You spoke! We listened! We are so excited to finally be officially launching The Instagage Button! It’s a completely different model then what we started with, but isn’t that awesome, that you told us what your challenges were? We love that! We had so many of you that told us how we could help you be better, make more money and use your time wiser. We learned so much, some from you and some from our own challenges.
Here are a few things we learned:
We learned that it is really tough to build another community, especially one with two different customers even with experience doing just that.
We learned that it doesn’t get easier to get people to care about what you are doing. We are all so busy, our in-boxes so full. Who really has time for another start up that doesn’t solve a real problem for you?
We learned there is a lot of noise in the larger entrepreneurship space. Can you say, “Focus?”
We learned that with a boot strapped company, it isn’t smart to go after two markets at the same time.
After all we learned, we launched today as a much more limited, but focused product for solo practitioners. That is who we can help, solo practitioners. So, for now, we decided to focus solely on these ultra important and driven entrepreneurs. Many are what I call, entrepreneurs by necessity. These tough times have forced many of us to take risks we otherwise would not. You say, you are not an entrepreneur because you don’t employ people? Well, read this definition and then decide:
“a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”
Don’t you take risk every day? Don’t you manage a business that takes initiative? Instagage is all about helping with the many challenges that these very specific entrepreneurs face. In particular, how to make money from the traffic you have worked so hard to create. We know you are called many things (most of which are good); Lawyers, Marketers, Copywriters, Bloggers, Freelancers and many others.
One thing remains equal for all, we are all given the same amount of one resource; TIME.
“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.”
What you’ve said over and over… is that you struggle with time. You are required to maximize it so effectively that it remains your biggest challenge.
What else we now know from you is:
You receive emails asking you for a “really quick answer” that you never get paid for. A few of these at one time can soak up a good part of your day.
You struggle with how to provide real value to customers online and trying to turn emails, web traffic and social media contacts into real paying customers.
You spend too much time billing and managing your accounts receivables when you really should be monetizing your time.
The result was that Instagage had to change its focus and solve these very issues for solo entrepreneurs. So, we created the “Instagage Button” to put on your web site and social media profiles. It’s really a new and easy way for you to engage/convert your traffic, track your time, and pre-bill your clients, so you can get paid automatically. No more chasing your accounts receivables.
I would love for this blog to represent you solo entrepreneurs and the challenges you face. We know the Instagage Button is a new way to do business online, so it will take discussion, brainstorming and learning. We hope you are up for the challenge as we help move the internet to the next level. Please begin a discussion here about the difficulties and opportunities. I believe we are just seeing the beginning of what is possible online.
So, here we go……please comment and lets start talking about monetizing your time efficiently and converting those contacts by providing real value.
What challenges do you currently face trying to provide consulting online?Leave a comment
For Those Who Lose Time and Money Online, Instagage Button Provides Online Time Tracking and Automated Billing
Buy Now’ button for online services allows professional service providers, bloggers and other consultants to capture and monetize their time
Clovis, Calif. February 16, 2012 – What is your time worth? That’s the premise behind the new Instagage Button, an online time tracking and billing solution that helps professional service providers, bloggers and other consultants capture and monetize their time. Using the Instagage Button, businesses and individuals have a new way to record time they spend online providing advice, consulting and related services, and then receive payment instantly.
The Instagage Button is a lightweight, turnkey application that encourages clients to engage in micro-consults through chat, video call or messaging. Each session is billed by the minute and conducted on a secure server. Since a preauthorized credit card is on file for the recipient, the provider eliminates the hassle of invoicing and chasing accounts receivable, receiving payment via PayPal or check.
“Those who offer any sort of services or consulting face several distinct problems in adjusting to an online existence including converting customers online instantly, monetizing their presence and competing in a global economy,” Tina Henson, founder and CEO of Instagage. “The Instagage Button is available to anyone who equates a ‘time is money’ approach to their daily activities. Think of it as the ‘buy button’ for online services.”
Among the additional features of the Instagage Button is the ability to allow clients to know when a provider is online and then send a request for chat or a video call, as well as a dashboard that provides easy view and management of communication and projects. The solution also lets users generate leads and acquire projects by allowing clients to request projects or project proposals.
