September – Month Three

First of all, apologies for the late post. October has been crazy busy but we’ll get to that next month! The end of September marks the end of my first quarter trading as a freelancer which is utterly mad but very exciting. Here are the things I learnt in month three.

1.      People are the best

Last month I feel like I was super negative about people so this month I have a story to counteract that from September. I had the total joy of working with a client who paid me on the same day as I delivered the translation. If every client was like this life would be sweet.

2.      CPD is essential

CPD is often complained about throughout people’s careers. However, if you find the CPD it can be incredibly rewarding and invaluable instead of being a slog. I’m currently enrolled on ITI’s Starting Up as a Freelance Translator course and this is proving to be a goldmine of resources. The course covers all sorts of aspects from working from home to CVs to marketing to networking – if you’re considering setting up as a freelance translator I highly recommend this excellent course which is delivered by a whole range of experienced translators with a good mixture of seminars, discussions and practical tasks. The one downside is I now have an ever-growing list of things to do! My next point is also linked to the benefits of this course…

3.      Networking is key

Through the course, I’ve had a brilliant opportunity to get to know both the teachers, who are very experienced and have fantastic insight, and my fellow students. This is incredibly valuable as this group of people are at the same stage as me. Therefore, we can share triumphs and commiserate together as we all try and figure out this new venture together! Indeed, in such a solitary job, online networking becomes increasingly more important in terms of establishing relationships, a few of these have even lead to work which is amazing! Therefore, you can expect to see a brand-new work based Twitter account in the near future as I explore more avenues to connect and engage with the industry.

4.      Work/life balance is impossibly hard to find

There’s often a perception that freelancers are lazy as they can work when they want, where they want and laze about the rest of the time. Yes, this is partially true but in reality, running your own business and working for yourself results in an even poorer work/life balance. This is because I don’t always know when I’ll have a day off as this is work dependent. I also don’t work normal hours. This is great for me as I hate early starts but it can also lead to long nights and (even for me!) early starts in order to ensure a deadline. After all, as a client you wouldn’t be impressed if a business missed a deadline because they wanted a night off. The other main reason the work/life balance is hard to find is because…

5.      Being a freelancer means work is never done

As a freelance translator, I don’t just translate. I proof read, quality check, format, invoice, negotiate, do the marketing, am responsible for the brand’s reputation, time manage, am responsible for my own training, trouble shoot and handle the accounts. This means that inevitably there’s always something waiting to be done/updated/improved. Sometimes this can be overwhelming and feel as though everything is on top of you but I’ve quickly learnt to prioritise which jobs need done most urgently – for example, invoicing trumps marketing as I know I need to ensure I get paid! This last point may sound like a complaint but as much as it’s hard work, it’s taught me that

6.      I love my job

Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, it can be stressful. Yes, it’s time consuming. Yes, this is super cheesy. However, everything is worth it for the message from a client saying that they’re pleased with your translation and knowing that you managed every step of the request from beginning to end.

Those are the 6 things I learnt in September. Check back to see what I learn in October and feel free to leave any witty/helpful comments/question.