Have you ever dreamed of getting paid to give advice on a subject you're passionate about? You don't need to be a public speaker or corporate trainer to accomplish this goal. In an age where freelancing is now a realistic full-time career option, you can find individual consumers and business owners who are willing to pay for your expert opinions. But marketing yourself as an independent consultant and finding a steady stream of new clients can be difficult. These four websites can connect you with paying customers who want your advice.
Google's mission is to "organize the world's information." With the November 2013 launch of its live video platform Helpouts, the company furthered this mission by bringing experts in a wide variety of topics together in one place to help them help others.
"We want folks to share their knowledge and passion with other people around the world," said Lyndsay Lyle, category head of Google Helpouts, in another Business News Daily article. "Whether you're an expert on public speaking or pet care, you can use Helpouts to market your skills and business."
Each person who applies to give a Helpout is screened by Google to confirm that he or she is qualified. Once you're accepted as a Helpout provider, you can name your price and begin offering video consultations or lessons in your personal area of expertise.
While "nerd" may have once been an insult on the school playground, consultant matching service HourlyNerd gives the term a wholly positive connotation. Top-tier MBA students and graduates can use this online marketplace to bid on business consulting projects and become the best Nerd for the job.
Whether you have sophisticated knowledge of a particular subject area or are simply a creative individual with fresh ideas, HourlyNerd can help you find a company that's looking for a consultant like you — on your own terms.
"HourlyNerd provides the opportunity to work when you want, from wherever you want, however you want," said co-founder Rob Biederman. "We have a categorization and deep understanding of the expertise, experience and skillset of our Nerds, and we leverage the project information and details to help identify the very best ones for a project."
As an attorney, establishing your practice can be difficult amid a sea of more experienced competition. Rocket Lawyer, a provider of online legal services, started its On Call attorney program to help practicing lawyers reach a wider base of clients.
"Our nationwide network of over 500 On Call attorneys connect with Rocket Lawyer members who need help with their legal issue or document review," said Benton Wong, Rocket Lawyer's senior manager of attorney services. "To join the On Call program, applicants must be regularly engaged in the practice of law, maintain an active law license in at least one state with no complaints or disciplinary actions, and maintain professional liability insurance."
Once you've passed Rocket Lawyer's background check and onboard training, you'll be expected to provide free 30-minute consultations and legal document reviews, as well as timely responses to questions submitted through the company's legal Q&A service. In exchange, you'll receive free leads for your practice, complimentary access to Rocket Lawyer's extensive library of documents and forms, and additional media and marketing opportunities through your Rocket Lawyer online profile and connections.
Like Google Helpouts, 12ish is a service that allows qualified individuals to share their expertise with paying customers at a price that's right for them. But instead of scheduling live video sessions, "12vers" offer their advice via a 12.5-minute phone call with a client.
Anyone can become a 12ver by signing up, connecting a PayPal account, setting a weekly availability schedule, and choosing a price for each topic. Once the account is set up, anyone can book you through a simple shopping cart experience. Customers can evaluate your credibility through the rating and review system provided by 12ish, or by following reference links on the 12ish page to sites like LinkedIn and Twitter.
"The people making the most of 12ish are passionate about a certain topic, set a reasonable price, and promote themselves," said Colin Mathews, CEO and co-founder of 12ish. "We have a directory of 12vers on our site, but we also have great widgets you can place on your blog or website that allow people to book your time easily. Ultimately, 12ish is about improving yourself through the wisdom and experience of someone else."
While VideoBlocks isn't an advice-sharing platform, it is a unique website designed to help independent video producers deliver their work to paying customers. While freelance video projects are certainly available, they're generally not as easy to find as other creative freelance gigs, like writing and graphic design. Through VideoBlocks, producers can become a part of the company's network of contributors who create high-quality stock videos.
Founder and CEO Joel Holland explained that VideoBlocks determines customer content demands by mining and analyzing search queries, and reaches out to producers to fill in any gaps in their video library. These nonexclusive contributors receive upfront payment to produce the types of videos customers are seeking.
"VideoBlocks prioritizes its relationships with contributors above everything else," Holland said. "We firmly believe that for our customers to be happy, our contributors must first be happy. That is how we can continue to grow in the stock media space."
Originally published on Business News Daily.