AlphaSights Review – Should You Consult for the Second Largest Expert Network?

An in-depth review of AlphaSights, one of the world’s fast-growing international expert network

Overview of AlphaSights

alphasights logo

AlphaSights is one of the largest expert networks, and is considered to be one of the “the big five” firms that dominate the nearly $2 billion industry.  Some industry estimates name AlphaSights as the second largest expert network after behemoth GLG.

Co-founded in London, England in 2008 by Max Cartellieri (also the founder of Ciao AG) and Andrew Heath (founder of GoIndustry). Within a handful of years, they launched branches in New York, Hong Kong, Dubai, San Francisco, Seoul, Hamburg, Tokyo, and Shanghai, connected clients around the world with experts across countless business sectors. Cited in 2017 by Financial Times as one of Europe’s fasting growing companies, AlphaSights calls itself a “professional services firm.” Its mission statement? “To connect the world’s top professionals with the world’s best knowledge: reflecting our fundamental belief in the power of connecting humanity’s knowledge.”

Overview of Expert Networks

If you’re reading this review of the AlphaSights “expert network,” perhaps it’s because you received a LinkedIn invitation to be an expert consultant or Advisor. Now you’re doing your due diligence to research the company and see if AlphaSights is legitimate or if you’ve been targeted by some type of scam. Maybe you aren’t certain if such networks are an actual thing! The concept seems too good to be true—a company that pays you hundreds of dollars an hour for consulting other companies? 

Well, expert networks are a nearly $2 billion global industry, and as one of the biggest firms, you can rest assured that AlphaSights is legit. They build a giant pool of subject matter experts, then, as a sort of middleman agency, they advertise that pool to organizations that might need services. There’s nothing mysterious about it; it is a business model we see every day and think nothing of it. (That said, online scams are certainly prolific, so you should be suspicious if someone asks you for money or payment information to participate with an expert network!)

Management consultants and investors are the primary clients of expert networks like AlphaSights, with corporate customers representing a small but growing customer segment. One major business decision can drive a company’s entire trajectory, make or break them, earn (or cost) them millions in revenue. That’s why clients typically pay AlphaSights $1,000 per hour or more to source experts like you.  While the hourly cost seems quite high, it is a trivial amount to spend to gain insights that shape multi-million dollar (or more) decisions!

It isn’t just management consultants within companies that seek out experts for advice; investors do, too. AlphaSights’ clients are looking for the “straight dope” from seasoned pros who’ve had their boots on the ground inside a specific sector and can speak truth to power without fear of ramifications or a need to please the boss. 

When an AlphaSight’s associate reaches out to you with the promise of sky-high rates for an hour of  your time, they’re not exaggerating.  Many experts charge $250 – $500 for a one hour phone call, with lower rates for younger professionals and significantly higher ones for very senior executives or people with very specialized expertise.

What should you expect on an AlphaSights consulting call?

Alphasights recruiting
Alphasights recruiters frequently reach out to prospective consultants via LinkedIn

How do phone call consults go for an expert network project? There are three types of calls you can expect. The first is a request for a “company deep dive”; the next is a much broader industry overview. The last is a consultation with other subject matter experts (sometimes called knowledge bomb conversations. See our Ultimate Expert Network Guide to learn more about those). 

The deep dive is of particular interest to potential investors looking for keen insights into a specific company before deciding to sink money into it. Industry overviews help paint a big picture about a sector’s customers and future. Calls from other experts empower firms to improve offerings; essentially, they borrow your expertise to boost their credibility in their customers’ eyes during times of change or crisis. 

It’s important to note that confidential calls are held to a high compliance standard, and consultants should not disclose privileged information. They can dive into complex financial data, and possibly personal insights about management, strategy, customer complaints (or other information that is releasable yet may not be published on reports), though. When an AlphaSights call is finished, the Advisor’s obligation is over and payment is sent within a few days!   

Do I qualify as a subject matter expert? 

When expert advisors get started, it is common for them to wonder if they possess knowledge a company or investor would pay to hear. Some go through a phase of “imposter syndrome,” as if they are simply pretending to be experts. Luckily this feeling goes away fairly quickly, especially when the checks start rolling in. 

There are thousands of clients in need of all types of insights and feedback. They receive significant benefits from reaching out to consultants. If they didn’t, expert networks wouldn’t be a billion-dollar industry. But how can you be sure you qualify? Well, we’ve talked about the three main types of calls that are made—the company deep dive, industry overview, and consultation. Most of us who’ve worked within a particular company or in a specific sector for a few years have gleaned unique knowledge from those experiences. That knowledge has value and is marketable! 

How do I set my AlphaSights hourly consulting rate?

Alphasights consulting fees

If you’ve been working for only a handful of years for a particular company or sector, you might set an hourly rate between $100 – $150/hour with AlphaSights. Seasoned members can charge up to $300 – $500 an hour, while major corporate players might ask for thousands of dollars. 

When choosing what you feel is a reasonable rate, keep in mind three things. One, customers aren’t looking for the cheapest rates; they are looking for the best value. Two, your insights may drive a decision that could be worth millions of dollars, so don’t undervalue your services! Three, remember that AlphaSights will markup your services considerably. 

Check out our comprehensive guide on how to set your expert network hourly rate, which dives into the weeds on pricing models. The better you understand how pricing works, the more you can set an AlphaSights consulting rate that fairly compensates you yet doesn’t scare off clients. 

What are the downsides to consulting for AlphaSights?  

AlphaSights operates a large, competitive network filled with highly-qualified advisors. There is no guarantee of work, and it takes time to establish your reputation. You may receive invites to bid on projects, but it can get frustrating to spend 5 – 10 minutes each time, tailoring and polishing up bids that get rejected. The trick is to learn from each experience and be persistent. 

Like many expert networks, project opportunities through AlphaSights tend to be feast or famine so it’s hard to count on this revenue and not uncommon to go for very long stretches without landing a project.  On the flipside, if you’re a top expert on a hot topic or company, you may briefly find yourself inundated with project requests.

How can I win more AlphaSights consulting projects?

To get hired more often, it pays to be discovered! This means optimizing your Advisor profile with relevant keywords and search terms. Ensure your profile is concise, impactful, persuasive, and error-free. It should feature a strong summary of employment history and relevant knowledge. Read a few profiles of high-priced consultants in your field and borrow ideas that apply. Then, if needed, hire a writer to help you punch your draft up!  

AlphaSights’ Client Service Team works hard to connect clients with industry experts who can offer the right answers. You must be proactive and keep an eye out for opportunities, then get your proposals out the door! However, don’t cut-and-paste generic wording. Take time to tailor the phrasing so you’re speaking to the client’s unique needs. Yes, that takes longer, but the return on investment will be higher. And the more consultations you complete, the more feedback you’ll receive. Those feedbacks help you land work! 

As you put out proposals, you’ll walk a fine line between selling yourself and staying objective about your qualifications. Every client is different, but they all value honesty, so be clear about what you can offer without promising the moon and stars. Give concrete examples from your past that feature hard numbers and the tangible impacts your work made. Show how your knowledge can add value and is worth the price of admission. 

Now that we know who can afford those high-priced consults, let’s explore what types of consults are available! 

What types of consulting projects does AlphaSights take on? 

AlphaSights offer a wide range of services, via their network of external industry experts. Not all of AlphaSights’s “knowledge-holders” aka Advisors are C-suite types. Expert advisors are pulled from all levels of virtually every business sector. They come from all backgrounds and different countries to engage with clients remotely, running the gamut from market intelligence, broad industry perspectives, specific organizational insights, and general advice to inform decision-making. 

The types of projects they take on are as varied as their massive client roster, which means AlphaSights has opportunities for a wide range of specialized experts. For large scope projects, they might put together a team, but in general, you might expect to do 1:1 calls starting out. 

