Setting Up Your Consulting Practice

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Topic: Hiring a Research Assistant

Find a remote research assistant, who can search LinkedIn for experts, find relevant articles, and do other secondary research. Through tools such as Upwork you can find highly skilled, college-educated researchers at very reasonable rates.

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Find one or more researchers for your virtual team. In Episode 51 of Unleashed, I go into some detail about how I’ve used Upwork to find researchers from around the world to both do Internet research as well as in-person physical research. But let’s talk about Internet research. I recommend that you find some people that you like working with now before you really need them on a real urgent client project. And I go through the process in more detail on that podcast episode.

But in short, what I recommend is rather than trying to just pick one based on their bio and their responses, pick five or ten researchers, split your task up into one or two or four hour chunks and have five or ten people do that one or two or four hours on it. And then pick the best one or the best two and have them keep working on it going forward.

As you’re setting up your firm, maybe you’d like to have a list of client prospects. Rather than coming up with that list yourself, you could have someone on Upwork with a Sales Navigator account go through and filter LinkedIn based on your criteria, identify names and put them into a Google Sheet for you with the name of the person, their title, their company, their LinkedIn URL and then you can reach out to them via your LinkedIn account.

Or you can hire someone who could help work on identifying what are some of the trends and some of the problems in the industry that you’ve decided to focus on. It’s nice to identify those folks now before you actually have a client project, so you can get used to working with the person and get used to that platform. Upwork is an incredibly powerful tool for independent consultants. It’s like having your own research team. It just takes a little experience getting used to it. So start it now as you’re setting up your firm.