FirstThought Review

Have you received a LinkedIn message, email or phone call inviting you to participate in a paid consulting opportunity with FirstThought?  Are you worried if this is a legitimate opportunity or just a scam? Our FirstThought review shares what to expect, how much you can earn and how to land high-paying hourly consulting projects with this upstart expert network.

What is FirstThought?

First Thought logo

FirstThought is an expert network, specializing in life sciences and healthcare. The company connects investors and management consultants performing in-depth research with experts in the field, such as physicians, researches, administrators from throughout the healthcare, insurance and therapeutics fields.  FirstThought’s network covers most aspects of life sciences and healthcare, including niche areas like market access, regulatory affairs, and reimbursement.

Like most expert networks, FirstThought’s primary way of connecting clients with industry experts is a one hour ‘consulting call’.  Clients will rapidly take a deep dive into the research topic during these calls to get your viewpoint on how things work, what your opinion is of key players, and your thinking on how trends will play out.  Rates FirstThought consulting calls usually start at several hundred dollars per hour and can climb significantly higher if you have specialized or hard to find expertise.  FirstThought also arranges paid surveys, events and more traditional consulting projects for its clients..

FirstThought was founded in 2020 by several alumni of Guidepoint, one of the largest expert networks. The company is headquartered in New York City and employs approximately 50 people, according to LinkedIn.

Is FirstThought a scam or a legitimate opportunity?

FirstThought is not a scam.  The two year old company is a fast growing expert network, which connects subject matter experts in the life sciences and healthcare industries with its clients such as investment managers and management consultants.

Your introduction to FirstThought will generally be through a call, email or LinkedIn message inviting you to participate in a high-paying consulting opportunity. While you should always perform due diligence on lucrative offers from strangers on the Internet (which may be what brings you to this FirstThought review!), working with FirstThought may be a great way to create a lucrative source of additional income by simply sharing your expertise.

What to expect if you consult with FirstThought

FirstThought’s suite of research and consulting services

FirstThought’s clients are performing primary research as part of an investment decision, due diligence process, or to formulate a new strategy. They want to speak with people who have deep first-hand knowledge of the product, company or market that they are looking at to help shape their thinking or get feedback on their hypothesis. Experts are typically former employs, customers, vendors, competitors, or key influencers (such as prescribing physicians) of the research subject. Clients will often want to speak with a handful of experts to get different perspectives.

Once a project has been created with FirstThought, an associate will start recruiting potential experts to speak with their client. LinkedIn tends to be the most popular tool for sourcing expert consultants.

If your profile seems to match what the client is looking for, the associate will reach out to you with a brief note, inviting to have a brief call so they can tell you more about FirstThought and the project they are working on, as well as learn about your qualifications and background.  Keep in mind that the associate usually has limited knowledge of the topic that the client is researching – they are mostly trying to gauge your fit with the client’s requirements.

If you’re interested in the opportunity and look like a good fit, there are three brief steps to formally apply for the project.

First, you’ll need to complete a brief profile about your background; this will help you land future projects with FirstThought as well. Expert networks want to know what you know aren’t terrible interested in your soft skills. So, unlike your resume, make sure you are very specific and liberally use keywords and product and company names. A good rule of thumb is that if you could give a quality 30 minute presentation on something (such as how you selected a vendor or allocate budget) you are likely qualified to participate in an expert network consulting call on this topic.

Next, there will be a few short screening questions about the project you are applying for. You just need a few sentences to answer these, but again be as specific as possible. The client will want to know that you have strong firsthand experience with the topic they want to speak with you about.

Finally, you’ll set your hourly rate for the call (more on that in a moment!) and provide a handful of time slots that are convenient for you. 

All of this should take you less than an hour, and once you’ve applied for your first project responding to additional invitations should only take you 5 – 10 minutes.

The associate will present your information, along with other profiles, to the client.  They’ll often select a number of people to talk to so that they get different perspectives.  If you’re selected, the associate will send you a calendar invite during one of the time slots you’ve provided and it’s off to the races.

Setting Your FirstThought Hourly Rate

Conversations with FirstThought clients tend to be interesting and engaging, plus it’s rewarding to be considered an expert. But what’s even more exciting is the high hourly rate you can charge for sharing your expertise!  Your insights will often help shape a multi-million dollar decision, so clients will gladly pay hundreds of dollars (or more) for an hour of your time.

The two key factors that go in to finding your ideal FirstThought rate are how much of an authority are you on the topic and how many other people could they can find who have similar expertise.  For example, if the client wants to speak with a former senior finance executive of a specific company and you are the only person who fits that criteria, you’ll have significant leverage in setting your rate.  However, if there are dozens or hundreds of people with similar expertise to you, then experts with more affordable rates will generally have a leg up in being assigned to the project (and the associate will often steer them in that direction).

While ever situation may differ a bit, here are some rules of thumb for setting your expert network consulting rate:

If you’re earlier in your career or have knowledge that’s easily found, you’ll usually be steered towards $100 – $200 per hour; director level or similar professionals can expect $200 – $300; very experienced professionals and senior executives  often charge rates of $350 – $700. Some experts can land projects at rates of $1,000 or more per hour, though these tend to be reserved for elite-level experts, such as Fortune 500 executives, specialized physicians or former elected officials. If you’re new to FirstThought or expert network consulting, it’s generally a good plan to put your rates towards the lower end of your target range to make it easier to land your first few projects. It’s not hard to negotiate a higher rate with just a short track record.

For paid surveys, you’ll be presented with the fee when you are invited to participate; $40 – $70 is typical for a 10 – 20 minute expert network survey.

How to ace your FirstThought consulting call

Consulting projects with expert networks like FirstThought are extremely concise and compact.  You provide your availability – which may include before or after work or during your lunch hour. Since you’re talking about what you’ve been doing day-in and day-out for years, you don’t need to do anything to prepare for the call, and once you hang up the phone, your work is done – there is no follow up and no deliverables.

Consulting calls tend to be very conversational, and about topics that you likely know like the back of your hand.  Many calls do deep dives into somewhat droll topics where your explanations can cause wide-eyed excitement for the client, such as purchasing decisions or budget allocation.  

The client will come the call with an agenda and a crisp set of questions for you. Calls will generally start with brief introductions and a couple minutes of small talk to build rapport. Generally, the client will want rapidly download your industry knowledge to help them confirm or challenge their understanding of a company, industry, or product of interest.  Your insights are usually a key factor in a significant strategic or investment decision.

Prior to the call, you will be asked to review FirstThought’s compliance policy and brief compliance training to make sure you understand that no propriety or confidential information can be shared during the call.  You’ll often be asked to affirm that you understand the compliance policy at the start of the call as well, and a member of the client’s compliance department may even listen in to the call or read a transcript after it is completed.

This is for both your protection and the client’s.  The entire expert network industry was nearly destroyed by a major insider trading scandal over a decade ago, which has fortunately led to the development of robust compliance policies and procedures.   Clients are tightly monitored by their own firms and don’t want to receive non-public information which could prohibit them from making a planned investment or lead to disciplinary action within their firm.  If you are ever unsure information is ok to share, simply say so and the client will simply move on to the next question. 

What’s Next?

FirstThought will process your payment shortly after you complete your call or survey – no clunky invoicing or chasing down multiple clients for payment. Be sure to keep your profile updated for additional consulting opportunities!

If you’d like to become a FirstThought expert and haven’t yet connected with an associate, you can indicate your interest here.

Techspert.io Review

Have you received an invitation to participate in a paid consulting opportunity with techspert.io via an email, phone call or LinkedIn message?  Wondering if this is a legitimate opportunity or perhaps a scam? Our Techspert.io review will shed some light on what to expect and how to land high paying hourly consulting projects.

What is Techspert.io?

techspert.io logo

Techspert.io is an expert network – a rapidly growing industry that facilitates primary research into products, companies and markets.  Techspert.io connects investors and management consultants looking to quickly perform in-depth research with experts in the field, such as doctors, scientists or businesspeople.  

Like many expert networks, techspert.io’s primary product offering is the one hour ‘consulting call’ between the client and the subject matter expert.  During these calls, the client will want to rapidly take a deep dive to gain your perspective on how things work, get your opinion on key players, and your thoughts on how trends will play out.  Rates for an hour of your time on a techspert.io consulting call generally start at several hundred dollars per hour and soar substantially beyond that for highly accomplished or in-demand experts.  The company also facilitates paid surveys.

