In short, because UserMuse isn’t a general-purpose social network. We exist to connect product makers with experts who can help them understand their target markets. Our service is designed to help product developers make commercially successful products.
When people sign up as experts-for-hire on UserMuse, they may detail not only where they work and what their job is, but also the specific tools and products they use as part of their job. They may also provide product reviews that highlight their experience with these tools to validate their expertise to us. And of course, our members have already told us that they are open to being hired for user research interviews and/or advisory jobs. That means you aren’t cold-emailing people and hoping they’ll respond.
In a nutshell: you should use the service to make contacts in your target market and conduct user interviews. The more you talk to your potential customers, the better you can validate that your product roadmap addresses real market needs. The most common thing we hear from product designers is, “I don’t have time to do research, and I don’t know what my customers want.”
UserMuse market research interviews provide value throughout the development process:
Being an expert is not about technical sophistication necessarily. Rather, it means that for a particular tool means that you consider yourself a knowledgeable or representative user. For example, if you use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool every day to do your job and generally have a good understanding of it, you're probably an expert to a product designer wanting to understand how people use that tool.
Remember, most products are designed for the "average" user, not the ultra-sophisticated power users. If you're on the fence about your expertise for a product, it never hurts to write a review. We’ll evaluate whether you’re a fit for a project before recommending you.
The UserMuse community is based on trust. In general, we recommend that hirers conduct the interview and then pay the expert immediately afterwards for a one-time user interview. For ongoing consulting engagements, both parties might agree to a different arrangement. While we don’t advocate (or collect affiliate revenue from) any payments provider, we have a certain fondness for P2P solutions such as PayPal and Venmo for their speed and ease of use.
The key is for both parties to (1) communicate clear expectations, and (2) follow through on all commitments at the agreed-upon timeline.
Our introduction fee is non-refundable. If your experience with a particular expert is unsatisfactory, notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Payment Issue” in the subject line so that we can understand the issue and follow up with the expert in question, if appropriate. If we determine that an expert misrepresented themselves or otherwise fell short of our community guidelines, we will do our best to match you with another expert and waive our fee.
Experts who have been found to misrepresent their professional experience or otherwise not abide by our community guidelines face suspension or permanent ban from the site.
If you are not paid in the agreed-upon amount or manner by someone who hires you for a consulting arrangement on UserMuse, please tell us via email at email@example.com, with “Payment Issue” in the subject line. We will follow up with the person who submitted the project and attempt to broker a resolution. Please note that we do not have the authority to force a user to make payment. As the consultant, you own the relationship with the person contracting your services.
If we however find that someone is not making good faith efforts to pay experts for services rendered or otherwise falls short of our community guidelines, they face a temporary or permanent ban from UserMuse.