Stay up to date on everything mediation!

Subscribe to our free newsletter,
"This Week in Mediation"

Sign Up Now

Already subscribed No subscription today

Income is for dummies...

by Geoff Sharp
June 2007

From the blog mediator blah...blah...

Geoff Sharp

Anthony Cerminaro - a technology attorney and mediator from Pennsylvania over at BizzBangBuzz - got me thinking the awhile back with a post declaring anyone who is selling only their time to have rocks in their head because;

" You only get paid when you’re working...Smart people build systems that generate income 24/7, especially passive income. This can include starting a business, building a web site, becoming an investor, or generating royalty income from creative work. The system delivers the ongoing value to people and generates income from it, and once it's in motion, it runs continuously..."

Mediation Mench talks a lot about this and in a superb post, How to Start a Mediation Business (not practice), says much the same thing.

I left a comment on that post asking Dina to...

"...develop the theme of building a business rather than a practice. Most of us do the latter, in the sense what's there to leave behind if I go? If I stop mediating so does the business. If I hire others, ditto. How do we leverage the actual mediation as its so personal....?"

So can we be brave and discuss how a mediator achieves the nirvana of passive income?

For my part ALL my income is derived from punching the clock.

I go on holiday, it stops. I get sick, it stops. I have coffee, it stops.

What are the forms of activity mediators engage in that produce passive income?

What business models are they adopting? Solo? Solo but sharing expenses? Equal firm partnership? Meritocracy firm? Incorporated entity? Bricks and mortar panels like JAMS or ADR Services or In Place of Strife? Cyber panels like The California Academy of Distinguished Neutrals?

Some mediators are earning anywhere between US$30/50K a year, while many others are billing upwards of US$5000 / £5,000 per day and working 150 - 200 days a do the math*

....what are these folk at the high end on?

Do they have fancy boardrooms and other fixed overheads or are they lean, mean mediation machines aggressively outsourcing everything they can and achieving a take-home of 90% plus?

Are they selling more than their time?

Or are they just pricing their labour to meet their market?

Seems to me, one of the things we each could be doing is building what Tom Peters called all those years ago 'brand you'.

"We survive by staring change in the eye--and adapting. . . . A passive approach to professional growth will leave you by the wayside..."

This will be a theme of some future posts.

* How to Make Money as a Mediator, Jeff Krivis


Geoff Sharp is a Commercial Mediator from Wellington, New Zealand. Geoff works in the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Pacific Islands. He is a mediator resolving business problems. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and mediates complex and hotly debated litigation covering a wide range of subject matter from insurance disputes to historic sexual abuse claims.

Geoff is author of the award winning blog mediator blah...blah... a mediation blog experiment in reflective practice and the Mediation vBlog Project, a kind of mediation genome project by video blog.

Email Author

Additional articles by Geoff Sharp