Based in Cambridge, England by two University of Cambridge alumni, Graham Mills and David Holden-White, both of whom started their careers in life sciences.  The firm was originally named Biotechspert, reflecting its focus on biotechnology and healthcare.  However, it rebranded itself techspert.io as its industry coverage broadened. 

techspert.io is one of several emerging expert networks (along with Atheneum, proSapient and NewtonX) that tout their use of artificial intelligence to better identify potential experts and categorize their areas expertise.  

In 2021, techspert.io announced a $12 million funding round from BGF and Nauta Capital; this follows $6 million in previous venture capital investment.  The company claims to have recorded more than 150% annual growth in 2021 and recently opened its first international office, in Texas.

Is techspert.io a scam or a legitimate opportunity?

techspert.io is not a scam.  The six year old company is a rapidly growing expert network, which connects its clients – typically investors or management consultants – with subject matter experts.

Most commonly, your introduction to techspert.io will be an email or LinkedIn message from an associate, asking you to participate in a highly paid one hour phone call their client.  While this opportunity may sound too good to be true (and you should always use caution when responding to strangers on the internet), it may just be your ticket an easy, engaging and lucrative source of secondary income.  

Occasionally, you may receive a project invitation that seems wildly off-the-mark, which some have dubbed ‘techspert.io project spam’.  The company relies heavily on its AI software to source experts, though it sometimes produces inaccurate results.  Some simple fine-tuning to your LinkedIn profile can help reduce project spam and help you get noticed for more high-paying project opportunities with techspert.io and other expert networks.

What to expect if you consult with techspert.io

techspert.io reviews
techspert.io has garnered mostly positive online reviews

techspert.io’s AI software continuously scans a wide range of online data sources to identify potential experts and categorize their expertise.  The company claims to have over 200 million experts in its network, though it has likely interacted with just a tiny fraction of a percentage point of them. While it may incorporate data from a large variety of sources, LinkedIn is still probably the most important and likely the venue where an associate will first try to connect with you.

If it looks like you may be a good fit for an active project, the associate invite you to a brief phone call to tell you a bit more about techspert.io and the project they are working on, as well as learn a bit more about your background and qualifications.  Keep in mind that the associate generally has very limited knowledge of the topic that the client is researching.

If you’re interested and it looks like you may be a good fit for the client’s requirements, the associate will invite you to fill out a profile and project questionnaire, where you’ll need to provide specific one or two sentence answers about your experience with the research topic of the project.  In addition, the associate will ask you to set your hourly rate for the call (more on that in a moment!) and provide a handful of time slots that are convenient for you.  It may take you an hour or so to set up a profile and apply for your first project, but from there responding to additional invitations should only take you 5 – 10 minutes.

The associate will present your information, along with other profiles, to the client.  They’ll often select a number of people to talk to so that they get different perspectives.  If you’re selected, the associate will send you a calendar invite during one of the time slots you’ve provided and it’s off to the races.

If you weren’t selected for the project, don’t worry— now that your profile is in the techspert.io system, you’re more likely to be contacted for future projects. In the meantime, you can increase your chances of being chosen for a project by following these tips.

Setting Your Techspert.io Hourly Rate

One of the most appealing parts of consulting for techspert.io is the high hourly rates that you can charge.  You’re providing valuable information that often is a meaningful factor in a multi-million dollar decision, so clients will gladly pay hundreds of dollars (or more) for an hour of your time without blinking an eye.

There are a number of factors that go into the rate that clients are willing to pay to speak with you, but the two key ones are how much of an authority are you on the topic and how many other people could they find with similar expertise.  If they are determined to speak with a former senior finance executive of a specific company and you are the only person who fits that criteria, you’ll have significant leverage in setting your rate.  However, if there are dozens or hundreds of people with similar expertise to you, the client will usually look to speak with experts with more affordable rates (and the associate will often steer them in that direction).

So, with that, some rules of thumb:

For early career professionals, you’ll generally land the assignment at $100 – $200 per hour; director level or similar professionals can expect $200 – $300; more senior executives  often command rates of $350 – $700. Some experts can command fees of  $1000 or more an hour, however, those rates are uncommon and are generally only available to elite-level experts, such as Fortune 500 executives, specialized surgeons or former elected officials. It’s not a bad plan to start out at a more moderate rate to build a little bit of a track record, then negotiate a higher rate for further calls.

For paid surveys, you’ll be presented with the fee when you are invited to participate; $40 – $70 is typical for a 10 – 20 minute survey.

How to ace your techspert.io consulting call

One of the best part of consulting with techspert.io is that your work requirements are extremely concise and compact.  You don’t need to do anything to prepare (though infrequently clients will send you something to review and discuss on the call) and once you hang up the phone, your work is done – there is no follow up and no deliverables.

Calls tend to be highly conversational, and about work that you’ve been doing for years and likely know like the back of your hand.  What may be droll and mundane for you, such as talking about purchasing decisions or budget allocation, can be thrilling nuggets of information for the client.  

You can expect that the client has come prepared with specific questions as a result of their own in-depth research on the topic they’ve contracted you to speak on. Clients use expert networks to rapidly download industry knowledge (via your many years of experience!) in order to confirm or challenge their understanding of a company, industry, or product of interest.  Your insights are usually a key component of a strategic or investment decision.

Prior to the call, you will be asked to review techspert.io’s compliance policy and brief compliance training to make sure you understand that no propriety or confidential information can be shared during the call.  You’ll often be asked to affirm that you understand the compliance policy at the start of the call as well.  

This is for both your protection and the client’s.  Though the expert network industry was marred by a major insider trading scandal over a decade ago, it has long since developed stringent compliance policies and procedures.   Clients are tightly monitored by their own firms and don’t want to receive non-public information which could prohibit them from making a planned investment or lead to disciplinary action within their firm.  If you are unsure if a piece of information is ok to share, simply say so and they will gladly move on to the next question. 

What’s Next?

Techspert.io payments are made via ACH via TransferWise.  The company has a good online reputation for prompt payments.

You’ll likely start receiving invitations to participate in additional techspert.io calls and surveys.  Be sure to keep your profile up to date so that your name is at the top of the pile for the most relevant projects.

If you’re not already working with techspert.io and would like to join their expert database, you can register as an expert here.

Maven Research Review

Has Maven Research reached out to you via LinkedIn, email or phone call with an invitation to participate in a paid consulting engagement? Wondering if it’s a legitimate opportunity? Here’s what to expect, what rate to charge, and how to land high paying micro-consulting opportunities.

What is Maven Research?

Maven Research logo

Maven Research bills itself as “the world’s largest micro consulting company.” Maven connects professionals with deep expertise in a product, company or market with clients – generally investors or management consultants – who are conducting deep research into that topic.

Though Maven works hard to brand itself as ‘not an expert network‘ it’s hard to find much differentiation between Maven’s approach and the traditional expert network model. The firms recruiters generally seek out qualified experts for client projects from the firm’s database, LinkedIn, referral and other sources, inviting them to participate in a brief 1:1 phone calls with their client. Experts tend to be former employees, customers, competitors, or influencers (such as doctors or former government employees) with strong and current first-hand knowledge of the research subject. Experts can often hundreds of dollars per hour for participating in client calls (more on setting your Maven consulting rate in a moment!) without any need to prepare or follow up.

Maven Research also offers paid surveys, and occasionally larger projects.

Founded in 2008, Maven Research is a solid mid-tier expert network with offices in San Francisco and Portsmouth, New Hampshire (editor’s note: my absolute favorite New England town!). Though it has much smaller project volume than industry heavyweights GLG or Guidepoint Global, in-demand experts do receive a handful of call and survey invites from Maven each year.

The company raised $1 million in a seed round financing back in 2010, led by vaunted venture capital firm Accel Partners. Cofounders Mark Platosh and Wyatt Nordstrom still lead the company.

Is Maven Research a scam— or a legitimate opportunity?

Maven Research has been around for more than a dozen years. It is a legitimate company, and certainly not a scam. Maven is one of the more established firms in the soaring expert network industry, which comprises several hundred firms around the globe and is expected to generate $1.9 billion in annual revenue.

Maven Research reviews

While Maven Research is not a scam, it has a growing reputation for problems with its payment processes that are worth noting. Maven recently introduced a third party identity verification process, as a condition for paying experts, that does not function well. (While online identity verification is becoming more common, I have not been asked to verify myself with any other expert network.). I have personally been unable to complete the verification process successfully, which has blocked my payments, and note a meaningful number of online complaints about similar experiences. Maven’s customer service is overly automated, and did not help me resolve the problem despite several email exchanges; it is challenging to find a support phone number for Maven. Responses posted to similar online complaints, purportedly by Maven’s CEO, have been juvenile and dismissive.

