In the dynamic landscape of content creation, diversifying income streams and leveraging expertise is crucial. Expert networks like GLG, AlphaSights, and OfficeHours offer unique opportunities for creators to monetize their knowledge while contributing valuable insights to businesses and brands. But what exactly are these networks, and how can creators benefit from them? Let’s dive in!
What are Expert Networks?
Expert networks are platforms that connect professionals with companies seeking specialized knowledge. These networks facilitate consultations, often in the form of brief calls or meetings, where experts share their insights on specific topics. For creators, this is an opportunity to provide value through their unique experiences and perspectives.
By the way, we are only sharing networks we’ve worked with in the past while reflecting on our own experiences. If you’d like to share your thoughts and feedback for additional expert networks, please leave them in the comments below.
Best Expert Networks Ranked and Reviewed
1. OfficeHours (Best Overall)
OfficeHours caters to a broader range of expertise levels, making it more accessible to a wider range of professionals, including emerging creators. The platform is very user-friendly, emphasizes easy scheduling and communication, and fosters a community among its experts, encouraging connections and collaborations. This makes it a great starting point for those newer to expert networks. However, the compensation rates with OfficeHours might be lower compared to larger networks like GLG or AlphaSights. Also, being a lesser-known brand, OfficeHours might not offer as many high-profile consulting opportunities.
- Ease of Access: OfficeHours caters to a broader range of expertise levels, making it more accessible for emerging creators.
- User-Friendly Platform: The platform is designed for ease of use, with a focus on straightforward scheduling and communication.
- Community Aspect: Encourages a sense of community among experts, fostering connections and collaborations.
- Lower Rates: Compensation rates might be lower compared to other networks.
- Lesser-Known Brand: Being less established than GLG or AlphaSight, it might have fewer high-profile consulting opportunities.
2. GLG: Gerson Lehrman Group (Most Established)
GLG is one of the largest and most well-established expert networks in the world, renowned for its vast and diverse network. It connects professionals with companies for consultations across a wide array of industries. The platform is known for its flexibility, allowing experts to choose consultations that fit their schedules, making it an excellent option for creators looking for a side gig. However, GLG is selective in its process, often preferring experts with substantial experience in their fields. This selectivity can be a barrier for newer professionals. Additionally, the frequency of consultations can vary, which might affect the consistency of income.
- Vast Network: GLG is one of the largest expert networks, providing access to a wide range of consulting opportunities.
- Flexibility: You can choose consultations that fit your schedule, making it a great side gig.
- Diverse Industries: Offers exposure to various industries, broadening your professional horizon.
- Selective Process: The application process can be rigorous, focusing on experts with substantial experience.
- Consultation Dependence: The frequency of consultations can vary, affecting income consistency.
AlphaSights stands out for its high-profile client base, including major corporations and top consulting firms. This network is attractive for its competitive compensation rates and offers opportunities to connect with international clients. AlphaSights is an excellent platform for creators with expertise in specific fields like marketing, finance, or technology. The vetting process is intensive, ensuring that only highly qualified professionals are on board. However, this niche focus might limit opportunities for creators in less-represented fields. The rigorous vetting process might also be a hurdle for some.
- High-Profile Clients: AlphaSights boasts an impressive client base, including major corporations and consulting firms.
- Competitive Compensation: They offer attractive rates for consultations.
- Global Reach: Provides opportunities to connect with international clients, expanding your network.
- Intensive Vetting: The vetting process is thorough, which might be daunting for some.
- Niche Focus: May favor experts in specific fields like finance or technology, potentially limiting opportunities for some creators.
- Less intuitive process: Unlike OfficeHours, AlphaSights typically reaches out to experts via email and follow up with phone calls. It’s much less efficient to secure a project though some may argue that the personal touch is what makes it stand out.
Format and Process
Typically the communication starts with an email or a phone call, or sometimes both.
Once you are vetted as the right expert for the project, the expert network will follow up with scheduling options based on your availability.
