Do you want to know about the best online consulting marketplaces that help you get paid to do consulting work? Then this article is a must-read for you! Here in this article, I am going to talk about the best online consulting platforms, their features, benefits, disadvantages, and how to use them to get your first paid project.
Online Consulting Marketplaces – A Brief Intro
An online consulting marketplace is a platform that connects businesses with consultants. As a business owner, you can access an online consulting website to hire consultants. On the other hand, consultants with any skill and expertise can find work by getting registered on the best online consulting platforms.
The purpose of an online consulting marketplace is simple. It brings together businesses and consultants who need each other. If you are looking to get started as a consultant, then these platforms are the right places to find your first project or client.
And at the same time, you need to be careful while using online consulting platforms to connect with clients. There are many consulting marketplaces that aim to be really helpful to new consultants looking for their first projects. At the same time, there are platforms that are not so transparent and honest about their approach!
There are a few dubious consulting marketplaces that operate with only one goal in mind, i.e., to make money from businesses and consultants. Thus you need to be really careful about selecting the best online consulting platforms to make sure that you are not duped or forced to pay extra money!
Why Should I Use An Online Consulting Platform?
Before picking up a specific platform, it is advised that you have detailed information about the consulting marketplaces and how you can benefit from joining one. Here are a few reasons why you should use an online consulting platform:
Easy to use – An online platform is easier to use than traditional methods. You don’t have to fill out physical forms or sign contracts since everything can be done online. So, signing a contract and getting started is possible with a few clicks of the mouse!
Cheaper than traditional methods – It’s much cheaper than traditional methods because you don’t need to spend money on promoting the consulting business. The marketplace takes care of that. They lead you directly to clients who are actively seeking services that are offered by you.
More convenient than traditional methods – Traditional methods are cumbersome and inconvenient. But with an online platform, there’s no need for time-consuming meetings or travel arrangements. You can log in and start working! All the top online consulting platforms have high-level security that keeps your confidential information secure. Thus you can communicate securely with users across the globe without worrying about security threats from hackers.
Quick access to lots of resources- Most of the best consulting marketplaces let you access different tools and resources to collaborate and communicate seamlessly with multiple clients.
How Can I Use an Online Consulting Platform to Find Clients?
Now that you have the basic information about online consulting marketplaces, here comes the pertinent question, “how can I use the consulting platform to find clients?”
While I don’t want to discourage you, the fact is most of these project-based consulting marketplaces have highly talented and experienced consultants registered with them. These consultants have a strong and dedicated clientele. So, when you join as a newbie consultant, you should be prepared to face stiff competition.
Steps to easily find clients and make money as a freelance consultant
- Decide the type of projects you want to handle or clients you want to work with. For instance, you might be having expertise in fields like product management and marketing. So, you should be keen to find similar projects.
- Create a detailed and complete profile that gets noticed. Clearly mention your qualifications, work experience (if any), expertise, projects handled (if any) till date, special achievements, and so on. The more complete your profile is, the higher the chances of getting noticed by clients.
- Specify your rates, whether you are charging per hour or on a project basis. Mention your work hours too.
- Once a project is successfully completed, request the client to leave a review.
If needed, you can draw inspiration from the profiles of other established consultants, while creating your own. However, don’t be a copycat!
When you’re looking for work as a freelancer on a site like Upwork, make sure that you have enough experience to deliver what the client needs. You can use your profile and previous projects as references. Use the platform’s filters to find clients who want to pay you well.
Best Online Consulting Marketplaces to Find New Clients
So, let’s take a look at the top consulting marketplaces, their features, fee structures, and other relevant information.
Upwork – A Trusted Online Marketplace For Consultants
This is a great place to find a variety of clients, ranging from larger businesses to smaller ones looking for freelancers. When it comes to trust and transparency, Upwork never disappoints! There are a ton of people who have worked on Upwork before, so you can also look at their profiles and see what they’ve done in the past. Upwork service fees range between 10%-20%, depending on your total earnings. The more your earnings, the less will be the fees.
Freelancer – A Great Consulting Marketplace To Start as a Beginner
This site has thousands of clients that post jobs that they need to be done. This means more potential work for you! And the best part is that Freelancer offers ample opportunities for beginners to get their first projects. You can find projects of different durations. Their fees and charges are comparatively lower than the other consulting marketplaces. However, if you are looking for high-paying consulting projects, then Freelancer might not be the right choice for you.
TopTal – The Best Online Consulting Platform For Highly Talented Consultants
If you’re looking for higher-level consulting gigs or just want access to some amazing talent, start at TopTal. This consulting platform uses an algorithm like Upwork. Thus you know what projects will be worth your time based on feedback from users who have already worked with those companies/individuals.
