Terry Bandy is a Senior Data Scientist based out of San Francisco, California. Bandy grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, and attended High School at Saint Paul’s boarding school in New Hampshire. He then went on to pursue an undergraduate degree at Tufts University, in Massachusetts. Though he entered his Undergraduate program with a pre-med focus, he switched over to Computer Sciences during his first year of University.
Bandy was active in Campus groups including a the Undergraduate Business Association. Along with two other students, Bandy launched his first tech based business, while he was a Junior at Tufts. Once he graduated, Bandy continued working for his business, which was focused on website design and analytics, and hired several more employees.
Five years into working as the CEO of his company, Terry Bandy sold it to another tech firm in California. Bandy then moved from the New England to the west coast to help the new owners of his company transition into their new position. At the same time, Bandy worked towards earning his Masters in Business Intelligence.
He now works as a Data Scientist on a contract basis, with many large firms across the US. Bandy resides full time in California, with his wife and two children. When he is not working on projects for his freelance business, he enjoys being out in nature, teaching his children about the technology he is so fascinated by, and traveling with his family. His favorite travel destinations include Costa Rica, Italy, and France.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I’ve always been somewhat of a numbers geek. I’m fascinated by mathematicians like Bertrand Russel, who believed that philosophically speaking, the whole world could be explained by numbers. When I started to learn about computer science, I found that I could discover fascinating information by analyzing the numbers. This information could help people in the real world make decisions that would change their lives. I was enthralled, and once I started learning and sharing what I knew, I couldn’t stop. My freelance business is a result of that passion.
How do you make money?
I make money by working with clients who need my expertise, skills, and advice. I started out, years ago with just a few clients. I never actively marketed my services, but once I worked with a few of the larger companies in my area, word spread quickly.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
In one sense, it took me very little time. Once I had my Masters and was ready to take on clients, they were there and they paid me well. In another sense, it took years. I began the journey towards becoming profitable back when I was an undergraduate student trying to pay my tuition.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I never doubted that I could get my first customer. I think that one thing people with doubts like that overlook is that you must have the correct amount of training, which means you have to invest heavily in your education before ever trying to sell your services. Once you have an advanced degree and a clear specialty, you really have something that others need from you.
How did you get your first customer?
My first customer came to me through a mutual acquaintance. I think making and keeping personal connections with those in your area is very important.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
One marketing strategy that I believe in is solving problems for free. When I meet someone, at conferences or even in non-work related scenarios, I often end up talking about business analytics and data science. That is what I am passionate about, so it is natural for it to come up in conversation. I find that when I offer a piece of advice for free, and it works, the person I offered it to wants to know more. They end up hiring me.What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
One of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make in the last few months was to say no to a client that I really enjoy working with. I already had two very time consuming projects going, and I felt that I was working too many hours each day. That can effect my family life in a negative way, and I’ve learned in the past that it’s just not worth it. It’s hard for me to say no to a client, especially when I know that I can help them. But at the same time, family has to come first.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I believe I am successful because I was fortunate enough to follow through with my natural skills and abilities, starting at an early stage in my life. For some people, it takes years to figure out their natural abilities. I had some mentors and teachers who steered me in the right direction at a young age.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
My most satisfying moment was when I helped a friend of mine almost double the size of their client base over the course of one month, purely through data analytics. We were both overjoyed, and it felt good to celebrate a victory with someone I care about so much.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I think that the future is very bright for data scientists. As the industry matures, we have more and more numbers to work with. That means we can do more with the resources at our fingertips.
What business books have inspired you?
I recently read Gary Keller’s The One Thing, and was very inspired to rearrange my daily schedule. That book completely transformed my time management practices.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
I recently purchased healthy groceries, like green juice, fresh produce, and organic fruits. I find that when I eat healthy foods, my mind works much better and I am able to work with efficiency. It’s worth spending the money to get organic, healthy groceries.