logos of several dozen expert network companies

139 Expert Network Companies with Direct Signup Links

Looking to land more high-paying expert network calls, projects and surveys? Creating profiles with multiple expert network companies is one of the best ways to increase your exposure and land more project invitations. Click on the company name to open their expert registration page in a new tab.

Choosing which expert network companies to work with

While expert networks are infamous for recruiting consultants on LinkedIn, most searches start with their internal databases. Creating quality profiles with a good handful of expert networks doesn’t take long and can significantly increase your project volume. A few tips to help you get started:

  • Be sure to signup with the largest firms in the industry, include GLG, Guidepoint and AlphaSights. These firms arrange thousands of calls and surveys each week!
  • Don’t disregard expert networks from outside your region. Though the volume is lower, I’ve done calls with clients and firms in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Italy in the past year despite having no experience doing business in those countries. Clients may be interested in getting your perspective as part of a cross-border investment decision or to understand market dynamics in your home country.
  • Once you start working with multiple expert networks, you’ll occasionally start receiving invites to the same project from more than one company. It’s often beneficial to respond to each invitation to increase your chances of being staffed on the project. You won’t know which firm is going to submit their list of candidates first or if you’ll be included on that list. Having your profile presented to the client two (or more) times can make it more likely that you’re selected. Exclusivity is rare in the expert network industry, so take advantage of the chance to get multiple bites at the apple with some quick copying and pasting.
  • Your expert network profile should be structured differently than your resume or LinkedIn profile. Harried associates aren’t interested in your skillset; they want to know if you can provide the information that their client is looking for. So be specific in your job titles and primary work functions. Name names (lots of them) of former employers, key vendors, competitors, and products where you have deep knowledge and/or are the purchase decision-maker. Go heavy on keywords to make your profile show up often in searches, though ensure that it is fast and easy to read.

If you would like your expert network added to this directory or to have a featured listing, please contact us.

What is an Expert Network?

Quietly, a secretive industry has been growing like crazy, influencing billions – if not trillions – of dollars in investment decisions and creating a lucrative side hustle hundreds of thousands of professionals. If you been invited to participate in a paid consulting opportunity and are wondering what is an expert network, you may have just received your golden ticket. Here’s what you need to know.

Should you consult for an expert network?

I charge $300 – $500 per hour to do expert network consulting, and it is ridiculously easy work. It reminds me of my favorite Lloyd Dobler quote from Say Anything:

“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”

If you’re unfamiliar with expert network consulting, you may be missing out one of the easiest and highest paying consulting gigs out there.

Expert networks – such as GLG, AlphaSights, Guidepoint, proSapient and Third Bridge – connect investors and management consultants looking to rapidly do a deep dive into a company or market with “experts” who know all about it. These are typically former employees, customers, vendors, or competitors.

No matter what your area of expertise, there are probably expert networks out there trying to match you with projects. While these industry has some notoriety for paying over $1,000/hour to connect clients with Fortune 500 CFOs or specialized surgeons, there is far more need for everyday folks like marketers, IT managers, sales people, and even potato farmers. (Consulting rates are generally $100 – $250 for people earlier in their careers and $300 – $500 for mid-career professionals, like Vice Presidents.)

The typical engagement is a simple one hour phone call with the client, where you give a data dump and answer their questions. It’s always stuff that is second nature to you, but enables them to peel back the curtain for polished investor presentations and press releases to rapidly understand what’s really going on with a business. Stuff you barely need to think about can be often be mind-blowing information for an investor who is trying to decide whether or not to put (many) millions of dollars to work.

And best of all, as soon as you hang up the phone, your work is done. You don’t need to prepare for the calls or do any research and there is zero follow up. No marketing and no selling; the expert networks do that all for you. Even better, payment will show up in your bank account a week or two after the call.

How do you get started with expert networks?

The expert network industry is growing like crazy. There are well over 100 firms around the world, generating more than $1.5 billion in revenue. They are facilitating over 1 million of these high paying micro-consulting calls per year, and are CONSTANTLY looking for new experts to consult from virtually any field or industry that you could image.

