed for unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic. Out of the 3 million, a large number of people were hourly workers in the service industry or gig economy. With over 55 million gigs, 30 million retail jobs, and 16 million restaurant jobs at risk, there is no aggregated platform for these workers to interact with each other, get information about new job openings and employers, find out about their employment rights and benefits, and learn about other workers’ experiences.
Earning hourly wages and living paycheck to paycheck is often a stressful and unstable path. The pressure only increases searching for jobs, staying updated with worker rights and keeping track of resources available. Let us take Jack as an example. Jack is a full-time driver for Uber and Lyft in Seattle. He is worried about not making enough money to pay his bills, wants to know how other fellow drivers protect themselves from contracting the virus, and wants to keep informed about the pandemic. Through hustlin', Jack will be able to converse with other drivers in the area and around the country, learn their ways, and practice better safety during the pandemic.
Imagine Sophie, a single mother with 2 children. Sophie depends on flexible hours and multiple jobs to provide for her family, working as a sales associate at Walmart and driving for Lyft. Looking for jobs and meeting qualifications while raising her children is difficult and time-consuming for her. Through hustlin’, Sophie will be able to reach out to others for advice or a referral, and can ask her fellow hustlers whether a gig is suited for her.
Consider Nicholas, who was a full time cook at a restaurant, but just lost his job because COVID-19 caused the restaurant to shut down. This loss not only left Nicholas without pay, but also devastated while self-isolating. Nicholas can use hustlin’ to connect with others who are in a similar situation, learn about how they are coping, and be guided on how to file for unemployment insurance and benefits.
With hustlin’, we aim to help connect gig workers and facilitate conversation, information and experience exchange, and support during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
hustlin' is a social networking app with two primary functions: to engage and inform. The app is currently divided into conversation topics, and each topic consists of both curated content and user-generated posts. Users will also be able to see a list of jobs in their area specific to the gig economy, and have access to legal, financial, and medical resources. Through hustlin', users will also be able to connect with other hustlers personally.
hustlin' after the pandemic
- Help gig workers stay connected and make it easier to come back to the job market after the pandemic.
- Help with financial security advice for temporary workers, as the gig economy and service industry continue to expand.
- Facilitate the community, especially for the usually unheard service professionals, to exchange ideas, find opportunities for advanced trainings and ultimately have better control of their work life.
Immediate next steps for hustlin'
- Build a robust backend for hustlin’.
- Integrate the full stack and achieve a working app with predetermined beta features.
- Perform vast user testing on beta application, take inputs, make improvements, and iterate until we have a deployable product.
- Reach out to gig workers affected by COVID 19 and describe how hustlin’ can help them, with the end goal of forming a small initial community.
- Marketing through employment and unemployment channels, conversation groups and word of mouth. If monetarily possible, use targeted advertising.
- Work on improvements related from user inputs.
- After the end of COVID-19 crisis, work on generating revenue stream from employer posting jobs.