Books I read when I started freelancing

zo 20 september 2020

About 12 months ago I started my journey to become a freelancer as a data scientist. Looking back, I'm happy with how things turned out, even despite the Corona situation. I like to read books, and I wanted to share four books that were useful to me around this period.

The Freelance Manifesto - Joey Korenman

Raw energy. Joey is passionate about freelancing, and setting up a business. He is a motion designer, and this book is written from the viewpoint of that work. But the art of freelancing and doing business isn't that much different from being a data scientist. I like how the book is subdivided in 2 parts: The first states that freelance has some downsides to fixed contract work, but gives you more opportunities (More time off, or more time for training and development, or more money). Make use of those opportunities, otherwise you only have the downsides. The second part he explains his "sales funnel" for finding new clients. The level of detail he gives here makes you confident you can do this too. Highly recommended book. Don't expect any advise about taxes in this book though.

Handboek eigen baas - Thijs van den Boomen

Dutch book about starting a business. A large part of the book is about different types of legal entities, and tax law. It\'s high level enough to give you an overview of the possibilities and not be boring, but I found myself Googling more detailed information about parts that applied to my situation. Useful as a reference book.

Inside the Insurance Industry - Kevin L Glaser

My first gig as a freelancer is at an insurance company, creating models for pricing their products (consumer car insurances). In addition to this book I also did an EdX course on Actuarial science to prepare myself. This book is written by someone who has worked many years in the industry. The best part of the book is how he tells you what different departments ave different goals within the company, and how they tend to interact. Also interesting was to read about re-insurance and other ways to mitigate risk. But I feel like this book could have been a blog post without loosing much information.

Sequential Analysis - Abraham Wald

To me the whole data science field is about decision making. A powerful tool to do this is AB testing. But it\'s also quite a blunt instrument if you want to use it properly. One of the thing that seems to rub business people the wrong way is that you have to wait (sometimes a long time) before you can statistically draw conclusions. Why wouldn\'t you be able to find large differences quickly, and take a bit longer to find if there are smaller differences between the two tested variants? That sounds way more intuitive. In this book Wald describes a way to do this, and be correct statistically. It is an old book, so if you\'re really interested in this line of thinking, take a look at the mSPRT R package, and the work of it\'s authors.