I’ve been in the graduate unemployment holding pattern for way too long now, and my current plans involve exploring some sort of self employment in the near future, if for no other reason than CV employment gap damage control.
I have a few ideas, but the one that feels most personally attractive to me is to try and put myself forward as a scientific consultant on TV, film, or any other media projects.
I do have scientific credentials I can point to (I have a decent PhD), but I’m not actually sure that this is the important bit, I tend towards the view that suspension of disbelief is far more of a priority than factual accuracy for this kind of stuff.
I started writing about why I think I’d be good at this, but the post was starting to look like an application letter, so suffice to say, this is an area where I feel that I can add value to a project.
I’ve obviously not got any experience of consultancy work. It seems workable from a logistical point of view, but the obvious problem is the networking and contacts side of things.
I was wanting to start off by putting some feelers out to try and access the commercial viability of this. I’m a little worried that there might be something of a hurdle in terms of finding smaller projects and clients that can afford to pay a realistic rate for consultancy work, or getting near larger projects without some smaller clients on my CV.
I wouldn’t discount the possibility of pursuing some other more straightforward business in the short term and see if it’s possible to do some low pay or free side work to build up experience and contacts, but I’d be a little worried that there could be risks around setting myself up as the guy that will work for free.
The preliminary research I’ve done at this point on the existing competition seems to mostly turn up agencies and publicists who are offering lists of distinguished expert consultants, I’m not sure that this a great approach to the issue, (and most of the websites have pretty mediocre lists of previous clients and projects). But I suspect that the people who are already doing this successfully are going to be working primarily through networking.
The most immediate issues I can see.
The people I need to get in touch with are obviously trying very hard not to give public contact details out. I’m not sure this is a huge physical issue, because a little experimentation has shown me that it’s actually pretty easy to (legally) get this information. But I really don’t want to start this whole thing by pissing a lot of people off.
I’m working on putting together some sample stuff, but I’m presumably going to need to investigate proper intellectual property release documents before people will look at it. I’m having trouble finding appropriate information on these, but I’m not really in a position to pay for proper legal advice until I’m a lot more confident that this is worth pursuing.
I’m obviously way out of my depth here, but I suspect that most people considering this kind of work are going to be starting off like that. I am actually confident that this is work that I could be exceedingly good at, and I think that I can make a solid pitch if I can get as far as actually talking to someone.
Does anyone here have experience of this kind of stuff? Does it sound like a pipe dream?