So far this year, I’ve made $1338.96 consulting on Clarity.fm. This is one the many income streams I’m working on, and it’s an easy one to add to your repertoire.
Clarity earnings are incremental; it’s $1300 I wouldn’t have made otherwise. I say that because my “clients” don’t have a pre-existing relationship with me, but this platform brought us together.
This post will cover:
- What Clarity is.
- How it works.
- How to set up YOUR expert profile for success.
- How to earn your first reviews.
- My tips and tricks to maximize your earnings.
- Other Clarity-like platforms you might consider.
What is Clarity.fm?
Clarity is the marketplace to get one-on-one expert advice on a wide variety of business topics. The site makes it easy to facilitate quick Q&A-style consulting calls.
The site was established in 2012 by Dan Martell, and now boasts more than 30,000 experts and facilitates more than 12,000 consulting calls every month. The company, which raised an initial seed round of $1.6 million, was acquired by Fundable earlier this year.
Consider one of the common themes of Side Hustle Nation: putting your “buy buttons” on marketplaces that already exist.
Clarity is one of those marketplaces. People are browsing on there looking for answers to specific questions — and even better, they’re ready and willing to spend some money for help.
For service-based businesses and consultants, this is another potential way for clients to discover you; one that doesn’t rely 100% on your own marketing efforts.
It’s not passive income, but there’s also very little overhead involved.
My average call lasts 20-25 minutes and earns $36.40.
How Clarity.fm Works
How Clarity works is as a facilitator between experts and those needing expert advice. If I’m looking for help with a specific business question, I can go on and browse qualified professionals to set up a call with.
For example, if I need help with Infusionsoft, I can find specialists on-demand who can help me out:
It’s one-on-one, direct, and sometimes almost immediate. Rather than spending hours hunting for the right insight or information, I can get the answers I need right away from trusted, verified, and peer-reviewed sources.
To set up a call:
- I fill in a little form to give my expert an idea of what I want to talk about.
- Estimate how long I think the call will run.
- Suggest 3 times, beginning as early as an hour from the time I make the request.
Clarity will bill me immediately for the estimated length of the call, and refund me the difference if the call is shorter than anticipated. (And charge me the overage if we run long.)
The company provides a conference call number to dial in to, and tracks how long the call lasts. You pay only for the time both you and the expert are on the line.
Once the call is scheduled, you can dial in from anywhere. I’ve taken calls from an Airbnb apartment in Madrid, a Starbucks in Seattle, and while walking around the streets of Anaheim.
How does Clarity.fm make money you ask? They take a 15% cut from every completed call.
But where this becomes exciting for entrepreneurs and side hustlers is that you can set yourself up on the seller side of the equation. There are two sides to every transaction!
If you have a website or blog, you can link to your Clarity profile from your sidebar, your about page, or even in your email signature.
Setting up your Clarity profile
The first you need to do is to create an expert account, which is free.
Next, Clarity offers a few ways to “verify” your account with other social media profiles, and at the very you must connect your LinkedIn account. (It’s required.)
While I can’t be sure, I imagine these verifications will be a “ranking factor” in Clarity’s search algorithm if they’re not already. It’s also a way to safeguard you really are who you say you are — so people like me can’t pretend to be Mark Cuban and charge $167 a minute!
In any case, they make your profile look more legit because they’re prominently displayed:
Upload a professional picture, or one related to your industry, as long as it shows your face.
If you’re feeling super ambitious, you can now even add a video to your profile page. (I haven’t done this yet.)
Setting Your Rate
When setting up your profile, you’ll be asked to set your hourly consulting rate. Rates on Clarity start at $60 per hour, but generally average $100-300 per hour:
(Or you can start out charging nothing to build up a base portfolio, but if you set your rate to $0 you won’t be eligible to appear in Clarity’s search results. More on taking free “portfolio-building” calls below.)
On your public-facing profile page, rates are displayed by-the-minute. This may be a psychological hack. Does a $1.67 a minute sound more affordable than $100 an hour?
Pricing Strategies on Clarity
There are a couple pricing strategies to consider.
The first would be to price low initially to help build up a bit of a portfolio of positive feedback. This would also be the strategy to consider if you envision Clarity being a potential lead generation platform for your larger business.
Think of it like Costco giving away free samples. They want you to buy the whole pack so they’re willing to give away a taste for free.
The other pricing point to consider is if you have publicly listed your rates elsewhere, it might not make sense to “undercut” yourself here on Clarity. After all, if you’re an attorney billing clients at $400 an hour, I’d be upset to learn I could hire you for $100 an hour on Clarity instead.
Still stuck? Take a look at what others are charging for your areas of expertise (see below) and pick something in the middle.
When I’m shopping I tend to gravitate not toward to the cheapest or most expensive options, but toward something in between. Callers on Clarity may behave similarly.
