You know you’re a freelance translator when…
Motivation is not usually an issue for us. Yes, we procrastinate on social media sites just as much as anyone else, but when you’re talking about bigger picture motivation – it’s not usually a problem. We’ve created our businesses from nothing, and we are well aware that their future success comes down to us and us alone. If that’s not enough motivation to keep powering through, we don’t know what is.
Our inbox will take over our lives if we let it. In this respect we are probably quite similar to our 9-to-5 counterparts in that the flow of emails is never-ending. First there is the physical aspect, in that it would be very easy to spend our entire working day dealing with the backlog of emails currently in our inbox as well as the persistent flow of new mail. Then there’s the psychological aspect, which is when we lie awake at night thinking about the emails that we forgot to send, the ones that we swore we would reply to but forgot, and the hypothetical emails that we may receive the next day (especially if we are running late with a project). It can be hard to switch off from emails.
We know what other people think we do all day. If you tell someone that you work as a translator for a big company, they picture you engrossed in your work for 50 hours a week. But somehow when one little fact changes – that you run your own freelance translation business from home – inexplicably the mental image changes and they see you loping into work at midday in your pyjamas, checking emails and clicking around on social media for an hour, before heading to the pub. We know it, and we know that there’s nothing we can do to convince people otherwise.
Content marketing makes us cringe. Just because we are skilled translators does not necessarily mean that we are wonderfully creative writers (in fact, the two skills are oftentimes mutually exclusive) and the thought of having to spend time writing a blog post or updating Facebook or Twitter makes us sweat. We know how important LinkedIn is to our career, but we will put off writing our own profile as long as we possibly can. It’s just not our forte.
Dealing with clients can sometimes extremely difficult. Similarly to above, just because we are skilled translators does not mean that we necessarily have a bunch of sales and communication skills at hand. At times it can be hard to keep our cool if a client becomes angry or demanding or unreasonable, and at other times we struggle to stand up for ourselves even when we know we are being taken advantage of. We need a level headed person to act as a sounding board to help us know how best to handle various clients in various situations.