Freelance data scientist turned entrepreneur – how to do it ALMOST OVERNIGHT

Lillian Pierson, P.E.

Lillian Pierson, P.E.

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Are you ready to step up from freelance data scientist into your comfy data entrepreneur shoes?

By the end of this article, you’ll have the exact steps you need to take to make that transition as seamlessly & profitably as possible.

 

If you prefer to read instead of watch then, read on…

Your Roadmap to go from data freelancer to data entrepreneur

Even if you’re a seasoned freelance data scientist, I know that these steps are going to be valuable to you in pinpointing some of the missing pieces that are keeping you from being as profitable as you could be. 

How do I know? Well, because I first started out as a freelance data scientist back in 2012… 

Since then, I’ve supported over 10% of Fortune 100 companies from within my own data business. Not just that, in 2018, I started coaching other data professionals on how to hit 6-figures in their own businesses FAST. 

⭐10% of my mentorship clients have signed 6-figures CONTRACTS within 7 months of signing up with me. 

Hi, I’m Lillian Pierson and I help data professionals transform into world-class data leaders and entrepreneurs… 

Now, before getting into any of the details about how to transition from being a freelance data scientist to data entrepreneur, let’s just look at what each of these terms mean.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DATA FREELANCER (or FREELANCE DATA SCIENTIST) AND A DATA ENTREPRENEUR

Freelance data scientist turned entrepreneur

Data Freelancer is a data service provider or someone that sells their data services in the open market. In some cases, data freelancers may be operating with a team, either admin people or other types of support personnel, helping them to deliver the work they sell, but it’s always service-based work. 

In contrast, as a Data Entrepreneur, you’re showing up as the CEO & visionary behind your business. You’re also showing publicly as the face of the business. Lastly, in terms of delivery of work, particularly with services, you are mostly delegating a significant portion of your work to your team. 

Now, the very first step to transition from data freelancer to data entrepreneur is examining your easiest options…

STEP 1: EXAMINE YOUR EASIEST OPTIONS

If you’re a data service provider there are only a few ways that you can scale that type of business model. You can either take your service-based business into an agency or you could turn it into a SaaS (software-as-a-service). Lastly, you can also turn it into a coaching and advising business model.

Simplest data business models

 

Recently, I created a video on the 4 very best business models for data businesses. You can check it out here.

 

 

 

But for today’s article, I’m going to assume that you’re a data service provider and you want to transform that model into either an agency or a software-as-a-service.

Before we go any further, I’d love to hear from you –

Tell us about your business journey

Feel free to leave a link to your website in the comments!

Let’s move on to the next step…

STEP 2: DOCUMENT YOUR PROCESSES

When I say processes, I mean your: 

  • sales process
  • client delivery process
  • client intake process 

Also, be sure to document your customer satisfaction processes as well as any processes you’ve built around customer retention. 

STEP 3: OPTIMIZE YOUR PROCESSES VIA AUTOMATION & DELEGATION

Let me be more specific with you here and help you try to bridge the gap, in case you may not know what I’m talking about now, if you’re new in your business.

You can 100% delegate and automate all of the work that goes into booking prospective client calls or sales calls. Definitely, you don’t need to spend your time getting people booked into your calendar or vetting them to see whether or not they’re qualified to even be able to sign up as a client with you. You need to handle these sorts of things through your call setting processes or your prospective client call processes. 

Client Interactions

In terms of client interactions, actually most of that type of work can be delegated to an administrative assistant. But the first step to being able to delegate that is, you’ve got to have clear policies and processes in place to instruct them on how to interact with the clients on your behalf. 

Client Intake

In terms of client intake, it’s super easy to automate almost all of it. You can use tools like Google forms, Zapier and ConvertKit. Those are the tools that I use right now.

Service Delivery

In terms of service delivery, a lot of that can be delegated as well. Once you have built processes around the service you provide and you’ve documented all the little caveats in each and every step that needs to be taken, you can actually find virtual assistant. Or maybe other fellow data experts to come in and follow the instructions and do the work on your behalf. That would then place you in the QA role. 

Ultimately, you are responsible for the work that your business produces. 

Even if you don’t do the work, you have the liability for it. Actually, one of the things I don’t love about the service-based model is, you own any liability associated with your work output. So, if you’re gonna delegate portions of your client work or services, you need to make sure that you’re “QAing” the work to make sure it’s correct and that it meets your standards. You also need to manage the people that are doing the work, at least for now. In my case, I don’t do service business in my business, but I still do product delivery, so my team helps me manage incremental aspects of my business but of course, I’m still the product owner. 

Scheduling

In terms of scheduling, you are definitely wasting valuable time if you do it yourself. You can just send them a booking link – I use Calendly – you can use Acuity or anything like that.

Customer Satisfaction Processes

And in terms of customer satisfaction processes, you want to build an automated process to basically follow up with your customers as they’re receiving your service and then after they have received your service. So that maybe like 30%, then 60% and then check in with them maybe 15 days after your service or product has been delivered. What the email needs to look like is – basically checking in with them to make sure that their expectations are not only met, but exceeded. Also, figuring out what you can do to give them even more or what ways you can over-deliver to make their client experience as yummy as possible. 

It’s important to make sure that you’ve not only met, but exceeded your client expectations.

After you’ve delivered your entire service, then you want to go ahead and collect testimonials because those are gonna be crucial for you in being able to make future sales. In terms of how to collect those testimonials or data from your existing or past clients, you can just go ahead and use google forms. That’s what I do.

Okay, so after you’ve built these processes and you’ve got some support in place, the next thing you need to do is to upgrade your messaging.

STEP 4: UPGRADE YOUR MESSAGING 

Congratulations, once you’ve gotten to this point, you have actually stepped up from being a freelancer to entrepreneur. So, in order to stay in integrity with yourself and with your potential clients, make sure to upgrade your marketing messaging. Go to your website, sales pages, anywhere you have a branded property. This includes your social media, and make sure that you’re portraying that you’re a business owner and not just a freelancer.

In order to figure out where you need to update this the fastest way, just think about how your clients are finding you.

Then, make sure that those pathways or channels are up to date. They have to be updated in terms of your business model and whatever you need to do in order to convey that you’re not just in there working “trading hours for dollars”. That’s because that’s not gonna be scalable for you. Tell them that you have a team. Convey that you’re a real business and that you are committed to getting results for your customers. Also, you definitely want to look into any contracts or agreements that you put into place (i.e., anything that you have your customers signed when they signed up with you). And make sure that those are up-to-date. Like I said, you need all of your sales materials, sales pages, and all of that stuff. This is to make sure that they are reflective of the actual facts.

Look, if you have been digging this conversation about how to go from freelance data scientist to data entrepreneur really quickly, then I know you’re gonna love my FREE Data Entrepreneur’s Toolkit.

It’s an ensemble of all of the very best, most efficient tools in the market. I’ve discovered these tools after 9 years of research and development. A side note on this, many of them are free, or at least free to get started. And, they have such powerful results in terms of growing your business. These are actually the tools we use in my own business to hit the multiple 6-figures in my own business – Data-Mania.

Download the Data Entrepreneur’s Toolkit for $0 here.

Oh! If you liked this article about freelance data scientist turned entrepreneur, go ahead and show the love! Share it and leave a comment telling me which of these business models was your favorite and why.

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