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About the service

CrossLoop combines free desktop sharing software and a network of over 15,000 expert Helpers to provide immediate access to qualified tech support.

How it works

Technology experts connect with customers over CrossLoop's desktop sharing software for anything from removing viruses and setting up a blog to troubleshooting networking issues and designing Web sites.

CrossLoop's desktop sharing application can also be used for training and collaboration and can be a valuable tool for small businesses to work with colleagues on projects, walk potential customers through presentations, and collaborate with vendors.

at a glance


In-demand skills

The tech skills are certainly important, but people skills are critical. CrossLoop clients like working with a real person who can walk them through their computer problems.

Earning potential

Helpers can charge whatever they see appropriate for the services they provide. The average is $40 to $60 an hour.

Barrier to entry

Anyone who has a background in tech support can sign up to become a Helper. A Helper's reputation is established by customer ratings and feedback. These are published on the Helper's profile page, which is indexed so that it turns up in search results. Signing up to become a Helper doesn't entail a contract or any kind of time commitment; Helpers can use CrossLoop as much as they want, anytime, anywhere.

Words of wisdom

For those just getting started with CrossLoop, Eddie Starr, a full-time student and part-time IT solutions provider, offers these suggestions:

  • Familiarize yourself with the CrossLoop Connect platform. Provide help to friends and family members first to build the foundation toward being a confident and knowledgeable Helper.
  • Take advantage of CrossLoop to promote yourself. Getting the word out that you have become a Helper should be as simple as posting a badge on your social networking website.
  • Be available. Clients usually request support at the moment they realize it is needed. Check your email frequently and strive to respond to support requests within an hour of receiving them.

"Be honest, be fair, and never, ever be condescending to someone looking for help who seems to be technically-challenged," advises Owen Marks, a CrossLoop Helper for about 1 1/2 years. "Developing a reputation for putting the customer ahead of immediate billing time will come back to you one thousand-fold."

Ed Brown, a retiree and part-time CrossLoop Helper, also emphasizes the importance of being customer-focused. "Being able to communicate is the most important thing," says Brown, "Knowing enough to help and more importantly knowing when you can't help! No one knows everything. It will just cost the user more money and will not make for a happy client."

"One of Crossloop's best features is that it can run in Safe Mode when networking is enabled," says Tom Bozzo, Information Systems Manager at the Association of American Universities and part-time tech guru. "Be sure to take advantage of that."

Average gig

CrossLoop's desktop sharing software lets Helpers work from anywhere they want. A lot of Helpers work from either their offices or from the comfort of their own homes.

Jobs run the gamut of tech support skills. From troubleshooting a slow PC, backing up data and removing computer viruses, to more complicated PC problems (networks, servers, virtualization) for small businesses. Helpers also are often called upon to train people on different operating systems and software and to help people build their own Web sites and blogs.

For Eddie Starr, the most interesting project he worked on was a request to help install Microsoft's Virtual PC software, along with past versions of Microsoft Windows. "In about an hour," says Starr, "I was able to help install Windows 3.1, 95, 98 and Windows XP. Throughout the entire session, CrossLoop allowed me to collaborate seamlessly with the client. I was able to teach him how to setup and utilize virtual machines without ever having to leave my office."

The ideal candidate

CrossLoop is ideal for people who are interested in supplementing their income. Some Helpers have started their own help desk consultancy and use CrossLoop to service clients and expand their business portfolio.

Next up: RentACoder

Also in this series: Elance | TopCoder | CrossLoop | RentACoder | | LivePerson

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