I posted recently about being invited and signing up at a virtual consulting company.
Today I had my first consultation, and it went quite well. I talked to an analyst at a investment company and we ended up just chatting for an hour about the state of the overall tech market (good) and about several segments and companies in particular. I confirmed some things he has already seen as well as gave him some additional areas to look into.
After the conversation I billed the consulting company, which sent me an email confirmation that payment is in process. I should note they asked for my SS#, so I don't know if they are going to withhold (unlikely) or send me a 1099-MISC next year (more likely). For this reason, I will keep track of certain expenses (internet connection?) to write off against this income so it doesn't get taxed (i.e. I will count this income as outside business income and create a schedule of expenses to write off against it).
In addition, the analyst asked for me to be set up on his permanent "panel of advisors", so he can call me direct again in the future, in which case I will bill the company again. PLUS, the consulting company asked me to put days I can be "on call" in order to increase my call/client volume.
Overall, I would say it has been a very positive experience. I am not going to get rich doing this (my billing rate isn't very high), but it looks like a good way to pull in a few bucks on the side while also creating new business contacts and keeping my mind limber about different aspects of the market.
If you wish to join you can sign up on their web site. There is no guarantee you will be accepted, but if you have an area they are interested in and have some time, this seems like a good idea.