By sandbox I mean a place to test your ideas, where you can also share openly and freely. Think back to your early years when you played in the backyard sandbox. The cardinal rule (at least in ours) was play nicely together. Most of our regular day-to-day work does not get shared with our more general audiences.
Out in the open
Much of the work I do with ColorMetrix is for our partner companies, I can only talk about it in general terms. Most of that work I can’t share with you. What is shared requires annual subscription fees starting around $600. In order to show readers of this blog the type and quality of work I’m capable of, I need to have sandboxes to experiment in.
A sandbox is a side project for me. I can dissect it and share the details because it’s all me. Much of the good stuff I learn in the sandboxes gets shared here in the form of posts like “18 useful WordPress plugins” and “21 days to a better blog.” Some of the best learning I do experimenting with the sandboxes ends up in ColorMetrix products.
Experiments work out sometimes
At the end of last year, I was able to sell one of my sandbox domains. Working with the owners of the domain, we made the URL very appealing to some folks and they paid a pretty penny for it. While it was a nice chunk of change, the value of what I learned along the way far exceeds the short-term cash gain. In fact, much of what I learned is being applied in my newest sandbox InformationProductsSelling.com which is live, but still pre-launch if you want to take a peek.
MolkkyUSA.com, another sandbox, had its best sales month in December. I didn’t even get to upgrade the e-commerce back end as I’d hoped to before the Christmas rush. Some of the e-commerce learning I’ve done in the MolkkyUSA sandbox will show up in our flagship ColorMetrix offering ProofPass.com early this year.
Tie it all together
It’s important that all your work, including your side projects and sandboxes, tie together. While the linkages won’t always be apparent to others, you must know that the work all feeds into the other work. Time is your most precious resource. By making sure all your work feeds and supports other work, you maximize and in fact magnify the value of your time.
Find a platform to test and experiment with the ideas floating around in your head. Write the ideas down and then figure out which of your sandboxes can be put to the test. In what seems like no time at all, some of your sandboxes will turn into businesses too.