Expert network consulting is an interesting, convenient and lucrative way to earn extra income. It’s a fairly recent phenomenon – the first expert network launched in 2002 – but it has grown rapidly. Now, there are dozens of expert networks active around the world, each with hundreds or thousands of clients.
What are expert networks?
Expert networks are a cross between a recruiting firm and a consulting firm. They help their clients – usually investment funds or management consultants – rapidly take a deep dive into a topic by matching with them with experts in the area for short phone conversations or online surveys.
Most clients are either making an investment decision or are helping to set strategy for things like a new product launch, and they want to get the straight story from people who know a product, company or market best. That’s often people like you, who have years of work experience in the area they are researching.
Best of all, they just want to pick your brain for an hour or so, and will pay you handsomely for sharing your knowledge. You can set your own hourly consulting rate. Junior professionals can often earn $100 – $200 per hour, directors or Vice Presidents charge $300 – $500 per hour, and very senior executives can charge $1,000 per hour or more!
How expert networks work
Expert networks will often connect with you on LinkedIn if your experience and expertise looks like a fit with an open project. You may be asked to share your expertise about your former employer, a vendor, a customer, or a competitor. (You won’t be eligible to talk about your current employer and strict compliance guidelines around sharing non-public information keep both you and the client on the right side of insider trading laws.
If you’re a fit for the project, the expert network associate will ask you to create a brief online profile and to set your hourly consulting rate. They’ll also ask you to provide times that are convenient for you to speak with the client. Many people do expert network consulting before or after work, or even during their lunch hour, making it one of the most convenient side hustles around!
If the client selects you for the project, the expert network will schedule a call between the two of you. The typical project is a 1 hour phone call between the client and the expert. During that time, you’ll answer the client’s questions and help them understand how things really work. The calls are easy and engaging – everyone likes to be considered an expert.
Once the call is done, so is your work – there is no follow up and no deliverable, you get paid by the expert network in just a week.
Getting started with expert network consulting
Expert networks facilitate hundreds of thousands of client calls each year. Clients are constantly seeking to speak with experts in virtually every industry, and worldwide. Best of all, they are often looking for experts at all levels of experience to gain different perspective, so this opportunity isn’t just exclusive to senior executives!
There are now close to 200 expert networks around the world, so creating profiles with multiple firms and responding to project requests is the best way to land high-earning opportunities. Some of the biggest and most active firms are GLG, Guidepoint Global, and proSapient, so those are a great place to start.