Meet the Consulting Community that’s Introducing Organizations to the New Way of Work
by Liz Presson

I’d spent six years experimenting with my career. I packed a suitcase and moved to New York City to help build a new division of a thriving company. A few short months later when the company sold, I remember my first job offer. I sat next to Ryan Graves at Saturday’s Surf in NYC and said, “Ryan, this Uber thing—it’s just not my thing.”

I thought music was my thing, so instead I stole frozen burritos from my record company employer. I couldn’t afford to buy food. I was on a mission to make this work thing…work.

Call it following your passion or pure stupidity, I just knew I wanted to work differently.

On March 10, 2014, I sat across the table from my boss. I’d moved on from the record company and through building and engaging an online community, I found my way into the director of marketing position at a high-tech company focused on the Internet of Things at the age 26. But it still wasn’t right. So, with my hands shaking I pushed an unlabeled manilla folder across the table. “I quit, and I want you to consider becoming an early client of my new company.”

Here I was again, but this time with a few more years of knowledge and a plan. I was done shipping work filled with fear—work that served one purpose: to cover my own ass.

To my surprise, it worked.

Here I am, over a year later.

Pursuit, A Community-Sourced Consultancy

I’ve built a consultancy called Pursuit that helps B2B tech companies become…well, more human. We teach organizations about the power of community, content and operating with a digital mindset. We set strategy and tactics for building and engaging communities. In a lot of cases, community means a stronger connection with and between employees and customers.

I could tell you all about of the ins-and-outs of our services—the how and the what (read more about that here). But I’d much rather share the bigger picture. Because let’s be honest, consultancies aren’t that interesting on their own.

Just as much as I’m the chief strategist and leader of the consultancy, I’ve also become a master curator. A curator of the right projects and the right people. We’ve been lucky enough to have a flow of client and project opportunities, which gives us the opportunity to choose projects that truly fit. What I didn’t expect is that picking the people to help with the projects is even more important than winning the projects themselves.

People/project fit has come to center around a core value: transparency.

It’s too easy to fall into the cadence of becoming admins for clients when we’re not transparent. It’s too easy to build a team where we’re all shipping work just to tick off a box when we’re not honest about what work really resonates and how much we need to get paid to make the work…work for us. It’s too easy to fall into the same old ways if we don’t intentionally remind ourselves and our clients that collectively we’re working against the hardwired human nature to focus on short term rewards. The purpose of our work is to provide real, longterm value.

This transparency starts with the most foundational truths:

  1. We’re all in this to benefit ourselves in some way.
  2. We’re not going to be together forever.

Those truths can be hard to swallow. But client/consultancy and employee/employer relationships come with decades of history, so it’s no surprise that shifting the mindset is difficult—especially for businesses. 

As I started looking for employees for Pursuit I really felt it. I met dozens of incredible people who were interested in working with Pursuit, but not always as a full-time job. I speak at conferences and colleges packed with students, recent graduates and career changers who want to explore alternative work paths. People are ready to work differently—whether businesses are on board or not. It’s what I’d been touting for years. I had to be on board.

That’s how the mission of Pursuit evolved. Today, it isn’t to just build a world-class consultancy that ships incredible work. It’s to build a highly curated community of creatives, marketers, writers and company culture consultants. We have a small core team, our full-time leadership team, with a group of freelancers around that core team who come in and out of projects based on their own skills, interests and needs.

This model helps us benefit from each other in the most valuable ways possible. Today, we’re just getting started, but the model is already helping people and businesses get the most out of a new way of work.

Community members get to use their super powers and gain incredible experience with top tech organizations, earn great money and meet a network of like-minded people outside of a traditional work environment.

Our clients get access to a community of people who they wouldn’t be able to otherwise—people who think about their work differently. These aren’t people you can bring on board by hiring directly or by partnering with traditional agencies. Our community is made up of the talent you want on your team.

The beauty of a community-sourced consultancy is that we can scale quickly without hiring quickly, which means picking right the people for the right projects isn’t done hastily. As a collective, we’re working in a new way to deliver more value. We’re all about doing something bigger than ourselves, and that’s how we treat every client project—from internal brand perception audits to community building and technology implementations.

I come from both sides.

I know that blindly following a passion can lead to eating frozen burritos. I know first hand that if you’re worried about paying your bills there is no passion. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Especially for the world’s best and brightest talent who want to expand what the word “work” means.

I also know that getting the very best people on a project means you have to think outside of a traditional work arrangement—outside of the walls of an office or cubical. Doing so has helped us grow and get the best results for clients. An outside perspective from someone who is a master at their craft is invaluable.

Pursuit exists to bridge the two.

So, what does the next generation consultancy look like?

We’re a group of top-notch content creators, analysts and digital marketers working on business-changing projects. We’re a community of people who learn from each other and respect each others super powers.

We help this new way of work easier to adopt for people and businesses. It’s something new and different, but not unapproachable. As businesses are getting more comfortable with contractors, we’re building a network of the best and brightest who have similar values—a community.

As a community, we’re expanding the understanding of freedom and pushing towards new systems for humanity.

Now, it’s time to do the hard work of expanding our work and community.

Over the next 12 months the mission is to help 50 people and a dozen businesses (in addition to those we’re already working with) work differently.

Want to join us as a client? Get in touch: Interested in applying to be a community member? Enter your email below.

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Pursuit is a community-sourced consultancy that helps organizations engage a new era of employees and customers. We work at the intersection of company culture, marketing and technology to build your community from the inside out.

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