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I’m years from the average “retirement” age — which Motley Fool reports is age 63 — but even when I reach it, I’ll likely never truly retire, thanks to the chance to become an online expert.
As a journalist, I often use these experts for articles I write and have found them reliable, savvy and every bit as reputable as the sources I’ve met through universities, financial firms and other traditional employers.
Much of that is thanks to the world’s reliance on virtual information. That structure benefits those of us seeking reliable, accurate information and people who want to work from home, keep their skills sharp and work flexibly from anywhere they happen to be.
No, these aren’t the citizen experts who post on casual websites. You know, the folks who think they understand what is wrong with your Mac or are self-proclaimed animal experts or profess to understand your kids’ homework problems. The experts I use — and you can too — are screened, verified and rated to ensure they are true professionals.
If you’re like me, I was a bit hesitant to rely on some of these online experts. So I vetted them myself before using them and verified the information they supplied. I’ve never had a problem. In fact, their information to be as reliable as sources I found by more traditional means.
WorkAtHomeAdventures lists 21 websites and apps that offer you an opportunity to connect with an expert or become one yourself.
You can use some of the many resources I use to talk to an expert about the most effective way to treat your dog’s fleas or the best way to unclog your laundry room sink. And if you just can’t figure out how to help your kids with algebra, there are plenty of online tutors at the ready. Many are available to the public.
And when you’re ready, you can apply to become one of these experts and earn money answering such questions. The amount you earn depends on your credentials, your expertise, the amount of time you work and the demand for your skills.
Not sure where to go to find the experts you seek or to apply to become such an expert? Here are some of the top sites I’ve used:
This is one of the sites I frequently use that is also available for the public. In a matter of minutes, you can connect online with experts with a wide array of specialties, including doctors, criminal and divorce lawyers, mechanics, tax professionals, tech trouble shooters and more. Go back and forth in text, or make an appointment to speak to an expert by phone. Charges vary, but the cost is a fraction of what you would typically pay for in-person meetings — and a whole lot faster.
Company officials declined to answer questions about commissions or other rates but did say top earners who work full-time for JustAnswer make as much as $10,000 a month. If you enroll as an expert and are vetted and verified, you can begin to answer questions almost immediately.
Roy Cruzen a long-time veterinarian who now lives in Phoenix, became a JustAnswer expert after many years in a clinical practice.
“JustAnswer allows me to help pet owners in the digital age, putting my experience and knowledge to use so it really is a win-win situation,” wrote Cruzen. He says he earns more than $1,000 a month from the service but said he could easily earn “much more” if he didn’t self-limit his work.
“Talking to a pet owner enables me to take a detailed history, discuss… problems and suspected causes. Together we formulate a plan of action. Sometimes this is doing at-home care and monitoring. Other times the pet needs to be seen by a veterinarian ASAP. Helping people at all hours of the day gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction and flexibility, I can work anywhere where there is a cell signal.”
This site allows you to set your own rate to answer questions. Once you enroll and set your rate, you are assigned a specific phone number that is forwarded to your actual telephone number. You will only receive calls when users have agreed to pay the rate you set. You decide when you accept calls. The experts set rates per minute, hour, call or other basis. Ether charges a commission of 15 percent on income earned through it. There’s no cost to you as an expert if you don’t earn.
This service is the matchmaker between those seeking answers and experts. Although there are many expert “categories,” the site leans toward those looking for tutors. Experts’ credentials are verified. Once vetted and accepted, an expert sets the fees they require to answer questions. Those who have worked as experts for a long time and have a dedicated client base generally charge more than newer experts in the service. Note, though, that Presto Experts is currently not accepting applications.
Of course, all sites aren’t the same. Before you use one, understand exactly what fees will be charged, how you will be contacted and what you can do if you are not satisfied with the information you receive. But whether you want to find answers to a problem without visiting the vet, calling the repairman or otherwise investing hours of time, or are ready to put your own expertise to work, virtual expert services may be your answer.
Have you sought out experts this way, or wondered about ways to use your expertise from the comfort of your home? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.