More and more people are spending their working lives as independent consultants, freelancers, or “hired guns.” Whatever they call themselves, contract work is a fact of business life in the year 2000.
The training business is no different. Many of you reading this review may be “on your own” and always looking for new work. Others reading this may be looking to find just the right person to work on a temporary project. If you are in either of those situations, or think you might find yourself in those shoes in the future, then you’ll want to take a look at Guru.com.
Guru.com is set up as a clearinghouse or marketplace for people who are looking for gigs (as they call them). It’s also a place for people who are looking for gurus (contract workers). Specifically, here’s what the site itself says about its purpose: Guru.com is ”dedicated to empowering these independent professionals and the clients who hire them. By providing the tools gurus need to make their work more productive, more lucrative, and more fun, Guru.com is creating the Internet's most comprehensive resource for people who have the skill and determination to manage a solo career.”
To accomplish this purpose, there are two major sections of the site. Find a Guru and Find a Gig. Additionally, for the independent professional, there is a section called Run Your Biz, which provides content and ideas in areas such as technology, legal, finance, lifestyle, and more.
Find a Gig
This section is for the independent professional. On your first visit to the site, you can go directly to Find a Gig to browse and search for possible contracts. When you click here, you get a set of linked categories (a search box is available on every page in this section). The categories include:
- Creative and Media
- Finance and Legal
- Management and Strategy
- Marketing, Advertising and Sales
- Training and Advice
- Web—Business and Operations
- Web—Development and Other
Under many of these links is another level of links to help you hone your browsing. For example, under IT, there are 23 lower links, but under Training and Advice there are none. Clicking on Training and Advice takes you right to the list of gigs (65 of them at the time of this review). When you find the area you are interested in, you will get a list of available gigs summarized. One more click, and you get the detail. While you can get a good bit of info in the Overview, to view the details and the contact information, you must become a guru yourself—which only makes sense.
Becoming a guru (that is, becoming a member at the site) is easy but will take a bit of time (the site says 15 minutes; I would think it might be more if you want your information to be really effective, unless you have it already in a similar format). The sign-up process is well-organized and flows nicely, and the site gives you lots of good tips and ideas for making your presentation more effective.
Find a Guru
If you have a gig and need help, you have two options. You can click on Find a Guru and walk through a process of browsing and/or searching, which is much like the Find a Gig section. You are able to see some of the information about the gurus, but not all. Again, to see more you must sign up—this time as a hirer. The sign-up process is easy, and the site even offers you a weekly e-zine to help you with finding and hiring talent.
Once you are a hirer, you can also post gigs. This process, like the previous ones, is straightforward and well-designed.
The concept behind Guru.com is a fine idea and one that the Web is uniquely suited to manage. Guru.com does a good job of it, and I’m sure it will continue to get better as time goes on. The limits of the model’s usefulness are in the number of gigs and gurus that “play.” The site lists over 100,000 gurus and 10,000 hiring companies. With that kind of critical mass, it's possible you’ll find what you are looking for. Given the model, the design, and the execution, I’d say Guru.com is worth a look. Table Ashows the summary of my review.
|Here’s Kevin’s summary of his review of Guru.com.|
Kevin Eikenberry is president of the Discian Group, a learning consulting company in Indianapolis. If you would like to comment on this article or have any questions or suggestions of other Web sites to review, please follow this link to write to Kevin.