Narrowing it Down

Our in-class activity today really forced me to research who my true sneezers are. I know I previously labeled them as company workers and freelancers, but with supplemental research, I was able to narrow that down even more.

I have found sound evidence that freelancers are on the rise in the workforce, and the number is nearing the amount of people who work for a company or corporation. A report by Forbes last year cited that there is an estimated 42 million American freelancers who aren’t tied to any company. On the other side of that, both large and small companies have found an increased need for freelance workers in recent years.

Fortune magazine noted that in 2012, a survey found 3,000 freelancers used Elance, a website for freelancers looking for work. Of those, 57% had an increase in income since using the service. In addition, 42% of employers were expecting to hire more freelancers the following year.

These numbers proves the need for both freelancers and company workers to have a way of matching up and finding either employers or workers.

The same Forbes report stated that the majority of companies looking for freelancers are small companies hoping to find someone quickly for a one-time project. A smaller company would include locally-distrubuted magazines and newspapers, independently owned websites, or independent video production companies.

Deskmag released some demographics that help define the majority of freelancers looking for work. In Elance’s survey, it found that half of their users were in their twenties, while The Freelance Industry Report found that only 12% total freelancers are in their twenties, with the majority falling in between the ages of 30 and 50. Considering this project will be similar to Elance as it is a digital forum, my key audience will be the Millennial generation.

The Freelance Industry Report also determined that 65% of freelancers were full-time with no other company ties. The same report found that more than half of freelancers are the primary earners in their households. Further, the average income of freelancers is $50-59.

Those statistics lead me to my more specific sneezers: small, independent company owners and full-time, middle-class freelancers in their mid- to late twenties.

The hive? Larger company owners and workers, corporations, older/younger and part-time freelancers.

Sneezers and the Hive

This week in class we discussed finding an audience for our ideas. Our discussions and the reading from Seth Godin’s Unleashing the Ideavirus have really made me think about who my “sneezers” are and what my “hive” is. I’ve been collecting statistics and other information on who my main audience will be, and why they will be interested in my product.

My initial idea for the audience was just to open the website up to any type of artist – that would include musicians, videographers, photographers, designers, architects, writers, developers, decorators, etc. I then realized that though my idea may expand to that eventually, I need to hone in on just a few of those categories.

I also realized that choosing one of those categories would take away from my whole idea of collaboration. The point is that someone with particular skills can have a forum on which to find someone with different skills in order to collaborate on a project.

So then, I landed on my two main sneezers: company workers and freelancers. When paired together, the two are complementary in working on a project. Companies almost always need freelancers and freelancers typically need a company for which to work.

Once I’ve narrowed my sneezers down even more, my hive will be all the other company workers, freelancers, and others who wish to collaborate with someone else or another company.

Now that I have a general idea of who my audience will be, I need to narrow it down even more and determine some specifics as to who will actually be my main target.

Humble Beginnings

I am editor-in-chief of a student-run digital magazine much in need of a web developer. We had a website upgrade last year, which unfortunately resulted in a number of glitches and empty spaces on our site. I was left with a task unfit for my limited knowledge in coding and development. I am much more of an aesthetically-minded person. So for the last few weeks, I sought out a knowledgeable and willing student web developer with little luck. And in those moments of stress and desperation, an idea ignited. Wouldn’t it be useful to have a dating site for developers?

Think Tinder, the infamous dating app on which one swipes right if interested and left if not, but for the common creator in need of collaboration. Say a videographer needs a photographer to complement the work. Or a blogger needs a web coder to build his/her site. This project will allow those people to connect and potentially work together in a quick and efficient manner.

The user will create a simple profile including his/her geographic location, medium/field, skills, and what he/she is seeking. That last bit is important, for that is how the program will be able to match you with potential collaborators. You then match up with someone who fulfills your needs, someone who is also interested, and the rest is history.

My biggest competition in this venture is the suave and handsome (I guess) actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, with his artist collaboration site called hitRECord. Boring. But, I assure you, mine will be much different and MUCH more innovative.

I still have quite a bit of developing to do based on this idea, so stay tuned to be a part of this exciting process.