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How to kick-start as a Freelancer in Data Science & Analytics

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

We all want to have that extra cash-flow coming into our account, right? There's one asset that everyone has at their disposal, that supersedes all other forms of assets, one that is at your beck and call and can help you make money with the cheapest form of investment. Brain. If used well and you have the right intent, you can make tons of money (the legal way of course🙂).

Now, one of the most trending and lucrative forms of making extra bucks is by Freelancing, if you play your cards right. Being an analytics professional, I have been freelancing for almost a year now and the extra bucks along with the opportunity to expand my network on an international scale is something that I love. Having provided services to more than 30 clients as a freelancer, I want to share my knowledge on how an Analyst or Data Scientist can start making money as a part-time exercise.

Let's get to it then.

Countless times have I Googled about Freelancing and the only sites that I get, recommended on numerous forums, are Freelancer, Upwork, Fiverr and PeoplePerHour. While these sites are awesome in terms of the quality of clients and the work that people in our line of profession can get, these clients require you to have a portfolio and a great amount of experience.

For someone who just begins his or her journey as a Freelancer, these sites could easily take more than a year to land your first client. That just wears your enthusiasm and motivation down, so much that you want to give up on the idea of Freelancing. Now, here's an interesting fact that a lot of beginners don't know about, and you won't get this recommended very often on the internet.

For beginners, there's a freelancers haven called Teacheron. I am probably correct to say that you are hearing it for the first time as well. This site is where you'll get a lot of clients (95% of them being Master's students) who don't need a fancy portfolio from a Freelancer. These folks, over the course of their college life get tons of assignments and projects that they want seasoned professionals (or at least someone with the right skills) to help them with.

I started my journey at Teacheron and my hourly rates were set at $3 (~220 INR) and you might be thinking why would anyone want to do some work for such an amount. The client actually wanted help with some basic Linear Regression assignment and I would mentor him along the way and that would be pay per hour model of engagement.

Gradually, we started having weekly connects (approximately 2 hours per week) which landed an income of $6 weekly. After 3-4 connects, I developed the confidence of asking this guy for a review on my Teacheron profile.

Positive reviews are your golden ticket. As my engagement continued with this guy, I landed my second gig with another client, who wanted me to complete an assignment for him (was ready to pay $30, ~2200 INR for the entire thing). This assignment wanted me to analyse some data and create an R Markdown file for him.

As I continued my engagement with these clients and having added another review, my profile got boosted enough to land my 3rd and 4th clients eventually. The 3rd client was my lucky land as he was willing to pay $65 (~5000 INR) for every assignments over the entire course of his Master's degree🙂.

Now, this is where things get interesting and I try to sell my services cross-platform. I ask some of my existing clients from Teacheron to make their upcoming payments on Fiverr, and in turn, leave a review on the same platform. Having provided quality service over the course of engagement, they willingly helped me out with my mission.

This process in turn boosted my Fiverr account as well which is when I started landing clients on my Fiverr account. That gave me two Freelance platforms to handle and scope for more leads.

One other expansion was through references, some of my existing clients would refer to their colleagues or fellow-students which got me extra businesses. It becomes really important that you deliver your A-Game to your clients and maintain the relationships.

I'll keep these details about how you need to serve and maintain client relationships for another post.

In the meantime, get started with your business and keep reading about my experiences. Cheers!

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