Consulting Calls

Clients use AlphaSights to connect with advisors and hear insights and solutions. Advisors get to decide what projects to take on, and what times are mutually convenient to do the calls (though it pays to be flexible). There’s nothing to prepare, though it can be helpful to do some research ahead of time for specific projects. Once a call is over, there’s nothing more to do except kick back and wait to get paid.  

Expert advisors get more than financial compensation, though. They gain invaluable opportunities to expand their own network, build relationships, hone their skills, and learn new things. With each call, the consultant adds value to their own portfolio. 

As mentioned above, all parties must be very mindful of avoiding compliance pitfalls. Clients can’t ask for sensitive or protected information such as trade secrets, and advisors can’t share it. Parties on an AlphaSights call are obligated to comply with ethical rules and legal restrictions. Apart from that, the direction of the call is largely up to the client. They might have an endless stream of questions, or might want to learn what types of questions they should be asking! You’re paid to listen, respond to the best of your ability, and let the call go on for as long as it needs until the client is ready to get off the line. Again, AlphaSights pays per minute, so you’re compensated if a call stretches over the standard hour. 

Broader Services 

AlphaSights states that they “source and qualify the best industry experts for our clients to speak to via phone, in-person meetings, and full-day workshops.” In-person meetings are similar to phone consultations but are sometimes more suitable (except when there’s a pandemic going on!). For now, we won’t dive too much into the workshops, lucrative though they may be. Most Advisors start doing phone consults, so that’s the best place to focus your energies until your reputation on the platform is secured. 

Is AlphaSights legit or are this a scam? 

AlphaSights is entirely legitimate and has a solid history. With offices worldwide and a client roster featuring multinational conglomerates, they have established themselves as a leading institute in the expert network trade. AlphaSights vets applicants to ensure they are contracting only professionals to serve as Advisors for their clients. This occurs through an Account Manager who facilitates the process to save clients some legwork by narrowing down choices. 

AlphaSights model is also helpful because of its discretion. Instead of a business casting a wide net in its search for independent advisors, it can simply go through AlphaSights and limit the number of people hearing about the request. In today’s business world, news of a company seeking outside advice can create a buzz. So, even though AlphaSights is serving thousands of clients every day, their business, by nature, is somewhat discrete. 

How much should I charge, and how much can I earn at AlphaSights?

AlphaSights, like other expert networks, doesn’t explicitly list a lot of details about how much their consultants make. If you think about it, why would they? They don’t want customers to see the markups! Again, expert networks earn a living by charging a substantial markup on the amount that they actually pay out to the folks doing the work.   

So what should you charge? Set your expert network rate too low and it’s quite possible to leave hundreds of dollars on the table, while if you ask too much you could not only lose out on the project, but burn your relationship with an entire expert network.  

It’s not a simple question to answer, but if you learn how to thread the needle, you can maximize your earnings by landing the most opportunities at your highest average rate. The best way to decide upon an hourly rate is to get started on your account. To do that, you can reach out to AlphaSights via their Contact Us form. Under the options, select that you are interested in being a potential Advisor. If they reach out to you to create a profile, you should be able to review other profiles and gauge the going rates for industry experts with comparable backgrounds. 

Conclusion 

If you have experience-based knowledge and insights worth sharing, hopefully this AlphaSights review has shown that you can probably connect you to customers who’ll pay for it. It doesn’t get any better than earning a few hundred an hour to hold a business discussion with a stranger! 

AlphaSights likely doesn’t want to deal with a flood of candidates banging on their door, so their process is not overt. Their website is aimed at business clients, not at recruiting Advisors. However, if you reach out to them via their Contact Us form, you should hear back from a rep soon. You’ll never know until you try! 

Coleman Research Review – The Pros and Cons of Consulting for a Global Expert Network

A deep dive into Coleman Research, one of the most extensive expert networks in the world

Overview of Coleman Research 

Coleman Research

When business managers and investors need actionable information to make decisions, they contact Coleman Research. An expert network with offices around the world, Coleman connects clients to best-in-category subject matter experts who can offer timely industry insights that will drive decision-making. Coleman also keeps clients up-to-date on changes in our fast-based information economy, giving them an edge over the competition. 

Founded in 2003 by Kevin Coleman, Coleman Research is headquartered in New York, with offices in Boston, Hong Kong, London, Raleigh, and San Francisco and a network of consultants spread across 12,000 cities. During its mission to offer the highest levels of service and access to leading industry experts, Coleman has completed over 200,000 projects, providing client-centered solutions through 1-on-1 phone consultations, hosted events, and surveys. 

The company employs a multilingual integrated team that provides services to several sectors, including business and financial services, consumer goods and services, energy and industry, healthcare, legal and regulatory matters, media and telecom, and more. The Coleman expert network consists of current and former C-suite executives, managing directors, senior managers, and other industry professionals. A notable recent milestone was the announcement of Coleman’s partnership with management consultant group Inspire, allowing Inspire’s client base of non-profits to connect with Coleman’s global expert network. Coleman has also been instrumental in helping clients during the Covid-19 crisis, providing critical insights regarding the pandemic’s impact on markets.

As Coleman Research continues to expand operations, it needs a steady influx of talented specialists ready to share knowledge and experience with their clients. Intrigued? Then let’s dive in for a closer view at the expert network industry and what working with Coleman might look like for you! 

Overview of Expert Networks

Believe it or not, the concept of “expert networks” is still relatively unknown to the average American. And yet, it’s a burgeoning ~$2 billion-a-year industry, working at breakneck speed behind the scenes to give businesses and investors a cutting edge in an increasingly competitive market. 

Laypeople might not know about groups like Coleman Research, but savvy companies do. They rely on expert networks every day, but they don’t go around advertising that fact! Instead, businesses keep a low profile when it comes to how they source intel. They want to receive their consultations discreetly, away from the public eye. Coleman and other similar agencies understand that. They’re not operating in secret; they simply don’t make a big show about their services. In fact, most people who’ve heard of expert networks learned about them from someone who works for one or after seeing an ad (or getting an invitation) on LinkedIn. Expert networks used to recruit via word of mouth, but today they utilize the power of professional networking sites like LinkedIn to find and contract talent. 

As Coleman puts it, they are “information matchmakers.” Another way to say it—they’re middlemen. They find the clients for you to consult, and they get a hefty commission for making that connection. Specifically, Coleman facilitates “meaningful conversations between some of the best minds across all industries.” They look for qualified experts in a wide range of sectors who are willing and able to share opinions and advice in exchange for a generous fee. The advisor sets their hourly consulting rate, then Coleman marks that up and keeps the difference. It’s that simple. 

Businesses face an array of daily problems, and they often seek outsider help before making decisions. Investors also consult experts before deciding on how to position themselves. Coleman saves these types of clients time and energy by finding and vetting the right people who can provide useful information. This is done through a 6-Step process:

  1. Clients present Coleman Research with a project designed to help answer a question or solve a particular problem. 
  2. Coleman filters their vast talent pool to find suitable advisors. 
  3. Interested consultants might need to answer a few questions and submit a brief proposal. Clients will review submissions and choose from the candidates. 
  4. Coleman makes all the arrangements for the call.
  5. Clients talk with their chosen advisor. 
  6. Coleman releases payment and requests feedback. 

These clients don’t mind paying hundreds or, in some cases, even thousands of dollars an hour for information that could potentially make or save them far more money than they spend!

What should you expect on a Coleman Research consulting call?

Coleman Research consulting process
Coleman Research has a well-defined process to match experts with clients.

Coleman Research takes great care to provide value-added information within the confines of legal and ethical guidelines. As the company states, “Our business is built on trust, transparency, and sound ethics. These values are the backbone of our compliance program.” That’s why it offers compliance training to new experts who join the network and screens all candidates to ensure no glaring conflict exists if the consultant take on a particular project. 

For 1-on-1 phone consults, Coleman contractors set an hourly rate, but technically, they’re paid by the minute to chat about an expert network project. There are three broad categories that a call might fall under:

Industry overview — Big data is easy to get, but broad industry overviews are also popular for investors gathering intel about a particular company, market, or sector. They can use what they learn to form a big picture which data alone can’t always paint. Then they can make informed strategic decisions based on that big picture and what it indicates for the future!   

