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The best free advice you'll get all year

Developer description

Want to run an idea past someone? Need a second opinion? Feeling stuck, and not sure what to do ... More

Editor's review

Published 11 Nov 2015

I was just saying to a friend the other day that, apart from singing Stevie Wonder songs, I seem to come up with some of my better ideas in the shower in the morning. I don't think I've managed to solve world peace in there yet but I think most of the things I come up with have more merit than anything that any of the Republican Party presidential candidates have come up with so far. Taking my ideas to the next level is the tricky bit though. How nice it would be to be able to take one or two of those ideas to someone with some serious business experience and ask them a few questions about how to develop them further. Fat chance of that happening, right? Well, maybe now there is a way.

Officehours is a new social feedback app where you can book 10 minutes of online one-on-one consultation time with some of the top professionals around the world. You can run an idea past an experienced mentor and get a second opinion as to whether the idea you had in the shower is a turkey or worth pursuing. If you get some positive feedback, maybe they can tell you the next step to take in order to bring it to fruition.

Just scroll through the impressive list of friendly and helpful advisors in the index and take a look at their bios. Check to see if they have the experience in the field that you are interested in and whether you can learn from them. Request a session with them and, if that person approves your spot and think they can be of some help to you, you'll get 10 minutes of their time for free. Officehours will take care of everything else including the scheduling, time zones, reminders and the call itself so all you have to do is to ready the questions that you'd like to ask. If your request is approved you'll be contacted with a confirmation of times and dates etc. Being top professionals, you'll find that some advisors will be in high demand. However, if you are unsuccessful in booking a specific session, you can simply reapply for a different available session.

One thing you must remember is that, once the session begins, you only get 10 minutes of your advisor's valuable time, so it's important that you prepare well for your scheduled session. Take the time to do a little research on your advisor and prepare the questions that you want to ask. Then all you have to do is find a quiet place, plug your headphones and mic into your computer and sign in to Officehours using Firefox or Chrome to start your session and get your personalized advice. Clever people will cut out any small talk, get to the point, listen closely, take notes and absorb the advice they are given.

Whether you are a seasoned pro looking for new business insights or a complete amateur with a great idea but no idea how to start, Officehours offers a unique opportunity to tap the vast experience offered by hundreds of experienced professionals. Having perused the list of advisors I can see there are a large number of very skilled men and women from many different countries around the world, all of whom are more than willing to offer their time in one-on-one 10-minute consultations for free. Sessions are run during the advisor’s chosen office hours and, on completion of the session, both the questioner and the advisor will be asked to rate the experience. These ratings - along with other factors - contribute to their karma scores. While I doubt that any of the professionals in Officehours will be able to come up with an answer for world peace, they will certainly give you the best and cheapest business advice you'll get all year.

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