The work profile of a financial modeler involves constructing financial representation of some or all aspects of a company or any particular security. In-depth calculations are done to develop the financial model and deliver recommendations.
In this article, we will discuss the possibilities of building your own practice as an independent financial modeler.
Who Are YOU?
YOU are someone who is educated and experienced in finance research field to consider becoming an independent financial modeler. You are working in a similar profile and wish to become independent and start your own financial modeling services firm. You are skilled enough to accept the responsibilities of an independent setup.
This article isn’t about teaching you to become a financial modeler. Although, if you wish to, check out our best performing resources.
- The Beginner’s Guide: Financial Modeling Using Excel and VBA
- Financial Modeling Examples using Excel
- How to Build a Financial Model?
Setup as Independent Financial Modeler
You aim is to:
- build consistent client base
- generate revenue
…and the cycle continues.
Let’s see how you can build your practice as an independent financial modeler.
1) Setup a System
Going independent implies a lot of incoming managerial tasks for which the onus lies on you because unless you have a team, you have to perform every single task.
Therefore, the first step is to setup a system. The system is the infrastructure on which the business will be built. You don’t need a physical setup; you can run the business from your home office.
Tools like a professional email account, a project management software, financial modeling software, online social accounts for business and others contribute towards developing this system.
2) Start a Website
A major part of system setup is to develop a professional website for potential clients to find more about your services. You can hire an experienced website developer for the same.
The website will function as an online ‘service store’ where potential clients will arrive through various online/offline marketing strategies. Using an interactive contact form, sharing contact number, Skype id and social media links will help to solidify your professional capabilities.
Personalize the website to build brand authority.
3) Competitive Pricing
You will have a lot of competitors who like you are offering independent financial modeling services. Keep this in mind and decide on competitive pricing for your services.
To know about the current market trends, visit some local financial modeling firms and enquire about their charges. This step will help to define online and offline modeling service prices.
Of course, competitive pricing doesn’t mean lowering service quality standards. You have to maintain excellent service quality and beat competitors.
4) Build Resources and Data
A valid database will take you a long way and act as a resource for you. What will this database contain? Before you formally begin as an independent financial modeler, spend some weeks to search companies, businesses and financial firms who can be contacted in future to offer modeling services.
Small companies often hire independent modeler for various financial analyses and firms also look for modeling service providers to fulfill urgent requirements. These become good chances to build a long-term clientele list.
You can use Google Maps to find this data. Take a look into local business directories. Browse recruitment networks like Career Builder and Monster to find financial modeling recruiters. Most of them mention website URL. Visit it and note down contact details.
These activities, over days and weeks, will create solid database to fall back upon.
5) Contact past Employers and Ex-Colleagues
Another important step is to contact past employers and ex-colleagues. Networking with them has two advantages. First, they know you personally and second, they are aware of your capabilities. Both of these will enough to solicit good and trustworthy recommendations of businesses where you can pitch your financial modeling services.
Networking to develop crucial contacts is essential to setup practice as an independent financial modeler. The networking needs to be broader than other financial modeling experts holding on to a job because you need a steady stream of clients and obviously, real active networking is going to ensure permanent client flow.
It is necessary to grasp industry happenings and connect with people associated with the various drivers influencing happenings within the industry, such as people in marketing, finance, sales and accounts to feel business pulse.
6) Do Local Marketing
The data created in step 4 should have a good list of local businesses and firms. To begin with, focus your energies on local marketing.
Local marketing means:
- Joining local business communities (if any)
- Visiting local businesses and networking
- Visit local events and conferences (good way to expand network)
- Get your website listed on Google My Business.
At any point, your business card should be with you and give it to every prospect you are networking with.
7) Do Online Branding
It’s not enough to have a website. You have to promote it. The promotional agenda will be to get targeted people recognize it as reliable source to get financial modeling done. The promotion should target financial firms, boutiques, businesses and corporate houses.
Facebook marketing and Google AdWords are recommended paid marketing options. You can join forums like Wall Street Forum, American Express Forum and Financial modeling forum on LinkedIn for brand promotion. Moreover, the forums are good places for professional networking.
If you have spare budget, you can hire an agency to do online promotion as well.
8) Do Cold Calls / Send Cold Emails
Sometimes cold calling and cold emailing, though they sound trite, yields good results. It’s reaching out to people you don’t know. It’s more formal than networking because there you can at least hold a conversation but here, you are directly sending or verbally communicating a business proposal.
Apply these methods to contact local or global client prospects if any other method doesn’t seem viable enough.
9) Prepare a Demo or Case Study
No matter how much of a smooth talker you are, it won’t establish credibility. Credibility and authority establishes when you are able to prove your skills.
Before you venture out to seek clients, make sure to prepare a demo or a case study where you show how a financial model was developed from scratch, what were the priorities and what recommendations were given based on the analysis; if it were a real case study, mention how the client applied your recommendations and the benefits received.
A strong verifiable case study or demo will seal the deal promptly than any other method.
10) Finding Work Online
Apart from online forums and networking, you can make use of freelance marketplaces to get financial modeling jobs. Check out these sites – oDesk.com, Elance.com and SimplyHired.com – they directly link to the respective jobs page.
These freelance opportunities are most one-timers but it gives experience and something to add to your portfolio; so if you get something good from these sites, take it up!
As you enter the trade, you will learn the ropes of working as an independent financial modeler. You will automatically become attuned to deal negotiations, client acquisitions, client handling, time management and project workflow.
All the best in becoming a successful financial modeler! We hope this guide helped you.