What to expect if you consult with Maven Research

Your first introduction to Maven is often via a message on LinkedIn, where an associate will try to pique your interest with an invitation to participate in a paid consultation request. While being offered a high hourly consulting rate to just have a brief phone call with a client can should too good to be true, working with expert networks like Maven is the rare exception to that rule! (If you’re looking to attract more of these opportunities, check out our recommendations for optimizing your LinkedIn profile to increase your chances of being recruited for a project by expert networks.)

Maven associates will generally want to schedule a brief call with you to introduce themselves, the firm, and the project. If you’re interested and a good fit with the project, you’ll be invited to create a profile on the Maven platform and answer a few short screening questions about the project. The screening questions help the associate (and ultimately the client) gauge your fit for the project. Your answer to each question just needs to be a thoughtful sentence or two demonstrating your familiarity with the subject of the call.

You will be asked to review a compliance document to make sure you understand that no propriety or confidential information can be shared during the call. Finally, you’ll have the opportunity to specify your hourly consulting rate and provide your availability for a client call.

The Maven associate will submit your profile and responses to the client for their review. If the client would like to speak with you, you will receive a calendar invitation for the call during one of the time slots that you provided. The entire process from initial invitation to client call generally takes about a week.

Setting Your Maven Research Consulting Rate

One of the most enticing parts of expert network consulting with a firm like Maven Research is the lofty rates that you can charge! While the associate will likely provide some guidance on where to set your rate, your pricing is ultimately up to you. You deliver highly concentrated and valuable knowledge during these calls, so don’t be afraid to reflect that in your rate, though you should try to get some sense of where you are pricing yourself out of the opportunity.

Scarcity (how many other people have similar experience and expertise), recency and seniority are the key factors in how the expert network and its clients will view your rate.

If you are an early career professional, $100 – $200 per hour is a typical starting point. Director level professionals can expect to charge $200 – $300, while Vice President and C-level executives frequently command rates of $300- $500+. Some networks boast of paying experts $1,000 an hour or more, though that rate is usually only accessible by elite level professionals, such as Fortune 500 CFOs, former elected officials or highly specialized physicians.

For paid surveys, Maven Research usually offers a flat rate of $40 – $70 for a 10 – 20 minute online survey.

How to ace your Maven Research consulting call

Getting paid a high rate to share your expert opinion can sound intimidating, but you’ll often find calls to be quite easy and engaging. You don’t need to prepare for calls – the client wants to know about the area you’ve been working in for years. Things that seem mundane or even droll to you, like how you allocate budget or make a purchasing decision, can often be fascinating nuggets of information to clients who are trying to understand how a business really works.

The format of most calls is highly conversational, and you should be able to easily answer most questions without giving them too much thought. (And when you don’t know the answer, that is a perfectly acceptable answer as well. Don’t make things up!).

Importantly, be sure not to share confidential or non-public information during the call. Maven will provide you compliance guidelines before your client interaction to help you better understand what is and isn’t permissible, and it is extremely rare for clients to press you for your information that you are uncomfortable providing. Strict compliance standards and monitoring have been key helping the expert network industry move past a massive insider trading scandal during its nascent years.

The client will lead the conversation and come prepared with specific questions. Occasionally you’ll be their initial conversation about the research topic, but more typically they have already invested quite a bit of time and are looking to you to help them affirm or debunk an idea. Clients use expert networks like Maven Research to rapidly download industry knowledge and help with their  understanding of a company, industry, or product of interest in order to perform due diligence prior to making an investment or other strategic decision.

What’s next?

Hang up the phone, and your work is done. There is no follow up required and nothing to deliver to the client. Payments are handled via a request on Maven’s online system, which as noted above does have some recent issues for some consultants. Maven’s payment policy is a bit complex, but the bottom line is that you’ll usually receive payment within four weeks of completing your client call.

With your first call under belt, keep an eye peeled for additional survey and consulting opportunities from Maven. You can also browse their online portal occasionally to find additional opportunities that you may wish to apply for.

If you’d like to get started as an expert with Maven Research, you can create a profile here.

Tegus Review

Have you been contacted by an associate from Tegus inviting you to participate in paid consultation request? Wondering what’s involved, how much you can earn, or if this is a legitimate opportunity or a scam? Our comprehensive Tegus review will show you what to expect and how to land high-paying projects.

What is Tegus?

Tegus logo
Tegus is named after a South American lizard.

Tegus is an expert network, a type of firm that recruits and connects subject matter experts with clients doing deep research on a product, company or market. These experts are sourced from countless industries and at all levels of experience. They are typically former employees, customers, competitors, or key influencers of the business that the client is researching.

Tegus’s typical consulting project is a 45 – 60 minute call between the client and the expert, where the client wants to rapidly learn the ‘facts on the ground’ from people with significant hands-on experience. Working with expert network consulting with firms like Tegus can be an attractive source of extra income, since the firm offers high hourly rates, schedules calls at times that are convenient to the consultant, and projects are usually extremely concise with no preparation or follow up required.

While some expert networks have a broader client focus, Tegus works exclusively with investors, such as hedge fund and mutual fund managers, and venture capitalists. Tegus claims to have facilitated over 20,000 client calls on its website, and is currently arranging more than 900 each month. In an unusual twist on the expert network model, transcripts of most Tegus client calls are made available to its entire client base.

Tegus was founded in 2016 by Michael Elnick, a former AlphaSights associate, and his brother Thomas Elnick; the two serve as Co-Founders and Co-CEOs. The company raised a $90 million Series B funding round led by Oberndorf Enterprises and Willoughby Capital in November 2021 and $1.5 million in venture capital investment in 2017. In late 2021, the company acquired acquire BamSEC, a platform that makes it easy to access and work with SEC filings and earnings transcripts.

Tegus is based in Chicago, with a European office in Waterford, Ireland. The company has over 300 employees to service its more than 1,000 clients.

Is Tegus legitimate — or a scam?

A Tegus consulting request can sound too good to be true. A stranger reaches out to you on the Internet – often via LinkedIn – praising your expertise and offering to pay you hundreds of dollars an hour for simply having a brief phone call with their client.

While you should always be cautious about people reaching out with unsolicited offers (Tegus will never ask you for payment to participate in consulting projects!), Tegus is not a scam. It’s part of the rapidly growing expert network industry that encompasses nearly 200 firms around the world which are collectively soaring past $2 billion in annual revenue. If you’re looking for a way to leverage your experience and expertise, an invitation to work with Tegus may be your entryway to the easy and lucrative world of expert network consulting.

What to expect if you consult with Tegus

Tegus employs a small army of recruiters who spend their days searching for experts who fit the criteria for client project requests. LinkedIn is their favorite hunting ground, so if your profile seems to match what they’re looking for, they’ll often reach out via LinkedIn messenger, email or a phone call to introduce you to Tegus and provide a brief overview of the consulting opportunity.

If you’re interested and look like a fit, you’ll be asked to create a profile on the Tegus platform and answer a few short screening questions about your qualifications for the project, which generally requires a few sentences about your relevant work experience knowledge of and relationship to the subject of the call. You’ll also be asked a few yes/no compliance questions to ensure that you are permitted to speak about this topic and meet the compliance requirements set by both Tegus and the client. You’ll then have the opportunity to set your Tegus hourly rate (more on that in a moment!) and provide a list of times for a client call that are convenient for you. Getting set up with Tegus should only take 20 – 30 minutes of your time, and then you’ll only need a few minutes to respond to additional consulting project invitations in the future.

The Tegus associate will then present your profile, screening answers, rate and availability to the client. If they’d like to speak with you, the associate will send out a calendar invite for the call. From initial contact to client call often takes less than one week. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not selected for the first project that you apply for – landing about 1/3 of the relevant projects that you respond to is typical with expert networks. Refining your profile and answers to screening projects can help improve your success rate.

Tegus business model
Tegus’s unique business model seems to be successful!

Tegus has an unusual business and pricing model for its clients. For most calls, the client just pays a $75 markup on the expert’s consulting fee; this compares to rates of $1,000 or more for a consulting call at firms like GLG. This fee includes sourcing and managing the expert, compliance checks and monitoring, and recording and transcription.

Tegus earns most of its revenue by selling access to its platform, that includes a rapidly growing library of over 20,000 client call transcripts. Approximately two weeks after your call, the transcript will be published and available to all Tegus clients on its platform. (Access to the platform starts at roughly $20,000 per year so transcripts are not shared publicly!) Your employment history and bio will be included in the transcript, but your name will be redacted. You do not receive any additional compensation for other clients accessing the transcript of your call. (Arbolus and proSapient offer clients access to similar transcript libraries, also without additional compensation to the expert, while Stream by Mosaic has an even less attractive compensation model for some calls – $0.)