There are three main ways to get started with the expert network industry:

  1. Get found on LinkedIn. Most people discover the secretive world of expert networks when they receive a LinkedIn message inviting them to briefly ‘consult’ with an expert network’s client at an hourly rate of their choosing. These messages can seem a little scammy or spammy, but 99% of the time they are your ticket in. Expert networks employ small armies of young recruiters who spend their entire day scouring LinkedIn to find people who match the qualifications required in project specs.
  2. Register directly with the expert networks. Many expert networks enable you to create a profile with them via their website. They care about what you know more than what you can do, so approach these profiles in different way than you would your LinkedIn profile or resume. List every product, company and market that you can knowledgeable speak about for at least half hour – customers, vendors, competitors, former employers, etc. So much of expert network recruiting is keyword driven (recruiters don’t really know much, if anything, about the subject matter their client wants to learn about), so put the names and phrases they are likely to be looking for into your profile and wait for your email box to fill up with new opportunities.
  3. Get referred. Have a friend or colleague who works with an expert network? Ask them to introduce you! Most expert networks actively solicit referrals, and some even pay a small referral fee for people who complete their first project. And don’t worry about competing with your buddy – oftentimes, clients want to speak multiple people with similar experiences (i.e. a few former employees from the same company) to see if there is consistency in their responses.

How to Do a Kick Ass Expert Network Call

Getting paid $5 – $10 per minute for expert network calls can create some stress when you’re just starting out.  How can you possibly make every sentence worth that high rate, and will they slam down the phone and vow to never work with you again if you can’t give a masterful answer?

Of course not.  But it still feels good to shine when someone is coming to you for your expert opinion, and feedback on your strong performance will put you at the top of the list at expert networks like GLG or AlphaSights for future projects.  So relax, and follow these tips for acing your expert network call:

I'm an expert

1. Take a few minutes to establish rapport.  The whole purpose of expert calls is to help clients rapidly get to the deep insights and unvarnished truth that took you years to acquire.  They are paying you well for knowledge, but these calls can still feel like about as a transactional of a relationship as it comes.  Add in the fact that you’re likely being paid by the minute (more on that later!) and you may feel like there is pressure to immediately get down to business.

Resist the urge to go from 0-to-60 and take a few minutes at the start of the call to get to know the client.  Ask a few questions about the client’s firm and try to get an understanding of what they’re eager to learn about and their objectives.  Take a few minutes to walk them through your background and engage in a couple minutes of small talk before you dive in.  It will put you at ease so that you can deliver sharper, more candid responses that better deliver the information that clients are looking for.

2.  This isn’t an interview or a sales call.  The purpose of an expert network call is to provide a data dump of unvarnished information and opinions.  The client wants to know what you’ve seen and done, not what you can do.  You’ve already closed the deal by getting paid for the call, and follow up sessions are uncommon – you’re not selling a product or yourself on these calls.  Give direct answers and honest opinions.  Don’t parrot polished sales pitches that they can find in other places.

3.  Name names.  Clients are looking to get a thorough lay of the land, and do it quickly.  They aren’t interested in hands waving in the air, they are trying to quickly ascertain who’s winning and who’s losing in your industry.  Tell them.  Which competitor is rapidly shedding customers or top salespeople due to bad management or which vendor is winning new business by the boatload with a great new product?  These are the details (and opinions) that they can’t find from a Google search!

4.  They love numbers and rules of thumb.  Again, it’s the knowledge that you may take for granted that they are desperate to rapidly learn.  Investors and analysts tend to be highly quantitative by nature and are often working on financial models to decide if they should invest and at what price.  Many will be excited to validate their assumptions, so when you can share typical approaches to setting prices, estimating unit costs or calculating profits they’ll generally get pretty giddy!  While you need to strictly avoid sharing proprietary information, publicly available numbers or standard industry practices are fair game and easy sources of expert network call gold!

Expert network consulting calls

5.  Opine!  Clients are eager to hear what you really think; tell them.  You likely know much more about the topic you’re covering than they do and they want to know how you think things are going to play out.  Many clients will speak to multiple experts, and they are often most interested in seeing how consistent their opinions are.  This is one of the best parts of expert network calls – you get (well) paid to yammer on about what you think will be successful and what is a total waste of time and money.  

