Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Self-Employment Idea: Personal Geek

Most people have technology they'd like to use more fully: their SmartPhone, DV-R, computer, etc. But they don't know how.

For example, their computer has slowed down, they're using only the basics of Microsoft Office, LinkedIn, or Facebook, and they're paying too much for phone service, Internet access, or web hosting.

Then there's the stuff people are afraid of buying because they're not sure how to set it up: big-screen TV, home security system, surround-sound audio system, home computer network, etc.

Plus there's technology the people don't even know about but could make their life better.

Enter the personal geek, who makes house calls: does an audit of the person's needs, buys the stuff cheap on the Internet, installs it, trains the person on their new and existing techno-items, and provides ongoing support, as needed.

I think it's a self-employment idea that, in the right hands, has a high probability of success.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant idea, Marty.

I would love to hire someone to teach me various things, such as how to create better looking Word documents, how to use Excel, how to plan and prepare cheap easy meals at home, etc.

There are always areas where even successful people have gaps in their knowledge -- or just lack of time to learn by "trial and error". It would be great to hire a knowledgeable person to give you short term training or just answer questions.

I hope people consider doing this.

Rosh said...

Done and done. I could only work over the summer and I'm still getting calls. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time, and I don't have a good way to vet other people's ability to teach this stuff.

Anonymous said...

I also think it's a very good idea. People are so preoccupied with long commutes, going to the gym, occasional travel, occasional job searches (even if currently employed), evening courses, etc. that it's so hard to keep up with all this stuff even if you are tech-savvy.

Also, I think this is a much more feasible idea than having public service announcements to encourage people to hire personal assistants and tutors (something you suggested in a previous post).

jim said...

Hi Marty,

Great idea! And I appreciate the comments too. I would add that some services could be internet-based, and instantly available, especially computer related "geek" services.

If anyone is interested, I am ready to provide such services!

Anonymous said...

I have been interested in pursuing this kind of opportunity for a while now, but I don't think the small city that I live in is a good market. It's always at the bottom of the list of broadband adoption in the U.S. What geographical areas would be ideal for this type of business?

@Anonymous #2
Speaking of PSAs, I've seen a number of them lately where the government wants us to give it away. See getinvolved.gov

Marty Nemko said...

I'd focus on areas with a lot of people moving their for retirement: South Florida, Scottsdale, San Diego, etc.

R J said...

Hard to know how to carry this out without arousing the wrath of the PC thought-police, but if one could make a specialty of being a personal geek who can speak intelligible English, I think this idea would be even more viable.

There seem to be a fair few personal geeks in my (very large) city - especially on campuses - who advertise their services re computer repairs etc. Alas, nine times out of ten these advertisements make it clear that the authors' written English is extremely limited. So I shudder to think what their spoken English, and therefore their capable-of-conveying-abstruse-concepts-to-the-rest-of-us-in-an-informal-situation English, is like.

Anonymous said...

My husband did this for several years. He got a lot of work--but the pay was low.