The Return of the Freelance Economist
A few weeks back, we posted a query from a young economist who, before heading for the job market, was looking to pick up freelance work. She (yes, she) promised to report back with her progress, and now she has:
Thank you for posting my email. I received a decent handful of responses, but was not flooded with emails. I did get one big project that I am very excited about and will carry me through to the job market, so it worked out very well for me, but is probably not a good career strategy. I had no idea what to charge, so started with the rate I would have received from the employer that didn’t work out, which was clearly too high. I tried to make it clear that it was negotiable, but fear I may have scared off a few people.
Many of the emails I received were from people who liked the idea of a freelance economist, but didn’t have anything specific in mind. Others expected I would have computer science skills I simply don’t have (C++ or Java). From the blog comments, there were suggestions that I needed more experience/expertise and some rebranding (as a small business consultant maybe) to actually make this work long-term. I completely agree. I hope that will not be necessary.
A couple other random observations:
I thought the mix of industries was interesting. I saw video games, consumer finance, real estate, a technology start up, landscaping, and veterinary medicine.
Unsurprisingly, given the gender ratio of economists, most people assumed I was male (I’m not).