6.  Check in – are you giving them what they want?  You’re getting paid to talk and will usually consume the majority of the minutes in an hour-long call.  Frequently, you may be asked to provide long answers to explain how something works or what you think is going to happen.  Be sure to take a pause once in a while to make sure that you are giving the client the type of information that they are looking for.  

7.  “I don’t know” is a fine answer.  Sometimes it can be a little intimidating holding court as a high paid expert.  You’re bound to get some questions that are outside of your wheelhouse and may feel pressured to fill the air time.  But don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know the answer to that question or that it’s not your area of expertise.  Admitting you don’t know all of the answers helps provide more confidence in the information that you do provide.  Many investors have a finely tuned bullshit detector and they are going to quickly disengage (and potentially complain to the network that connected them to you) if it’s clear that you’re just spewing nonsense.  Clients usually come to these calls with a long list of prepared questions and they won’t miss a beat if they need to skip to the next one on their list.

8.  Don’t be afraid to disagree.  The genesis of expert network calls is often someone trying to verify an idea or investment thesis.  They are investing time and money to explore this idea with you (and usually others) to validate if they are on the right track.  While salespeople or investor relations folks will always look to provide positive spin, clients are coming to you for the truth.  Tell them directly when they are off the mark or if you disagree with their core idea or assumptions.  They won’t be offended – generally the opposite – as your feedback could be a valuable datapoint that prevents a multi-million dollar bad decision!

9.  Know your limits.  Some juicy nuggets just can’t be shared.  Sharing confidential information or non-public information about a public company is a strict no-no (in fact, it can be a pretty severe crime!)  So, you’ll need to get that recipe for the secret sauce to yourself.  Don’t worry, every expert network will require you to complete some brief training on how to identify and avoid sharing things that you shouldn’t.  Many clients will start a call with a reminder that they don’t want you to share any prohibited information either.  Most calls or transcripts are reviewed by compliance teams to ensure that no questionable information was exchanged, so you’re not going to feel any pressure to bend the rules.

10.  They don’t care about the clock.  Just like phone sex, you get paid by the minute with many expert networks.  So, while your stated rate may be $500/hour it can be nerve-wracking knowing that you are really making $8.33/minute and that a shorter call could result in several hundred dollars in missed opportunity.  

expert network hourly rate

Relax, the client doesn’t have their finger hovering over the disconnect button, ready to stop your meter from running up a larger bill as soon as there’s a brief lull in the conversation.  In fact, they usually don’t care how long the call runs because they’ve paid a fixed rate for it and have no clue that you are paid by the minute!  Most clients come into calls with a very long list of questions, so you’ll rarely have trouble filling the hour.  

So there is no time pressure; they go into the call expecting to spend an hour on the phone with you.  Take the time to give thoughtful answers.  Let the client set the pace of the call.  Suggest other, related topics that they may want to explore with you.  When you can, it’s also helpful to leave a little bit of buffer time in your schedule in case a call runs over the allotted time – it’s always fun to earn a few extra bucks by keeping an interesting conversation going a little longer!

How I’ve Earned Over $35,000 from Easy Expert Network Consulting Calls

expert network payments
Expert networks will pay you quite well to chat with their investor and management consulting clients for an hour.

When I first got a random note via LinkedIn, I probably thought it was a scam, if I thought much about it at all.  

I had been identified as an “expert” by a company named Gerson Lehrman Group, which I’d never heard of, and they’d like to pay me to spend an hour consulting their client by phone.  I was skeptical, but didn’t find any major red flags after doing some online research. 

During a brief phone call, the GLG account manager who had contacted me explained that an investment fund manager wanted to learn more about a vendor I used at work, such as how I viewed them versus their competition and how satisfied we were with their services.  I wouldn’t have to do anything to prepare and there would be no follow up work.  

It sounded like easy money (spoiler alert: It was!) and I could set my own rate.  I had no idea what to charge so I went with the account manager’s recommendation of $150/hour – amusingly billed in one minute increments.

