FAQ Page


General

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What is Maven?

Maven is the Global Knowledge Marketplace. We connect decision makers with knowledgeable professionals for the rapid exchange of knowledge, perspective, insight, and expertise. Our participants ("Mavens") includes individuals from all professional backgrounds, geographies, and functional roles. Mavens are paid to participate in short Telephone Consultations, Electronic Surveys, Extended Consulting Engagements, and other forms of knowledge sharing with those who seek to learn from their knowledge.

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How does Maven work?

Knowledge seekers ("customers") search the network for appropriate Mavens who can help to answer their professional questions and invite relevant people to participate in consulting interactions (such as Telephone Consultations or Electronic Surveys). Invited Mavens decide whether or not they can help. If a successful interaction takes place, the Maven is compensated for their time.

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How is Maven different from other "professional networks"?

Unlike most professional networks, Maven's users profit directly from their participation. Maven is specifically built to offer its participants opportunities to leverage their knowledge, perspectives, expertise, and contacts for financial gain.

Joining Maven

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How do I become a Maven?

Joining Maven is fast, easy, and free. Click here to begin.

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Who joins Maven?

Everybody Knows Something! Mavens include professionals from all walks of life, all functional roles, all levels of experience, and all geographies. At Maven we believe that everyone who has a job or career possesses knowledge that others might find valuable. Whether you are a physician, an electrician, or a race car driver, Maven welcomes you to join and participate in the Global Knowledge Marketplace.

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But I don't consider myself an "expert". Why should I join Maven?

Believe it or not, you ARE an expert. Simply by doing your job, you accumulate knowledge about a whole range of topics, products, services, technologies, activities, and people that others might find valuable. By providing access to people who possess such knowledge – people like YOU – Maven is able to help its customers make better decisions, while providing you with opportunities to profit from your knowledge.

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But who would ever want to talk to me?

You'd be surprised at how many people would find your knowledge and perspective valuable. Maven's customers come from all backgrounds and all industries. The only way to find out who wants to talk to someone like you is to join Maven.

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What kind of time commitment does Maven require?

None. Once you have joined the network, simply go about your normal business and wait for invitations to consult; we will notify you when someone is interested in interacting with you. You can always invest time in improving your profile and inviting others to join Maven, but you are not required to do so, nor are you required to commit any minimum time to working with our customers.

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I don’t want to participate in Telephone Consultations/Electronic Surveys/Extended Consulting. Can I still join Maven?

Yes! Our platform gives you the flexibility to choose what types of interactions are right for you and opt out of those that aren’t. During registration you will be given the opportunity to make these selections, and you can change them at any time as your situation changes.

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I don’t wish to do any consulting. Why should I join Maven?

While microconsulting is our specialty, there are a lot of reasons to join Maven besides participating in Consultations and Surveys. In fact, many Mavens completely opt out of these types of activities but still have a rewarding experience with Maven. Here are a few things you can do on Maven that don’t involve consulting:

  • Build a private and secure professional network.
  • Refer others to Maven and earn Referral Commissions.
  • Use Maven to source professional expertise, get answers to your important questions, and solve critical business challenges of all sizes.
  • Find job opportunities.

In short, if you belong to any online professional network, you should join Maven.

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How can I be comfortable that I am able to participate in a Consultation?

This is certainly a valid concern, and you should always exercise caution when joining and participating in any professional network. The key thing to remember is that with Maven, you are always in the driver's seat. We will never share your identity or contact information with anyone without first seeking your specific permission. In the event that a Maven customer expresses interest in speaking with someone like you, you will be allowed to thoroughly evaluate the opportunity before we connect you. You may decline any invitation to consult at any time for any reason, no questions asked. We will never penalize you in any way for declining an invitation to participate in a consulting interaction.

Furthermore, as a Maven participant, you are required to conduct yourself in an ethical and professional and to abide by Maven's User Agreement at all times. This includes being aware of your external obligations and declining any interaction that could potentially pose a conflict of interest for you or place you in conflict with your agreements with others. Our system screens automatically for potential conflicts and we provide tools that help you to manage your outside obligations and avoid conflicts, but there is no substitute for your own good judgment. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and decline an interaction when you feel you should.

In the end, whether or not to join is up to you, and you should carefully consider your options and make the decision that is right for your own situation.

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Ok, I've signed up as a Maven. Now what?

The two most important things you can do are to invite others to join Maven, and update your profile with more information about your background and expertise. By doing so, you will improve your chances to get invited to paid interactions and to earn Referral Commissions from work done by those you introduce to Maven. Also, check back periodically as we are always adding new features and new ways to interact with our platform and customers.

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Why do I need to write a Knowledge Summary? Isn't my resumé enough?

