Today, I’m sharing 5 tips to help you get started with data analytics freelancing.
I’ve been freelancing as a data analyst on and off for the past 10+ years. It’s a great way to earn extra income. And it’s possible to make a full-time income as your experience grows.
Unfortunately, most data analysts don’t see this as something they can do. Impostor syndrome gets in their way and they feel like they can’t do it.
Don’t let the fact that you are a “beginner” in data analytics stop you from freelancing.
Millions of business owners pay data experts every day to solve real business problems.
And you can be that expert.
Even if you have a small amount of expertise with SQL, Tableau, Excel or Python, you are an EXPERT in their eyes if you can solve their problems.
- Build reports and dashboards
- Help them with a spreadsheet
- Talk through data problems
- Build data warehouses
This guide explains exactly how to get started based on my real-world experience.
By the way, this is something I’ve been talking about for YEARS! There’s so much opportunity just waiting for someone with your skills and experience.
Let’s dig in:
Step 1: Create your data analytics portfolio
When you’re just starting out, clients want to SEE your work. And the best place to put your work is in an online data analytics portfolio.
Your data analytics portfolio sends a signal: you know how to solve problems with data.
The best part? You only have to create your portfolio once. After it’s finished, it’s working for you 24×7 so that recruiters and clients can see your work.
Here’s how to start your portfolio if you don’t have one already:
The Perfect Portfolio Project Framework
- Showcases skills that employers want to see
- Solves real-world business problems
- Relates to your dream industry
- Uses a portfolio-ready dataset
- Looks great and grabs attention
- Awesome project write-up
Step 2: Forget about Upwork
Sure, there are some people that get freelancer sites to work for them.
But I’ve personally never had any luck.
The problem is that you start at the very bottom. Working on terrible projects for terrible pay.
With freelancing websites like Upwork, you spend a lot of time bidding on gigs and competing with people that are okay with earning low salaries.
That’s not a way to get ahead in my mind.
Instead, focus on solving better problems for better clients.
(PS: I’ve hated Upwork for a long time now. Here’s a tweet from 2017 where I shared my frustration!)
Step 3: Start Local
Find businesses in your town:
- bar owners
Strike up a conversation and get to know them and their business. Ask if they need “Excel help”. Most businesses will.
And when they see you’re willing to help solve THEIR problem, they are MUCH more likely to hire you.
A lot of first-time freelancers are shy about this.
But don’t overcomplicate it. Nobody is doing this kind of thing in your town. You have ZERO competition. Trust goes a VERY long way in the business world.
You get ahead just by showing up.
The best way to get good clients is through word-of-mouth referrals. And that happens locally. You just need one “yes” and you’re in business!
Step 4: Overdeliver
Once you have your foot in the door, you must know the project out of the park.
- Analyze customer and sales data to create top customers by sales channel report
- Review their Google Ad campaign performance and come up with strategies to increase their return on ad spend
- Dig deep into their product offerings and help them with a product pricing strategy based on profitability.
This is how you build trust.
Start small here: just find a problem that’s worth solving and then solve it.
Word of mouth spreads quickly, especially if you are working locally and have ZERO competition.
The most important thing is following up and following through.
Step 5: Scale from there
Once you have a few projects completed, put a package together that you can sell.
- Customer and Sales Analysis: Real-time dashboard showing all customer information from multiple systems all in one place for the accounting office in your town.
- Google Ad Campaign Optimization: Monthly review of Google Ad spending to identify and resolve low-performing ads for your local hardware store.
- Product Strategy Booster: Recommend sales campaigns, different products, upsells, and bonuses to digital creators.
Over the years, this is the process that’s worked for me, earning me tens of thousands in extra income using skills that I already had.
My clients have paid me to:
- create data pipelines
- build data warehouses
- create data dashboards
- connect APIs together
There are a MILLION examples. Get out there and a focus on getting your first client.
Freelancing is a fantastic way to earn money at any stage of your career.
But don’t wait for the “perfect” answer to drop into your lap.
Get started now and learn as you go.
That’s it for today – I hope you enjoyed it.
See you again next week!