Cath Pascual is a Manila-based social, content and creative professional who has been successfully freelancing full-time since 2015. In that time, she has worked for a diverse range of clients, from small digital startups to larger brands like Kohler, Qantas, MEIZU, and Lee Jeans. On her personal website, Cath calls herself a “self-proclaimed pop culture junkie” and says she is often “knee-deep creating content for the digital space, doing a secret project, shredding music or reading. And learning a new skill.”
We spoke with Cath about that last bit in particular, after she responded to our call for stories from people who have used Skillshare to help their personal and professional lives. She talked about how she struggled before deciding to turn her love of social media into a successful career--and what she tells people who want to follow in her footsteps.
Hi Cath! Thanks for chatting with us. When you initially reached out to us, you seemed uniquely passionate about working with social media. Why do you love what you do?
Social media is a powerful way to inspire people; there are no barriers—you can reach anyone wherever they are. And it’s a medium for expression...we didn't have before. Social media has given me a space to be entirely in charge of what I want to do, which is to create and inspire. You can make social media your own.
How did you get started in the industry?
It was more of a practical decision than an inspiring one. I was trying to get into the advertising industry after I got my degree, because I was dead-set on a career in advertising. That was always the plan, but you know how cut-throat the industry is. When the chance to work for an international digital agency, Wunderman, fell on my lap, I took it as a sign to get my foot in the door.
I lasted a year. The culture and benefits were great, and my boss was beyond fantastic, but the job itself wasn't working for me. I've always considered myself a creative person, but the role was more on the administrative side of things. It didn't make my heart soar, if that makes sense. It was a means to an end at most. I have bills to pay, a family--my parents and relatives--to help out. While it felt rewarding to be able to provide, I wasn't happy with my job. So I quit.
I moved to a media agency shortly after but I only lasted a month. It was agonizing. I was dreading going to work every single day, and...I knew I couldn't stay. I didn't have a fallback or enough savings to afford to be unemployed, but it was a risk I had to take. The next six months [were full of] rejections...insults...self-pity. I was in a dark place.
I told myself that the next job I took must be something I liked, so I did the pros and cons thing. [I listed] what I enjoyed doing, what felt natural to me, and social media came to mind. I ran after every social media job posting that would consider someone without any professional experience. One digital startup agency took a chance on me.
To this day, I am grateful for all of the hardships--they taught me a lot about being true to myself, perseverance, and the dreams worth going after.
You told us that Skillshare helped you make the transition into your social media career. When did you start using Skillshare, and what have you found the most useful about our classes?
I was starting my first social media job, and there wasn't much time to learn the ropes...but I needed to be competent to do everything related to being a Social Media Specialist. I read a lot! I read articles and white papers, I joined webinars, I signed up to trial lots of social media management tools. I tried to learn as much as possible. I remember going through Google, searching for classes on crafting effective social media strategies when I discovered Skillshare. It was the missing piece to complete my self-training.
Skillshare really honed my visual narratives and compelling storytelling skills. I have gone through a lot of courses and blogs about personal branding, and they've been extremely beneficial in finding my voice--my real one.
With social media, visual is half of the [work], so it's also crucial to determine which visual media fits a...post, whether it be a Facebook post, a blog or a video. I stumbled into this class, Think Like a Designer: Making an Art Poster, and it really inspired me to…[create] visual works using my smartphone. I like creating content outside of my professional work. It gives me freedom beyond resource constraints...and the deadlines we usually deal with in our day jobs.
It sounds like you’re a big fan of online learning!
I've had many people ask me how I've come to know so much about what I do inside and outside of my job. I always tell them that the Internet is one of the most effective yet un-utilized tools you could ever have, especially if you'd want to learn online skills like social media. With online courses like Skillshare...you can learn at your own pace, it's comprehensive. You can watch a course wherever you are, right at your disposal. Most courses provide exercise modules so you can apply what you learn right off the bat. That's a luxury these days. I'm a proud product of these courses if they need convincing!
What's something you might say to someone who is looking to get into social media or digital content like you did?
If there's any advice I'm confident enough to give, it's this: Do not give up. It's never going to be a walk in the park and there's so much failure you'll have to go through. When you’re trying to change careers or pursue something new, you have to accept doubt and fear and find a way to move past it. Knowing your limitations is your best defense against them. Instead of giving up, take a step back, assess why you want to throw in the towel, then you pick a [way] to fight it, or accept a limitation and adjust. That’s how you move forward.