“The Instagage Button is a practical, easy-to-use solution for service providers and clients alike,” adds Henson. “It allows service providers to account for the portion of their time that often goes unaccounted for, while offering a clients the most efficient means to the services and information they’re looking for.”
More information about the Instagage Button is available at http://www.instagage.com
First of all, I want to greatly thank everyone for their patience and help as we launch Instagage. We are so excited about the future potential of this community and technology. We continue to learn everyday about how far technology has come and yet how much time it takes of our lives to truly embed.
We at Instagageare probably the extreme of that given we decided to take on the whole virtual work in the cloud idea. We have had many days lately where we are spending our time doing things over and over that we thought would only need to be done once and when we aren’t testing, it seems we are complaining about testing or test results.
We have certainly learned a hard lesson here. Whatever time to plan to dedicate to your technology, triple it! We are spending 80% of our time on technology, testing of technology, troubleshooting technology, etc. We truly thought that by now, all would be working smoothly, and we would be spending time fund raising, showing off our great product, marketing, driving traffic and so on. Instead, when your basic product function doesn’t function, it is extremely difficult to do anything else. You can’ t drive traffic, you can’t market, you can’t fund raise…..
Have you ever faced anything like this? Are you spending way too much time on one aspect of your business? Has it taken over? Share your experience with us.
Instagage enables both small businesses and entrepreneurs to locate expert Business Consultants, and pay them by the minute using an innovative platform that incorporates chat and video call — allowing entrepreneurs to pay only for the amount of time they need.
So, lets say a small business owner needs to consult a business lawyer for a question. The business owner chats with the lawyer online for 15 minutes and only has to pay the expert for 15 minutes instead of an hour. We save small businesses money on consulting costs and traveling expenses. Try it out the next time you have a business question and get the first 3 minutes for free: Business Lawyers, Business Finance, Marketing Consultants, Software Developers, Business Non-Profit, Computer Support, Starting a Business, and Business Administration.
Instagage is founded by myself, Tina Henson and my business partner Kelsey Warnock. Both of us are entrepreneurs and have had many, many interactions with start-ups and small businesses. We found very common problems and both feel very passionately about solving them and most importantly we get the challenges that small businesses face. Prior to creating Instagage, I founded Plastic Jungle in 2006 to help consumers unlock the billions of dollars of gift cards that go unused each year. My company raised more than $35M in Venture Capital. While growing Plastic Jungle, I was challenged to find quality experts. And when I was able to find them, the cost often exceeded my budget limitations — something most entrepreneurs struggle with. As a result of our frustrations we created Instagage in early 2010.
We created Instagage to make the lives of small businesses easier. We want to give businesses of all sizes instant access to quality Business Consultants and help them save money in costly professional services like legal and accounting by allowing them to pay in smaller increments known as “bites.” We believe that there are many days when business owners simply need a couple answers, and they may not have the money to engage a professional for an hour, nor do they need an hour’s worth of information. Most simply just need an answer or feedback to decide which direction to take an initiative. Is this sounding familiar to you?
The business sector is an interesting one and considering the size of the market there is no “go to” destination online for help. Did you know there are 20 million single person businesses in this country? The industry is very fragmented and seems to have no real organization. So, we built Instagage to change the way small businesses get answers to their questions to be that “go to” destination for instant help so we can stop business from biting.
We know that business can bite, especially if you don’t have the right answers when you need them, to move your business forward. The “bites” in Instagage is symbolic to our business philosophy. We thought long and hard about how to grow a business- take it one step at a time. If you try to think about all the stuff that needs to be done, you just might get overwhelmed and stop. But if you break things down and do the most important things first and keep moving down the list, you will see progress. Besides that, the name is sticky, easy to remember and it helps us in SEO. If our SEO consultant had it his way, he would have called it “Instagage.” We liked the name because of the double meaning.
We look forward partnering with both small businesses and business consultants who want to do business in an exciting and new way. Our ultimate goal, is to help your business succeed.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the model and how you think it will help you move your business forward.Leave a comment