Thanks in advance to anyone taking the time to read and/or reply to this post.
I'm completely new to freelancing and can already tell ya I'm no good at "self-marketing". And while I've managed to get a couple of small translation gigs on Odesk, I'm quite lost as to how to get around as a freelancer.
My main question is regarding a new career path I'm considering which seems perfect for my aptitude - data analysis/visualization. Will such a field allow for a sustainable freelancing career? And since it's a relatively new field, how exactly could I "prove" myself to prospective clients as a data analyst considering I do not intend on getting another higher education degree (I live in the US and am unable to travel to say, Germany, for reasonably priced education at the moment)? What exactly do I have to teach myself to qualify as a data analyst/visualizer? Maybe the last question is too specific for this forum, but any advice would be appreciated.
Now to my second question...I've recently graduated and have a lot of experience building websites as part of my coursework, but they have all been taken down (the lecturers always replace projects from previous semesters with projects from current ones) . In order to provide proof of my web developing skills (aka, resume), do you know of any way I could volunteer my web design/development skills in exchange for free hosting of my "sample websites"?
Thanks a lot again.

  • Welcome to freelancing!

    Here are some thoughts on your questions - hopefully other freelancers will share their experiences as well.

    1) "Self-marketing"
    - I don't find this easy either, though I'm trying to get better.

    - It helps to be clear about 2 things:
    a) what you offer - translation, or data analysis / visualization, or web design / development, etc.?
    b) understand what your clients want

    - many (most?) freelancers will tell you that networking and word of mouth are what get them freelance gigs - and I agree

    2) Data analysis / visualization
    - Do you have anything you can point to? e.g. academic background or professional experience in statistics, data analysis, visualizations, etc.?

    - Can you get work experience in environments where such work is done, and where you might be able to learn more and/or get experience working in data analysis / visualization

    e.g. can you get work in a company (perhaps doing web design / development), but where you can learn and / or participate in the data analysis / visualization work they're doing? If you're working on the infographics or web visualizations - perhaps that can lead to a conversation about the data analysis side?

    3) Web design / development portfolio

    - The Taproot Foundation (http://www.taprootfoundation.org/) is a non-profit which provides pro bono professional services to other non-profits - including web design / development. This could be a good way to get experience with real clients and add to your portfolio.

    - I would suggest hosting your portfolio on your own site (there are many low-cost options), and not doing an exchange of your web design development work for "free hosting". Also - many web portfolios are screenshots, images and/or links, and not a separately hosted mirror of the live website.

    Good luck!

  • Welcome to freelancing!

    Here are some thoughts on your questions - hopefully other freelancers will share their experiences as well.

    1) "Self-marketing"
    - I don't find this easy either, though I'm trying to get better.

    - It helps to be clear about 2 things:
    a) what you offer - translation, or data analysis / visualization, or web design / development, etc.?
    b) understand what your clients want

    - many (most?) freelancers will tell you that networking and word of mouth are what get them freelance gigs - and I agree

    2) Data analysis / visualization
    - Do you have anything you can point to? e.g. academic background or professional experience in statistics, data analysis, visualizations, etc.?

    - Can you get work experience in environments where such work is done, and where you might be able to learn more and/or get experience working in data analysis / visualization

    e.g. can you get work in a company (perhaps doing web design / development), but where you can learn and / or participate in the data analysis / visualization work they're doing? If you're working on the infographics or web visualizations - perhaps that can lead to a conversation about the data analysis side?

    3) Web design / development portfolio

    - The Taproot Foundation (http://www.taprootfoundation.org/) is a non-profit which provides pro bono professional services to other non-profits - including web design / development. This could be a good way to get experience with real clients and add to your portfolio.

    - I would suggest hosting your portfolio on your own site (there are many low-cost options), and not doing an exchange of your web design development work for "free hosting". Also - many web portfolios are screenshots, images and/or links, and not a separately hosted mirror of the live website.

    Good luck!