You can change your rate up or down at any time. I started out at $60 an hour and have been slowly increasing my rates as I’ve accumulated more calls and feedback ratings.
After you’ve made some money, you can withdraw your earnings to PayPal, or you can elect to donate your Clarity earnings to a charity of your choice.
Your Areas of Expertise
Each expert on Clarity can have up to 5 areas of expertise. Naturally, it makes sense to fill out all 5 to give yourself the best shot of being discovered.
Like all marketplaces, there’s a search engine element to clarity. Consider your expertise headings as your main keywords you’ll be targeting in “Clarity SEO.”
You also have the ability to add a picture to illustrate each category you choose and write a little description. I like to have fun with the images, but think of the written description as your online resume. If you have any concrete deliverables or results you can share, all the better.
On a page of text, our eyes are drawn to numbers.
Since people don’t know you here, they need to know WHY they should trust you to help them.
Building Your Profile: Your First Calls and Reviews
Whenever you start on a new marketplace (Amazon, Udemy, Fiverr, Upwork, Etsy, etc.), you’re starting from scratch so it’s on you to give your profile the initial push it needs to get some real attention.
Thankfully, Clarity is aware of this problem and has a cool workaround for new experts. (After all, they want you to succeed because that’s how they get paid.)
The best way to collect your initial Clarity reviews is to set up free calls through the platform. Each expert has the ability to generate a “promo” VIP link you can share with friends, clients, or other trusted individuals.
This may not even require a huge change in behavior. If you’re already taking free intro calls with potential clients, why not just run them through Clarity instead for a couple months to build up your base?
The call count and reviews are social proof. They help build trust with your potential callers that you’re legit and can help them.
Maximizing Your Clarity Earnings
On each call, you can kind of get a feel for the type of customer you’re dealing with. Some are happy with a long rambling conversation, while others have a precise pre-written list of questions they expect you to answer. Some, surprisingly, love to hear themselves talk and will dominate the conversation.
I’m an excellent listener when the clock is ticking!
Some Insider Tips
It’s generally easier to keep someone talking than to get a new client. Every minute on the call is more money in your pocket. Be helpful and honest, and speak quickly (you’re the expert!), but also make sure to ask if there’s anything else you can help with.
Sometimes a thoughtful (and hopefully insightful) probing question or two can uncover a new area of assistance the caller hadn’t thought of. They’ll be grateful you brought it up – or they’ll politely decline.
After a brief intro, I like to openly acknowledge the dollars-for-minutes relationship:
“I know we’re on the clock here so if you’re ready, let’s get right into it. I understand you’re looking for help with _____.”
This is a subtle way of showing you understand and intend to be respectful of their time and wallet.
The other thing I like to ask at the end of the call (especially when I know the answer) is: “has this been helpful?” It’s a little sales/psychology hack. You’ll always get a yes, and the more enthusiastic the yes is, the more permission you have to ask for a positive Clarity review.
“Has this been helpful?”
“Yes absolutely – thank you so much!”
“Great! After we hang up, you’ll get an email from Clarity asking you to review our call. If you have a minute to drop in a 5-star / excellent rating, that would be a huge help and very much appreciated.”
Encourage the follow up
I also invite people to follow-up with me after the call:
“If you think of anything else, please feel free to shoot me note on the Clarity platform or by email. Happy to help out as best I can!”
And finally, this is a powerful networking platform. You’ll learn about businesses and industries you might otherwise have never been exposed to. Make an effort to keep the relationships with your callers alive in the weeks and months following your conversation.
You never know who else you know who may be able to help them, or who else they know who may be able to use your help. Plus, they’ve already proven their willingness to spend money with you so that’s a good contact in my book.
Downsides to Clarity
One of the most frustrating parts of Clarity is at the moment their suggested call times don’t integrate with your calendar, so it will occasionally take a few back-and-forth rounds before you find a time that works for both parties.
Also, this is a small annoyance, but every time I withdraw my earnings I have to pay the PayPal transaction fee as well. For example, on my last withdrawal PayPal took $16.95 in fees from my $427.01 in earnings. I wouldn’t normally complain, but I don’t see those fees with similar payments from Udemy or Fiverr.
Clarity may be the most prominent player in the one-on-one expert advice arena, but there are a handful of alternatives you can try out as well.
- WizIQ – focused on academic tutoring.
- Coach.me – focused on personal growth and self-improvement.
- GrowthMentor – On-demand startup mentorship.
- PopExpert – [Discontinued] “get better at life, work, and play.”
- 24Sessions – business advice for entrepreneurs.
- SoHelpful.me – [discontinued] offer your assistance for free (for lead gen and market research).
(Google had a competing service called Helpouts, but shut it down in 2015.)
Go forth and sell your expertise on Clarity!
Have you tried out the platform already? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below if this side hustle sounds doable to you.
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Stock photo by Kate Babiy via Shutterstock