Put some parameters on your working conditions and your availability.
It’s also the scariest thing to do because you simply don’t know which of your clients will accept your new rate and which clients you’ll lose. However, if you decide to take this course then you need to make the decision – then own it! Inform your clients that you only work with clients at the high end of the translation market; or you may prefer to say that, if they’re looking for an in inexpensive option for their translation work, then you’re not the right translator for them. Say that they’re welcome to contact you when they have a bigger budget. Of course, if job satisfaction is really important to you then you must prepare yourself, knowing that this tactic could well eliminate clients that you enjoyed working with.
Set Boundaries for Your Working Life
Another strategy that works well, if you’re committed to making changes, is to put some parameters on your working conditions and your availability. Perhaps you only work a 4-day week, or you only check emails at 9am and 4pm (which gives you time to respond and still finish work at 5pm; or you don’t accept work from clients who send out mass emails looking for a translator. Your office door is locked at 5pm and doesn’t re-open until 8am or 9am each day (or whatever hours work best for you). Make some rules for your working life, then stick to them.
Plan to Take Vacations Throughout the Year
Another method is to take different types of vacations during the year. If you’re managing well financially and you don’t need to work during vacations, take holidays whereby you check and respond to emails only – no translating! Of course, you should still take a holiday entirely free from work (without checking emails) but sometimes that can be impractical, and many freelance translators find that checking and responding to emails is a small price to pay for being able to walk away from their office and take a decent break. If you time your ‘email only’ holidays around slow periods, such as Christmas time/New Year’s, you may find that you’re not really missing very much.
Go with Your Gut Feeling
Our final point is this: If you get a sinking feeling or a knot in your stomach at the thought of a certain client or a certain translation, then don’t hesitate - turn it down! You’re at the stage where you can refuse projects that don’t interest you and accept only those that you look forward to working on. Now you’ve got the perfect job! What a wonderful life!