Tegus Hourly Rates

How much should I ask for? How much can I ask for?

Expert networks like Tegus often pique your interest by touting hourly rates in the hundreds of dollars or more, and the ability for you to name your own price. Some in-demand experts, like Fortune 500 executives or specialized surgeons, do regularly command $1,000 hourly rates or even higher. However, for those whose resumes aren’t quite platinum-status yet, you’ll generally want to aim for typical bands within the industry.

For non-managers or people earlier in their career, a $100 – $200 hourly rate is usually the starting point. Your Tegus hourly rate can quickly climb to $200 – $350 for director-level employees or professionals with strong credentials, such as doctors or engineers. Vice Presidents and C-level executives at mid-sized firms can often achieve $500 hourly rates or a bit more. The typical rate for Tegus consultants is $300 per hour, according an interview with the Co-CEO. Rates are pro-rated to the length of the client call, so a 45 minute call will only yield you 75% of your hourly consulting rate, while your meter keeps running on a good conversation that extends beyond an hour.

Keep in mind that scarcity certainly plays a role in your rate and odds of being selected for a project. If the client wants to speak with users of a popular software package where hundreds of potential experts can easily be sourced, you may be passed over for lower cost consultants. However, if the client wants to speak with senior finance managers who recently worked at a particular company you may be the only game in town and have leverage to command a higher rate.

You may want to set your rate towards the lower end of your target band until you’ve landed your first couple of projects and established a reputation. It’s then easier to negotiate a higher hourly rate with Tegus for future projects.

How to ace your Tegus consulting call

Client calls tend to be easy and engaging conversations. It’s always nice to be considered an expert in something, and things that can be banal to you, such as how you set budgets or make purchasing decisions, can be valuable information to clients that generates unexpected enthusiasm!

Most client calls are centered on a particular company, industry, or product. The client is not expecting you to prepare a presentation or deliverable for the call; they are looking to rapidly download industry knowledge via your many years of experience. You can expect that clients have done their own basic research, reviewed publicly available information, and perhaps heard a management presentation prior to speaking with you. They have come prepared with specific questions to confirm or clarify aspects of the business.

Oftentimes, the client is researching a particular company, especially those with a recent IPO, major announcement or volatile stock price. The client will be eager to learn your honest opinion about the company’s prospects, ability to execute, and management quality. Common questions will be about how the target company compares to its competitors, product and feature differentiation, pricing strategy, quality of management, etc. These types of calls will often resolve around your former employer or a major vendor that you worked with frequently, with emphasis on the key factors influencing your decisions.

You should have an easy time answering the questions during the call – the client often wants to learn about something you’ve been doing regularly for years.. Even so, you may not have all the answers, or know figures off the top of your heads. Be honest and say you don’t know, and you should never make up answers. Clients are usually quite skilled at parsing fact from fiction, and manufactured answers can quickly result in a short call, if not a short career with an expert network.

It’s important to note that you will never be asked to share non-public or proprietary information during a client call, and doing so can be illegal in more extreme cases. One of the key responsibilities of expert networks is to ensure that improper information isn’t exchanged on a client call, with both parties bound by strict compliance standards (which you will receive prior to the call). All client calls are recorded by Tegus and reviewed by its compliance team (and often the client’s compliance team as well) to ensure that no improper information is shared. Clients are often very well versed in compliance requirements and strictly adhere to them so they are not prohibited from pursuing an investment idea or.

What’s Next?

Tegus payment options include ACH (US-only), wire, physical check, or PayPal. After you complete a call, you will be prompted to provide payment preference and details. (Be wary of anyone asking you to provide account information prior to your first call – be sure to confirm that they are indeed a Tegus employee.). Payments are issued within 15 days of the client call.

Now that you’re a part of the network, you will periodically be contacted for participation in new projects, especially as you build a history of completing successful client calls.

Expert networks are a great way to capitalize on your experience. If you’ve been contact by a Tegus associate, you’ve already been identified as a good potential fit for an active project. Otherwise, Tegus does not offer online registration but you can contact Tegus here to express your interest in working with them.

proSapient Review

Have you received an invitation to participate in a ProSapient paid consultation opportunity? Are you unsure what this opportunity is, or if it’s even legitimate? Learn what to expect if you work with this rapidly growing expert network in our comprehensive proSapient review.

What is proSapient?

proSapient logo

ProSapient is an expert network, which are recruiting firms that specialize in custom sourcing subject matter experts (SMB) for short-term consulting projects. Expert networks are a rapidly $1.5 billion industry that cater to institutional investors (management consulting firms, private equity, hedge funds, mutual funds, etc.) doing market research or performing due diligence on a company or subset of companies in preparation for an investment. Expert networks are a great way to capitalize on your industry experience, even after you leave! Expert network opportunities generally take the form of a 1-hour phone consultation between the subject matter expert and the client.

ProSapient is one of several up-and-coming expert networks that are capitalizing on new technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robotic process automation. London-based proSapient offers the typical product mix such as surveys, and 1:1 expert consultations, but also offers a multi-vendor platform for clients in it’s bid to be a software-as-a-service (SaaS) for expert networks. ProSapient recently raised $10M in Series A funding after achieving 100% year-over-year revenue growth. It plans to use the funds for a larger expansion into the United States as it seeks to offer a more technology-driven approach than industry stalwarts GLG, Guidepoint and AlphaSights.

Is proSapient fake or a scam?

ProSapient is a legitimate, newer company in the large but secretive expert network industry — it is not a scam. 

proSapient reviews

However, it’s noteworthy to mention that in the process of researching this article, I found more than a few complaints from experts in their proSapient reviews about the payment timing (or not being paid at all!). It appears the company has not addressed these complaints (at least on the forums where they appear) leaving experts feeling as if they were scammed.

While these complaints do not mean the opportunity is a scam, it does indicate that the firm may have some chronic operational issues that could delay your payment, or need to chase the associate who contacted you. These payment issues are likely to be growing pains, but it will be interesting to see if they start to respond to these public complaints, or if these complaints will continue.

What to expect if you consult with proSapient

ProSapient associates are tasked with sourcing experts for client projects, so if they reach out to via LinkedIn or email, they’ve already identified you as someone who may be a good fit. Why? It’s likely that you are a senior level industry professional with experience with a company, product, or industry their client is looking to learn more about. Here’s a breakdown of the basic eligibility criteria for project participation:

  • You are at least 6 months and no more than 3 years out of a job where you were a senior executive (Director level or higher) at a company their client is trying to learn more about.
  • You currently (or formerly) work for a competitor of a company the client is looking to learn more about.
  • You currently or formerly were a customer of a product or company the client is looking to learn more about.

Now that you’ve been identified as a candidate for proSapient paid consultation, the associate will want you to register for their site and participate in a short vetting call to make sure you’re a fit before proposing your profile to the client for review. The vetting call will consist of some pretty general questions in order to judge your knowledge and confidence level in discussing various topics of interest to the client. This vetting process does not take the place of the client call and you can keep your answers high-level.

During the vetting process, you’ll be asked to provide a list of convenient times when you could participate in a client call, generally over the next week or two. Providing as flexible a schedule as you reasonably can will greatly increase. your chances of being assigned to the project. If the client does choose you for the project, you’ll generally receive a calendar invitation for the client call within a day or two of the vetting conversation.

Even if you don’t get chosen for this project, by completing their compliance procedure, you will be registered in their system and likely vetted for future projects, as networks tend to source in-network before custom sourcing for out-of-network experts. Most expert network consultants only land about 1 out of 3 or 4 projects that they apply for, so don’t get discouraged if you aren’t selected for the first few that you respond to.

ProSapient Consulting Rates

How much should I ask for? How much can I ask for?

You may have read articles online about how some experts make thousands of dollars a call. While that is true, the higher you price yourself, the more likely you are going to get priced out of a client interaction. The experts who can charge $1500 a call are usually very high-profile professionals with very recent experience in a niche industry.

In general, if you have been contacted for participation in a 1-hour 1:1 phone or video consult, you can expect to be offered a $100 – $200 if you are a Director level or below, or $200 – $350 for above a Director level. While you can absolutely negotiate your rate (or set the stage by letting the associate know your price floor), if you ask for a proSapient consulting rate above $500 per hour, you risk your profile not being seen by the client, or a client balking at your rate and going with a cheaper expert. You can always renegotiate your rate for subsequent projects you are contacted for, especially if you find that you are getting inundated by project participation requests.

The rate you actually receive for participation in a client call will be determined by the amount of time both you and the client are in the call. It’s in your best interest to keep the conversation going (with more insights, tidbits, analysis, or small talk), as an extra 10-15 minutes can bump up your rate, but conversely, any call that is more than 5 minutes under the 1 hour mark can be penalized with less pay.