Company deep dive — Deep dives focus on a specific company, perhaps a competitor for the client who’s calling. That’s why consultants aren’t allowed to discuss current employers since it would create a conflict of interest. Some deep dives examine only a particular area of a company, perhaps a problem or something they’re doing right. This can help clients either learn from peers’ mistakes or attempt to replicate a peers’ success.  

Consulting with consultants — Even consultants need help sometimes, which is why corporate consultants might reach out and “phone a friend” to glean some objective insights that’ll benefit their clients. 

To learn more about the ins and outs of high-paying expert phone consulting, check out our comprehensive Ultimate Expert Network Guide

Do I qualify as a subject matter expert? 

Sometimes qualified individuals worry that they won’t make the grade or that they don’t know anything that would be valuable enough for a client to pay for! Essentially, they don’t think they’re qualified for this type of work. We say, why not let Coleman be the judge of that? 

What is a subject matter expert anyhow? Typically anyone who has worked long enough in a particular field or for a certain company becomes an expert on at least something! There is no checklist that lets you determine clearly whether or not your knowledge passes the test to qualify as an expert, though. The true test is to try and see. 

If you’re worried about “imposter syndrome,” don’t be! Everyone has to start somewhere. Out of the 12,000+ consultants in Coleman’s network, they all had to cross that invisible threshold from being workers to becoming (well-paid) consultants!  

How do I set my Coleman Research hourly consulting rate?

Coleman Research consulting fees

Expert networks love to recruit via LinkedIn, and they entice potential talent by dangling a cash carrot. But do these companies really pay hundreds or thousands of dollars an hour? Yes, in some cases, they do! 

Actually, their clients pay the money, and Coleman just adds their own fees as a markup to whatever rate you decide to set. Remember, Coleman isn’t necessarily looking for cheap labor here. The more you charge, the more they can mark up your rate. So they want to find advisors who can command high rates! That doesn’t mean to set an inflated rate arbitrarily. Your insights carry value, but that value might be subjective. 

Generally speaking, if you held a mid-level role in a company for a few years and possess some information and opinions a client would pay for, consider setting a $100 – $150/hour rate. If you are a seasoned professional in a specialized role or position of authority, $300 – $500 an hour might be more suitable. Executives can often charge more than a thousand per hour since their insights can carry significantly more weight. 

Coleman encourages experts “to set their own hourly rates based on industry standards, commensurate with their level of expertise and experience.” The company offers guidance for those who ask. You can also review our full brief on how to set your expert network consulting rate

What are the downsides to consulting for Coleman Research?  

Every job has its fair share of pros and cons. The critical thing to remember here is—this is not a job! 

Coleman does hire full-time employers, however, their experts are contractors who may or may not ever get work. There are no guarantees you’ll ever be selected for a project and even if you are, sometimes projects fall through. 

The biggest complaint we’ve seen about Coleman from consultants who’ve worked for them is that there isn’t enough work. A couple of others mentioned a lack of feedback or clients canceling on them. But if you come into the process with some expectation management, you shouldn’t be disappointed. 

Glassdoor contains a small mix of reviews on Coleman (again, filtering out full-time employees and only looking at contractors). Below are a few for you to check out, and as you’ll see, even the positive reviews mention the sporadic workload: 

Indeed also features reviews from contractors, mostly positive:

Consulting for Coleman Research isn’t remotely close to being a full-time gig. Some consultants get more work than others, simply because they’re in more demand due to their qualifications or customer service. Coleman makes the connections, but it doesn’t control the marketplace except to help vet potential advisors in the early stage of the process. Otherwise, it’s a competition and up to advisors to persuade clients to work with them. Those who persist swim; those who don’t may sink! 

How can I win more Coleman Research consulting projects?

As with any work, you should eventually start getting picked up for projects if you’re qualified and competitive. Otherwise, you might end up going hungry in this “feast or famine” environment! 

How do you know if you’re qualified? Coleman will do some vetting first, so if they contact you, you know you’re at least preliminarily qualified. It’s up to you to review the project details carefully then decide if you want to throw your hat in the ring or not. If you believe your insights can lead that client to make a good decision—and you can persuade them of that fact—then go for it!

If not, take a pass and keep trying. It doesn’t do any good to try for projects you’re not qualified for. That’s a waste of your time, so focus on the ones you’ll excel at so you can earn positive reviews! Spend sufficient time reviewing the project and writing a compelling proposal. Be professional, edit your work so that it’s error-free, and make sure your LinkedIn profile is polished, too (in case they look at it!). 

At the end of the day, just remember that there are other expert networks out there, so if you’re still not getting enough work from Coleman’s, you can try GLG, AlphaSights, GuidePoint, or Third Bridge! 

What types of consulting projects does Coleman Research take on? 

Coleman Research offers 1-on-1 consultations as well as hosted conferences and events and expert surveys for clients in the following industries: 

  • Business and Financial Services
  • Consumer Goods and Services
  • Energy and Industrials
  • Healthcare
  • Legal and Regulatory 
  • Tech, Media and Telecom

Their primary service offering is the 1-on-1 call. Coleman Research connects advisors and “industry thought leaders” who can offer relevant, timely, first-hand perspectives on key issues. Calls may last an hour or more, during which time clients can steer the interview based on their needs. It’s up to the consultant to ensure there are no breaches of confidentiality and to report anything questionable in accordance with the Terms and Conditions, which “prohibit the disclosure of confidential and material, non-public information.”

Hosted Events

Coleman offers hosted events featuring a crack team of experienced analysts who are up-to-date on the latest industry news and trends. In-house experts staff these events, so contractors are not likely invited to participate. However, for those able to establish a solid reputation with the company, who knows what doors might open? 

Expert Surveys

Coleman does offer survey services to their clients, however, the company’s website does not specify whether they use contracted consultants to complete these or not. It seems like they do, based on one of the case study writeups! Since they don’t publish details on how contractors can qualify to participate, we suggest filling out an application to join the network. If one of their representatives reaches out, that’s the best time to ask for specifics on how to get involved with some of those low-stress surveys. 

Is Coleman Research a scam, or are they legit? 

Coleman Research is a legitimate international company that focuses on facilitating short-term consultations between business clients and qualified contracted advisors. You not only get paid for these simple phone calls, but you also receive the bonus of getting to converse with other experts working for management consultancies, mutual funds, hedge funds, and private equity firms. There’s no prep work involved, and advisors are free to accept or decline any work offered. 

How much should I charge, and how much can I earn at Coleman Research? 

Coleman’s site notes that how many requests you receive depends on many factors, including one’s area of expertise, experience level, and availability to take a potential client’s call. However, your rate will be a factor, too! You want to charge an amount that compensates you fairly for the value you provide the customer. That’s a very subjective equation, so in the beginning it makes sense to compare what peers are charging and set your rate accordingly. If you undercharge, it could indicate a lack of confidence, but if you overcharge and can’t deliver the goods, that may result in a negative review of your services. 

Just remember, expert networks make money by marking up your rate and keeping the difference. They obviously prefer not to disclose how much their markup is, but you can pull back the curtain and get the inside scoop through our detailed expert network rate overview!

Conclusion

Coleman Research boasts of a 90% retention rate with over 200K projects completed. Clearly this is a company that’s here to stay. They have built a giant sandbox for consultants to come play in. There’s no guarantee of work, but it’s free to apply and see what’s out there! So if the possibility of making over $100 an hour to answer questions on the telephone sounds like an opportunity you’d like to explore, why not give Coleman Research a shot? You can learn more about how to join their expert network here!

