Are you a data analyst or other IT professional growing tired of your current position and work/life balance?
Some specialists have chosen to forgo the traditional employee-employer paradigm and instead work as freelance data analysts.
Being a freelancer has many advantages, such as choosing who they work for, when they work, and what they want to charge for their services.
In this article, we provide a job description for the role.
We also look at the skills necessary, how to find clients and the potential salary for freelance data analysts.
- What Is a Freelance Data Analyst?
- What Does a Freelance Data Analyst Do?
- Top Freelance Data Analyst Jobs and Careers
- Where Can a Freelance Data Analyst Work?
- What It’s Like To Be a Freelance Data Analyst
- Do Freelance Data Analysts Make Good Money?
- Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Freelance Data Analysts
- How To Become a Freelance Data Analyst
- Similar Careers to Check Out
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
What Is a Freelance Data Analyst?
Data analytics involves applying logical and statistical techniques to manipulate and analyze large datasets for critical stakeholders.
Operating as a freelance data analyst means you are an independent contractor who may work for one or more clients.
You will most likely work on a contract or per-project basis.
Freelance analysts are responsible for their rates, billing, marketing, and insurance.
Working as a freelance data analyst can be a great side hustle or a full-time career, depending on what you are looking for.
What Does a Freelance Data Analyst Do?
Freelance data analysts often handle many duties depending on the type of companies they work for.
As a freelance data analyst, you might provide actionable insights to stakeholders, help determine developing business trends, or be asked to handle any of a hundred other responsibilities.
What Does a Freelance Data Analyst Usually Focus On?
Freelance data analysts handle data for their clients.
Sometimes these are short-term projects you can complete in a matter of days or less.
Other contracts might see you working as part of a project team for months or even years.
Generally speaking, a freelance data analyst will work with large data sets.
An analyst will process this data, format it, analyze it, and even create data visualizations.
Some freelance analysts choose to work across multiple industries.
However, many analysts prefer to focus on a specific sector, such as logistics, financing, or marketing.
Freelance Data Analyst Job Description
A freelance data analyst must be capable of working with data in an organized and time-efficient manner.
This might include mining data from primary and secondary sources.
Other responsibilities include determining data requirements, designing new databases, data mapping and validation, and visualization.
In addition to working with data, a freelance data analyst needs to be comfortable learning new technologies, understand complex IT concepts, and be experienced in working on project teams.
A data analyst should also be proficient in visual/written communication, capable of self-management, detail-oriented, and possess other business-centric skills.
Top Freelance Data Analyst Jobs and Careers
Working as a freelance data analyst can be beneficial partly because data analytics is in demand across various industries and job roles.
Here are a few careers and environments where a data analyst can find freelance work.
Social Media Analyst
A social media analyst handles data from platforms like Facebook and TikTok.
They might complete tasks like analyzing user engagement, reporting on web analytics, and assessing trends on emerging media platforms.
Business Intelligence Analyst
A business intelligence analyst uses data to help improve a company.
People in this role often utilize internal and external data to provide actionable strategies to business leaders.
A marketing analyst uses data to help a company better understand its customers.
These analysts commonly work with datasets such as customer surveys and market research.
Where Can a Freelance Data Analyst Work?
A freelance data analyst can work in dozens of industries, including education, government, non-profit organizations, manufacturing, technology, healthcare, and many more.
What It’s Like To Be a Freelance Data Analyst
Being a freelance data analyst comes with a unique set of qualities regarding duties, work hours, and lifestyle.
Is Being a Freelance Data Analyst Hard?
Data analysis is an in-demand career field that can be quite lucrative.
At the same time, working as a freelance data analyst is competitive.
As a freelance data analyst, your skillset must be wide and deep.
Furthermore, you will have to constantly work to find clients, keep to your deadlines, and maintain your business.
You will also need to invest in continuous learning as new technologies emerge.
Is a Freelance Data Analyst’s Job Stressful?
According to an article in Analytics Insight, several data professionals report that being a data analyst can be incredibly stressful.
