What do you get when project management enters the social networking space? Projectia. This new online platform encapsulates an entire project lifecycle, making collaboration within and across projects easier than ever.
Working as a project manager at a government organisation, Founder of Projectia, Jarrod Smith is all too aware of the chaos associated with the role. He says when there are hundreds of interrelated projects, grasping where your project fits in the bigger picture can be extremely difficult.
“I felt that I could make my project more successful if I could understand where the touch points were with other projects and could implore their project expertise to benefit mine as well as their outcome,” says Smith.
The more he thought about it, the more he realised that the problem is not confined within project management organisations – that people who undertake daily activities from DIY (Do It Yourself) projects to school experiments and even broader community campaigns experience the same frustrations associated with collaborations.
To address this problem, as well as learning the impact networking and distributed knowledge can have on project growth, Smith decided to create Projectia.
So how does Projectia work?
People can post a project they are working on – such as building a cubby house for their kids in the backyard – and the site enables the project owner to explain the project, connect with other users, and build a project community where like-minded collaborators can help at a moment’s notice.
“The key service we provide is a platform that enables you search, follow and collaborate on projects. But the real benefit to any project owner is the access to the collective knowledge of the site, people who are really interested in what it is you are doing and ready to help,” says Smith.
What makes Projectia unique is that there is no other place on the internet that encapsulates an entire project lifecycle.
“None of them enable you to control your project community or give you the ability to easily search projects that show you “how to” to something. We re coming at this from a very different angle,” adds Smith.
The business model
Projectia implements a “freemium model based around advertising”.
For an average user, the site is free to use; but for a company to register, they must pay a yearly membership fee of $50 and they will have access to additional features such as the ability to sponsor projects and have their brand listed as a sponsor of the project.
The consumer response to Projectia has been positive especially given the site is yet to experience an official launch, and with no marketing or SEO strategies employed thus far.
The site has just under 100 users and is hosting 20 projects of varying complexity and size.
“More importantly for us at this stage of the startup is the initial feedback we’ve had from our current users, and once they get into it they love it. The great part about a network like this is the more we grow the better the user experience will be,” says Smith.
Proudest moments as a startup owner
Smith says he’s proud of being able to “get the site live and functioning in a way that meets the requirements of the original concept.”
With no experience in web development and limited initial capital, Smith was able to pull all the pieces together to produce something that will make project management easier than ever.
Challenges as a startup
Like many other startups, Smith found it challenging to make the correct decisions with such limited capital.
“It’s hard to know where to put your money and who to trust with doing the right job for you, especially when you don’t have money to waste, making these decisions correctly is critical.”
The other challenge has been explaining to people the value of something that is so new.
“Without having a site to show to people, it’s hard to explain the value they would get from being in a project community. But now that we have the site up and some content to show users it is becoming easier to communicate the value to potential users,” says Smith.
Tips for turning an idea into a business reality
Smith says the best advice he can give is to just ‘start’.
“Half the battle lies within your own head. Should I do this? What if it doesn’t work? Do i have a business plan that stacks up? Are my financials accurate enough? In the end none of that really matters when starting.”
“What really matters is truly believing in your idea and turning that into a reality, so pick the first task you would need to begin your journey and do it, the rest will just happen step by step after that.”
His second piece of advice is to share your business projects with your personal networks to receive support and advice, and a larger network to aid in your journey.
Smith cleverly adds “I know of a great new project platform that enables you to do that! Check out www.projectia.com“