GLG Review – Should You Consult for the World’s Largest Expert Network? The Pros and Cons of Consulting for GLG

An in-depth review of GLG, the world’s largest expert network

Overview of Expert Networks

If you’ve ever received an invitation to join an expert network like GLG, you may have been skeptical. These invites offer to pay hundreds of dollars an hour to give phone consults to clients. It sounds too good to be true, but expert networks are real and provide lucrative payouts if you’ve got in-demand industry insights to give. 

GLG (which is rebranded shorthand the Gerson Lehrman Group) and other expert networks profit by capitalizing on your subject matter expertise. They are well-compensated middlemen, connecting organizations with consultants within their in-house “community,” aka “expert network.” Why do companies hire consultants? Because a single critical decision can cost companies millions of dollars, so paying a few thousand in consulting fees is peanuts in comparison. 

Gerson Lehrman Group Offices
GLG has helped build a massive industry for buying and selling expertise.

Expert networks like GLG make perfect sense, which is why the industry now has almost 200 similar networks, raking in $1.5 billion in annual revenue. These networks are the bridge between experts and companies who need them. Investors and management consultants need straight talk from people in the trenches who can offer insights before they make an investment or a decision about a strategic direction to take. GLG’s clients need the “real story” from inside experts like you! 

In return, GLG tacks on a sizable markup. For instance, the expert’s consulting rate might be $200 per hour, but GLG often charges its clients $1,000+ per hour for facilitating calls with industry experts who can deliver the straight scoop minutes after a phone call commences. Thus, we see the rationale behind those LinkedIn invites offering to pay you hundreds of dollars for an hour of your time.  While at first these opportunities may sound too good to be true, for professionals who qualify such projects are real and accessible, with expert networks like GLG facilitating over 1 million high paying consulting calls each year.

What should you expect on a GLG consulting call?

So what does an expert do during a one-hour client call for an expert network project? Essentially, one of three things. They may offer a company deep dive, an industry overview, or a consultation with other consultants (we explore these “knowledge bomb” conversations in more depth in our Ultimate Expert Network Guide)!

A deep dive may be requested from someone outside of a company, like an investor wanting to learn more before deciding what position to take. Such calls dive into hard numbers, insights about management, opinions on what customers like or dislike about a product or service, and other data that can’t be found on reports. 

The industry overview is broader. Often, a company speaks with several consultants to form a big picture about an industry, its customers, and its future. They might even ask what questions they should be asking!

The third type of call comes from consulting firms looking to improve offerings to their clients. They are offering expert services to a company but need to “phone a friend” when a new product is launched, or something isn’t going according to plan. Of course, anything they learn from you will appear to be coming from them when they pass it on! 

The key benefit to the expert network system is clear—once a consulting call is finished and you hang up the phone, it’s over. They got something they needed, and your obligation is concluded. Then you get paid! It doesn’t get much easier than that.  

Do I qualify as a subject matter expert? 

After learning that expert networks are legitimate, many struggle to believe they’d have knowledge worth someone else’s money. It’s the biggest question we ask ourselves: “Why would someone pay so much just to talk to me?” Many experts report experiencing a brief period of self-doubt or a sense of “imposter syndrome,” but that fades quickly. When a new consultant starts hearing positive feedback from customers who benefited from the consult, that’s when they appreciate what they can bring to the table. 

But how do you know if you qualify? Look again at the main types of calls—the company deep dive, industry overview, and consultation. Have you ever worked for a big company? Or within a particular industry for a long time? Have you ever trained or mentored another worker? If the answer is yes, you probably have something worth selling! 

How do I set my GLG hourly consulting rate?

GLG consulting rate

Networks pay a lot, but you don’t want to overvalue or undervalue your services! People in the early years of their careers may charge $75 – $150/hour with GLG, while senior professionals typically earn $200 – $300 an hour. Prominent experts are rumored to ask $5,000 per hour, though it’s unknown how often they get booked at that rate.

Worth noting — GLG pays by the minute, so your hourly rate is only a baseline; you’ll only get half of your hourly fee on a 30 minute call, but the meter keeps ticking if you exceed one hour. Meanwhile, they pay out like clockwork, usually 1 – 2 weeks after the call is completed. Keep in mind, the value of your insights depends on what they’re worth to the companies requesting them. Consider the salary for a professional football player. If a player puts butts in seats, they add massive value to the franchise, and can ask for astronomical salaries. They aren’t just getting paid for the work, but for the value they add. 

Deciding on a rate that maximizes earnings without scaring off potential customers is like walking a tightrope. That’s why we’ve written a full guide on how to price your consulting services, covering details of variable and category pricing models commonly used by expert networks like GLG. The more you understand how they earn, the better you can adjust accordingly. 

What are the downsides to consulting for GLG?  

Consulting for GLG isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It can be competitive as increasing numbers of qualified candidates enter the arena. Every network has its own internal rules, but if you position yourself well, GLG may send you a handful of project invites each week. You’ll likely only be selected for a quarter or third of them. Responding to invites taks 5 – 10 minutes and yes, it can be frustrating to receive more “no thanks” replies than “yes, please!” For those just getting started, it can seem demotivational.

Let’s take a look at what workers in the field have said about GLG, in terms of pros and cons…

Reviews and feedbacks about GLG 

As the 800 pound gorilla of the expert network industry, GLG receives plenty of public feedback, listed on Indeed, Glassdoor, and even Quora. One of the top complaints about GLG is that work is sporadic, as these reviews on Indeed show: 

Consultation business. Work is infrequent but lucrative.

“Consult for top tier companies. Mergers and acquisitions, general consulting and special projects. Work is infrequent but can be lucrative if available in your specialized area.”

Here’s another one: 

Great company, occasionally get interest from clients. Very part term

“From time to time, someone needs specialized help that I’m qualified to help with, probably only about 5 hours a quarter. However, I’m compensated extremely well for this time. It’s very low pressure when deciding whether to take a project or not.”

A thorough review of GLG on Quora points out a few of the pros and cons, such as this quote: 

“GLG associates are notorious for aggressively negotiating down rates, despite charging clients some of the highest prices in the industry.”

They are hard negotiators on fees and pay less than many other networks. They charge clients a fixed price (often $1,000 for an hour-long call), so the less they pay you, the more they keep. Alas, you still get to keep a lot! 

As mentioned, perhaps the biggest downside to GLG is the process of getting picked up for projects. You’ll have to spend time reviewing and bidding. So how can you boost your odds of getting hired? 

How can I win more GLG consulting projects?

GLG consulting projects
Sharpen up your profile with GLG and other expert networks and project opportunities will come pouring in!

Despite recent crowding of the field, there are strategic steps you can take to increase your odds of winning more projects. The first relates to being discoverable, so take time to research keywords you want to be found under, then create a keyword-dense profile. 

One of the most intuitive ways to get more work is to be the first person out of the gate, so keep your eyes peeled for opportunities and respond quickly. Being the first person to reply isn’t always going to land you the gig, but it always makes you stand out. 

Establish trust quickly by being honest and objective. First impressions count! The worst thing you can do is oversell your experience or abilities. Only apply to projects you are qualified to tackle and be candid when asked questions. Never deliver a promise you cannot keep, or you’ll tank your reputation quickly. 

That said, you still have to sell yourself, so be descriptive in all your answers. Provide sufficient detail about things you’ve done related to the project, and include hard data, financial figures, and impact. Show how you added value in previous work situations and demonstrate how you might add value to your potential new client. Convince them that you’re worth the return on investment! 

Overview of GLG

Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) was founded in New York in 1998, originally focused on writing “sector-specific reports for investors.” Within a year, their core trio of Mark Gerson, Thomas Lehrman, and editor Alexander Saint-Amand realized the power of one-on-one consulting, which could often have a deeper impact than a cold, formal report. By 2003, they’d expanded operations to San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and London, receiving a $30 million injection of investment capital to brand out into Chicago, Austin, and Washington D.C., as well. 

Today GLG has a staff of over 2,000 employees and 900,000 experts working for them from virtually all business backgrounds. GLG essentially started the expert network industry as we know it, and it remains the largest company in this growing field! 

What types of consulting projects does GLG take on? 