Your Knowledge Summary is the single most important part of your profile. It is the first – and often only – thing customers will read about you. You Knowledge Summary outlines who you are, what you do, and what you know in a clean, narrative format that is faster and easier to read than a resumé. A well-written, succinct, specific, and detailed Knowledge Summary can make the difference between being invited to consult or passed over in favor of another Maven.

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Can I use Maven to source expertise?

Yes! Everybody is welcome to use Maven. By joining Maven you gain access to our complete Knowledge Marketplace and Consultant Network. Joining is fast, easy, and requires no up-front payments or subscription fees. Click here to begin.

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What should my hourly rate be?

That depends on a number of factors, including your background, experience, industry, skills, and demand for your knowledge. In general you want to set your rate high enough that you will be motivated to prioritize your time to consult with our customers (this typically works out to 2-to-4 times your current hourly salary). Keep in mind that Maven is a marketplace and customers will be able to compare prices between you and other Mavens. In the end it's up to you – you are free to set your rate at any level and change it as frequently as you like.

If you're just getting started with Maven, our Rate Calculator can help you select an appropriate starting rate.

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Where can I find the text of the agreement that I must sign in order to participate in or use Maven?

The text of Maven's User Agreement can be found here.

Prior to using Maven or participating in a consulting interaction you must complete a short Consulting Orientation, during which we explain your responsibilities and obligations in greater detail. It is crucial that all Maven users and participants take their responsibilities and obligations seriously to protect each other and the integrity of the Maven System.

Maven has a zero tolerance policy for non-compliance with our User Agreement. Any inappropriate, misleading, dishonest, or fraudulent activity results in immediate and permanent termination from Maven’s system and services.

Invitations to Consult

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Am I required to accept invitations to consult?

No. You may decline any invitation at any time for any reason, no questions asked. You will never be penalized in any way for declining an invitation.

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I received an invitation to consult, but I'm not sure I'm qualified for it. What should I do?

You have a few options. First, you could accept the invitation and make a note of your concerns in the comments you provide with your acceptance. The customer who invited you to consult will read through your comments and determine if they want to continue.

If you have strong doubts about you qualifications, decline the invitation. The most important thing is to be honest about your knowledge and capabilities. It is better to decline an invitation than to misrepresent yourself and waste a customer’s time. Our customers will respect you for your honesty and we won't penalize in any way for declining.

Finally, if you happen to know someone who is a better fit for the customer’s areas of inquiry, you could refer them. If the customer conducts a Consultation with the person you referred, we will pay you a 10% commission!

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I am getting way too many project invitations. How do I slow things down?

Since Maven is a true marketplace, our customers take into consideration your consulting rate vs. that of others who meet their search criteria. One reason you might be getting too many inquiries is that your rate is lower than others like you. Try raising your rate in 20% increments until the invitations taper off to a more manageable level.

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I received an invitation to a Telephone Consultation that indicated the customer would like to record the call. What is this? Do I have to agree? If I agree, will I receive a copy of the recording?

Maven offers its customers the ability to automatically record Telephone Consultations. This is permitted if the customer requests the recording IN ADVANCE and the Maven participant agrees IN ADVANCE to being recorded. Many customers use this feature so they can review the conversation at a later time or share it with colleagues who were not available for the actual call.

MAVEN WILL NEVER RECORD YOU WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION.

If you choose not to be recorded, you may be disqualified from participating in the Consultation, depending upon the customer’s preferences. If you agree to be recorded, you will be provided with a digital copy of the recording upon your request.

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I have been a Maven for a few months but I've never received an invitation to consult. What can I do to generate some interest from your customers?

There are many reasons why customers may not be drawn to your profile. Perhaps you haven't provided much information about yourself. Here are some tips to maximize your opportunities to consult:

  1. Update your profile. Make sure that every section is filled out and that you provide specific information on topics, products, markets, companies, and technologies with which you are familiar. If you don’t provide us with some details on the things you know about, you’ll never show up in searches or get invited to consult.
  2. Lower your hourly rate. Our customers consider your rate versus those of others who meet their search criteria. One reason you might not be getting many inquiries is that your rate is higher than others like you. Try lowering your rate to see if that generates any activity. Use our Rate Calculator to see if your current rate is "in the ballpark".
  3. Make sure that your email address in our system is up-to-date and that your email spam filter is not screening out emails from Maven. Some Mavens have missed invitations because their spam filters ate the messages!
  4. Make sure you have opted into consulting opportunities. You won’t receive invitations to consult if you haven’t activated a consulting profile on Maven, as you are not eligible to participate until you take this important step. If a «Complete Registration» link appears at the upper right corner of the screen after you login to Maven, then you have not activated your profile and aren’t eligible to participate. Also, if «No Consultations», «No Surveys» or other similar tags appear on your profile, this means that you have adjusted your settings to opt out of these types of interactions.
  5. Check out the Bulletin Board. It contains current open inquiries to which you can apply (or refer someone else).
  6. Finally, when you do receive an invitation to consult, be sure to respond EVEN IF YOU DECLINE THE PROJECT! Our system tracks responsiveness to invitations and prioritizes Mavens who are more responsive. We learn a lot about your areas of expertise from your responses to different inquiries, which improves our ability to match you to new opportunities.

