Probably A Mammal
I believe it was Spunky (the Canadian, right?) that mentioned freelancing my R skills to gain some money. With the slow turn around in my job hunting, and the lack of desire to hire young new skill where tried and true experience in specific industries or with specific technologies are preferred, I thought I would extend my reach. This past week I talked to my colleague from my Xanga blog (now on FB) about his start up. He started doing web design and currently brings in a good amount of money after two years. As he says, it was a tough two years, but it was worth it and now he doesn't have to worry about marketing for new clients. He's even expanding to hire additional workers.

In talking to him about his experiences, it made it more real to me. It made me realize that if I want to, I can probably pull it off. I need to gain some experience, though. I need to build a portfolio. My friend spent his first few jobs doing work for free. I'm taking that mindset, too. Though, if someone is willing to pay even minimum wage, that'd be helpful!

My question to you fellow stats lovers is about approach. I'm not entirely sure what services I want to offer, nor do I want to be too limited anyway. Those of you that know me, know that I have a diverse background. I also don't know my niche that I want to work with. Nevertheless, I'm going to network with some people I know and try to look at students and researchers and professors for volunteer work. I might be able to get on projects within governments to also build my project experience. How should I approach this, though?

For instance, I emailed one professor at Sac State in the geography department. His profile seems the most technical in dealing with GIS, so I know he's probably doing some of the more fun (from my perspective) research, if any. I shot him an email asking if there's any chances for internships and if he or his colleagues are working on any projects. I know that in asking, I have to compete with the fact they'll want to give their students priority, but I know for a fact they're not churning out GIS experts (not that I am, but I'm on a technological leg with statistical experience many in this field lack!).

I also shot an email out to this SynergyQuad company I found in looking for local GIS firms. While they're an IT consulting group, they have a specific GIS project that my search captured. It uses a lot of technologies I'm exploring in my current projects (see here). Basically I pointed out that I'm a student and my GIS program requires work experience and I'm interested in any internships. This could, I'm hoping, lead to project experience and maybe future employment.

The freelance ideal appeals to me because I can apply my skills to a diverse market. I can help students in tutoring, in their research projects, in handling their data or reporting their results (statistical interpretation or data visualization). I've been toying around with company slogans and potential clients the past few days, but I want to step it up this week and make it real. I want to find find work, but I don't want to blow my chances in networking. I need to do this right, and any advice or ideas or suggestions you guys have could be beneficial. I'd ask on FB, but I know I'd just get 80+ percent mocking comments lol