Furthermore, as a freelancer, there are added stresses such as finding clients, keeping your schedule organized, ensuring you get paid on time, and all the other tasks that come with running your own business.
That’s not to say that you should avoid pursuing a job as a freelance data analyst, but you should make sure you are committed to investing the time and energy necessary to be successful in the field.
Common Freelance Data Analyst Work Day
A typical workday for a freelance data analyst might include the following:
- Meeting with other analysts to outline tasks and problems
- Processing data and building visualizations or other conclusions
- Documenting your process and findings for future use
Additionally, as a freelancer, you will need to spend a significant amount of time on tasks such as checking your contact points (email, social media, etc.), updating your profile, creating invoices, and so forth.
Freelance Data Analyst Tasks & Duties
A freelance data analyst’s list of tasks and duties can vary significantly from project to project and company to company.
Here are a few typical responsibilities to give you a good idea of what to expect.
- Analyzing and interpreting data using statistics and logic
- Designing and implementing data collection and analysis systems that focus on efficiency and quality
- Cleaning data and building reports for
- Collaborating with technical and non-technical stakeholders
Freelance Data Analyst Work Hours & Schedule
The average data analyst position is often a Monday through Friday and has a 9-5 schedule.
That said, many data analysts can work anywhere from 40-60 hours per week.
As a freelancer, it will be up to you to decide what hours and days you want to work.
Of course, many clients will only be interested in working with freelancers who can adhere to a schedule compatible with their project schedule(s).
Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?
Working as a freelance data analyst can sometimes require long hours and stressful periods, but it allows you only to work when you choose.
Choosing your jobs and hours, as well as the high likelihood of consistently working from home, contributes to a better work/life balance than many other jobs in the IT field.
Do Freelance Data Analysts Make Good Money?
Salary expectations for freelance data analysts can vary significantly based on experience, rates, and other factors.
However, working as a data analyst can be incredibly lucrative, with many people in this role making high five-figure incomes or more.
How Much Do Freelance Data Analysts Make?
According to Glassdoor, freelance data analysts expect a median income of about $56,551 per year—reported salaries on the site range between $45,000 and $72,000.
Similar positions, such as market research analysts, earn approximately $63,920 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor.
These are rough estimates, but both salaries provide a good representation of the potential earnings a freelance data analyst could make.
How Do Freelance Data Analysts Get Paid?
Before starting any work for a client, you should always ensure that both parties sign a freelance contract.
The contract should outline the job you will complete, when the client should deliver payment, and how the client should send payment.
Even with a contract, you will likely want to submit a detailed invoice outlining the work you completed to your client.
The invoice should also reiterate the details about your expected payment schedule and payment methods.
Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Freelance Data Analysts
Being a freelance data analyst comes with unique requirements and challenges.
Let’s take a look at some of those qualifications now.
Who Should Consider a Freelance Data Analyst Career Path?
If you have a specialized set of skills in a particular area, working as a freelancer can open opportunities for more profitable projects than working for one company.
At the same time, if you are new to data analysis, working as a freelancer gives you more opportunities to gain experience in many different types of work and technology.
Working as a freelancer is also an excellent option for anyone who wants more control over their projects.
You will be capable of committing to tasks as you see fit.
You will also likely be able to charge more as a freelancer than you would earn as a traditional employee.
Who Should NOT Consider a Freelance Data Analyst Career Path?
Being a freelance data analyst requires a combination of hard and soft skills.
People who require consistent structure, management oversight, or lack the organizational skills to run a business would not be well-suited to freelancing.
Suppose you need to gain these skills or the necessary understanding of typical data analysis technologies.
In that case, you are better off getting a more traditional position with a company that will give you valuable work experience.
Is It Hard To Become a Freelance Data Analyst?
It takes a lot of work to establish a career as a freelance data analyst.
Some of the most critical steps to complete when you are first starting as a freelance data analyst are:
- Choose your area of expertise
- Create a website portfolio
- Market yourself and find clients
- Maintain your ongoing business operations
What Do I Need To Become a Freelance Data Analyst?
Here are some critical skills and experience a freelance data analyst needs to succeed.
