I’ve purposefully chosen this topic for my first post for two reasons: first, because it is a question I get asked a lot and I was only just discussing with budding freelance translator last week and second, because many of the worries and concerns we have when starting a business are ones which we come up against again and again and are certainly not restricted to those starting out in the industry.
So when is the right time?
The simple answer is that there is no right time so there’s no point waiting for it to come along. Because everyone’s circumstances are different, every single one of us will have different factors to consider – if you are thinking of leaving a permanent job to start a freelance career, you will probably want to ensure that you are in a financial position to survive the initial potentially low-income period of freelancing, for instance. Perhaps you are a young mother trying to work out how to combine a freelance career with motherhood and are waiting until you have a bit more time on your hands. Whilst these are valid and sensible considerations, at some point you will inevitably just have to make the decision to get started. You are never going to wake up to the perfect day when you can click your fingers and twenty new customers will be at your door and your prosperous freelance translation business will begin. Life doesn’t work like that and business certainly doesn’t.
Your freelance business will begin with your decision to get started, the many small steps that you take and the commitment you make towards making it work. No step is too small, you just have to keep taking them and a couple of years down the line you will be able to look back and see the progress you have made. The feeling of not knowing whether you are doing the right thing is one that isn’t restricted to starting out. It returns again and again every time we think about trying something new. Should I contact that potential new client? Should I try to publish that article? Should I start that blog I’ve been thinking about writing for months? The reason we ask ourselves these questions rather than just getting on with it has a lot to do with unjustified worries, issues and anxieties. Every time we try something new, there is naturally a potential for making mistakes, for things not working out as perfectly as we’d like. But there is also potential for success and it’s certainly more likely that by taking action and then readjusting things when they don’t go to plan that we will be more successful in the long run than if we don’t take any steps at all.
Easier said than done?
Of course it is. I for one have to remind myself of this advice all the time. Which is why today, as proof to you, my first readers, that anything is possible when you put your mind to it, I’m taking my own advice and posting this first post. I’ve decided to stop worrying about whether people will read my blog and whether they will be interested and be able to relate to what I have to say. I’ve decided to stop beating myself up, as only a linguist can, over whether my blog should be in English or in German, or ideally in both languages, and to just write and see what happens. I have a plan and if things don’t go according to that plan, then I’ll adjust that plan and keep on going.