Anita Campbell’s Small Business Trends reports on an interesting new Web 2.0 business called Ether.com. It is a site designed to make it easy for consultants to offer short telephone consultations. You place a button on your website and invite visitors to call you and pay for a telephone conversation.
Of course you can do this yourself at the moment. But it’s a lot of hassle to set up and isn’t worth it unless you’re going to make that a big part of your business model.
It appeals to me because it can be set up quickly and easily. If it’s not greatly used then it’s no great loss. At the moment, mainly as a result of this blog, I get occasionally get calls from people who for a variety of reasons I know are not going to be the type of client we’ll work for, but simply want some advise and expert counsel. Sometimes they are lucky and I give advise away for free, others just receive a sorry. Often these are very small start-ups or sole traders who simply couldn’t afford to hire us longterm or for a project. But we can give them some expert, personal tailored advice for their business.
Ether.com could potentially provide a small additional income stream. Not enough to retire on , but maybe enough to buy my wife an extra meal at a good restaurant such as Anthony’s – anyone for Risotto of White Onion, Espresso, Parmesan Air followed by Pig’s Cheek and Scallop Ravioli with Potato Foam?
It’s a beta invite only at the moment and it isn’t entirely clear if it is available to consultants outside of the USA. It says you can receive calls from customers abroad but doesn’t cover the other way round.
I’ve registered for a beta invite and will report back when something happens.