How your 9-5 has prepared you to be your own boss

In the age of start-ups and entrepreneurship being your own boss is the new goal for many people. However, it is not as easy as it sounds and a lot of you are hesitant to do the leap and go from a stable employment to the insecurity of running your own business.

The good news is that your 9-5 job has prepared you to be your own boss in a lot of ways:

  1. You are used to having standard working hours. The freedom to work whenever and wherever you like is a huge pro of freelance work but also a great trap – you have to be careful not to spend too much of your time doing housework or running errands or you will not have enough time for your actual business. Which brings us to the next one:
  2. You can keep your work and personal life separate. It is very easy when starting your own job to confuse business and free time and you have to take care to keep boundaries, beginning from your space (it really really pays off to have a separate working area if you are working from home) to your time (when relatives call during your working hours have them call you back after you’ve finished). Working from home doesn’t mean you are available anytime, tell everyone (and mainly, yourself) that you are indeed working from home and not just staying in.
  3. You are experienced in team work and therefore you are not afraid to outsource or ask for help and this is indeed another way your 9-5 has prepared you for the demands of running a business.
  4. You know what NOT to do as a boss (in case you’re employing other people). You have learnt which behaviors are not appreciated by employees and what makes a boss respectable anb now is your chance to put these ideas in practice.
  5. You have professional know-how and etiquette – you have written thousands of e-mails to company contacts and you have perhaps attended conferences and seminars. Therefore you can deal with many issues as a tried and experienced solopreneur.
  6. You have experience dealing with urgent projects and deadlines. From your boss’ emergency copywriting job, to last minute modifications and super urgent company presentations, hopefully you know not to let your stress paralyze you and how to use time in your advantage.
  7. You know how to put up (or not put up) with toxic people – they might have been your co-workers, now they will be your clients, but your office job has definitely made you better in dealing with complaints, insufficient resources and more.

Tweet this:

“In the age of start-ups and entrepreneurship being your own boss is the new goal. The good news is that your 9-5 job has prepared you to be your own boss in a lot of ways

Of course, your own business will be more important to you than working in other people’s companies and therefore more stressful. But remember to take a step back, as you would do if it were someone else’s business and try to think objectively and not only personally. This, too, will help you identify weak spots and develop and implement strategies for success in your new enterprise!

Good luck!!

What do you think? Do you feel your 9-5 has offered you more skills, some that I haven’t included here? I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts!

 

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Step up or step out – will there be no translators in 2025?

At the 1st Conference of Professional Translators and Interpreters, which took place on 30/09-01-10 in Athens, with the title STEP FORWARD – Translation & Interpretation in Greece and the International Market, we had the chance to attend a lot interesting speeches and presentations from professional translators and interpreters, regarding current issues and challenges in our line of work.

What was really interesting in this particular meeting was that a) it was the first to bring multiple professional associations together, in order to explore common issues and (try to) find common ground for joint actions and collaboration and b) that it was the first conference to tackle practical issues for LS professionals and not just purely academic concerns (as was the Translation Theory Conference I attended in Thessaloniki earlier this year).

All presentations from the conference are now available online but I’ll also give you my take on and a short description of some I found particularly interesting.

It has been a great honor to meet the keynote speaker, Dr Henry Liu, 13th President & Lifetime Honorary Advisor of FIT and attend his thought provoking presentation: “Step up or step out – will there be no translators in 2025?”

Dr Liu brought to our attention the buzzing conversation about machine translation and its potential danger for human translators. With communication between nations in business and politics a sine qua non in the contemporary world, the importance of translation is now more evident than ever.

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Communication barriers affect enterprises, individuals and even heads of state and it is translators and interpreters that have to bridge language and –equally important- culture gaps.

Also, digital media is attracting even more global audiences; the marketing and publishing sectors also need language service providers in order to help their products/ideas reach their desired audience. And it is not only business or politics that needs communication mediators to become possible – it is everyday life, medicine as well as world changing events, such as the huge migration wave of our times.Παρουσίαση2037

With the rise of LS demand, the need for faster, easier, cheaper translation has also emerged. And machine translation is willing to supply it. However, as many studies, unfortunate incidents (and practical jokes you have definitely seen online) show, MT has not yet reached the desired quality level for it to be able to threaten human professionals. So should we just lay back in relief? Not really. Technology is an ever developing field, and it won’t be long before MT quality gets better. Also, social and marketing skills for translators are increasingly important as technology evolves and technological savviness is a very useful skill for professional xl8rs and 1nts.presentation

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Therefore, it is very important that we evolve, too, as translators, of course, with CPD and lifelong training, but also as professionals. It is imperative that we acquire broader education as well as rapid response abilities regarding developments in language and technology. Becoming better in using technology to increase our productivity and services quality, is an opportunity we have to make the most of. The better our tools the better our craft will be and as technology becomes more reliable, we can learn to use it in the best way possible. Technology –and machine translation- is a tool we have to learn how to use to step up our game.

