You know you’re a freelance translator when…
A new client or a new project is a major success. When you work in a 9-to-5 office job, most of the time new clients and new projects are handed to you. But when you work as a freelance translator, you earn every single one of them. A new client means that you’ve taken time to apply for jobs or to sell yourself to someone and it’s worked, and a new project means that an existing client liked your work so much that they’re willing to pass more of it on to you. If we casually mention a new client or a new project, we are really telling you about a major achievement that we feeling pretty proud about.
We’re swamped with reading, too. There are so many brilliant business books and motivational works, and we can get inspired by new ideas pretty easily. After all, as freelance translators we are out on our own, and there are plenty of times when we are wondering if we’re doing it right at all. Buying a new book about business or entrepreneurship gives us the promise of finding out how we are really going and learning skills that we probably didn’t even know we needed. Many of those books will never get read, but it says something about us that we buy them in the first place.
We have all these ideas that we know will probably never eventuate. From new ways to bring in clients, books we would like to write (even if we know were not that good at creative writing), former clients that we want to follow up with, and people we’d love to collaborate with – we’re constantly coming up with new ideas, and it can be a little frustrating knowing that the vast majority of them will never come to fruition. If you hear us getting all excited about our latest ideas, please just humour us and share in the excitement for a little while. It’s probably just our way of escaping the day-to-dayness of our jobs, and there’s very little chance that we will actually empty our savings account to fund this brilliant new scheme.
We have our vices, like coffee, napping and chocolate. It’s very easy for those of us who work from home to begin to associate worktime with another activity. There are a lucky few of us who nibble carrot sticks and sip water while they are working, while the rest of us watch the empty coffee cups pile up around us and only think to wash them when there are no new cups left in the cupboard.
It can be hard to switch off. Some freelance translators are clever enough to implement strict working hours, and disciplined enough to leave work behind – both mentally and physically – at the end of the working day. But for the majority of us, the hours that we spend physically in our home offices can be sporadic, and the rest of the time we can’t help but check our emails on our phones or tablets and take work calls at any time of the day or night (after all, many of our clients live in a completely different time zone). In a sense, we are always in work mode and it can be hard to completely switch off. It can even be a little disorienting for us when we come out of a no-mind experience, for example after seeing a movie in a cinema or even after waking from a deep sleep.