What is Abacus?
Abacus is a LIVE skills marketplace where learners can virtually connect, individually or in groups, with makers, teachers, artists and craftspeople to practice and learn practical skills and have creative experiences; everything from DIY kits to live tutorials. We’ve got a familiar listing structure similar to Etsy and Airbnb with a twist; the listings are for live learning and skill-building sessions in real-time hosted by creative folks who practice these skills regularly. You DO NOT have to be an expert. If you’ve got practical experience, then you have something to offer on Abacus. The difference between Abacus and video-based learning is in the LIVE INTERACTION and the ability to connect with real people and get answers to questions in real-time. How many people have actually finished a 40 hour video-based module anyway? Abacus Learners get the benefit of live interactions with hosts in short sessions; asking questions and practicing in parallel rather than just watching videos. Abacus is here to cut the wasted time, materials and expense out of learning something new.
Why use Abacus?
First of all, Abacus is not Facebook live, YouTube live (Google). Abacus is being built from scratch by taking direct feedback from our hosts and our learners specifically in the creative space. Need to speak to a REAL PERSON for support? You’ll talk to a real Human Being on Abacus. Also, listings on Abacus won’t get lost in a sea of competing niches and organizations. Supporting Abacus either as a host or as a learner means supporting the individual and gaining greater independence from the giants.
Do I need to subscribe if I just want to take a class or participate in Abacus sessions?
Nope. The subscription service is only for makers, artists, teachers and craftspeople who want to host the creative sessions on Abacus. You, as a learner or participant, pay the host of the session. Abacus takes a minimum fee when you pay to participate in a session but you don’t need a subscription unless you want to become a Maker on Abacus.
Why is creativity important to human health?
A creative pastime like crafting, making and art can help focus the mind, and has even been compared to meditation due to its calming effects on the brain and body. Even just gardening or sewing releases dopamine, a natural anti-depressant. Hobbies allow people to connect with FLOW, Psychological Flow captures the positive mental state of being completely absorbed, focused, and involved in your activities at a certain point in time, as well as deriving enjoyment from being engaged in that activity.
Is there a limit to sessions or session times?
Makers who subscribe to Abacus essentially get a fancy paid Zoom account. This virtual environment is what we call a Virtual Makerspace. Your Virtual Makerspace has a 24 hour time limit for any single session but there are no limits to sessions per day/week/month…etc.
Can Abacus view or change my banking information?
No. Our payment processors PayPal and Stripe handle your information. Abacus does not have access to any of your sensitive payment information.
Can I record my sessions and post to YouTube, Vimeo or other video platforms?
Yes, of course you can! However, you must get explicit permission from your learners/participants before you record the session. We make this easy with our Video Permission Slip Form that you can attach when you send your learners/participants the link to your Virtual Makerspace. If everyone is cool with being recorded during the group session and they grant permission then you can record and upload to any platform in order to build your content library!
Are all sessions On-Demand or can I, as a Maker, set my schedule?
Set your own schedule!
For INDIVIDUAL (1-on-1) listings, a calendar will pop up when “Post Listing” is clicked after the details of your listing have been filled out. The dates and times of your availability can be checked or unchecked as desired. This calendar WILL NOT allow multiple bookings for the same time slot. For example, if the listing is for a 1-on-1 Intro to Photoshop and you’ve set your availability to Wednesday’s only with three 1-hour slots available from 3-6pm (3 to 4, 4 to 5, 5 to 6); learner #1 can book you for 3 to 4) and then learner #2 will only see your availability being 4 to 6
For GROUP listings, a calendar is NOT used. We encourage Abacus Makers to have a regular meeting day and time (as frequent or infrequent as you like) for each listing and to make that listings’ cadence abundantly clear in the description and the field labeled “Virtual Session Dates (if applicable)”. For example, in a listing for a Live Weaving Tutorial whose description states “This live tutorial takes place every Monday and Wednesday from 4:00-5:30pm” several learners would purchase tickets all throughout the week and simply join together at your next regular Monday or Wednesday from 4:00-5:30pm. This allows you to maintain a set schedule and your learners to accumulate for your group listings.
The same would apply to Kits! For example, a listing for a Mini-Catapult Kit + Live Assembly Session the kit would be sold as usual through the listing and the associated assembly session would be set in the description as every Friday at 6pm. This way the shipping time of the kit is inconsequential…customers who purchase the kit would simply join the assembly session once they receive the kit the next available Friday at 6pm. In other words. if 5 kits were sold and sent off over the week, 3 may get their kits quickly and be able to join this Friday but the other 2 will simply join next Friday after they receive their kits since your cadence is set for that listing. Again, this allows you to maintain your own set schedule and your learners and participants to accumulate for your group listings.
Can my learners or participants just Venmo me?
Our payment processors are PayPal and Stripe and they process payments on behalf of Abacus. Please encourage your learners and participants to conduct all communications and transactions through the Abacus system. This ensures that an in-system record is available in the case of disputes or misconduct. In other words, you’re covered and protected from jerks and troublemakers if you keep the conversations and the transactions inside the Abacus system.
What happens when I subscribe?
First of all, we’re offering 60 days for FREE and the code FREE60 should be entered when you get to the subscription portal. Once you’ve purchased a subscription package you’ll be authorized to post listings and you’ll receive your personal makerspace link via email.
Is there anyone who can help me get set up?
Absolutely! Here’s a link to our schedule for live help. ABACUS LIVE 1-ON-1 HELP