You're already skilled at something, you have a lot of free time at home, could you make money on Google Helpouts? Maybe, but there's one thing to keep in mind.
There's a number of ways you can try and make money from home by using the Internet - setting up your own ecomerce site, being a "virtual" secretary, doing freelance programming or graphic design using sites like Freelancer.com or DesignCrowd are a few.
Now here comes Google Helpouts which throws open the possibilities for this work-at-home game a bit wider still. Though we'd argue it's not likely to be a one-way ticket to riches just yet.
What is Google Helpouts? Here's the video:
Essentially, you share your tips, tricks, lessons one-on-one with someone only via live video, and the person at the other end is paying you. You decide how much to charge and you can charge per session, or by the minute. You can let people connect to you straight away, or make them book a time. The system Hangouts uses Google Wallet for payment.
On the surface this would seem to have huge potential. You're already have a skill, you have a lot of free time - perhaps you're minding the kids at home - and here's a way you can teach people for money. Google uses examples like showing how to fix a garage door, or how to remove a computer virus, build a deck, or teach someone how to speak "conversational French" or draw cartoons.
There's also fitness, music lessons, IT and school tutoring which seem like potentially suitable topics.
It's not the first time we've seen video lessons. Apple introduced video lessons with Garageband, so you could learn, say, how to play the guitar.
Build it and they will come?
This strikes us as the kind of activity where your reputation will be important in attracting a steady stream of paying customers. There are big brands on Helpouts, like the makeup company Sephora. But if noone has heard of you, part of the battle is going to be convincing them to shell out money for your help.
No doubt people with a head start will be the ones who aready have a following and reputation online as an expert in their niche, perhaps via their blog or Youtube videos.
Interestingly, the Google site states there's a "100% Money Back Guarantee" for users if they are not happy.
If you're interested in creating your own Helpout, you'll need to request an invitation code from the site. The steps to create a Helpout are here.
Once you receive an invitation code you can create a Helpout by choosing the relevant category and writing up a description and other qualifications of your service.
There’s no guarantees that your Helpout will get listed as it goes through a review process by Google before it can be approved.