Have you been invited to consult with AlphaSights, offering you impressive rates to take a call with one of their clients? Wondering if it’s a legitimate opportunity or too good to be true? Learn what expert networks are, if they’re legit, how much you can earn and more in our comprehensive AlphaSights review.
What is AlphaSights?
Expert networks like AlphaSights are essentially high-level knowledge brokers. They build a giant pool of subject matter experts and advertise them to organizations that need their services. AlphaSights is one of the world’s largest expert networks, considered one of the “big five” firms dominating the nearly $2 billion industry. In fact, some estimates have it listed as the second largest in the world after the behemoth GLG.
AlphaSights’ clients are primarily management consultants and investors, with corporate customers representing a small but growing customer segment. Regardless, they’re all looking for insights from seasoned pros with boots on the ground in specific sectors who can speak truth to power without fear of ramifications.
Is AlphaSights legit or a scam?
If you’re reading this AlphaSights review, you probably received a LinkedIn invitation to be an expert consultant or advisor for the network. Now, you’re doing your due diligence to determine whether AlphaSights is legitimate or if you’ve been the target of a scam or pyramid scheme.
Online scams are prolific, and you should certainly be suspicious if someone asks you for money or payment information to participate with an expert network. However, AlphaSights is absolutely legitimate and has a solid history.
In fact, AlphaSights has nine offices in New York, San Francisco, London, Hong Kong, Seoul, and other major cities around the globe. They have established themselves as a leading institute in the expert network trade, and their client roster features multinational conglomerates. The company was founded in 2008 by Andrew Heath and Max Cartellieri, who still serve as Co-CEOs today.
For clients like those, one major business decision can drive their entire trajectory, earning (or costing) millions in revenue. As a result, they’re willing to pay AlphaSights $1,000 per hour or more to speak with their experts. While the hourly cost seems high, it’s a trivial amount to spend on insights that could shape multi-million dollar decisions.
In case you were skeptical, AlphaSights associates can comfortably offer you such sky-high rates because their clients are paying double or triple what is passed on to you.
Many experts charge $250 to $500 for a one-hour phone call. Younger professionals may be on the lower end of that range, while senior executives and people with specialized expertise can collect over $1,000 per hour.
You might also doubt that a company as prestigious as AlphaSights would contact you through LinkedIn, but don’t worry – it’s completely normal. The platform is a proven way for expert networks to identify and contact the professionals their clients need. In fact, most of these firms employ large groups of associates to spend most of their time combing through LinkedIn profiles to reach out to potential consultants via the site.
Do I qualify as a subject matter expert?
Even if you accept that expert networks are legitimate, you may wonder if you possess enough knowledge and experience to charge them hundreds of dollars per hour. As a prospective consultant, it’s common to experience imposter syndrome.
That usually goes away quickly once you start taking on projects and the checks roll in, but in the meantime, you may need a nudge to take the leap. After all, failing to live up to a client’s expectations while charging them such a high rate can be an intimidating prospect.
If you’re looking for some objective ways to assess your qualifications, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you ever worked for a leading organization?
- Do you have years of experience in a particular industry?
- Have you ever trained or mentored another worker?
If you answered yes to any of those, you’re probably qualified to be an AlphaSights expert. In many cases, AlphaSights clients are looking to enter an arena that’s brand new to them.
While you’ll occasionally speak with a client who has an impressive background in and understanding of your field, it’s far more common that you’ll speak with a junior consultant or investment manager who is hours into their research. You’ll often be viewed as a true expert in their eyes!
What seems like mundane knowledge to you is often critical insight to them. For example, that could be something as simple as how you allocate your company’s budget or set the prices for your goods or services.
Ultimately, if you could give a decent 30-minute presentation on a topic, you’re probably qualified to consult for AlphaSights in that area.
Keep in mind as well that with many projects, clients will speak with dozens of experts to gather information and affirm what they’re hearing; it’s not uncommon for a project to entail more than 100 interviews. Rarely are they looking to you to be The Definitive Source for the information they’re trying to understand or problem they are trying to solve.
What types of consulting projects does AlphaSights offer?
AlphaSights offers a wide range of services, and the types of projects they take on are as varied as their massive client roster. However, you can typically expect to complete one-on-one calls with clients when you start out. Generally, there are three types of calls:
- Product development and strategy exploration
- Company-specific deep dives
- Broader industry and market overviews
Company deep dive requests usually come from investors who want insight into a business before sinking money into it. In contrast, industry overviews help clients get a high-level picture of a sector’s customers and future.
AlphaSights does offer a few other types of projects, such as in-person meetings and full-day workshops. They might even put together a team for large-scope endeavors. However, most Advisors start with one-on-one phone consults, so that’s the best place to focus your energies until your reputation on the platform is secured.
How does AlphaSights consulting work?
Generally, AlphaSights Advisors get to decide what calls to take and what times would be convenient (though it pays to be flexible). There’s usually nothing to prepare in advance, but it may benefit you to do some modest additional research ahead of time for some projects.
