Software can and should be used to make managing your freelance translation business easier and more efficient.
Running a business is stressful enough, I think, without making it harder on yourself than absolutely necessary. I know people working from home in translation services who act as if it’s still the 1990s, tracking their work by hand and creating invoices in Word Processing software from scratch every time. This is fine if you’re dabbling in freelance translation work, but if you make your living by translating words – like I do – you’re wasting time that could be spent on more projects, and thus more money.
Software exists, after all, to make tasks more efficient, more consistent, and easier. When it comes to running your at-home, sole-proprietor translation business, you have a couple of options for software assistance. Whatever option seems best for your situation, I strongly urge all freelance translation workers to use some sort of coherent software solution to manage their business. When you launch your own business you do take on every role, including office administrator and accountant, but that doesn’t mean you should literally try to put in eight hours a day at each of your roles. Let software take some of the burden away.
So what do you need software to do for you? You need to track projects and clients, create quotes on potential business, maintain a database of client information for future use and marketing, you need to create and track invoices and receivables, and you need the ability to create reports so you can review your performance and the status of your cash flow as well as predict future cash flow.
That’s all very straightforward, but stop and think for a moment how much work is involved there. Just managing invoices – if you’re not using software right now to do that, I’ll bet you dedicate the larger portion of one day a week just to chasing down past-due invoices and other aspects of cash flow.
Luckily, there are a few pieces of software that are specifically designed for the freelance translation worker:
Translation Office 3000 (http://www.to3000.com/). TO 3000 includes tools for all the vital operations of your business: Resource management, quote tools, customer data, project scheduling and management, invoicing, and report generation. By installing this one piece of software, you have all the tools you need to manage your translation business. It’s a much better alternative to cobbling together disparate applications to perform all of these chores in, and will instantly free you up to concentrate on your actual job: Translation.
Wordbee (http://www.wordbee.com/customer-types/freelance-translator/). Wordbee offers a range of software packages, but offers one specifically designed for freelancers, which could be an excellent choice for anyone trying to act as their own agency, with features similar in power and comprehensiveness to TO 3000.
Software is designed to make our lives easier – my advice is to take advantage of it!
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