I've been freelancing for years outside my normal work hours. I enjoy it as it can break the monotony of "work", provide a little extra cash and help build contacts. For about a year or so I've been trying to scale back, but as the offers come in I keep telling myself that it's just one last project and then I'll stop. I've been like a freelance junky looking for just one more fix!
The reason I've been wanting to stop is that there's a hidden cost to freelancing while holding a full time job. Last week as I looked through a number of domain names that I own I realized the sheer volume of ideas that never made it out the door because I took another freelance gig. It's not the work balance that got me to this decision, it's my idea balance that's been out of whack. There's been at least 20 ideas in the last year alone that never made it past domain registration. That's not to say that all of them were good, but some of them were definitely worth exploring more.
I think that the biggest potential in social media is a great filtering system. The greatest benefit of the web is not the amount of information online, it's about knowing how to ask the right questions and finding out who to ask.
So, last week I made the decision that uhsmodeling.com (see above) was my last freelance project for at least 12 months. I am going to focus my time developing and growing two projects I think are really important and have great potential. The first is postEcho and the second is Smartagious. Both projects come with the benefit of great collaborators* and that's going to be a critical factor.
There's a real need for a product to help people cut through the noise and understand how to target their stories to the right demographic. Social media is not a spray and pray technique, that just won't cut it. You have to know and understand your audience and if you can do that with the most influential members of that audience you've got a head start on everyone else. postEcho is going to make that easy for you.
What if you could filter your social stream effectively to find the "smartest" people in a given community on a particular subject. Not just those people that can eloquently share their knowledge, but those that combine thinking and action to create an impact.
What if the community (and it can be a virtual community) ranked us based on our thoughts, our actions and our impact.
What if you could find a way to uncover some unsung heroes that could be the greatest connection you ever made. Connections that change the way you work, or play.
Well, that's the idea behind smartagious. We're redefining what it means to connect online. To create a "smart" network you can tap when you need it.
I'm excited about this decision, it's going to be tough. But I've already turned down two projects this week and i'm feeling good about the time it's allowed me to focus on both projects. We're moving people, it's gonna be fun!
Smartagious is a partnership with Travis Sheridan and Floyd Sanchez and postEcho is a partnership with Lisa Alvey and Brandon Tilley