It’s not uncommon for data practitioners to try out freelancing at some point in their careers. While freelancing provides some with autonomy and flexibility, for others, it is prohibitively challenging. In this post, Jane Zhang describes her “failed” experience as a data visualization expert. She notes that her skill set was not well aligned with what potential clients needed (dashboarding skills, JavaScript-based interactive data visualization development, product design). She also observes that she did not invest heavily enough in building her network, including by identifying the communities with which her potential clients engage. Zhang provides a list of questions that she recommends answering before pursuing a career in freelancing (e.g., Have you found a niche? Do you know what problems you can solve?). Finally, she concludes by discussing the emotional and psychological challenges she encountered while freelancing.