News first: After more than a year of intensive development, a public beta version of Economy App is online now! You can test it (and use it for real trades!) by registering an account at makerfox.com (we renamed it). Let us know what you think!
And now, the even bigger work of building a thriving community of practice around this maker marketplace starts. Yep, several thousand hours into this project, this can feel overwhelming. So we think it’s time for us techies to open up the team for gifted community builders. To let others share the efforts and benefits of building the Makerfox marketplace. Oh, meet the Makerfox btw
We want to make it a welcoming and supportive community and exchange place for makers, hackers, craftsy people, entrepreneurs etc. – esp. benefiting those who are economically excluded (“jobless”) or in crappy employment conditions. We can help ourselves, right? If only we had a better working tool to organize collaboration than money – with network barter, the technology behind Makerfox, we think we have a great candidate for such a tool now.
Our offer: Half the revenue from "your" members, for 5 years
To make Makerfox a great economic self-help tool ASAP, we had an idea today. Since we have only a bit of money for this project so far we can’t use money to pay all the community managers which the platform requires. We can use the Makerfox system itself however, which we invented to replace money. So we intend to share our future barter value revenues with our community builders, similar to how affiliate programs work. Here’s the offer (admittedly still prototypical):
We look for one freelance community builder for Makerfox, for a 3 month renewable period. You can work as much or as little as you want, you can quit when you want, and you can work from where you want (it’s all via Internet). Your compensation is half of all net commission fees of all members who join makerfox.com because of you, for 5 years for each member. The compensation is in barter value, and minus 5 USD in barter per member (for tech reasons, see below).
You should have a hand for providing visibility to online content (makerfox.com in this case) and in helping “your” new users to start using the marketplace. Ideally, you are a maker yourself or interested in maker / DIY / entrepreneurial culture. You should be able to write well in English (not necessarily natively of course!), and maybe in one more major European language (German / Spanish / French / Italian / Russian).
Ok then If you’re interested to give this a try, just leave a comment below and we can schedule a video call with the Makerfox team and we can take it from there. And if you like community building but not our offer, you can tell us how we can improve. Feel free to share community building ideas as well – this is not a competitive call. It is for one person during this test phase, but if it all works out, many more can join and contribute as well (if they harmonize with the existing team – you will understand).
- We pay in barter value, not money. To not create misunderstandings: We do not pay you in money, but in any products and services of your choice that are offered on the Makerfox marketplace. That's because the Makerfox platform earns its own commission fee revenues also (for now exclusively) in barter value and not in money. This might be the strangest job offer you've read so far, and that's just the start of the economy to come :P
- You choose when to get paid, but wait for the system to meet your request. You can wait as long as you like before ordering them using your account on the marketplace – it will be automatically settled by pre-registered "barter value payments" that we make to your account according to the commission shares you earned. It means that you can wait until the marketplace fills up and has something that interests you. However since your payments are made in barter value, they are subject to the same mechanics as all other network barter exchanges on Makerfox: it can take some time until the algorithm finds a trade that includes a payment to you, and as usual on Makerfox you can help the algorithm along by using order alternatives, offering items yourself etc..
- This does not fit for everyone. Getting paid in barter value is admittedly experimental, and the revenue sharing model of course has its risks. So to be fair, we advise against taking up this offer if you have to rely on this income in any way. But for example if you are out of work at the moment, somehow get by and think this entrepreneurial endeavour is fun (or even share our vision for the maker economy): welcome very much!!
- Estimate your earnings! Of course "entrepreneurial" means that, with this compensation scheme, you share a part of our risk, but also great prospects. You can estimate the numbers yourself. Some hints: for Edgeryders for example, starting from scratch, the effort for finding new community members was about 73 new members per person month of work; in terms of turnover, every eBay member who was economically active there in the past 12 months generated an average trade volume of 138 USD/month (source: data from 2013, p.3); and the commission fee of Makerfox is 7% incl. VAT (5.88% without).
- Why 50% "minus 5 USD"? For technical reasons the Makerfox platform does not receive the first 10 USD of each user's commission fees, so we share that fact with you by deducting 5 USD of barter value per user. Of course your compensation for a user is never negative.
- All new members will be considered "yours" for now. Since you will be our first and only community builder initially, we will simply assume that all new members joining in this 3 month period are your recruitees, so you'll get your share for them. If this idea works out, we'll later implement affiliate tracking links so that each community builder knows who joined because of them.
- Taxation and documentation. In most jurisdictions, working as a Makerfox community builder is considered taxable income even though you don't get paid in money. It is treated like other forms of bartering: it's legal, but both sides of the trade have to be documented with invoices or other receipts, denominated in money units. We do this by writing invoices for our own barter value income (commission fees from users), and you have to do this by writing us an informal receipt (or an invoice if you have a company) when you get a payment. This is the safest approach, tax-wise. Of course, the big downside is that you might have to pay taxes in money for income in barter value. Until government starts to accept taxes in barter value, this means we have to use a set of legal hacks to avoid this situation as much as possible. And indeed, there are some options. One is that if you have a business yourself, you would only do business expenses with your Makerfox account, effectively spending all your barter value income in tax-deductible ways. Another is to stay below your country's income tax limit (might fit for people who are out of work at the moment; you can easily regulate the amount of barter value income by ordering only as much with your Makerfox account). Yet another is that if you're based in Greece, barter value income is tax free. We have collected 20 or so more tips and will gladly evaluate in detail together what are the best options in your case. However be prepared that the worst case could be, indeed, to pay some taxes in money for income in barter value.