Amanda founded Tarplin Consulting, which offers outsourced investor relations capability to private equity firms and hedge funds, enabling them to access seasoned resources in a more flexible way than hiring a full-time employee. She’s incredibly accomplished and crushing it as a solopreneur, so we had to share her story with you!
What did you do in your past life before going out on your own?
Investor relations for private equity and hedge funds
How long have you been out of the traditional 9-5?
What made you decide to go out on your own?
1. My industry was/is changing, moving towards more and more outsourcing across functions. I needed to change with it, if I wanted to stay relevant.
2. I saw an opportunity to offer something unique. There are not that many firms/people offering true investor relations (vs. fundraising) on an outsourced basis–in fact there are hardly any at all.
3. My own needs changed and I craved more flexibility.
What do you love most about being out on your own?
Being in control of my own time and having the opportunity to work on a variety of products/strategies in the investment world.
Who helped you along the way and how did they help?
1. My husband. He is an experienced entrepreneur and my biggest advocate. We talked about this business over many walks by the beach. He is really the one that pushed me to “try” this and had been encouraging me to start a consultancy for years. When you are risk-averse in your career like me, having that support was invaluable. He also contributes to the website development side of my business, from a technical and personnel perspective.
2. The Upside. community support, a forum to ask questions, best-practices on things like contracts, pricing and more.
3. A close friend who also launched her own consultancy about a year before me. It’s helpful to have someone that you know and trust to bounce ideas off of, and who is also navigating the same ups and downs as you.
How has being an Upside member helped you?
Honestly, being a member of The Upside has been even more helpful than I anticipated. Until you start your own firm, it is hard to comprehend all of the questions and obstacles that come up. Having a forum of other women who are at various stages of their businesses has been invaluable in terms of understanding best-practices and then forming my own views.
What has been your biggest win as a consultant?
Without a doubt, closing business and getting those first few big clients. You don’t believe it until it happens and then it becomes addictive. A very close second was receiving a shoutout in a client’s year-end investor report/letter praising my efforts/ our collaboration and indicating an expansion of our relationship.
What was your biggest stumble and what did you learn from it?
At the very beginning, I gave away my work for free to a close connection, who was a potential client. It was looking very likely we would work together and they ended up ghosting my proposal after a few back and forths. I made a couple of mistakes with that one but have no regrets.
How did you land your first client?
6 months prior to starting my business I reached out to a firm (cold) that I thought was offering what my business offers now, to learn more about their business. It turned out they had been offering outsourced IR in partnership with another woman, who had recently broken off from their business.
I ended up forging a nice relationship with the COO who was launching a new business in partnership with a major investment consultant. I helped them with their launch and logo. He has been a big supporter of my business and has served as a reference ever since.
What steps do you think professionals should take when first starting a consultancy of their own?
1. Figure out what you are good at and what the market needs. That second part is important.
2. Talk to as many people as you can to learn and understand your next steps. Your network is your single biggest currency and asset in your career.
3. Lastly, I would say harness the power of simple technology to make your business more efficient. It is different for different businesses, of course. For me, it has been G Suite for email, Wix for website, Monday for project management and Freshbooks for billing. Time is money in consulting, so streamlining your backend processes is key.
What advice would you give someone who’s interested in going out on their own?
Be prepared to give up things you may have taken for granted before (such as admin resources, conference rooms, printing capability, workspace, constant paycheck, healthcare etc.) in exchange for freedom, time, control and opportunity. Those last few things have to be more important to you than the conveniences.
Additionally, when you are thinking about how much money you want to make or will charge, do a back of the napkin calculation accounting for the fact that a big portion of your time is unpaid (billing, biz dev, admin etc.).
What hack have you learned or created as a solopreneur that you wish the world knew?
My husband showed me this free CRM that integrates with the G Ssuite called Streak. I can create custom pipelines, send mass emails, create email templates and track activity. No need for expensive CRMs–it does just what I need it to do!
What do you know now that you wish you knew when first taking that leap into solopreneurship?
Do not give away your work for free, it will not (usually) gain you clients.
Anything else you’d like to share that we didn’t cover?
Remember to have fun!
Amanda Tarplin is Founder of Tarplin Consulting, a consultancy offering outsourced investor relations services to the private markets and broader asset management industry. Tarplin Consulting delivers a full-service platform of investor relations capabilities on a project and advisory basis. Amanda has deep expertise in the investment management industry in strategies including distressed/ private credit, private equity, quant and hedge fund strategies. Previously, Amanda was with SVPGlobal for 5 years, a $8 billion distressed credit platform, where she co-managed investor relations. Prior to SVP, Amanda spent over 5 years with Millburn Corporation, where she also focused on marketing and investor relations. Learn more about Amanda and her work here: www.tarplinconsulting.com
Want to join The Upside alongside Amanda and other best-in-class consultants, B2B solopreneurs and overall awesome humans who are passionate about flexible, high-impact work? Learn more about our membership here.