GLG “serves clients on in-depth engagements and supports GLG’s client base of 1,400+ of the world’s leading corporations, investment firms, and nonprofits.” That client base consists of everything from financial services organizations to corporations and life sciences. GLG has opportunities for a wide range of specialized experts. For large projects, they may assemble a tailored team to work on objectives. In other cases, a simple 1:1 call between a client and an independent consultant (aka Council Member) may be all that’s needed. 

GLG’s independent consultants come from all walks of life, with varying experience and seniority levels. They offer projects for people at all levels, across most industries, and from around the world. According to their Why Become a Consultant page, 39% were already working for top consulting firms, and 33% are former execs. Most GLG consultants work remotely and may live anywhere in the world. Indeed, only 31% are based in North America, while 48% live in either South America, Europe, or Asia. 

Consulting Calls

GLG consulting invite
GLG recruiters frequently reach out to new consultants via LinkedIn

Organizations are willing to pay hourly rates to discuss their strategic and operational problems, get market feedback, and test out ideas. This comes with enormous benefits for you as the consultant! They need to hear your insights and possible solutions, so they’re coming to you. That means you get to schedule appointments when it is convenient for you, you don’t have to prepare anything, and there is no follow up. When you hang up, you’re done except for the getting paid part! 

Calls are usually quite interesting conversations that both parties end up learning something from, which is a bonus. Another less tangible perk is simply being considered and respected as a subject matter expert. That’s a status you worked long and hard to earn, so now is the time to reap the rewards. 

Things to be mindful of include the handling of sensitive information. Consultants are not allowed to divulge trade secrets or any information they are restricted from sharing. Everything discussed must be authorized for public dissemination and all parties on a GLG call must agree to know and follow all legal and ethical rules and restrictions (GLG was busted in 2008 for their involvement with an insider trading scandal, but they learned their lesson and enforce compliance strictly, which also protects you from being asked uncomfortable questions by clients). 

Other than that, there are few guidelines on how a call has to go. You’re the consultant, but the client sets the stage by telling you about their situations and asking questions. Your job is to listen and answer, for the length of the call. Not all calls are an hour long. In fact, technically, GLG pays you per minute, so if your call does stretch over an hour (which it often can if you keep the conversation going by adding additional insights), then you’re compensated for that extra time. 

Meanwhile, calls aren’t the only thing you can do with GLG…

Broader Services 

GLG uses Council Members to fill out paid B2B surveys (which can take from 10 – 20 minutes for $40 – $75), attend events or small group meetings, or team up with others to tackle small, complex projects. Consultants are free to choose what they work on. Some only want to do calls; others are happy to do surveys, get out of the house to attend events, or collaborate with others. For those seeking a bit more work, GLG also offers their clients interim and longer-term placements. 

Is GLG a scam or are they legit? 

GLG is a legitimate, global enterprise with almost a million paid Council Member consultants. They thoroughly vet the consultants in their network to ensure their clients receive exceptional service in exchange for the high fees they’re shelling out. 

GLG is one of the oldest and certainly largest players in the expert network sector! They have physical offices in major cities worldwide, thousands of employees, and almost a million consultants on tap. You could be one of them!

How much should I charge, and how much can I earn at GLG? 

GLG claims to have paid out $1 billion to their Council Members to-date. How can you get your share? By going online, building your profile, and setting your GLG consulting rate. According to the GLG customer service representative we contacted, the best way to get started is to build your profile featuring “a high-level summary of your background, experience, and skillset in the Biography section.” 

After that, users can work on their Work History section and list detailed descriptions of their work history. Once registration is complete, that’s when GLG’s rate tool appears. This is where you can set a GLG consulting rate that you feel is sufficiently competitive yet fairly compensates you for your knowledge. 

Be warned, GLG associates may try to negotiate your rate down. Do your research on what other Council Members are charging for similar services, then compare against other networks’ going rates. For example, a GLG consulting rate of $300 an hour might run $500 at another company, for a conversation with the same client.  

Benefits of working as a GLG consultant

GLG not only pays for 1:1 phone calls, surveys, and projects, but Council Members can professionally benefit from the exposure to so many business execs and fellow consultants, which is invaluable if you use it as a learning opportunity. Another benefit is access to GLG Insight’s library of high-quality research articles, which can help inform your work with clients as well as potentially your own full-time endeavors. Council Members occasionally get to contribute to these pieces, which can lend additional credibility to your profile (which, in turn, always helps justify a rate hike!).

Some firms provide varying forms of free published research as a perk to their consultants; it’s usually pretty high quality (and in some cases, you can publish your own for exposure.)  

One of GLG’s biggest selling points is its sheer size, because they have so many projects available. They operate in the Big Leagues of the expert network industry, scoping projects for companies both large and small. One of their bragging points is that they hand-select and recruit 200+ new experts a day. There aren’t many businesses that can say that. And because they’ve been around for so long, they’ve worked out most of the kinks and streamlined their process so it’s straightforward to find work on their trusted, compliance-oriented platform. 

Conclusion 

If consulting with GLG sounds like the perfect solution to make some extra money on the side from the comfort of your own home (or from some tropical beach with a mojito in your hand), you’re right! 

Head over to their Why Become a Consultant page to learn more about signing up to get your high-paying side hustle on! 

Guidepoint Global Review – What It’s Really Like Consulting for a World-Class Expert Network

A comprehensive review of Guidepoint Global Advisors, one of the world’s largest three expert networks.

Overview of Guidepoint 

guidepoint global

Labelled as the “experts at finding expertise,” Guidepoint Global Advisors is a world leader in the burgeoning expert network industry. Alongside top firms like GLG and AlphaSights, Guidepost operates on an international scale that significantly expanded after its 2015 acquisition of the German-based company Innosquared. With 80,000 advisors holding expertise in 150+ different industries, this is the company that businesses come to when they need to glean actionable insights from outside professionals! 

Founded in 2003 by chemist Albert Sebag under the name Clinical Advisors, the company initially focused on the healthcare industry before expanding into other sectors. Rebranding as Guidepoint Global (and later simply Guidepoint), the New York-based business quickly opened branches worldwide, including in New Jersey, Connecticut, San Francisco, Boston, London, Düsseldorf, Athens, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokyo. Guidepoint connects business clients in a wide range of industries to advisors who can offer business insights via direct, private phone consultations or through surveys that provide information to drive decision-making. 

Overview of Expert Networks

Expert networks comprise a rapidly growing and highly profitable industry that’s approaching $2 billion in annual revenue, yet few people know that it exists!  Businesses demand a high level of discretion when seeking help from outsiders since they don’t want to give away clues about their strategies or problems. But expert networks have existed for decades, flourishing and gaining more exposure with the rise of the Internet. 

Their business model is simple. An expert network identifies areas where businesses could use knowledge-based support; then, it sources applicable subject matter experts. Next, from its talent pool it draws suitable consultants to connect to its business clients’ projects. These expert advisors charge a set fee to advise clients on their respective issues. Meanwhile, in exchange for arranging the consultations, the expert network company charges a markup to the advisor’s consulting fees. 

Who uses expert networks? Mainly investors or corporate management consultants looking for extra guidance to do their jobs. Why do these individuals need such counsel? Because, if you think about it, a single business decision can impact a company’s trajectory for years. In a worst-case scenario, a wrong move could lead to bankruptcy, but a savvy move at the right time could potentially launch earnings into the stratosphere. Either way, it’s well worth the investment for clients to utilize outside experts’ services, even if a call runs into the hundreds or thousands of dollars per hour! 

What should you expect on a Guidepoint Global consulting call?

Guidepoint Global linkedin invitation
Guidepoint heavily recruits new consultants via LinkedIn

Do advisors really make hundreds of dollars or more just for a phone call? Yes, many do. As mentioned, Guidepoint’s primary service is a “direct, private conversation between a client and an appropriate subject matter expert.” So if you’re selected to join their network, what would a phone call be like for such an expert network project? Calls usually go one of three ways:

Deep dive — The client might be an investor in need of a “deep dive” that provides intel on a given company’s potential for growth or the negative consequences of problems it could be facing. 

