How Small Teams Drive Impact by Tapping into Micro-Help 

By

Genevieve Michaels

In 2022, we’re no longer debating whether work has changed. In the past two years, we have seen unprecedented, revolutionary shifts in the labor landscape that are continuing to evolve in real-time. 

We watched as the pandemic accelerated the movement away from on-premise work — conducted primarily by full-time employees — toward gig-based, remote-first and decentralized models of working. 

These trends weren’t new. But adoption of them sped up exponentially, enacting changes in weeks or months that otherwise, may have taken as much as a decade. 

At first, business leaders were simply focused on getting work done under extraordinary circumstances. But as we adapted to remote-first models, it became clear that this way of working wasn’t just an inconvenience — in fact, it offered exciting new opportunities. 

Today, forward-thinking leaders are asking how to take advantage of the opportunities decentralized work models offer. Change is here — but what, exactly, should organizations expect?

We're at a fascinating point in the history of work. The changing landscape feels like a tectonic movement which we're still trying to understand and adapting to as we go, and we're wondering what work will fundamentally look like in the future.

A permanent paradigm shift

In the past, companies decided where their people worked, when they took time off, and what they did with every single hour of their workday. The professional world was dominated by huge companies that brought in enormous amounts of revenue, but also had very high fixed expenses. Those overhead costs included office space rent and utilities, as well as salaries and benefits programs for hundreds or thousands of people. 

If a company needed external support, another large cost included contracts with agencies and consultancies, to provide skills or experience that were lacking internally. 

This older model is losing relevance, and lacks the agility and efficiency to succeed in today’s rapidly changing, highly competitive market. It’s clear that the labor market upheaval brought on by the pandemic was not a temporary disruption, but a permanent paradigm shift. 

But while the pandemic was challenging and disorienting for many, it also created exciting change. Emerging from the chaos are new ways of working, driven by this rapid adoption of decentralized models. Today’s smartest companies are empowering professionals, while giving themselves access to a wider range of skill sets, and broader pool of talent, than ever before. 

Companies are no longer restricted by the skills of their in-house teams, and they don’t need to invest as much time or energy to source more talent externally.

How micro-help is redefining work

Today, companies and individuals can tap into the talent they need, on-demand, without the overhead costs of scaling their full-time team or developing agency relationships. Already, forward-thinking companies are blending the best of the gig- and remote-based models, and applying them to in-demand sectors like knowledge work and tech. 

The result is small, highly agile core teams who have immediate access to the external skill, expertise and experience they need to reach key business goals — even as those goals change and evolve. This is both more cost- and time-efficient, making way for new initiatives that will fuel innovation in the future.

Micro-help: Accessing on-demand external talent with the skills, expertise and experience needed to achieve key business goals.

It’s a model we’ve termed micro-help, and it has revolutionary potential for employers. Here’s how three innovative new companies — Mentorcam, Intro.co, and our own team at Hopps — are pioneering a way to help fewer people get more done than ever before. 

Intro.co

What if all businesses could access personal, 1-1 coaching from their professional role models and icons, from Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian to Zillow and Hotwire co-founder Spencer Rascoff? 

Intro.co is realizing that transformative potential. It’s also proving that today, even celebrities and public figures are part of the gig economy. It’s a concept reminiscent of Cameo, which provides personalized shout-out videos, but adapted for personal and professional advice. 

The platform also offers experts for personal guidance, such as around fitness, home design, and personal style. But many of its top experts are CEOs, founders, and celebrity entrepreneurs, democratizing the kind of professional advice that was previously accessible only to those at the very inner circles of the business world. 

Mentorcam

Taking a similar approach is Mentorcam, which connects users with experienced mentors who provide micro-help that’s well-suited to their industry and professional goals. 

Unlike Intro.co, Mentorcam is designed around ongoing relationships between users and their mentor. After the initial connection, there are options for both live video calls, or asynchronous text and video chatting for a lower cost. 

Mentorcam is also expressly targeted to ambitious business owners and entrepreneurs. There are mentors available for startups, small businesses, and general career growth needs, from performance coaching, to customer acquisition, to mindfulness and well-being. 

Hopps 

In a remote-first landscape, people work within software systems all day. The average employee uses 15 of these tools a day, and they are essential to getting work done — but professionals rarely get adequate training on how to use them. 

Instead, knowledge workers resort to outdated YouTube tutorials for quick help, or try to find experienced freelancers to hire for in-depth, ongoing training. There’s a serious gap in the market for quick, reliable, small-scale help, and Hopps was created to meet that need. 

Through the Hopps platform, companies have instant access to 1-1 video coaching from a wide variety of experts in over 30 tools like Facebook Ads, MailChimp, HubSpot and Data Studio. 

Employers no longer need to invest money and time in lengthy recruitment cycles, or search for freelance talent on sites like Upwork. Everyone on the Hopps platform is vetted and ready to hire for exactly what our customers need, even if it’s just one quick question. 

What micro-help means for the future 

The future is still being created. But companies like Intro.co, Mentorcam, and Hopps give us a taste of where it might be going. 

We’ve already seen the widespread adoption of gig work for service-oriented and customer-facing jobs. But these examples show us how valuable it can be in a knowledge work context, and how powerful it can be when combined with remote work. 

The micro-help model dramatically expands the resources and knowledge employers have access to, while still keeping their teams small and agile. It’s the future-proofed, flexible model we’ll need to make what may have been impossible yesterday, possible for tomorrow.