Your Time Is Valuable. An Easy Way to Charge For It.

February 21, 2012

How can you not love a company with such a cool mascot?

Can I pick your brain for a few minutes? I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee and get your opinion on something. Would you mind showing me how to use FacebookTwitterLinkedIn? Have you heard this line before? We’ve all done it.  We have all asked an expert for free advice.  I know some people who are masters at squeezing every ounce of free advice out of someone before they cry uncle. I know brilliant experts who willingly share their knowledge without ever thinking about charging for it.

In the world of netweaving (pay-it-forward), there is a certain amount of sharing that should be done, simply to help others or in hopes that the karma will return to you at some point in time. I’m a big believer in helping others and giving advice. However, when giving advice is how I pay the mortgage and feed my cat, there comes a point where I need to be compensated for my time.

Asking for money is not something that people are always comfortable with. It can be uncomfortable for some and  for  people who actually want to pay, it may feel awkward or offensive. This has been a business issue as old as consulting itself…until Will Weinraub invented a solution with Live Ninja.

I found Live Ninja by accident and within a few minutes I was in love. Live Ninja is a website that allows people with expertise to register for free and become a “ninja.” Experts simply register for free, add a bio, list their expertise, select availability and set a rate (per minute/per half-hour/per hour).  Once Live Ninja approves an application and elevates someone to the status of ninja, they now have a platform to collect payment (everything goes through Live Ninja and PayPal) and provide one-on-one sessions through an easy to use video chat. Once the session is complete, the fee is deposited into your account and can be transferred to Paypal, minus a commission for Live Ninja.

I was lucky enough to be “hired” by Will himself to provide him with some social media advice.  During our half-hour session, I learned more about the evaluation system of the ninjas, how to share documents (it’s slick) and how the chat features work. The platform is so usable that I was doing back-flips in excitement.  While it is still in beta, Will was great about listening to feedback and improving the platform. One of my concerns was the calendar feature that had a few drawbacks, but they are being addressed.

If you read my blog, you probably know that I rarely write about specific software tools unless I really love them. I really love Live Ninja. It’s definitely not just a tool for techie types. They have ninjas in many areas including law, yoga, psychology, music, cooking and many more. It’s very easy to navigate so if you are training the not-so-techie-type, no worries, your student shouldn’t have a problem getting to you.

The thing that I really like about this is that IT SOLVES A PROBLEM.  Live Ninja didn’t create more work for us, they found a solution to an age-old predicament.

There will always be a time when we share tricks and tips for the greater good. We will continue to help others without reward. However, when it’s time to get paid, we now have a way to do it.

Check out Live Ninja and let me know what you think.  If you have some extra cash to spare, they are currently seeking financing. This might be a tool worth an investment.