Industry overview — Companies often solicit expert opinions on the bigger picture, so they can gain a broad overview of an industry’s landscape before making any crucial decisions. 

Consulting with consultants — Many companies maintain in-house consultants or they work with agencies, but there is always room for additional insights for targeted issues that need resolution. Consultants often reach out to chat with subject matter experts who have no skin in the game and thus can offer objective guidance. 

Keep in mind, all calls are confidential and must comply with strict legal and ethical standards related to such discussions. For example, an advisor cannot divulge protected insider information, nor can customers ask for such non-releasable data. You can learn what’s permissible to discuss or not on Guidepoint’s FAQ page. To learn more about the types of consult calls you might be asked to do, check out our Ultimate Expert Network Guide, which covers the main types of calls in greater detail! 

Do I qualify as a subject matter expert? 

What does it take to qualify as a subject matter expert? There’s no hard answer to that question! If you worked for a specific company or within a particular industry for several years, you probably gained a certain level of knowledge and expertise that others might be willing to pay for. But then again, that would make many of us “experts,” right? Yes, it would! 

Guidepoint serves clients in an extensive range of sectors, so they need an equal variety of experts to advise those clients. They vet every applicant, keeping note of specialized skills and roles from the applicant’s background. Then, when a client submits a project, Guidepoint draws up a pool of potential advisors from their applicable pool and lets the client decide who to try. The point is, let them decide if you are “expert” enough. 

If you’re worried about “imposter syndrome,” don’t! It might seem odd at first to be getting paid just to talk on the phone, but people just like you do it every day, raking in a nice side income. 

How do I set my Guidepoint consulting rates?

The more specialized your role or, the higher up the ladder you’ve worked, the more insights you might have to monetize and the more you might reasonably charge. Those workers who are in the earlier stages of their career or with less specialized knowledge might set Guidepoint consulting rates between $100 – $150/hour, whereas seasoned pros and mid-level executives might charge $300 – $500 an hour. Meanwhile, C-suite types with a work history in major companies could ask for thousands of dollars…and they can easily find clients more than happy to pay that much. 

Remember, these customers aren’t “bargain hunting!” They’re coming to Guidepoint because they need precious insights and are willing to pay a premium for them. It’s a logical return on investment if the information they learn informs a better decision that could save or make them money. 

Keep in mind that Guidepoint doesn’t take part of your hourly rate; they simply mark it up and keep the difference. To learn more about this process, please review our guide on how to price your consulting services!

What are the downsides to consulting for Guidepoint?  

Are there honestly any downsides to earning hundreds of dollars an hour for a phone call? Not many! But of course, the most obvious is that this is a competitive business. Guidepoint’s network is already packed with highly qualified advisors (~800,000 and growing) working in over 190 countries. Some of them get a lot more work than others. 

Consulting for Guidepost (or any expert network) isn’t a regular job with guaranteed hours. You put in your application and hope it matches with clients’ project needs. If it does, you won’t be the only one that matches with it, so you’ll have to spend 5 – 10 minutes to submit a proposal or answer a few screening questions. 

It can be frustrating if your proposals aren’t getting replies, but consultants with the most success are the ones who adapt and keep trying. Yes, it’s sometimes a case of “feast or famine,” so don’t quit your day job! You might go months without a bite, then suddenly find yourself hit with a handful of gigs close together, especially if you have experience in an unexpectedly hot industry or company. 

When it comes to Guidepoint’s reviews by current and former advisors, opinions are all over the place. Many reviews on Glassdoor lambast the company as a “scam,” while others offer rave reviews. It could be a matter of some workers not landing enough projects, even if they are getting matched and submitting proposals. 

Meanwhile, some consultants love it, even though they wish there were more work. 

How can I win more Guidepoint Global consulting projects?

If there is a magic formula to winning projects, it’s something like this: Qualification + Persuasiveness = Work. 

If you aren’t qualified for a particular project, don’t apply and you can avoid disappointment. If you are qualified but cannot convince them, you might need to work on your writing skills to get more projects!

Most of Guidepoint’s business comes from the following sectors: 

  • Consumer Goods and Services
  • Energy, Industrials, Basic Materials
  • Financial and Business Services
  • Healthcare
  • Legal and Regulatory
  • Tech, Media, and Telecom

When Guidepoint vets and accepts new candidates, you enter a talent pool. When clients submit projects, Guidepoint staff search around in the pool to find relevant qualified candidates to suggest. If you’re suggested, a client might scan your information, or you may get a chance to answer a few questions as they screen for the most suitable advisor. 

Having an optimized, keyword-enriched profile will make you stand out if they peek at that. Providing thoughtful, value-added responses to screeners will help you seal the deal. It takes a bit of work upfront to get chosen, but consider it a return on investment. The more legwork you do to stand out from the crowd, the more you up your odds. 

Over time, as you get picked up more frequently, you’ll establish your positive reputation on their platform. That credibility will, in turn, lead to more work! That’s why expert networks are sometimes described as “feast or famine.” Once you get some momentum, it’s easier to keep it going.    

Guidepoint’s Advisors page lists further information on how it sources and matches experts to clients in over 150 countries. With a 90%+ client retention rate, they’re very careful to keep customers satisfied! If you land a few projects, but then suddenly the lines go cold, it could mean that even though you’re matching with clients, you aren’t giving them everything they need, and it’s impacting your feedback. You must make customer service a top priority and treat your consulting as a tiny business. And, of course, you have to be providing value during the calls. The better your reviews, the more likely you are to keep getting gigs! 

What types of consulting projects does Guidepoint take on? 

Guidepoint offers more than just phone consults; they can provide teleconference meetings for broader insight delivery, as well as conduct surveys, offer data products, or even legal services. But calls are what they’re often known for, so let’s explore those a bit more before moving onto the broader service catalog.  

Phone Consultations

Guidepoint works with consulting firms, corporations, hedge funds, professional services, private equity firms, and law firms, connecting them with professional advisors for calls that may last an hour or more. Every client request is unique, but they generally fall within one of the three main types we talked about earlier, i.e., company deep dives, industry overviews, or consultations with other consultants. 

There are strict rules in place to avoid legal or ethical breaches. You can read more about the conservative compliance guidelines on the Guidepoint Compliance and FAQ pages. For example, Guidepoint instructs advisors to decline any invitation to consult concerning their current employer. However, if there is no confidentiality agreement in place, advisors could discuss suppliers or customers of their current employer.  

Clients will steer the conversation, but you as the consultant are legally obligated to comply with all of Guidepoint’s rules regarding information disclosure (and don’t worry, they’ll make sure you are fully aware of the rules and you’ll sign your concurrence before starting!). Indeed, advisors must end consults that violate compliance rules, and will be compensated for the entire scheduled time if that ever happens. 

Besides staying within the boundaries of these rules, you should answer questions to the best of your ability. If the call goes longer than an hour, so be it. You’ll get compensated per minute, so try to keep the knowledge flowing! 

Other Client Services 

Guidepoint utilizes analyst teams to offer their branded Insights services through client teleconferences, live roundtable events, or group meetings timed with conferences or tradeshows. Other offerings include surveys, polls, “Qsight” data products, and legal solutions. Most of these are not typically areas where contracted advisors will play a role; however, once you get on board, who knows what you might be tagged for once you’ve established a name for yourself with the platform!

Is Guidepoint Global Advisors legit or is this a scam? 

Even though their reviews are occasionally less than stellar, Guidepoint is a legitimate business with offices around the globe and roughly 3,250 current clients, of which 200+ are hedge funds, 100+ are private equity firms, and 100+ are public companies. 

Guidepoint vets applicants to ensure high-quality talent is joining their network and adding value to customers. Applicants must complete a training tutorial and agree to a list of Conservative Rules before talking to clients. They also suggest a review of their Summary of Key Rules and Terms and Conditions. 

