How to Be a Compensated Connector
It seems more and more people are becoming part of the gig economy, either part-time or full time, and 1099 docs are no exception.
Building a network has a lot of tangible and intangible benefits. The most obvious intangible one is you get to make more money and meet a lot of interesting people you can help, and , given the pervasiveness of social media, how many people are in your electronic Rolodex simply depends on how much time you want to spend clicking buttons. These days these kinds of people are called social media influencers.
The one thing you don’t want to do is be a yenta, a gossip or complainer that has a negative connotation. The correct term for a Jewish matchmaker is shadchanit for a woman, shadchan for a man.
However, in addition, to the intangibles, you can monetize your network either directly or indirectly. Here’s how:
1. Build network value and trust, not numbers. As noted, almost anyone can post big follower numbers, but, when it comes to asking for something or getting people to pay you, that depends on trust and the depth of the relationship
2. Find out what a your potential clients need. Like all products and services, the value of your network is user defined. For example, some will pay you to be an advisor because they think you can connect them to your network, open doors or make introductions to people who might want to use their products, help design them, finance them or provide strategic direction. Others want your help to find talent for their emerging company. Others want help finding a job. When they get it, they usually don’t forget to dance who brung ’em. Here are the 7Ms of being an advisor . Some might want you to be an innovation mercenary.
3. Don’t expect payment to come immediately Building your network should be a long term investment , not a way to sell something once someone joins your Linkedin network. For example, you never know who might be interested in investing in your startup venture or product 3 years from now.
4. Define your interests. Don’t expect payment to come to you directly in the form of cash. In exchange for your acting as a maven, connector, or salesperson,some will donate or give money to a charity, organization or third party you support or barter for products or services in exchange for your help.
5. Remember, charity begins at home. Being a compensated connector means asking for and negotiating the amount and terms of how and how much someone is willing to compensate you. Some will agree to success fees. Others might pay you in options or other forms of equity. A regularly scheduled cash payment is another option.
6. Be sure you disclose and make transparent conflicts of interest, particularly if you have a stable of clients in your network portfolio
7. Walk before you run. There are escalating levels of engagement. Use uncompensated ways to test and prove your value that might result in more compensated involvement e,g, agreeing to connect someone to another on social media with an introductory note. Advisory roles can be informal, where you look out for threats and opportunities and send a “heads up” to someone who should know, or more formal , i.e. serving on an Adviory Committee or Board, that would be compensated.
8. There are many ways to participate in the sick care gig economy. Don’t be surprised when one gig leads to the next since nothing succeeds like success.
9. You can do this any time during your career, from the first day of practice to your first day or rewire-ment.
10. Having Plan B should be part of your 10/20/30 plan
12. Here are some tips on how to be a coach or consultant either as part of your portfolio career or an encore career.
13. You will also need to determine your fee and you won’t make as much gross income as a freelancer as you probably work fewer, more flexible hours.There are two parts to your revenue model-how and how much you get paid.
14. When it comes to being an influencer, there is actually too much of a good thing. A microinfluencer is someone with 1,000-10,000 followers. Why? “People connect with microinfluencers because of their authenticity and honest perspective. They feel as if they are a person just like them. And with authenticity at the core of what brands desire, they’ve started looking more toward smaller influencers with higher engagement rates.”
Models include compensation in cash and/or equity, project based compensation, success fees for accomplishing certain benchmarks, and periodic payments for participating in meetings or events
For a start, take your cash compensation and divide by 250(which is the number of billable days after factoring in vacations, sick time, and typical downtime) and then add 25%–50%. Then take that figure, compare it with the rates you’ve gotten from your network, and find a middle-ground number you can float as an experiment and then adjust based on feedback from potential clients.
In most instances, you will be paid in cash, equity or a combination of the two. Be sure you have some kind of advisory service agreement that defines the scope of work.
14. Advisors can be informal or formal. Informal advisors are connectors or others in the community who offer themselves as pro bono resources. Formal advisors get paid to do specific things the role as an advisor to the CEO or the Board of Directors or as a member or leader of a more formal advisory board.
15. You might be offered a contingency, referral or success fee, depending on how much business you refer that results in a sale or contract for someone or the company. In addition, beware of illegal finder arrangements when it comes to raising money.
16. Be sure you get paid on time. Here are some tips on how.
17. Volunteer to work for a nonprofit that satisfies your interests. It is a fast way to get connected to another big community where you can offer and leverage your skills while you are giving back help you create more personal brand equity.
19. When you consider speaking engagements, define your goals, the likelihood you will achieve them and whether the cost/benefit (travel and honorarium offered, or not) is worth your time and effort.
22. Write and speak about your area of expertise. Start doing it for free. Then, once you have developed your personal brand, start charging for your services. Here’s how much to charge.
23. You won’t need a lot of money to get, keep and grow customers. Here are some tips on how to get clients for your consulting or advisory services.
NB: These techniques do not include sending a blast email to 25000 Linkedin connections or Facebook ads asking them for business.
The value of your network depends on the end user perception of how you can help them and solve their problem. In some instances, scarcity creates value whereby connecting to key people or decision makers and filtering the gate keepers is the goal. For others, “wearing their sneekers” as a key opinion leader means the more people who see them on you the better. In other words, how and how much you get paid will correlate with your brand equity and your negotiating skills. As someone recently told me, you can’t buy genius by the hour. You should get compensated for results, not face time or clock punching.
Social media increasingly is a part of everyday life. Why not make a few bucks doing it while you are sipping your latte reading this? Stop kvetching and start Merching.
Image Credit: Pixabay
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