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“I always use YunoJuno to help me find my next gig.” - Michael Cooper, SFA'22 Winner

How to Be A Freelance Data Analyst with Michael Cooper
Ewa Magiera
Ewa Magiera
October 21, 2022
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We asked Freelance Data Analyst and Sweet FA 2022 Winner, Michael Cooper, how he got to be in the world of data analytics and what a typical day looks like.

With such a broad range of skills needed to be a data analyst, we asked Michael first how his career started and what role he was in before going freelance: “I was at PwC working on the audit side of the business but was looking for a career change. I saw an internal role for a web analyst that I thought was really interesting and was lucky enough to get the job. It was a great company for me to start my career in analytics.”

AspectEmployeeIndependent Contractor
Control and supervisionDirect control over how, when, and where to workFreedom to set their own schedules and methods
PaymentRegular wages; taxes withheld by employerPaid per project; responsible for their own taxes
BenefitsHealth insurance, retirment plans, paid leaveMust arrange their own benefits
TerminationOften requires notice and may include severanceCan usually be terminated at any time without benefits
Tools and equipmentProvided by the employerTypically use their own tools
“Never be afraid to put your hand up to do work that may be outside your comfort zone.”

After a year in-house, Michael decided it was time to go freelance: “after a tough year in permanent roles, I was conscious that I wanted to expand my knowledge set, so freelancing seemed a great way to do it. Plus, it gave me more freedom to take time off to recharge and get a better work/life balance.”

Pushing yourself outside your own comfort zone is something Michael believes is an important part of being a freelance data analyst, as he shares his advice for fellow data analysts:

"Always try and keep up with the latest software and practices as you're often expected to hit the ground running. And at the same time, never be afraid to put your hand up to do work that may be outside your comfort zone.”

Touching on software, data analysts have to navigate a whole host of different programmes and technology. We asked Michael which platforms he uses regularly: “I tend to use the Google platforms (Analytics, Tag Manager & Data Studio), as well as some social listening tools.” 

As well as knowing which technology to become familiar with, anyone considering becoming a freelance data analyst should also consider how to network. We asked Michael how he networks and finds new clients to keep his freelance business going:

“LinkedIn is a great way to connect with recruiters and people in the sector to see what opportunities are out there, and I always use YunoJuno to help me find my next gig.”

Michael also regularly checks in with recruiters in his network to keep up with the day rates of his peers, as we asked how much data analysts typically charge and how often he reviews his rates: “I usually charge between £350-£375 a day as a data analyst, and I tend to review my day rate roughly every six months. I also speak to recruiters between contracts to help get an understanding of the market.”

As our annual day rate report highlights, the more freelancers like Michael are transparent about their rates and how much they typically charge, the smaller the pay gap gets as more freelancers are aware of their value. 

We then asked Michael what project he was working on when he was nominated for the Data Sweet FA 2022: “I was doing some part-time work at Merkle as well as working full time at Velocity Partners.”

And finally, as a winner of the Data Sweet FA, we wanted to know how it felt to win and how Michael celebrated the win for his business too:

“It was great to win! It's always nice to be recognised in your field, and I was proud to even have been nominated. I don't remember how I celebrated the win, I think I treated myself to a crate of Gipsy Hill Brewery beers!”

Why not check out Michael’s own website which shares some of the projects he’s been involved with. Alternatively, if you’re looking for some help with your own data or want to work with Michael, book him here. 

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