How to ace your proSapient consulting call

Most client calls are centered on a particular company, industry, or product. The client is not expecting you to prepare a presentation or deliverable for the call; they are looking to rapidly download industry knowledge via your many years of experience. You can expect that clients have done their own basic research, reviewed publicly available information, and perhaps heard a management presentation. They have come prepared with specific questions to confirm or clarify aspects of the business. You can see some examples of expert consultation use cases on their website.

If the call is centered on a particular company, the client will want to know how the target company compares to its’ competitors, product and feature differentiation, pricing strategy, quality of management, etc. These types of calls will often resolve around your former employer or a major vendor that you worked with frequently, with emphasis on the key factors influencing your decisions.

Alternatively, if the call will be centered on a particular issue or problem they have been tasked to solve. The client may be looking to develop a marketing strategy, solve chronic operational issues, or restructure an organization. These types of calls will often center your approach to an issue, your impressions of various products, factors that influence budget and purchase decisions, or to provide feedback on potential new products or solutions.

You should have an easy time answering the questions during the call- after all, the client wants to learn about an area via your experience. Even so, you may not have all the answers, or know figures off the top of your heads. You can always be honest and say you don’t know, and you should never make up answers. Clients often have multiple calls on the same subject and if it becomes apparent that you lied, you may be blacklisted.

It’s important to note that you will never be asked to share non-public or proprietary information during a client call, and doing so would be illegal. One of the key responsibilities of expert networks is to ensure that improper information isn’t exchanged on a client call, with both parties bound by strict compliance standards (which you will receive prior to the call).

You should know that proSapient records all of their calls and makes the transcripts available to clients as part of a content library. You will not receive additional compensation if clients access the transcripts of your call, which is the same policy of Tegus , Stream and Arbolus, which offer similar subscription products.

What’s Next?

ProSpaient offers payment via PayPal or ACH direct deposit, and you can expect payment within 45 days of the completion of the call.

Now that you’re a part of the network, you will periodically be contacted for participation in new projects, especially as you build a history of completing successful client calls.

Expert networks are a great way to capitalize on your experience. If you haven’t been contacted by an associate from ProSapient, you can still register to be added to their network by contacting them here.

Learn more in our proSapient video review:

NewtonX Review

Has a NewtonX associate reached out to you via LinkedIn, email, or phone to invite you to fill out a survey or participate in a client call? Are you not sure if it’s a legitimate opportunity— or a scam? Our NewtonX review shares what to expect, how to set your rate and land consulting opportunities with this rapidly growing expert network

What is NewtonX?

NewtonX is an expert network, a recruiting firm that specializes in custom sourcing subject matter experts for short-term consulting projects. Expert networks are a $1.9 billion industry that cater to institutional investors (management consulting firms, private equity, hedge funds, mutual funds, etc.) doing market research or performing due diligence on a company or subset of companies in preparation for an investment. Expert network opportunities generally take the form of a 1-hour phone consultation between the subject matter expert and the client. Expert networks are a great way to capitalize on your industry experience, even after you leave!

NewtonX, founded in 2016 by two former McKinsey consultants who realized an opening in the market, leverages AI and machine learning to quickly engage high volumes of experts. Dubbed a “knowledge access platform”, the firm’s custom sourcing is powered by its’ AI-enabled NewtonX Graph, which is supposed to be faster and less manual than the traditional expert network method. Additionally, the firm’s bread-and-butter service is the NewtonX survey, which allows it to collect information from a high volume pool more quickly and cheaply than its’ competitors. Newton X also offers a full suite of services, such as 1:1 consults, long-form projects, and online communities. 

NewtonX has raised $47 million in venture capital investment, including a $32 million round announced in December 2021, led by Marbruck Ventures and included Level One, the UBS O’Connor fund, Gaingels and Heliad Partners. Existing investors Two Sigma, Third Prime, XFund, Story Ventures and Switch also participated. 

NewtonX Paid Surveys

When NewtonX reaches out to prospective consultants, there are two types of engagements which they may want you to participate in:

  1. A short web-based paid survey on their platform, generating a fee from anywhere between $20 and $200.
  2. A traditional 1 hour, 1:1 phone or video consult with a client on a subject of your expertise. 

NewtonX is one of the more prolific facilitators of paid surveys amongst expert networks. Surveys are generally focused on business topics, especially trends in purchasing/budget allocation or how you view a set of competing products or companies.

The survey could be multiple choice, ranked choice, or short-form, but it is likely to take no more than 10 – 15 minutes of your time. The survey will double as registration in the firm’s network of experts. 

At the conclusion of the survey, the system will ask for you to input your payment information. You can expect payment to be initiated within 24 hours of survey competition, so it should land in your bank account within 5 business days. Alternatively, a check could take longer. The firm also offers PayPal as a payment option. 

Like most expert networks, the initial questions in the survey serve as a screen to ensure that you meet the client’s criteria and you will not be presented with the full survey nor be paid for your participation you don’t meet selection criteria. For example, if the quota of experts of your type (firm size, industry, title, currents/formers, etc.) has already been fulfilled, you will go through the survey and then be notified that you do not fit the criteria, and will not be led to a page to collect payment information.

Consulting with NewtonX

NewtonX also facilitates one-hour consulting calls – the bread and butter of most expert networks. The associate who reached out to you will want to vet your eligibility for a 1-hour phone consult with a client on a subject you appear to have expertise. Here’s a breakdown of the basic eligibility criteria for project participation:

  • You are at least 6 months and no more than 3 years removed from a job where you were a senior executive (Director level or higher) at a company their client is trying to learn more about.
  • You currently (or formerly) work for a competitor of a company the client is looking to learn more about.
  • You currently or formerly were a customer of a product or company the client is looking to learn more about.

The associate will want to ascertain whether you are a good fit for the project — I.e., ready and willing to discuss the topics of interest to the client. This vetting process takes just a few minutes and does not take the place of the client call and you can keep your answers high-level.

The client will receive several profiles for review and will only choose the profiles that are the best fit. You can usually guess whether you are a good fit for the project based on how easily you can answer the questions and how recent your relevant work experience is. If you’re selected for the project, the NewtonX associate will facilitate a convenient time for your client call, usually within just a few days of your introduction to the project.

Even if you don’t get chosen for this project, by completing their compliance procedure, you will be registered in their system and likely vetted for future projects.

Is NewtonX Legit (and is This Legal)?

If you are successfully vetted for either of the aforementioned engagements, you can expect to be presented with a compliance document. Generally, the document is standardized and will forbid the exchanging proprietary information, and protected the confidentiality of yourself and the client. The document should be very clear and an associate would be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns. 

That being said, it is up to you to know what you can and cannot reveal. It is up to you understand what other documents you may have signed could conflict with the compliance document, as well as any company policies preventing you from participating.

In general, clients are most at risk for breaches of compliance (see our previous article on an insider trading scheme that almost took down the industry!) and will never ask you to provide non-public information. NewtonX will provide you with guidelines on what you can and can’t share with clients, and instruct you to not answer any questions where you unsure if it is ok to answer.

NewtonX Consulting Rates

If you have been contacted for participation in a NewtonX paid survey, there will be no mechanism to negotiate your rate. You will be made an offer based on your title, experience, and project-specific factors. Reviews of NewtonX’s surveys reveal compensation rates to range between $20 – $200; $40 – $75 for a 10 – 15 minute survey is typical.

If you have been contacted for participation in a 1-hour 1:1 phone or video consult, you can expect to be offered $100 – $200 if you are a Director level or below, or $200 – $350 for above a Director level. While you can absolutely negotiate your rate, if you ask for anything above $500, you risk your profile not being seen by the client, or a client balking at your rate and going with a cheaper expert. You can always renegotiate your rate for subsequent projects you are contacted for, especially if you find that you are getting inundated by project participation requests.

The rate you actually receive for participation in a client call will be determined by the amount of time both you and the client are in the call. It’s in your best interest to keep the conversation going, as an extra 10 – 15 minutes can bump up your rate, but conversely, any call that is more than 5 minutes under the 1 hour mark will be penalized with less pay.

Acing your NewtonX Consulting Call

Once you’ve been vetted and accepted an offer, your profile will be shared with the client. If the client selected your profile for a conversation, you’ll be scheduled for the phone consult based on the availability you gave the associate.

The client call should not be difficult, as the answers should come naturally to you, based on your years of experience of working in your particular industry. The client is not expecting a deliverable of any sort, however, it may be helpful to have some relevant figures handy. The vetting questions the associate walked through with you should clue you in on the topics of conversation be covered in the client call.The types of clients you will encounter will be institutional investors (consulting firms, private equity, hedge funds, mutual funds, venture capital firms, etc.).