You will be asked to provide your expertise and feedback through a video conference call (often with video off), or a good old phone call.
In addition, you are asked to complete training prior to taking the call. These training sessions are manageable, and usually take no more than 10-15 minutes to welcome you to the program, and highlight certain dos and don’ts.
The exact details and requirements may differ from network to network, and project to project. Here’s a general approach you might find helpful.
- Maintain Confidentiality: Respect any confidential or proprietary information you have from your current or former employers. Never share trade secrets or other sensitive information.
- Be Transparent: Clearly state your qualifications and experience. Ensure that your expertise matches the queries you respond to.
- Stay Updated: Keep your knowledge current in your field of expertise to provide the most accurate and relevant information.
- Respect Agreements: Adhere to the terms and conditions of both the expert network platform and your employment. This includes non-disclosure agreements and non-compete clauses.
- Be Professional: Present yourself professionally in all interactions. This includes being punctual, prepared, and respectful during consultations.
- Understand the Scope: Clearly understand the questions or the topics you are expected to cover. Stay within the boundaries of your expertise.
- Follow Legal Guidelines: Be aware of and comply with any legal restrictions in your jurisdiction or industry regarding the sharing of information.
- Don’t Speculate: Avoid making guesses or providing information outside your area of expertise. Stick to facts and informed opinions.
- Don’t Violate Policies: Do not engage in activities that conflict with your current job responsibilities or company policies.
- Don’t Overpromise: Be honest about the limits of your knowledge. Don’t commit to providing insights that are beyond your expertise.
- Don’t Misrepresent: Never provide false or misleading information about your qualifications, experiences, or the information you provide.
- Don’t Ignore Conflicts of Interest: Decline consultations that could lead to a conflict of interest with your current professional roles or ethical standards.
- Don’t Offer Investment Advice: Unless specifically qualified and legally permitted, avoid giving investment recommendations.
- Don’t Engage in Insider Trading: Never share insider information about any company that is not publicly available.
Following these guidelines will help ensure that your contributions to expert networks are valuable, ethical, and compliant with legal standards.
The compensation may vary greatly based on your experience, expertise, and the project you are working on.
As for me, I typically charge $300-400 per hour. Though it may seem high to some people, I value my time when working with these networks as it takes time away from my creative projects.
You should also know that many networks and projects only book 30 minutes (as opposed to one hour) of your time. Once the project is completed and depending on how the payment is processed, you are typically charged a fee. For example, for a 30-minute session based on a $350/hour rate, the total compensation is $175. However, after the network and PayPal processing fee, I only received $161.18, making the fee around 8%.
How to choose the right expert network for you?
The best way forward is to work for a few expert networks and make that decision for yourself. As for us, I really enjoyed my interactions so far with OfficeHour and GLG. They seemed professional, communication was good and clear, and payment was relatively fast (same day, or within 2-3 business days).
I didn’t have much bad experience per se when it comes to expert networks. The only not-so-good experience for me was a survey assignment. For which the expert network confirmed the duration would be 15 minutes, but in reality, it took me close to an hour to complete the project. I should have paused the survey and then emailed the contact at the expert network before proceeding. Instead, I powered through the survey and the network never provided any additional compensation whatsoever. So, don’t make the mistake I did! 🙂
Expert networks offer a unique avenue for creators to leverage their knowledge and experience. While GLG and AlphaSights cater to more established professionals with extensive networks and high-profile clients, OfficeHours is an excellent starting point for emerging creators due to its accessibility and user-friendly approach.
As a creator, engaging with these networks can not only supplement your income but also enhance your understanding of various industries, enriching your content and broadening your perspective. However, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each network against your expertise level and professional goals.
In summary, expert networks like GLG, AlphaSights, and OfficeHours can be valuable tools for creators looking to expand their horizons and monetize their expertise. By carefully choosing the right platform, creators can open doors to new opportunities, both financially and professionally.
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