Requirements for Becoming a Freelance Data Analyst
Technically, the only absolute requirement to call yourself a freelance data analyst is to advertise your services and seek out clients who are hiring.
Of course, many clients will require you to have a minimum of some education, specific skills, and past work experience before they consider you for a project.
What Skills Does a Freelance Data Analyst Need?
Freelance data analysts need a solid combination of soft and hard skills such as those outlined here.
- Oral and written communication
- Teamwork and collaboration skills
- Critical thinking
- Machine learning
- Linear algebra and calculus
What Education Does a Freelance Data Analyst Need?
Most freelance data analysts have at least a bachelor’s degree in an analytical field such as statistics, data science, or finance.
Engaging in continuing education in areas relevant to your chosen career field is also a good idea.
What Experience Does a Freelance Data Analyst Need?
Depending on the client, you may need to have experience in specific technologies or a minimum number of years working in data analysis before you are qualified for a project.
Use your website/portfolio to demonstrate your experience.
This can include past projects, white papers, databases you’ve built, or even school projects (if you are just starting out).
How To Become a Freelance Data Analyst
Now that you understand the basics of being a freelance data analyst, we can focus on finding freelance data analysis gigs and how to begin working as a freelance analyst.
Where To Find Freelance Data Analyst Opportunities
The world is increasingly recognizing gig workers as a valuable resource, and the list of gig providers continues to grow daily.
A great place for freelance data analysts to start finding work is on the dozens of job boards available online.
A few of the best places to look for data analysis gigs are Upwork, Toptal, and Indeed.
Applying for the Gig(s)
The application/quoting process will differ from client to client.
However, a few essentials you should always have prepared are an updated resume, a portfolio of relevant work, and an organized list of work rates.
A helpful reminder: Be prepared to negotiate (or refuse to negotiate) your rates if a client responds to your application/quote with such a request.
Interviewing for the Gig(s)
Clients hiring freelance workers want to know why you are the solution for the project needs.
You want to explain how your unique experience and personality make you a good fit for the gig.
Focus on quantitative content and clarify that you already know the client’s needs and how you can contribute to the project.
Be ready to answer questions about your experience working with past clients, including technical work, collaborating with team members, and how you’ve handled problems such as missed deadlines in the past.
How Do I Prepare for Freelance Data Analyst Gigs?
It is a good idea to constantly adjust a resume, cover letter, or portfolio to match a given client’s project and job posting as closely as possible.
Study the client’s history and past work.
Be prepared to demonstrate your knowledge and how you can integrate with the client’s other workers.
Similar Careers to Check Out
Data analysis is one of many kinds of freelance work in high demand.
Here are a few types of freelance work you can research.
- Freelance Digital Marketer: A freelance digital marketer designs and manages online marketing campaigns for their clients. This career requires understanding marketing data and analyzing trends like a data analyst.
- Data Worker: A data worker works with data in ways such as collecting, cleaning, and managing it. Data workers are similar to analysts but may require less technical knowledge.
- IT Worker: An IT worker might be responsible for tasks like IT support, technical writing, or web development. Like data analysts, IT workers need a good understanding of computational logic and programming languages.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few common questions about being a freelance data analyst.
Can an Introvert Be a Data Analyst?
Data analysis is one of the best freelance jobs for an introvert.
You can choose jobs that align with your introverted personality.
Also, the work is often independent and can be performed remotely from the privacy of one’s home.
Is It Hard To Get a Job as a Data Analyst?
Finding a job as a data analyst can be difficult, especially if you are just starting out.
Working on other gigs, such as online data entry jobs, can be an excellent way to break into the industry and earn valuable experience.
Hundreds of companies are in desperate need of data analysis.
As a freelance data analyst, you are well-positioned to earn a lucrative living by presenting solutions to these companies.
If you want a career that combines the freedom of gig work with the prestige and salary of technical work, consider a career as a freelance data analyst.
All that’s required to start is to build a portfolio and seek new clients.
Check the job boards we mentioned earlier, and you can create your new career today.