When Jane Zhang wanted to interview me for her article for the Data Visualization Society, I agreed!
We decided to record our conversation so that even more people could benefit from learning about the business behind my business.
This conversation might be especially helpful for early-career data visualization freelancers—or those contemplating the switch from a salaried job into a freelancing job. If that’s you, welcome to the dataviz community! And enjoy this video interview.
- How I got started six years ago
- Whether I’d planned to work for myself from the beginning
- The critical turning points in my decision-making process
- What type of advice I received from mentors early on
- How the work I’ve done has shifted over the past six years
- All of the correct ways to make a living with data visualization
- How my previous workplaces were so supportive of data visualization
- Whether I think anyone can teach
- What High Schooler Ann thought she’d be when she grew up—and how my career path isn’t that different from what I originally planned
- How I found my earliest clients
- How blogging for several years before going solo unintentionally became a solid portfolio
- How professional volunteering on boards built my network and helped/helps me find projects that are a good fit for me
- Why I always recommend that early-career dataviz enthusiasts start blogging
- Where my income comes from (the percentage from in-person training, online training, consulting, keynotes, and other sources)
- Why I’m trying to do even more online training
- How I manage traveling in the U.S. and internationally with my family
- How I’ve moved mountains for the right work-life balance
- Why you need to niche-down for your own sanity
- How you actually decide what to specialize in
- What my staffing structure has looked like in the past, and what it looks like now
- Why I’ll never, ever hire full-time employees
- How I learned how to run a business
- Why so many people hesitate to run their own business
- How little I understand about my own visibility and presence
- What I’m really aiming for during my training—which is often much different than the workshop objectives written out on paper
- Why it’s critical to give yourself a Dabbling Year(s) when you’re first starting out
- What Jane’s currently working on
Listen to Our Convo
Connect with Jane Zhang
Connect with Jane:
- Jane’s blog: janezhang.ca/
- Jane’s articles on Medium
- Twitter: @janezhgw
- Instagram: @janezhgw
- The project she posted on Instagram and her first-ever client saw it: https://janezhang.ca/posts/designto-2019/
- The travel guide post that helped Jane land her second client: https://janezhang.ca/posts/toronto-summer-guide/
Did anything surprise you about our conversation?
What additional questions do you have for me?
What additional tips do you have for early-career dataviz freelancers?
Comment and let us know!
Bonus: Read the Full Article
Jane’s full article just got published! Read about her interviews with RJ Andrews, Alli Torban, Matt Baker and I: https://medium.com/nightingale/how-self-employed-data-visualization-designers-make-a-living-23dc00ea5264