No wonder, Toptal is trusted by companies like Airbnb, Shopify, etc. It is a great platform for those who have a specialization in software development, project management, finance, etc. However, they have a highly selective screening process that accepts only 2% of applicants! Also, to note, TopTal doesn’t charge anything from freelancers as recruiting fees. They do charge a commission which is a certain percentage of your total earnings, only if you are hired.
GuidePoint – Quite an Organized Consulting Marketplace For Subject Matter Experts
If you’re looking for a little more structure than some of the other sites offer, this could be for you. They require that all profiles be filled out completely. So, no more “fake” accounts, or false information! GuidePoint is also nice because it allows newbies to see what jobs others have worked on before and how much they were paid. If you are a subject matter expert in Finance, Consumer goods, or healthcare, then there’s a good chance of finding a high-paying project at GuidePoint.
GuidePoint is one of the best online consulting marketplaces where clients are willing to pay premium amounts to hire talented advisors. As a GuidePoint advisor who has just started, you can easily get paid $100 – $200 per hour. On the other hand, professionals who are in their mid-career can command $400 – $700 per hour. This rate shoots up for Elite level advisors, e.g., specialized physicians, C-level executives at top companies, or retired government officials. They can easily ask for an hourly rate of $1,000+!
Maven – Easy Access to a Huge Global Network
This one has been around since 2011 and is still going strong! Here in Maven, you can access a huge open projects board where you can find lots of projects related to consumer goods and services, finance, engineering, manufacturing, product management, supply chain management, and the like. In fact, this platform helps a lot in finding the right projects based on your areas of expertise.
Catalant – One of The Best Online Consulting Marketplaces Trusted By Big Businesses
If you’re looking for something more like a full-time job but still want some flexibility in your schedule and work hours, this is probably the best option. This online consulting platform is trusted by big names like GE, Pfizer, Shell, Pfizer, and more. If you decide to join Catalant, you should be prepared to pay at least 20-30% of the total amount earned as a Professional Fee. The fees are determined by the contractual terms that Catalant pre-negotiates with a client.
MeasureMatch – Best Consulting Platform For SaaS Experts
If you’re good at what you do, this site offers higher earning opportunities than others! This site is a great match for consultants offering services in fields like CRM, cloud technology, marketing automation, machine learning & AI, product analytics, and the like. And of course, this is the marketplace trusted by bigshots like Google and Microsoft!
If you are a freelance consultant who prefers to connect, communicate and collaborate directly with clients and work out service contracts, then MeasureMatch is the right platform for you. While MeasureMatch never dictates the contract negotiation between the parties, it can act as a facilitator as and when needed. As a service provider, you need to pay 15% of gross revenue if your total earning is up to $/£/€ 10,000. However, these fees get reduced as your earnings increase.
Comatch – A Top-Notch Marketplace for Independent Consultants and Experts
A great place to start your career as an independent management consultant, Comatch makes it easy to find projects based on your “strength”. You can join as a consultant, subject-matter expert, project manager, or interim manager. This marketplace caters to a wide range of requirements related to IT, Finance, Marketing, Operations, Strategy, and more. So, it’s easy to find different types of projects here matching your areas of expertise.
Another unique aspect of Comatch is its consulting community. You can join the community and benefit from regular meetups, and skill-based workshops. This is a great way to connect and build relationships with independent consultants worldwide!
Apart from the above, you can also consider Fiverr, LinkedIn, or Facebook to connect with prospective clients looking for consulting services.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Using Online Consulting Marketplaces?
The major downside to using an online consulting marketplace is that you often have to give up a significant percentage of your fee (20-30%+). In return, these companies add value in the form of finding qualified clients, managing payments and invoicing, providing legal advice and insurance coverage, and more. However, this means that if you want to work with a client outside the system, such as emailing them directly or meeting them in person, you have no way of tracking their interest level or closing a deal with them.
Another disadvantage is that you end up relying too much on one particular platform for finding clients. Thus you make no effort to find clients beyond these consulting platforms. Now, if the platform ever decides to withdraw its services or block your profile without warning or notice, the action will land you in the soup! If your business relies heavily on referrals from that platform’s “referral program”, then this would be particularly damaging. If those referrals suddenly disappeared due to changes made by those platforms, then you won’t be able to attract new clients.
By now, you should be feeling pretty excited about the potential that online consulting has to offer. But don’t get too carried away just yet! Before signing up for an account on any of these online consulting marketplaces or platforms, let’s take a step back. Make sure that you’ve thought about everything we discussed in this article.
Do you have a good idea of how much money you want to make each month? What kind of clients do you want to attract with your business? What does success look like? And finally (and perhaps most importantly), what will it take for YOU personally to achieve those goals? These are all important questions you need to answer. So, don’t rush through them!