Once subject matter experts are screened and trained, they’re eligible for Guidepoint to start matching them up with potential client projects! There is zero promise of work, and applicants should set expectations accordingly. As we’ve seen above in the reviews, naturally consultants get frustrated and might leave negative reviews if they aren’t snagging gigs. But keep in mind, that is probably just those reviewers venting. It’s not evidence of Guidepoint being a “scam.” It is a legitimate entity that has created a competitive free market environment where eligible consultants can potentially thrive if they have applicable knowledge and experience and know how to convey that fact to potential clients.

How much should I charge, and how much can I earn at Guidepoint? 

Guidepoint does not go into details about how much consultants earn. In part, this is because the consultants can set their own rates. Meanwhile, Guidepoint adds their own commission on top of those rates. In other words, they don’t take from your cut; they simply mark up your services and keep the difference. Do the clients know this? Maybe; maybe not. 

Think about it—most businesses don’t blatantly advertise how much they pay for a product and how much they then mark it up when putting it on the shelves. Expert networks are no different. When you set your Guidepoint consulting rate, that’s not the expert network rate the client sees; that’s the baseline amount that Guidepoint uses to set their rate for you, which will be much higher! 

Conclusion 

If earning hundreds of dollars to talk with customers on the phone seems like something you’d like to try, we think Guidepoint is an excellent place to start! They describe exactly what they’re looking for on their advisor welcome page: “Guidepoint Advisors is an exclusive network of academic and industry professionals who consult with business decision-makers and leading investors around the world. Guidepoint Advisors enjoys a reputation for excellence. We are actively seeking the most qualified practitioners and thought leaders to join our network.” 

If that describes you, head over and fill out your application. You’ll never know how much you can earn unless you try!

Third Bridge Review – What It’s Really Like Consulting for a World-Class Expert Network

A comprehensive review of Third Bridge, one of the top expert networks in the world

Overview of Third Bridge 

In the world of expert networks, few organizations have stood out as boldly as Third Bridge. Founded in 2007 as Cognolink before a 2015 rebrand, Third Bridge’s aim is to provide invaluable business insights, data, and in-depth research services to private equity firms, hedge funds, and strategy consultants. 

During its relatively brief existence, this company has rapidly transformed itself into a global entity with a team of 1,000+ employees in eight offices spanning three continents. Headquartered in London, Third Bridge maintains offices in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Mumbai, catering to the information needs of over 1,000 investment firm clients.

On a mission to “democratize the world’s human insights and upend the traditional research model,” Third Bridge links business leaders, investors, and experts able to share critical insights and perspectives to inform critical decision-making. The company utilizes contracted specialists to provide these invaluable insights.     

 A notable recent milestone is an acquisition of a minority stake in the firm by private equity group Astorg. Though Third Bridge’s three co-founders—Emmanuel Tahar, Joshua Maxey, and Rodolphe De Hemptinne—will remain majority owners, the expansion is a significant milestone in this burgeoning company’s race to the top. 

Though it has its hands in a few cookie jars, including various asset classes, sectors, and regions, most of Third Bridge’s clients are professional financial services firms. According to their site, they conduct over 5,000 interviews each year, covering 4,000 global private and public companies. Meanwhile, clients can access 15,000+ previous interview transcripts. As Third Bridge continues to grow, they need more and more specialists able to tackle the workload. That’s where you come in! 

Overview of Expert Networks

Despite being a ~$2 billion-a-year industry, expert networks are still relatively unknown to the general public. However, the business world is quite familiar with expert networks like Third Bridge and uses them all the time. How is it possible that such a burgeoning industry flies under the radar? Simple—businesses want discretion when seeking expert consultations. No company wants to advertise the fact that they’re looking for outside help or opinions. Meanwhile, those expert networks really don’t need to promote themselves to anyone outside their potential client base. 

Indeed, the only reason expert networks are gaining more exposure is that they’re expanding and bringing on additional consultants. Before the Internet, expert groups recruited talent the old-fashioned way, by making calls and sending letters. Now they connect with talent across the globe through ads or messages via LinkedIn. 

So what precisely do they do and who are they hiring? Expert networks solve information problems for businesses. They find areas where companies need insights, and then they hunt for suitable subject matter experts to supply those insights. That’s all there is to it. Expert networks are middlemen, saving businesses time by doing the legwork to find and vet advisors. 

When a client reaches out with a project, Third Bridge (and other networks) dive into their pool to find prospective advisors. The client selects the one they want to work with after asking questions and reviewing candidate proposals. 

How does Third Bridge make money from this transaction? The same way any middleman does; they charge a fee. In the case of expert networks, fees can be significant! Basically, an advisor sets their hourly consulting rate, then the expert network marks that rate up and keeps the difference. 

Large companies, startups, investors, and corporate consultants don’t mind paying the markup in exchange for valuable strategic intel. Though it is not always possible to quantify the return on investment for such counsel, it’s worth the money if they learn something that earns or saves them more than the consultation cost. 

What should you expect on a Third Bridge consulting call?

Speaking of costs, how much do Third Bridge specialists earn an hour, and what do they have to reveal on those calls? We’ll get into rates in a little while, but let’s talk about what’s covered in an expert network project call first. 

Calls can be broadly categorized into one of three styles: 

Industry overview — Investors reach out to specialists to collect information they’ll use to paint a “big picture” that forecasts activity and informs decisions on investments or other strategic actions.  

Company deep dive — Deep dives are analytical, investigative explorations of target companies or a particular area within a company. Investors glean info on a company’s growth potential or problems and respective consequences. 

Consulting with consultants — Large companies have their own consultants (or contracted agencies), but it never hurts to reach out for additional objective insights. 

Third Bridge posts interviews with some of their specialists, such as Neil Farmer, founder of Farmer Associates. Neil describes his packaging and materials sector as a “minefield to understand,” saying he can “take people through what I know and share it with them so hopefully they can make good decisions, invest in companies, and grow the industry.” 

It’s important to understand that expert networks exist to give companies an edge without breaking ethical guidelines or crossing legal boundaries. Advisors aren’t allowed to disclose confidential or protected information. They must maintain strict standards during phone discussions. Failure to abide by Third Bridge’s terms, or the terms set forth by the client, could result in dismissal from a project at a minimum. As noted on their webpage, their “strict compliance framework is designed to protect our specialists and avoid the disclosure of confidential information, material nonpublic information, investment advice, and defamatory statements.” 

Dig into our free, comprehensive Ultimate Expert Network Guide to learn more secrets about high-paying consulting calls! 

Do I qualify as a subject matter expert? 

Alas, the question everybody asks—do I qualify? We can’t answer that since we don’t know you. But let’s talk about what it takes to qualify as a “subject matter expert” in the first place. Have you ever worked for a specific industry or a specific company for an extended period? If so, did you not acquire hard-won knowledge that might potentially be useful for others to hear? 

If the answer is yes, chances are you qualify to work on projects related to your field or prior employers. The truth is, you don’t have to determine whether you’re qualified or not. Let Third Bridge do that for you. And if you’re concerned you’d be an “imposter,” we suggest you let somebody else worry about that, too! Apply and let them figure out if they could use you or not. 

How do I set my Third Bridge hourly consulting rate?

This is another popular question we see a lot. If you’ve ever gotten a LinkedIn message or seen an ad from an expert network, you probably noticed part of their “hook” is to dangle promises of fat checks in front of you. An ad might read “Earn hundreds of dollars an hour!” but is that really possible? 

Yes, it is! Some consultants do earn hundreds of dollars an hour. 

Third Bridge and their peers want highly paid pros in their network. Why? Because the more your hourly rate is, the more they’re going to mark it up. That’s right; they aren’t looking to onboard people who undervalue their potential. On the contrary, they’re seeking advisors who demand a lot for their valuable time, experts able to talk the talk and walk the walk. If you can deliver the goods, set your rate accordingly.  

