The Best Side Hustle From Home? Consulting
Making Money Online from Consulting from Home
Let's imagine for a minute that you have a 9-5 job. You work really hard (or not at all and just get a paycheck), get home and have a little bit of time to relax. How do you approach that time? Do you turn on Netflix and TikTok and zone out? Do you go to the gym? Or do you try to find a way to supplement your main income with a side hustle?
If you're in the last category, then you're probably looking for a side hustle to make money from home that takes advantage of the skills you already have, right? It's likely a lot of effort to have to learn new skills on top of setting up some kind of website or store front, right? Well, that's where my favorite side hustle of all time comes in: consulting from home.
Related: How I Doubled My Income In One Year
But what is consulting? How does it work? And how can you start consulting from home about things you already know in order to make money? Let's go!
What Is Consulting from Home?
Consulting, put simply, is leveraging your knowledge about a topic to those that are interested in learning about it.
Let's say that you're an expert in marketing, and your day job is a digital marketer in the paid social media space. You likely have an intricate knowledge of not only the social media platforms, but also what you're spending on them, how effective your ads are, if you use ad agencies or how your company operates.
Consulting allows you to take that knowledge that you already possess, and be able to provide answers to firms with the relevant questions.
Why Do Companies Use Consultants from Home?
For example, I have had hedge funds and investment firms ask me what social media platform I've spent the most money on in my career so they can make informed investment decisions for their clients. I've also had social media platforms (via intermediaries) ask about customer service issues on their own platforms so they know where to bulk up their staffing.
"Consulting" vs "Consultant"
There is a critical difference in what I'm discussing here regarding "consulting" versus "being a consultant."
Being a consultant is an often coveted career path for young people. As a consultant, you fly around the country five days a week helping clients understand their strengths and weaknesses. In exchange, you get paid exorbitant amounts of money, fly business class until your Delta Skymiles start coming out of your nose, and you usually have access to an unlimited expense account for client dinners. Ever see Up In The Air, where George Clooney's character hit a million miles in a year on an airline? Yep, he was a consultant.
What I'm referring to in this article is "consulting from home," which is much different. This version of consulting is much more passive, less frequent, and probably can't be relied upon as a full-time career unless you're in a field where your phone is ringing off the hook.
How Do You Get Started Consulting from Home?
Consulting from home is no longer the digital version of the billionaire boy's club. There now exists a cottage industry of starting a consulting firm and distributing the work out to others, and as a result, there are several companies vying for your attention.
My favorite digital consulting company, and the one that I use very regularly, is the Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG). GLG approached me about a year ago to be integrated into their network, which really opened my eyes to the mystical world of consulting. However, it's now extremely easy to get into if you know someone.
Lucky for you, you do! You too can now become a freelance consultant in whatever field you're knowledgeable in! In order to sign up, you have to use my sign-up link here, and fill out your credentials. From there, you're eligible to apply to as many projects as they'll send you.
Keep in mind that there is no guarantee GLG's clients will actually pick you. Far from it. It'll be a mix of availability, answers to initial screening questions and your rate, which brings me to how you actually get paid...
How Do You Get Paid in Consulting?
With freelance consulting from home via GLG, you get paid in two different ways: phone calls per hour, and honorariums from surveys.
Hourly Consulting Fees
The most amount of money you'll likely make is from actually chatting with consulting clients. For this, you can name your own hourly rate and then you make money based on the amount of time you spend on the phone with them. However, some things to keep in mind:
You can charge as much (or as little) as you want, but don't let that go to your head. The client still has final say on who they select to interview, which means that your rate needs to be competitive in order to get selected. You're more than welcome to make your rate $1,000 per hour, but don't expect to get picked.
Don't waste the clients' time by hanging them on the phone in order to make as much money as possible. The clients can rate you at the end of their session, and if they feel like you're trying to squeeze extra cash out of them, they can rate you badly, which will hurt your future earnings potential.
After you conclude your call, GLG's system automatically pro-rates your fee based on the call length, and emails you a reminder to send an invoice. Once the invoice is sent, expect the payment in 3-5 business days to hit your account.
Honorariums from Surveys
For me, this is the real money maker. Fairly frequently, you'll get direct invites from GLG to participate in paid surveys from their clients. These can range anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes to complete, and you're paid an honorarium for completion that I've seen range from between $20 to as high as $80!
Again, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Move fast! Because these are a great money-to-time ratio project, people rush to these when they get invited in order to make some quick cash. If you get an invite, don't procrastinate!
You won't always qualify. Every survey asks screening questions before you get to the survey itself. Occasionally, you'll get a screen that tells you you're not eligible for the survey as you don't fall into the desired data set. Don't fret! Another chance will be on its way soon.
Via GLG's surveys, I've made a little over $2,000 in the last 8 months alone, so this is powerful stuff.
The Bottom Line
If you're looking into ways to make more money from home on a consistent basis, there are tons of options for you. There's never been a better time in history to start an Etsy store, start a blog (hey!), get into dropshipping or an ad agency. However, for my money, the best way to get started quickly and easily is from consulting from home.