If you could solve someone else’s problem in a quick burst of work that spans anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, and still get paid for it, would it be a good opportunity to consider?
It’s called Microconsulting – a part of a larger, well-established trend called Crowdsourcing which refers to a unique concept where thousands of service providers work simultaneously to cater to a specific business need and clients pay only when they choose someone’s work specifically.
Some services such as web design, logo design, artwork for banners, brochure or business cards are already an inseparable part of the Crowdsourcing trend.
Microconsulting is much like crowdsourcing, except that service providers get paid for services as they are being consumed and work begins only when you are chosen (unlike typical crowdsourcing where work is done and left for clients to choose).
While microconsulting is a relatively new trend – compared to full-fledged consulting, it’s lucrative indeed. Further, microconsulting can be fun, and profitable.
Everyone is knowledgeable about something, and this could help solve others’ problems. To test waters, you can start with sharing knowledge and solving problems for free at LinkedIn Answers, Quora, Focus.com, StartupNation, etc.
But here’s where it gets exciting: you can also get paid for doing it professionally. Here are a few professional networks where microconsulting is an actual professional and lucrative vocation.
Techcrunch.com recently covered Askyourusers.com – a new microconsulting service, which is still in private beta. Microconsultants can make anywhere from $20 to $40 per hour for helping businesses form on-demand focus groups, conduct high-impact market research, legal advice etc. How does a business decide which landing page works better on the Internet? They do a usability test using you – as a micro consultant, if that’s your expertise. Each consulting session lasts for 15 minutes (which can be continued depending on the session itself).
Businesses can use microconsultants on askyourusers.com for testing ideas, measuring the effectiveness of their presentations or sales pitches, get a better understanding of target markets, understand consumer behavior, run a test for graphics, and much more.
Wyatt Nordstrom – the CEO of Maven research – opined that “everyone knows something” and his company is a leading microconsulting firm. His company is positioned as a “Global Knowledge Marketplace”, and rightfully so. Maven Research features telephone consultations, workshops, seminars, strategic advisory sessions, and electronic surveys – all of this rendered with strict privacy policies.
You can sign-up as a “maven”, fill up your profile (this helps the company match you to microconsulting assignments), and go about doing your business. When there’s a match for someone looking for your expertise and your profile, maven sends you an offer.
Accept the offer, deliver, and get paid.
Aristotle Circle is a professional network of deans, professors, and admissions experts who assist parents and/or students to find the right schools and colleges, plan a path for education, iron out problems with admissions to select colleges or schools, etc.
The experts on board help students and parents with timely advice on how to apply for schools and colleges, how to plan the formative years of a child’s education stretching from age 3 through 16, college, and beyond.
Further, Aristotle Circle now partners with peer2peer tutors to provide kids with home tutoring, online peer tutoring and even special tutoring for disadvantaged students.
Are you an expert in the education sector? Have you spent time in schools and colleges and know the intricacies of admissions? Can you help students or parents plan education?
If yes, you do know where to go, don’t you?
Are you a mom who knows a lot about legal matters, veterinary sciences, safety, home maintenance, appliance repair, technology, education, languages, parenting, relationships, antiques, musical instruments, tutoring in math or science, or even dream interpretation?
If you answered yes to any of those (in fact, there are a lot more categories), you can make money by microconsulting – providing answers to specific problems — on JustAnswer.com .
At least one question is answered every 9 seconds on the site which more or less gives you an idea for the potential.
People have issues related to taxes, technology, marriages, relationships, real estate, legal and much more. They need quick answers and solutions. A search on Google can usually give generic advice (some of which is questionable). Again, microconsulting kicks in with spades of value.
Ether is another platform for moms who have expertise or skills. Whether you are a tax consultant, real estate expert, parenting expert, or even if you blog about a topic passionately, you can make money on Ether.
The process, however, is slightly different compared to the other avenues discussed above. Ether.com largely depends on phone-based microconsulting: you offer a business number (an Ether number which goes like 1-888-MY-ETHER and a unique 8 digit extension number that’s specially generated for you so that you can set this to be forwarded to your desk phone or any other number).
As a microconsultant, you’ll fix your rates depending on what your worth is, and calls come in only when customers are willing to pay the price.
Has anyone had experience with companies such as these? Have you heard of any other ones that are doing great things?