Referrals

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I received an email inviting me to join Maven. How did you get my contact information?

In all likelihood, you were referred to us and invited to join by someone you know. Also, from time to time we partner with other professional networks and associations to make Maven available to their participants as well. Finally, we occasionally do outbound recruiting to address particular customer needs.

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Why should I ask my colleagues to join Maven? Are you trying to steal my contacts? What's in it for me?

We would never steal your personal contacts from you, and we are committed to compensating you for helping us build our network. Specifically, for every new person that joins Maven as a result of an invitation from you, we will pay Referral Commissions equal to 10% of their total earnings from consulting interactions they participate in through Maven for the first year after they join.

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Do you really pay these Referral Commissions?

Yes.

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How will I know when I have earned a Referral Commission?

When a consulting interaction occurs that makes you eligible to receive a Referral Commission, our system will notify you via email and/or online depending on your Communications Preferences. Your Referral Commissions accrue until you request payment from us. You may also use your accrued Referral Commissions toward using Maven’s services yourself.

Consultation Behavior

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What kinds of things are off-limits? Are there items I should never share with a Maven customer?

When in doubt, don't talk about it. Generally speaking, you should avoid sharing anything that your employer would consider confidential or proprietary. Do not discuss any aspect of your company's business unless you are specifically authorized to do so. You should always observe the standards of practice and ethical behavior for your profession. Be sure to review User Agreement for more information on what is considered appropriate.

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What should I do if a customer asks me a question I don't feel comfortable answering?

Politely but firmly decline to answer the question. You should never put yourself in an uncomfortable position or risk sharing inappropriate information.

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But what if the customer persists?

If a customer puts any pressure on you to answer a question you are not comfortable with, hang up the phone immediately and highlight the issue to Maven immediately. We will review your feedback and take appropriate action.

Identity Verification

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How do I know that the person I'm talking to is who they say they are? What kind of identity verification do you perform?

All Mavens in the United States who participate in Telephone Consultations must be identity verified prior to speaking with a customer. Unverified Mavens may receive invitations to consult, but they must complete ID Verification prior to accepting an invitation.

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What are the benefits of ID Verification?

ID Verification assures Maven and its customers that you are who you say you are. This also helps us to prevent fraud and remain in compliance with applicable laws. Furthermore, after completing ID Verification, we will add a "Verified ID" tag to your profile and give your Maven Score a permanent boost.

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How long does ID Verification take?

The ID Verification process is easy and should only take you a couple of minutes.

Maven has partnered with IDology, the leader in online identity solutions, to provide identity verification services to our users in the United States. When you verify your identity through IDology, a special "IDology Verified" seal appears on your Maven profile, showing others that you are who you say you are.

Information required for ID Verification is limited to:

  • Your name
  • Your residential address
  • The last four (4) digits of your SSN (this is permanently deleted immediately after you complete ID Verification)
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I received an invitation to consult, but your system won't allow me to accept it without going through the identity verification process. Why?

In order to prevent fraud and reassure our customers that they are speaking with "real" people, we require all Maven participants to go through the identity verification process prior to accepting an invitation to consult.

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I am willing to prove my identity to Maven, but I prefer not to use the electronic system. Is there an alternative method?

We strongly encourage you to use the electronic method, which is more secure than manual methods. The electronic system utilizes state-of-the-art SSL encryption, and all sensitive information is permanently deleted immediately after you complete the process. In addition, the electronic system is very fast and easy - it should take you no more than a couple of minutes to complete it.

However, if you still prefer to verify your identity manually, please contact us and we will provide further instructions. Note that the manual process takes considerably longer to complete, which may result in you missing opportunities to consult.

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I refuse to verify my identity.

In that case, you are not eligible to participate in Maven.

Privacy, Security, and Communications

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How do I adjust the amount of email I get from Maven?

Visit your Communications Preferences page to specify what kinds of messages you’d like to receive from Maven and how frequently.

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How do I prevent my profile from being viewed by those who I don't wish to see it?

By default, Maven shields certain personally-identifiable information in your profile from customers performing searches. This includes your name, the name of your current employer, and your photograph if you provide one. These settings are adjustable via your Privacy & Security page, meaning you can elect to display personal information in searches if you like.