The client has done extensive research beforehand and it should make for an interesting conversation. The conversation will centered on a target company’s positioning, go-to-market strategy, business model, key challenges and opportunities, and the competitive landscape. The client is looking to rapidly download your knowledge in order to confirm or complicate their due diligence on a company, industry, or product of interest. 

If the client asks a question and you don’t know the answer, be honest. Otherwise you will be wasting time for both you. 

What’s Next?

After the call, your payment information will be collected, and you can expect payment within 14 days via ACH direct deposit (or longer if you chose the check option).

Now that you’re part of the NewtonX network, don’t be surprised if you are contacted for many more projects. Expert networks are a great way to capitalize on your industry experience by offering insights to institutional investors.

If you haven’t already been contacted by NewtonX about a project, you can learn more about becoming an expert consultant with NewtonX, or reach out an an associate to get started by emailing [email protected]. Be sure to mention what you’ve learned in our NewtonX review!

Ridgetop Research Review

Have you received a reach-out on LinkedIn or an out-of-the-blue phone call from an associate at Ridgetop Research, asking if you have an hour available for a paid consulting opportunity with a client? Are you wondering if it’s a legitimate opportunity— or a scam? Get introduced to the secretive world of expert network consulting and learn how to land high-paying projects in our Ridgetop Research review.

What is Ridgetop Research?

Ridgetop Research logo

Ridgetop Research is an expert network, a recruiting firm that specializes in custom sourcing subject matter experts for short-term consulting projects. Expert networks are a $1.5 billion industry that cater to institutional investors (management consulting firms, private equity, hedge funds, mutual funds, etc.) doing market research or performing due diligence on a company or subset of companies in preparation for an investment. Expert network opportunities generally take the form of a 1-hour phone consultation between the subject matter expert and the client. Expert networks are a great way to capitalize on your industry experience, even after you leave!

Ridgetop is a mid-sized expert network with offices in Charlotte, North Carolina and New York, New York. The firm was founded in 2008 by former employees of Vista Research, an early pioneer in the industry that was taken down by an insider trading scandal in 2007. Ridgetop offers a range of services, from custom recruiting of industry professionals (just like other expert networks!), as well as survey fieldwork and paneling. The firm mostly caters to institutional investors such as private equity, mutual funds, and venture capital firms. Ridgetop also contracts with Cordium to provide “chaperone” services to clients to ensure calls are consistent with their compliance framework.

Qualifying for Ridgetop Research Consulting Calls

Your relationship with Ridgetop Research often starts with a LinkedIn message.

If you’ve been contacted by an associate from Ridgetop Research, it’s likely that you are a senior level industry professional with experience with a company, product, or industry their client is looking to learn more about. Here’s a breakdown of the basic eligibility criteria for project participation:

  • You are at least 6 months and no more than 3 years out of a job where you were a senior executive (Director level or higher) at a company their client is trying to learn more about.
  • You currently (or formerly) work for a competitor of a company the client is looking to learn more about.
  • You currently or formerly were a customer of a product or company the client is looking to learn more about.

The associate will invite you to register on the online platform, where you will run through a few vetting questions in order to ascertain whether you are a good fit for the project — I.e., ready and willing to discuss the topics of interest to the client. This vetting process does not take the place of the client call and you can keep your answers high-level.

The client will receive several profiles from Ridgetop Research for review and will only choose the profiles that are the best fit. You can usually guess whether you are a good fit for the project based on how easily you can answer the questions and how recent your relevant work experience is. You’ll usually find out if you’ve been selected for a project within a few days. Oftentimes, the associate will ask for your availability during the screening call and send you a calendar invite for your client call.

Even if you don’t get chosen for this project, by completing their compliance procedure, you will be registered in their system and likely vetted for future projects.

Ridgetop Review Consulting Rates

Expert network consulting rates vary widely and are determined by a variety of factors, such as the seniority and how recent your relevant title is, how niche the industry is, and demand for your insight. In general, you can expect to be offered $100 – $200 if you are a Director level or below, or $200 – $500 or more for experienced executives.

While these rates are pretty standard, you should know that you can renegotiate your rate if you find you are getting inundated by project participation requests. Many C-suites and other high executives who have a history of successful calls command rates of $500. Some experts make $1,000-$1,500 a call, but you should know that it is not common and demanding a super high rate right away will likely mean your profile will never be sent to the client. That being said, feel free to negotiate a rate that is commiserate for your time and energy to participate fully.

It’s important to keep in mind that your rate will be pro-rated based on the amount of time you are in the call with the client, so it’s in your best interest to keep the conversation flowing freely. An extra 10 – 15 minutes can bump up your rate, but conversely, any call that is more than 5 minutes under the 1 hour mark will be paid accordingly, so you should try to at least make it to the hour.

Acing Your Ridgetop Research Consulting Call

Once you’ve been vetted, negotiate a rate, are selected by the client, and provide your availability, you’ll be scheduled for the phone consult

You should not feel the need to overly prepare for the call. The client is not expecting a deliverable or a presentation. The format is highly conversational, and you should be able to answer the questions easily based on your years of experience in your industry. The client is looking to rapidly download your knowledge in order to confirm or complicate their due diligence on a company, industry, or product of interest. The client has done extensive research beforehand and it should make for an interesting conversation.

The types of clients you will encounter are will be institutional investors (at Ridgetop, that will be private equity, mutual funds, and venture capital firms) and are bound by strict compliance policies that prevent them from soliciting proprietary information. This policy should also be laid out to you prior to the call, so you understand what you can and cannot discuss in the call. It’s rare that you’ll be asked to share any non-public information, and you should decline to answer any questions you feel moves into this territory; clients won’t press you to share things that you shouldn’t.

What’s Next?

After the call, your payment information will be collected, and you can expect payment within 14 days via ACH direct deposit. 

Now that you’re part of the Ridgetop Research expert network, don’t be surprised if you are contacted for many more projects. Expert networks are a great way to capitalize on your industry experience.

If you haven’t already been contacted by Ridgetop Research about a project, you can reach out an an associate by emailing [email protected]

Dialectica Review

Have you received a message from someone from Dialectica, seeking a few minutes of your time for a paid consulting opportunity? Are you wondering what this opportunity is legit or a scam? Learn what to expect and how to land high-paying consulting projects with our review of Dialectica, one of Europe’s fastest growing expert networks.

What is Dialectica?

Dialecticanet logo

Dialectica is an an expert network, a recruiting firm that specializes in custom sourcing subject matter experts for short-term consulting projects. Expert networks are a $1.5 billion industry that cater to institutional investors (management consulting firms, private equity, hedge funds, mutual funds, etc.) doing market research or performing due diligence on a company or subset of companies in preparation for an investment. Expert network opportunities generally take the form of a 1-hour phone consultation between the subject matter expert and the client. Expert networks are a great way to capitalize on your industry experience, even after you leave!

Founded in 2015 by former management consultants, the firm now consists of 250 employees across 4 offices in Athens, London, New York, and Montreal. Dialectica offers three core information services: 1-to-1 expert conversations, project- length expert engagements, and surveys or reports generated via expert knowledge.

Dialectica is certainly a legit company. It has facilitated over 20,000 projects and was included in the Financial Times’ 2021 list of Europe’s fastest growing companies. It was the fastest growing expert network on the list, ranking 300th on the list with £10.5 million in 2019 revenue – 525% growth since 2016. (Larger European expert network Atheneum Partners also made the list at #701.)

What’s it like to consult on a Dialectica project?

If you have been contacted by an associate from Dialectica, your LinkedIn profile likely indicated that you would be a good fit for a project. Associates generally use the following criteria to judge whether you are a good fit for a project:

  • You used to work at a company a client is trying to learn more about. The general rule of thumb is that you must be at least 6 months removed from the target company.
  • You currently or used to work for a competitor to a company the client is trying to learn more about.
  • You have relevant experience in a parallel industry or market, or worked for a company that was customer of the target company.

The associate will send you a link to a questionnaire that will ask for more details on your relevant work history, as well as a sampling of the questions the client will want to ask in the 1-hour phone consult. It’s important to understand that these questions are not meant to replace the interview, just prove that you have the knowledge and experience they are looking for. The questionnaire shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to fill out. You may also be asked to give your availability for a 1-hour call.

It’s important to keep in mind that even if an associate thinks you are a good fit for the project, and you think you are a good fit for the project (based on the vetting questions), there is a chance you may not be selected for a call. The associate will submit your profile to the client for review, and there are plenty of factors that affect whether you get the project: consulting rate, vetting question response time, time to accept the compliance document, and other factors outside of your control. Even if you don’t get this project, going through these motions will register your in their database and ensure you are identified quickly for future engagements.