While you’re on calls, it’s important to remember that the discussions are held to a high compliance standard. Clients can’t ask for sensitive or protected information such as trade secrets, and Advisors can’t share it. Both the client and consultant on an AlphaSights call are required to comply with compliance rules and legal restrictions. (You’ll receive some brief training on compliance rules before you join your first AlphaSights call.)
However, you may dive into additional publicly available data and personal insights about management, strategy, customer complaints, and other releasable information that isn’t usually found on a company’s financial reports.
Apart from that, the direction of the call is primarily up to the client. Some will have an endless stream of questions, while others will ask you what types of questions they need to ask. Regardless, your job is to listen, respond to the best of your ability, and let the call go on for as long as it needs until the client is ready to get off the line.
Fortunately, AlphaSights pays per minute, so you’ll be compensated if a call stretches over the standard hour. Once the client is satisfied, you don’t have any more obligations. You’re all done, and you’ll usually receive your payment within a few days!
How can I win more AlphaSights consulting projects?
To win more AlphaSights expert network projects, focus on being discoverable. Create an Advisor profile that’s concise, persuasive, and error-free, then fill it with relevant keywords. It should also feature a strong summary of your employment history and relevant knowledge. AlphaSights’ Client Service Team works hard to connect clients with industry experts who can offer them answers.
If you need inspiration, it can be helpful to read a few profiles of high-priced consultants in your field and borrow some of the ideas that apply to you. If necessary, you can also hire a writer to help punch up your copy!
Once your profile is complete, jump on any opportunities that arise. You want to get your proposals out the door quickly. However, don’t cut and paste generic wording. Take the time to tailor your proposals and speak to the client’s unique needs. It takes longer, but the return on investment will be higher.
As you put out proposals, try to strike a balance between selling yourself and staying objective about your qualifications. Each client is different, but they all value honesty, so be clear about what you can offer without promising the moon and stars. Give concrete examples from your past that feature specific numbers and the tangible impacts your work made. Show that your knowledge can add value and is worth the price of admission.
How much should I charge, and how much can I earn at AlphaSights?
Like other expert networks, AlphaSights is pretty tight-lipped about how much their consultants make. If you think about it, why would they want to share that information? They don’t want customers to see their margins! Remember, expert networks charge a substantial markup on the amount they actually pay out to the folks doing the work.
So what should you charge? Set your expert network rate too low, and it’s very easy to leave hundreds of dollars on the table. Ask too much, and you could not only lose out on the project but burn your relationship with an entire expert network.
If you’ve been working for only a handful of years for a particular company or sector, you might set an hourly rate between $100 and $250 per hour with AlphaSights. Seasoned members can charge between $300 and $500 an hour, while major corporate players might ask for $1,000 or more.
It’s never a simple question to answer, but remember that the way to maximize your earnings is to land the most opportunities at the highest average rate possible.
To avoid underselling yourself, remember that customers want the best value, not the cheapest rates. In addition, your insights may drive a decision worth millions of dollars, and AlphaSights will markup your services considerably.
Fortunately, it gets easier to determine your ideal hourly rate once you set up your account. To do that, you can reach out to AlphaSights via their Contact Us form. Under the options, select that you are interested in being a potential Advisor. If they reach out to you to create a profile, you should be able to review others and gauge the going rates for industry experts with backgrounds comparable to yours.
If you’d like additional help, check out our comprehensive guide on how to set your expert network hourly rate, which gets into the weeds of the network pricing models. The better you understand how their pricing works, the easier it’ll be to set an AlphaSights consulting rate that fairly compensates you without scaring off clients.
Is consulting for AlphaSights worth it?
AlphaSights operates a vast, competitive network filled with highly qualified advisors. There is no guarantee of work, and it takes time to establish your reputation. If you’re a top expert on a hot topic or company, you may find yourself inundated with project requests, but expert network work always tends to be feast or famine.
As a result, it’s not uncommon to go for long stretches without landing a project, and project flow from most expert networks can be feast or famine, depending upon client demand, market trends, seasonality (year-end gets very quiet), and competition. That can get frustrating, especially when you spend time creating personalized bids for dozens of projects just to get rejected. However, hard work does eventually pay off. The trick is to learn from each experience and be persistent.
Remember, whenever you do manage to secure a project, working for AlphaSights is incredibly lucrative. Even a brand-new advisor can earn hundreds of dollars per hour. Experts also get much more than financial compensation, including invaluable opportunities to expand your network, hone your skills, and learn new things.
If you have experience-based knowledge and insights worth sharing, we hope this AlphaSights review has shown you can connect to customers who’ll pay for it. It doesn’t get any better than earning a few hundred an hour to hold a business discussion with a stranger!
AlphaSights doesn’t want to deal with a flood of candidates banging on their door, so their registration process for experts is not overt. Though it’s quite large, it can be one of the tougher firms to get started with. Most experts are invited to participate off of LinkedIn. If you’d like to try to be proactive, finding someone who can refer you is your best bet. You can’t signup as an expert directly via the AlphaSights’ website, but if you submit a request, you may hear back from a rep. You’ll never know until you try!