Alright, let’s get specific. If you worked in a specialized role or held a position of high authority, expect to charge more. Seasoned professionals and mid-level executives make $300 – $500 an hour in some cases. 

If you were more generalized or lower on the totem pole, that’s okay; just understand your insights may carry less monetary value to the clients. Thus, you might set a rate between $100 – $150/hour with Third Bridge.

What about you C-suite types out there? You know who you are, and if you see dollar signs floating over your eyes right now, that’s because you’ve realized you could monetize your knowledge for up to thousands of dollars—per hour!  

Third Bridge “identifies and interprets the context, narrative, causality, connection, and meaning in data or events.” Their clients are looking for “the signal in the noise,” meaning they need high-end, value-rich insights and are willing to pay top dollar for them. The ROI is worth it if a piece of advice results in a million-dollar decision tilting in the right direction. 

Check out our detailed brief on how to price your consulting services to learn more. 

What are the downsides to consulting for Third Bridge?  

If there’s such a thing as a downside to earning hundreds of dollars for an hour-long phone, then please let us know! 

But seriously, the biggest downside seems to be that work isn’t consistent. Most projects Third Bridge receives from clients only require a short consultation. Even though they have many, many clients, you won’t be selected for every relevant project (and even if you did, clients won’t always select you based on your proposal). 

So, a typical complaint on Glassdoor goes something like this: 

Consulting for Third Bridge is not a full-time gig, and there are zero guarantees of work. Some consultants are getting steady projects; some might only get picked up occasionally. Either way, in all fairness, that isn’t Third Bridge’s fault. Their job is merely to provide an arena where clients and consultants can connect. Whether that connection happens depends a lot on your actions. 

For example, knowing that other advisors are vying for the same projects should motivate all applicants to put their best foot forward during the proposal process. If you whisk through a proposal and don’t demonstrate your potential value to the client, that client is apt to pass you over and hire the person who spent a good 5 or 10 minutes answering screening questions cogently. 

Again, there’s no promise you’ll get selected even if you do spend ample time on the proposals, and that can be frustrating. All you can do is keep trying…or give up. The people who are successful keep trying and get better over time. 

The biggest complaints seem to stem from either miscommunication or misunderstood expectations. Like other expert networks, Third Bridge prorates billing. You might set an “hourly” rate but they pay per minute, so if your call is only 50 minutes, they don’t pay for 60. 

While that seems fair to us, not all consultants share the sentiment:

With a bit of clarity and expectation management upfront in regards to billing, specialists can come away feeling like they were paid correctly. 

How can I win more Third Bridge consulting projects?

The trick to winning projects is to a) be qualified and b) be persuasive and persistent. If either of those is missing, you’ll find yourself on the “famine” side of their “feast or famine” environment. 

What does it mean to be qualified? In their tagline, Third Bridge is about “Human insights. Better investment decisions.” Think of that as a filter. Will your insights lead to better investment decisions for clients or not? Keep in mind, “better” refers to how good their decisions would be without your input. They don’t just want good advice; they want better than average, expert-level advice. They want to hear something they couldn’t find off Google. 


How do you convince them you can provide that? Again, you have to be qualified and persuasive! It doesn’t do any good to be qualified if you can’t convey that to them in your proposal. And it won’t help anyone if you apply to a gig you actually can’t help with. In fact, that’ll lead to disappointment during the call and a bad review for you. Long story short—follow the formula of being qualified and persuasive, and don’t forget the persistence part!  

Take time to review openings carefully, apply for all the ones you qualify for, then write strong, compelling proposals. Let them know you’re the advisor they’re looking for! Optimize your proposals (and your profile, too) with relevant keywords and data points. Put in solid work up front, and it’ll pay dividends over the long run as you pick up more gigs, establish your reputation, and build momentum! 

On each call, give it your all. Add value for that customer, and they’ll leave a nice review that others will see, plus it’ll let Third Bridge’s agents know that you’re a hot commodity worth recommending to more clients. 

What types of consulting projects does Third Bridge take on? 

Third Bridge offers direct dialogue opportunities via knowledge-sharing phone consults and Forum Interviews. This process begins with a client proposing a project to Third Bridge, which conducts initial research to find and connect suitable specialists. Once the specialist is vetted and agrees to work, the consult or interview is set up. 

Phone Consultations

Third Bridge connects specialists to credit investors, public and private equity investors, and other professional businesses via calls that may last an hour or more. Their compliance program features three pillars focused on ensuring confidentiality and adherence to their Code of Ethics. Specialists receive sufficient education and training to know what they can discuss or not. For example, it isn’t allowed to talk about current employers nor any employer they worked for within the past six months. 

Clients usually drive the interview or conversation, but specialists are ultimately responsible for ensuring they don’t breach any agreed-upon rules. Additional restrictions may be placed on advisors who have special access to unpublished work, hold an elected office, or work for the government. 

Forums

Forums are an area where Third Bridge pulls specialists from their talent pool to team up. These teams are devised to offer broader insights “across different stages of the investment process, from idea generation to evaluation, due diligence, channel monitoring, or portfolio work.” Specialists on these forums find and interpret contexts, causes, and connections, extrapolating the deeper meaning behind the deluge of data. 

Is Third Bridge a scam, or are they legit? 

Third Bridge is a legitimate and reputable global business, profiled on Bloomberg as a business that “offers human insights and unfiltered market intelligence to private equity firms, hedge funds, and consultants.” Their board and team member profiles are available to view on Crunchbase, along with financial data and other pertinent information. You can easily find proof of Third Bridge’s legitimacy in the news, such as their senior analyst Sebastian Skeet’s recent comments in Yahoo! Finance on the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

How much should I charge, and how much can I earn at Third Bridge? 

What you charge depends on how much you believe your insights can add value to Third Bridge’s investor clients. If you know something that might save them a million dollars, then that knowledge carries serious value! If you know more generalized information that could help steer them towards better decisions, but won’t necessarily save or make them a fortune in the near term, then set your rate accordingly. 

Expert networks typically don’t dictate what you choose to charge, nor do they disclose how much their consultants earn. Third Bridge is no exception. They just add their markup onto what expert network rate you decide to charge. If you don’t pick up many gigs at that rate, you can always adjust later. If you are getting swamped with invites, you might be undercharging and should give yourself a raise! 

Conclusion 

Third Bridge is a well-respected leader in the expert network industry, with numerous workplace awards. While browsing through Indeed or Glassdoor you’re sure to find complaints, most of those come from full-time employees (usually college grads in their first job) who didn’t like their boss or their hours. 

Contracted specialists work from home, and will probably never have to deal with management or face long work hours. You only take the gigs you want and once you hang up the phone, your work is done. These types of consult jobs can not only potentially earn you a nice side income, but, as Third Bridge puts it, you’ll “gain additional perspectives from the world’s leading investors and decision makers.” 
If that sounds like an offer you don’t want to miss, then check out Third Bridge’s specialist contact page to apply today!

DeepBench Review and Interview with CEO Alden French

DeepBench is an up-and-coming expert network focused on leveraging technology and transparency to make accessing experts faster and more affordable. Founded at MIT in 2016, the company spent its first few years building out a differentiated product. Now that it is gaining traction, DeepBench is turning its focus to driving substantial growth, which has included elevating Alden French to CEO.

We sat down with Alden to learn about his journey to becoming CEO of DeepBench and what makes the company different, with an in-depth video interview that covers:

  • A walkthrough and review of DeepBench’s expert network marketplace
  • DeepBench’s vision and founding story
  • Why DeepBench is investing in building software rather than a contact database
  • DeepBench’s unique and transparent pricing model and how it benefits both clients and advisors
  • Strategies for landing your first project through DeepBench and how to become a top advisor on the platform
  • Advice on optimizing your DeepBench hourly rate
  • How DeepBench is working to create a vast market for expert network consulting

Ready to start earning on the DeepBench marketplace? Click here to register and create your profile.