Get paid to tell people what you think. Indulge in ... self ... Work at home or while the boss isn't looking. Promote your web site and ... Get noticed on the internet for free!"An
Get paid to tell people what you think. Indulge in shameless self promotion. Work at home or while the boss isn't looking. Promote your web site and business. Get noticed on the internet for free!
"An expert is a guy that traveled more than an hour to get to the job." - Anonymous
If it is true that the further from the client you are the more of an expert you are, then the internet is for you. And if you really do know what you are talking about, the opportunity is even greater and certainly things will work out better for the client! This article describes 'expert' web sites and how you can promote yourself on the internet by providing expert advice and services on line.
Expert web sites are meeting places, almost bulletin boards, where members (aka the unsuspecting public) can meet experts (you, me, and my 2nd year of law school son) to get advice. The sites make money from advertising and from a share of the revenue the expert charges for her consultation. We know who the unsuspecting public is. But the definition of an expert on these web sites is generally just someone who says they are an expert. I've signed up as an expert in a couple of places and no one has checked my quals. In fact the disclaimer for members generally includes the following kind of language: vendor 'does not have control over the quality, timing or legality of services actually delivered by the Experts'. In the words of a carnival barker, 'you pays your money and you takes your chances'.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing - who could guarantee quality or exercise control of all of the advice passed out over the internet? Who would want to? What you must recognize is that credibility is an issue you need to seriously address in these systems. You will get a reputation so you want to think carefully about the kind of, and range of, service you provide.
If your expertise is writing press releases, selecting after-dinner wines, writing software code, or otherwise producing a clear-cut deliverable, and you have work product to point to, I think these systems are worth exploring. If you can demonstrate what you do, draw a box around your service AND make a profit, you will probably have happy customers. On the other hand, if you can't draw a box around your service client expectations may get out of hand and you risk disappointing the client and loosing money yourself.
One experts' web site you should visit is www.swapsmarts.com. Swapsmarts has over 1400 experts and their range of expertise includes, in no particular order; cricket, mathematics, relationships, ecommerce, investing, writing, and astrology. And to think some people still don't believe free enterprise helps people. In researching this vignette, I visited www.askjeeves.com and asked Jeeves 'where can i become an expert'. (Jeeves doesn't care about capitalization, punctuation, or syntax. Unlike my editor, school teachers before him, parents before them, and so on.) Jeeves tells me I can become:
a volunteer wedding expert
an expert in anything in the Greater Milwaukee area at www.asktheexperts.org,
a computer expert helping students at Stanford http://www-facilities.stanford.edu sg/expert.html,
a pole barn expert,
a travel expert, and my favorite
How to Make Extra Money as an Expert Witness from www.welldressedmonkey.com.
The lunacy aside, expert web sites are a good idea. They help solve the classic problem in marketing - meeting people and getting leads. This problem will never go away but expert systems really do give you the opportunity to get the introduction.
Comments on this article? Have an extra plate at the dinner table? Contact me!
Mr. Gilman is the President of Galileo Consulting and Marketing for Idiots. He brings over twenty years of diversified business experience to his businesses from government, private sector and international consulting.