My first month of freelancing done. How’s it all going?

I’ll have to cast my mind back in time to what Gill one month ago wanted to achieve, because actually, success isn’t defined by earnings, number of invoices you dish out, or the number of clicks you receive or followers you have. It’s actually a matter of perspective. What do you want to achieve, and when do you want to do it by?

I’m coming to the end of my first month a lone wolf, and the question on everybody’s lips is ‘how’s the freelancing going, have you had many orders yet?’. Everyone from friends and family, to acquaintances, to other translators just starting out have asked me, and their reactions have made me realise that it’s difficult to define success through another person’s perspective.

I can’t really tell you if I’ve had a successful first month or not. Some of the people I’ve spoken to haven’t seemed that impressed that I’ve done two small translation jobs. I could have earned more if I’d stayed put in the job I left. Others, especially translation colleagues, have asked me for tips and advice – something that I’m not so used to – imposter syndrome starts to creep in.

My original plans for the first month were:

  • Have a bit of a break, seeing as half of it is taken over by Christmas. Make it to the school nativity, send out cards in time to all the relatives.
  • Introduce myself to a few people, throw my hat into the ring, so to speak.
  • Try and get my website finished for a January launch. New year, new website and all that.

How my first month has actually panned out:

  • Actually, December was busier than I imagined it would be, but I have had a bit of a break, which in turn has made me more productive, I think. The nativity was cancelled, but I watched the recording with my family whilst eating pizza, and laughed out loud at my son’s blossoming comic timing as a servant to the emperor. Sent the cards and wrapped the presents in good time, although not prettily with dried orange slices attached. = OVERALL SUCCESS.
  • I’ve sent more messages than I can count, and I’ve told anyone that will listen that I’ve changed my job status. This has led to a couple of test translations, a couple of jobs, and a couple of very warm leads for the new year, with one meeting booked in for project management work. I won’t lie, for every positive response I’ve received, I’ve probably been ignored or ‘placed on the database and we’ll contact you when something suitable comes up’ several times. But from my perspective, I’ve met some great people, had some great responses so far, and who knows what might come up in the coming months. = OVERALL SUCCESS.
  • It’s the 2nd January and I’m still doing finishing touches to this website. FAIL, but I’d rather not rush this one.

Sadly, after a decade in the industry I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. What that has given me though, is a realistic perspective on what I should be achieving. I know that it will be a good number of months until there’s a steady flow of work. I also know that it will take a bit of time before I get into my groove and become more productive. I’m still learning software – where everything goes and what keyboard shortcuts to use. This, and the fact that I’m being a perfectionist, and unearthing a skill that I haven’t used for a few years means that I’m plodding along more slowly than I’d like at the moment.

But overall, I would say it’s going well. I’ve gone forwards, in my own way. The personal success gauge will surely shift over the next few months though as things will hopefully ramp up a bit. Watch this space!

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