One of my main goals in building Hector is to offer something that is actually worth a damn to freelancers. In my eyes freelancers are marketed to like it’s hot and a lot of tools exist, but many aren’t driven by people who are still in the thick of freelancing. These tools come off markety, and while some offer value, I feel many miss opportunities to truly help freelancers.
I am giving a lot of thought to value as I invest more time into Hector. It’s been made very obvious that value can be perceived as features. This is a TRAP! Just because I can make Hector do certain things does not translate into value for the freelancer. I am having to be very mindful of deciding what features I think Hector needs and what features might be cool, but not really valuable.
So if the feature set of Hector isn’t the only thing that provides value what else can I do to help others like me? After giving it some thought I have decided to build a community around Hector.
A gap in happiness for freelancers is often the desire to interact with other people. Me, personally, I really enjoy working from home, but so many look for ways to fill their need for community when freelancing full time. Some use coffee shops to simply be around people, you have meetups, and you have the very popular option of using a co-working space either full time or just a couple days out of the week to fill this void.
While not a physical space where you see people face to face the ultimate goal in creating a community for Hector users is to help fill the void of human interaction so many freelancers have.
When you are able to be a part of a group of people just like you there is magic that can happen. You can learn and grow as a professional if you are willing to interact and engage.
Naturally I don’t just want it to be a place where people can chat about how awesome Star Wars The Force Awakens is and how they went and saw it on opening day. I want the community to be a place where a freelancer can find support and answers for challenges they are facing. I want it to become a means of referral based business. Just because you are one person who offers one skill set does not mean you should not have a team of people who compliment what you do. You will be extremely glad you have that team when a client asks if you can do X, and X is out of your comfort zone, but you know that Steve can handle it so you get to tell your client yes.
Let’s be honest. We have all been a part of communities that were completely pointless. People were just trying to self-promote and there was no value in engaging. This is my biggest fear.
At least for the foreseeable future it will be 100% my responsibility to invest and foster the community and that is a little scary. What do I know about building a community?
It’s the main thing that had me on the fence of even pursuing this as an option in Hector.
What made me decide to move forward was the excitement to continue to help freelancers in a new way. Sure I have my blog, podcast, and course, but this becomes a much more personal way to help people. I enjoy getting to help other freelancers and that is why I plan to show up every day and just be there to keep the community pushing forward.
I do hope that it gets to a certain point to where if I don’t show up for one day things run smoothly, but until then I am ready to commit to making it a useful place.
I know it will be hard work, and I am going to have to make decisions for a group of people that all of them may not like. Some people will probably take things too far and I will have to deal with that.
Not to mention just making sure that if someone no longer uses Hector that they no longer have access to the community. There is certainly a number of unknowns that are going to take time. Time not spent on the app itself, but time spent on providing value to its users.
Not all the details are ironed out at this point, but here are the bullet points that I know for sure:
There are a lot of unknowns, but at the end of the day I think in order for a community to be successful you just need passionate people involved, and that is what I am working towards.
If you are a current Hector user and want to get into the community just email me or reach out on Twitter with your username in Hector and I will get you invited to the Slack room.
If you dig the way Hector looks I have put together a custom theme for you to use in Slack. Copy and past this to get the Hector theme shown in the image at the top of the article working in Slack.