Maven also screens your complete profile out of the results of searches performed by individuals who work for the same company as you. Again, this setting is adjustable, but unless you authorize us to display your profile to your employer, we will prevent unwanted snooping by your coworkers.

You may also elect to screen your profile from being viewed by others, either on an individual or company-wide basis. You may do this on your Privacy & Security page.

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Will you give out my personal contact information to your customers or participants?

No. Never.

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How does Privacy work for Surveys? Does the other person know who I am?

No. Surveys are anonymous. If you commission a Maven Survey, your identity is not shared with the respondents. If you respond to a Maven Survey, your identity is not shared with the customer who commissioned the Survey. However, the customer is provided with your Maven Profile so they can see more about your background when reviewing your responses, but your Privacy settings are enforced and no personally identifiable information is shared.

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How does Privacy work for Consultations? Does the other person know who I am?

Yes. We believe that participants in Telephone Consultations have the right to know with whom they are speaking.

However, we understand the need for privacy and confidentiality during the steps leading up to a Consultation (including search, qualification, scheduling, etc.), so we have designed our system to peel back the layers of privacy in a logical fashion as an inquiry moves from invitation through qualification to selection and scheduling. By the time a Consultation takes place, all parties have been provided with the identities of all other parties and given the opportunity to back out of the interaction before it takes place if a conflict of interest is detected.

For more information on how this works, contact Maven.

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If you don't give out personal contact information then how are we supposed to have Telephone Consultations?

Maven employs an integrated scheduling system and automated conferencing system to handle Telephone Consultations. By doing this we are able to protect both our customers’ and participants’ personal contact information, and determine the exact duration of every Telephone Consultation, thereby ensuring accurate billing and payments.

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I got a call from one of your customers saying he wanted to schedule a Follow-up Consultation. I never received or accepted an invitation to a Follow-up Consultation with this customer, and the request isn't listed on my Dashboard. How did the customer get my contact information? If I accept their request will I be paid for the call? How should I handle this?

Our customers should NEVER contact you outside of the Maven platform, and Maven will NEVER give out your personal contact information to anyone without your specific permission. We assure you that the customer did not receive your phone number from us. Furthermore, if you never received an invitation to a Follow-up Consultation and no request from the customer appears on your Dashboard, then there is no Consultation scheduled in our system. Maven does not compensate participants for Consultations that take place outside of our integrated conferencing system, so if you agree to consult directly with the customer you will not receive credit or payment from Maven.

In this case, you should politely but firmly inform the customer that they need to submit a formal request via Maven for a Follow-up Consultation with you. After you have received and accepted the invitation, the Consultation will be scheduled via our automated conferencing system. You will be compensated for the call after it takes place on our platform.

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I got a call from one of your Mavens saying he wanted to schedule a Follow-up Consultation with me. I didn't request a follow-up, but she contacted me anyway. Do you allow Mavens to market themselves directly to your customers?

No. Mavens should NEVER contact our customers directly. Give us the individual's name and we'll take care of it.

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During a Telephone Consultation, a customer asked me for my personal contact information. Should I give it to them?

We strongly recommend that you avoid giving your personal contact information to our customers. You are under no obligation to provide this kind of information to them, and they are prohibited from soliciting your personal contact information by their agreements with Maven. If you receive a request like this, you should politely but firmly decline it.

Please remember that the protections that apply to you as a Maven participant (confidentiality, payment terms, dispute resolution, etc.) only apply when you are conducting business with Maven customers via Maven's platform. You will not be compensated by Maven for interactions with customers that take place outside of Maven's platform. For example, if you give a customer your phone number and they then call you directly for a Follow-up Consultation, you will receive no credit or compensation from Maven for the follow-up discussion.

Payments

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Do you withhold taxes from my Maven payments?

No. You are responsible for paying all required taxes, including income taxes, on your Maven earnings.

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Do you report my Maven payments to the government?

If you are a United States resident and receive over $600 in payments from Maven in a single calendar year, we are required to report your earnings to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service using form 1099. When you reach the $600 threshold we will request your tax identification number for reporting purposes.

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Can you send my payments to my company?

Yes. For more information on how to do this, please contact us.

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Can Maven donate my earnings to a charity of my choice?

Yes. This can be adjusted in your profile.

Terms & Conditions

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One of Maven's customers asked me during a Consultation to do a larger consulting project for her. What is your policy on this?

Congratulations! Clearly the customer found your insight valuable and wants to develop a stronger business relationship with you. Maven calls this opportunity Extended Consulting, and we have designed our platform to handle such engagements. We have a daily, weekly, and monthly consulting rate on file for you and can quickly set up your Extended Consulting project so you can begin working. Please contact us right away to set this up.