In talking to other experts, I’ve heard a few complaints about Dialectica project spam – frequent consulting requests for projects that are significantly far off topic. Making sure your Dialectica profile is crisp and specific is a good way to cut down on off-targets requests (and land more on-point opportunities). The survey and consulting requests that I receive from Dialectica have mostly been well targeted at my area of expertise.

Setting your Dialectica Consulting Rate

Expert network consulting rates vary widely and are dependent on how recent your experience is, the depth of your experience, and job title. Typically, you will receive project requests for experience in companies or job titles within the last 3 years, but the more recent your experience is, the higher likelihood you have of landing the client call. Similarly, the higher your job titles, the higher rate you can command.

Typically, you will be offered $100-$200 for a role below the Director level. A Director or above will likely be offered $200-$350 for participation in a call. While you can absolutely negotiate for a higher rate (and you should!), it’s unlikely that you will be successful in securing more than $100 above the initial offer for your first call. 

You can always renegotiate each time you are contacted for an opportunity. You should try to gauge the demand for your experience— are you receiving a high volume of requests? — and evaluate how niche your industry or experience is to determine a fair rate. Some experts can command rates of $500- $1,000, but those experts are often in small or niche industries where it is difficult to source experts, or they are trusted experts who have completed several successful calls and proven their worth to a network.

You should also know that your rate will be pro-rated (by the minute) based on the amount of time you are in a call. If the call goes under 1 hour, you will not be paid for the entire hour. Conversely, if the call goes over the hour, you can expect to be paid more than the initial negotiated rate. 

Acing Your Dialectica Consulting Call

Dialectica consulting projects

An expert network consulting call is not like other types of consulting engagements in that you are not expected to prepare or generate a deliverable. The questions the client will be asking should be easy for you to answer, based on the depth and breadth of your experience in a given industry. If you are asked a question you don’t now the answer to, it’s best to admit you don’t know and offer to follow-up with the answer, or give it your best educated opinion. 

Most calls are centered in a company the client is performing due diligence on. In this case, the client will want to understand the target company’s positioning, go-to-market strategy, business model, key challenges and opportunities, and the competitive landscape. The client will likely have done extensive research on the company and industry, and are getting a sense of the company’s growth prospects by testing their hypotheses against your knowledge.

It’s important to note that clients are not seeking proprietary information on the company. In fact, exchanging proprietary information in an expert network consulting call is illegal and considered insider trading. Many calls are recorded and transcribed for internal purposes and subjected to compliance tests. The compliance terms will be laid out to you in a non-disclosure agreement prior to the call. Regardless, you should use your best professional judgement when answering questions to avoid any compliance issues. 

Getting Started with Dialectica

Now that you’re part of the network, you will be contacted for more projects that align with your experience. Expert networks are a great way to capitalize on your career and knowledge. If you haven’ t been contacted by an associate from Dialectica, you can still register to be added to their network by signing up to be a specialist here.

Learn more in our Dialectica video review:

Atheneum Partners Review

Have you been contacted by an associate from Atheneum Partners with an opportunity to participate in a hour-long consulting call? Are you wondering if the opportunity — or Atheneum Partners— is legitimate or a scam? Learn if you should work with this fast growing expert network in our Atheneum Partners review.

What is Atheneum Partners?

Atheneum Partners Logo

Atheneum Partners GMBH is a mid-sized expert network headquartered in Berlin, Germany with offices in other 10 countries. It operates a Research as a Service (RaaS) product model to conduct primary research for management consulting firms, investment houses, and corporate clients. They offer a small variety of consulting products, including 1-hour consulting calls, primary research deliverables, and long-form consulting opportunities. Atheneum produces research for projects across 8 industries: Consumer Goods, Energy & Utilities, Financial Institutions, Healthcare, Industrials & Transportation, Materials & Natural Resources, and Public Policy. Atheneum Partners is an expert network that wants to leverage your industry knowledge for their clients.

Is Atheneum Partners fake or a scam?

Atheneum Partners is a legitimate company with a 10 year history that operates all over the world— it is not fake or a scam.  In August, 2021, Atheneum announced that it had raised $150 million in equity investment, led by Guidepost Growth Equity. The company disclosed that is currently generating over $50 million in annual revenue, with growth rates of 50% or more in 2020 and 2021! Atheneum ranked as one of Europe’s fastest growing companies according to the Financial Times (along with the smaller, but faster growing Dialectica.)

However, it’s noteworthy that in the process of researching this review, I found more than a few complaints from consultants about the company’s payment terms, timing, and occasional habit of not sending payment at all. It appears the company has addressed these complaints directly on forums and with the consultants themselves, but it’s concerning as it appears that these complaints are consistent over a long period of time, and continue through 2021. 

While these complaints do not mean the opportunity is a scam, it does indicate that the firm may have some chronic operational issues that could delay your payment longer than the industry standard. Atheneum’s payment terms are within 45 days, while most other expert networks issue payment within a few days or a couple of weeks of completing a project).

(And of course, you should always exercise caution when dealing with people whom you don’t know on the Internet. Beware of impersonators utilizing fake Atheneum Partners email addresses, and know that an expert network will never ask you to send them money.)

Onboarding with Atheneum Partners

If an associate from Atheneum Partners has reached out to you via email, phone call or LinkedIn, you have been selected for screening based on project criteria, including:

  1. You are a former employee of a company the client wants to know more about, usually for due diligence purposes, before purchasing or investing in the target company. You must be at least 6 months removed from your employment with the company to be eligible for participation.
  2. You are a current or former employee of a competitor of the company they are researching, and the client wants to know how the target company is positioned and viewed by competitors.
  3. You are an expert on a related topic, industry, or geography that can offer insight on the industry, even if you’re not overly familiar with the target company or product.

The associate will take a few minutes to explain the project parameters and have you fill out a survey to vet your relevant experience and knowledge. The survey is intended to solicit a high-level understanding of your ability and confidence is speaking to various subjects, and is not intended to substitute the client call. It’s also important to understand that filling out a survey doesn’t guarantee that your profile will be selected by the client. Even if you are not selected for this particular project, participating in this process will register you in their database, enabling you to be quickly selected for future projects.

At the end of the call, the associate will gather your availability for a 1-hour call, discuss your hourly consulting rate, and discuss their compliance policy, which you will need to review and accept to move forward in the process.

Atheneum Partners Consulting Rates 

Atheneum Partners payment problems
Atheneum Partners has received an above average number of complaints about payment issues.

Atheneum’s hourly consulting rates vary widely based on your relevant job title, and how many years you are removed from the industry or relevant job title. The closer you are to the relevant job title, the more likely you can command a higher rate for your expertise. You may have to listen closely to the type of questions they ask to ascertain what part of your employment history is most relevant, but often the associate will ask you directly about a specific title. 

The associate will usually offer an initial rate: $100 – $200 for a title below director, $200 – $350 for a title between director and C-suite, and $350 – $500 or more for someone with a C-suite role. It’s important to know that while this rate might be presented as a final offer, the actual hourly rate is up for negotiation. Some experts get paid $1,000+ for the 1 hour calls via Atheneum, but only if their knowledge is niche, related to a very large company, or the expert has a track record of successful client calls.

The best way to maximize your consulting rate is to let the associate know that you have worked with expert networks in the past and that you already have a set rate. Announcing your rate early in the call, or early in the negotiations, allows you to set the benchmark based on a range that makes the engagement worth your time, rather than allowing the associate’s metrics to dictate your pay. You should note that you can renegotiate your rate each time you are contacted for a project, so you can increase your rate over time as you become more comfortable participating in client calls.

It’s in your best interest to keep the call going as long as you can, as your hourly consulting rate is pro-rated based on the amount of time you’re in the call. According to their compliance document, Atheneum compensates for the initial 30 minutes, and then for every 15 minute increment beyond that, as well as an unpaid 5-minute leeway period provided to each client to wrap up a consultation.

Acing your Atheneum Consulting Call

Most Atheneum consulting calls are centered on a particular company, industry, or product. The client will ask you to discuss the vetting questions in much more detail than in the vetting process with the associate from Atheneum: core competitive metrics, competitive landscape for each industry vertical, product strategies, brand positioning, and customer loyalty are some examples of the topics you’ll be asked to elaborate on.

The client is not expecting you to prepare a presentation or deliverable for the call; they are looking to rapidly download industry knowledge via your many years of experience. You can expect that clients have done their own basic research, reviewed publicly available information, and perhaps heard a management presentation. They have come prepared with specific questions to confirm or clarify aspects of the business.