A few days later, I took the call over my lunch hour.  The investment manager was quickly trying to get up to speed on my vendor.  Many of his questions were very foundational to me and easy to answer, but he soaked it all up like a sponge.  It was an easy, interesting and pleasant conversation, and a few days later a $150 check from GLG arrived in my mailbox.

I was hooked.  I’d been dabbling with a few side hustles for years, though they always seemed to require more time and effort than I had anticipated and were never quite as lucrative as I had hoped.  Suddenly, I had discovered an incredible world of concise, but high paying consulting work that I could schedule one hour at a time, whenever it was convenient for me.  

I couldn’t wait to do my second call.  And over the next several years, I’ve wound up doing many dozens more, earning over $35,000 in easy extra income along the way.  

I wanted to share some of the secrets to success that I’ve learned along the way:

You know more than you realize.

Calling yourself an expert can trigger a bout of imposter syndrome, but you if you’ve been in the same job or industry for a while, you likely know a lot more than you realize – and certainly a lot more than an investor or consultant who has spent just a few hours or days in getting to know the lay of the land. 

You know what’s going well for your company and what’s not, and you have a pretty strong sense of which competitors are thriving and which are struggling.  You have a strong sense of how a new product or regulation is going to impact sales.  You’ve gone through extensive processes to select vendors and have strong opinions on which ones are doing an amazing job and which ones you can’t wait to replace.  

This is expertise.  Much of it may be so droll or second nature to you that you don’t even realize how much you really know.  What’s standard stuff to you is a firehose of knowledge to an investor or management consultant who has barely passed square one in getting to know what’s really going on in your industry. 

Getting started with expert networks

There are over 100 expert network companies around the world, creating an industry that now generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue.  They typically charge their clients $1,000 for each one-hour call with an expert, meaning that the industry is facilitating about 1 million calls each year – thousands per day!

With that many calls to arrange on an incredibly diverse and ever-evolving range of subjects and companies, expert networks have a voracious appetite for new consultants and thus have their own large teams dedicated to finding and recruiting experts to their platforms. (Expert network AlphaSights hires so many people for this role each year they’ve even cracked the top 20 list of most popular employers for recent college grads!)

So, oftentimes your first exposure to an expert network is when they reach out to you, frequently via LinkedIn.  An associate will be looking to match consultants to an active client request, and they haven’t been able to find candidates with the right fit (or enough of them) in their existing database to present to their client. (Referrals are also a top source of new consultants for expert networks, so if you have friends or colleagues working with a platform that you are not, let them know that you’d love an introduction!)

expert network linkedin invitation
Expert networks heavily recruit new consultants via LinkedIn

The first step is generally a brief phone call with an associate, who can give you a brief overview of their company and the assignment, pre-qualify you for the opportunity and ask you to set your rate.  Even if you’re clearly not a fit for the assignment they are working on, this is a great opportunity to register with a network and create a profile, which will lead to more potential opportunities coming your way.

Every assignment will require you to complete a handful of qualifying questions, either online or during a very brief phone call.  This will take you less than ten minutes, but do invest some effort to show how you match with what they are looking for.  Where you have firsthand experience with companies that they are likely to have interest in learning about, be sure to name them and detail your relationship to them.  

From there, an associate at the expert network will present your answers and profile to the client, who selects which expert(s) they’d like to consult with.  If you’re selected, you’ll generally be asked to find a time that’s convenient for you, and then it’s off to the races!  

From the time you receive that first email about a project to holding the call with the client is usually just a week or two.   At the scheduled time, you’ll connect via the network’s conference calling system.  All you need to do is show up on time.  Most calls tend to still be audio-only, so it makes it easy to take the call from anywhere and is a nice reprieve from unending litany of video calls we all suffer through these days.  

When the call is done, all you need to do is hang up.  There are no further deliverables hanging over your head, no follow-up work to do, and no one to send a thank you note to.  

Getting paid is a breeze!  Most networks have simple online invoicing systems that require just a few clicks to complete, and you’ll usually see an electronic deposit show up in your bank account a few days after that.