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During my studies in sociology (focus: Methods empirical social research, social policy as well as theory and theoretical history) with a minor in economics (major in macroeconomics) I could not have imagined myself being self-employed. I wanted a quiet, secure job with interesting people Tasks – without having any concrete ideas as to which one.

But first things turn out differently, and secondly than you think ...

After the Study I did have a short-term university position and applied at the same time – still with the idea of ​​finding a good permanent position. However, I was given the prospect of an exciting entry-level job. After some bureaucracy (ESF funding application including business plan, waiting a few weeks, business registration) we finally got going. The first job resulted in follow-up jobs - since then I've been working as a social science data analyst.

One of the most important experiences: being self-employed was that you couldn't plan everything ahead, check and can estimate. I was lucky that the person who advised me on the business plan could also use me as a consultant for his management consultancy.

Contacts even before the foundation

The Contact to the other main client already existed Foundation. So I didn't have to start with a nerve-wracking acquisition phase, but had orders right from the start. Overall, I also made few acquisitions because I get a lot of follow-up orders.

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When customers satisfied and the quality is right, hourly rates or fixed prices that you can live on are definitely possible. Up until now, the volumes have ranged from very small amounts to around EUR 5000 per order.

How far does the work spectrum go?

Whether I compete with orders always depends on how narrow or broad the range of products is. Had thought in the initial euphoria, even more towards programming. I focus mainly on the statistical analysis and stick to VBA stuff.

VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications. This allows macros that automate small tasks to be written up to complex programs that e.g. B. preparing and analyzing data or checking the plausibility of user input. VBA is embedded in Office programs. So you program within Excel or Access, you don't have to develop completely new software, but can use the existing ones Features of these office applications.

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Otherwise I create statistical evaluations with the statistics package SPSS. Automation has also proven its worth here. Example: an international worker Company surveys doctors in several countries. The evaluation of the first country is redesigned with some effort. Due to the programming, the evaluations of the other country data are then much faster and possible inconsistencies in the data can be automatically intercepted.

I enjoy the freedom of timing and varied jobs from different areas. I don't have to, like For example, many project managers in market research institutes coordinate entire projects and mainly carry out “administrative work”. I can concentrate more on evaluations and thereby apply my specialist knowledge, which I acquired for the most part during my studies. But there are also dark sides: there is no “real” end of the day, you have to be careful to make room for yourself and then really switch off.

I wish everyone who follows a similar path good luck, Courage and good experiences!

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