If the client is an investment manager, the call will likely be centered on a particular company. The client will want to know how the target company compares to its’ competitors, product and feature differentiation, pricing strategy, quality of management, etc. These types of calls will often resolve around your former employer or a major vendor that you worked with frequently, with emphasis on the key factors influencing your decisions.

Alternatively, if the client is a management consulting firm, the call will be centered on a particular issue or problem they have been tasked to solve. The client may be looking to develop a marketing strategy, solve chronic operational issues, or restructure an organization. These types of calls will often center your approach to an issue, your impressions of various products, factors that influence budget and purchase decisions, or to provide feedback on potential new products or solutions.

You should have an easy time answering the questions during the call- after all, the client wants to learn about an area via your experience. Even so, you may not have all the answers, or know figures off the top of your heads. You can always be honest and say you don’t know, and you should never make up answers. Clients often have multiple calls on the same subject and if it becomes apparent that you lied, you may be blacklisted.

It’s important to note that you will never be asked to share non-public or proprietary information during a client call, and Atheneum will have provided you with clear compliance guidelines prior to the call. In the rare event that you are asked to disclose non-public or proprietary information, you should decline to answer. Atheneum records their calls and offers transcription as a service to their clients, so you should know that exchanging this type of information is considered insider trading and could be met with considerable legal issues. One of the key responsibilities of expert networks is to ensure that improper information isn’t exchanged on a client call, with both parties bound by strict compliance standards.

What’s Next?

Atheneum offers payment via PayPal or ACH direct deposit, and you can expect payment within 45 days of the completion of the call.

Now that you’re a part of the network, you will periodically be contacted for participation in new projects, especially as you build a history of completing successful client calls.

Expert networks are a great way to capitalize on your experience. If you haven’t been contacted by an associate from Atheneum Partners, you can still register to be added to their network by visiting their website.

Learn more in our Atheneum video review

Magellan Research Group Review

Did you recently get a call, email, or LinkedIn message from an associate at Magellan Research Group with an offer for a paid consulting opportunity? Getting paid a high hourly rate for just an hour of your time sounds almost too good to be true – perhaps you’re wondering if Magellan is legitimate or a scam?  Here’s what you need to know about landing high-paying consulting projects with this fast growing expert network. 

What is Magellan Research Group?

Magellan Research Group Review

Magellan Research Group is one of a plethora of expert networks that have appeared in recent years to source experts for market research projects for institutional investors— usually private equity, hedge funds, and consulting firms. Magellan Research Group is legitimate – it’s certainly not a scam! – and has been operating for 10 years from its offices in New York, NY. Their core product is the 1-hour phone consultation, although they offer a variety of services, such as management checks, custom industry surveys, and industry conferences. The firm is small, and specializes in a personalized and streamlined expert experience by utilizing the most efficient process to cut down on paperwork and vetting time so experts can focus on client calls.

It’s not uncommon for an expert to be asked for a follow-up call, or follow-up project with the client, which would be compensated at the same rate. Usually this happens when a client expands on a project, adds a new angle, or just has an excellent conversation and wants to work more closely with you for their project.  A short phone call can sometimes turn into a lucrative consulting project via Magellan!

While one hour client calls are Magellan’s bread and butter, they can be a springboard to larger consulting opportunities.

What to expect

If an associate from Magellan Research Group has reached out to you, it’s likely that you fit the criteria for a project:

  1. A former employee of a company on which they are doing due diligence. The industry standard practice is to source experts who are at least 6 months removed from the target company to ensure that any information exchanged is immaterial and thus not insider trading.
  2. A current or former employee from a competitor in the same industry.
  3. An expert on a specific topic, market, or geography from a parallel industry. This could include a current or former customer of a product or type of product.

One of the most time-consuming aspects of working with expert networks in general is the amount of paperwork an expert has to complete to apply to work on a project after they have been identified as a potential fit. While other expert networks will frequently ask you to complete questionnaires detailing your relevant work experience, Magellan’s associates do the work for you by crafting your biography based on the vetting conversation. 

It’s important to give the associate the best high-level view of the topics they are asking about, as the client decides which expert to take a consult call with based on their biography. The vetting conversation is meant to be short, lasting no more than 15 minutes, but associates will stay on longer if you’re willing to provide more details, because those details could be the key to selling the call.

At the end of the vetting conversation, they will let you know if they believe you are a good fit for the project and if so, discuss your hourly consulting rate, your availability for a client call, and an overview of the compliance policy. Even if you aren’t a good fit for this particular project, you can still be added to their expert network database and may be tapped for future opportunities.

Magellan Research Group Consulting Rates

Magellan’s hourly consulting rates vary widely and the initial rate you are offered will be determined by a number of factors, including your job title and how many years you are removed from the industry or relevant job title that the client is researching.  The closer you are to the relevant job title, the more likely you are to be chosen for a call, and thus more likely to command a higher rate.  While you may have been called about a job you held three years ago, it may be unlikely that the client will take a call with you.

If you are below a director-level role, you will likely be offered $100-$200. If you are a director or above, you will be offered $200-$350. The associate is authorized to offer as high as $500, but anything higher has to be approved by a manager and could mean that your profile is not proposed to the client. Some experts really do get paid $1,000 or more per call through Magellan, but usually after they complete several calls and demonstrate that they are able to consistently offer clients the type of conversation that is extraordinarily useful and informative. 

The best way to maximize your consulting rate is to let the associate know that you have worked with expert networks in the past and that you already have a set rate. This lets the associate know you are experienced and know your worth. It also sets a benchmark for the negotiations, so you can limit the pay range to what makes the engagement worth your time. Additionally, if you have been contacted for many projects, your knowledge is probably in demand and you can renegotiate your rate with each project.

You should note that your hourly consulting rate will be pro-rated based on how long you are on the call, so it’s in your best interest to keep talking (er, providing valuable insights!) to keep the client on the phone. Like many expert networks, Magellan really pays by the minute, so you won’t receive your full hourly rate if the call is an under hour, though the good news is that you’ll earn extra on calls that exceed 60 minutes – nothing beats earning an extra $50 by keeping a good conversation going a little longer!

Acing Your Magellan Client Call

Okay, so you’ve done the vetting call, settled on a rate, and scheduled a call. What can you expect?

The vast majority of client calls are centered on a particular company, industry or product. The client will want to know the details of the industry— how it works, business models, verticals, customer types, competitive landscape, key growth drivers, challenges, and trends. 

The client is not expecting you to prepare for the call— they are looking to rapidly download knowledge of the industry via your many years of experience. Clients have generally done their own research, reviewed publicly available information, and heard a management presentation. What they are looking for is an insider who can confirm the research and give an informed opinion of the growth prospects and challenges of a particular industry, company, or product.

If you’re speaking with an investment manager, they are likely researching a particular company, they will want to know how it compares to its competitors, product and feature differentiation, quality of management, etc. These calls will often revolve around your former employer or a major vendor that you work with frequently, in which case they’ll want you to compare it to other similar products you vetted, with emphasis on the key factors influencing your decision.

Alternatively, the client may be a management consulting firm, which is tasked with developing a marketing strategy, solving operational problems, restructuring an organization, or other issues.  These calls will often dive into how you approach a particular issue or problem, your impressions of various products, how purchase and budget decisions are made, and to provide feedback on some potential new products or proposed solutions.

You’ll usually have an easy time answering most questions during a call – after all, the client wants to learn about an area that you’ve been working in for years.  Of course, you may not have the answer to everything, so don’t feel bad for saying that you don’t the answer to a certain question; the client will move on to the next question on their list and they aren’t paying top dollar for made-up answers!

It’s important to note that you’ll never be asked to share non-public or proprietary information, and Magellan will provide you with clear compliance guidelines several times before you connect with the client.   One of the key responsibilities of expert networks is to ensure that improper information isn’t shared with clients, who are bound by strict compliance standards.  It’s rare that you’ll be asked to share any non-public information, and you should decline to answer any questions you feel moves into this territory; clients won’t press you to share things that you shouldn’t.

What’s Next?

Immediately after the call, you should get an email thanking you for your participation. There will be a link to the invoice system, which will offer 3 different payment methods: ACH direct deposit, a physical mailed check, or a donation to a charity. Magellan processes all expert payments at the end of the month.

Now that you’re a part of the network, you will periodically be contacted for new projects, as associates are more likely to tap you for projects if you have a history of completing successful calls. 

Expert networks are a great way to capitalize on your experience. If you haven’t been contacted by a Magellan Research Group associate, you can still register to be added to their network by emailing [email protected] to get started.


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