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So what do you think? Is MT a danger for language professionals or can (and should) it be used as a tool?

Follow Dr Liu on Twitter for interesting translation & interpreting articles and my account, Metaphrasi for translation & blogging links. 

 

5 tips for getting experience in translation when you are just starting out

I know how frustrating it is when you are just starting out your career in translation (or any field, really) and no-one wants to hire you because you have no experience yet. Well, if someone among them doesn’t take the leap of faith to employ you, you will never gain some, will you? I know, it can be tricky!

Of course, companies are hesitating to trust someone just out of the university or from a different discipline, it is completely logical. They need high-functioning, committed workers who can prove their skills. But they also need enthusiastic employees who will go the extra mile to show what they deserve and can do. If you don’t insist and don’t try to show them how valuable you could be for their company they will never know, will they?

So let’s see how you can find some experience when you have none!

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First of all, you might already have more experience than you think! 

1. Your university assignments

For example,  you might have done a translation for a local business, museum, even the university. This counts as experience, too! Think carefully and if you are still in university try to land assignments that are attached to the work environment and not just theoretical essays.

2. A friend definitely has asked you

to translate their certificate, diplomas, school essay (I’m sure you have had plenty of those requests 😛 ) This counts if it happened more than once and if you took it seriously and worked hard on it.

3. Part-time and summer jobs

If you have worked a part-time job during your student years, think how the skills you acquired there might prove useful: even a bar-tending job handling multicultural clients can be described as relevant in your work experience section. A job as a car-sales assistant will be valuable if you want to break into translating automotive texts. Make sure you are able to justify it if you are asked for it during an interview. Remember to make it all about the skills and particular knowledge that you gained during your work there.

Even if you didn’t work or had any experience whatsoever during your studies, there are still ways to gain experience at the beginning of your career. 

4. Volunteering

You can volunteer for a non-profit organisation, like Translators Without Borders, where you will gain experience and you will be giving back to the community, too. Make sure you research the organisation you choose and don’t forget to allocate some time for actively looking for employment.

5. Look around you

Reach out to a company/client you would like to work with and offer them a translation you think they need for a competitive price – for example, if you notice that your favorite local cafe has international clients but doesn’t have a menu in different languages offer to translate it for them in a low (but still market respecting) price. Or for free coffee for a month (depending on the work needed, of course). Now, I’m in no case an advocate for working for free so please make sure you get at least some compensation for your time. It is a way to show yourself and others that you take your job seriously and its not just a hobby for you. Otherwise, people will treat you like a hobbyist and we definitely don’t want that!

Take a minute here to consider a few things:

It is easy to fall in the trap of low prices when you are just starting out but please remember:

If you don’t value your skills high enough, your clients won’t either.

People want to pay less , that’s for sure but don’t accept rates  too low as you wouldn’t accept low services from anyone.

A successful career is built slowly but steadily and taking the worst paying jobs a) will not help you pay your rent b) makes you look cheap and c) wastes your time from looking for actually rewarding employment opportunities. 

So don’t be afraid to ask, aim high and look out for opportunities. We all started somewhere and it takes hard work to go anywhere. Be passionate about what you do and you will never have anything to worry about!

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cover photo by Sofia Petridena

7 things to cheer you up when you are down

I’m an inherently optimistic person and for the 10 times I fall down I will always get up 11 – here is a list of my favorite things to do when things don’t go as planned 🙂

Go to your favorite Chinese all-you-can-eat Sunday buffet

After all, you know what they say : “It’s better to be sorry for the things you did than for things you didn’t do”

shrimp noodles

Buy a lottery ticket for next week

Continue reading

What I learnt at my first job!

At my first job, after my postgraduate studies, I had a colleague called Olga. Her surname, age etc. are not significant here but she was one of the kindest people I have ever met and  thinking of her I would like to talk about the kindness of people who have nothing to gain from helping you.

Olga was in a way my mentor, although none of us thought of it like that at the time. I might have had the knowledge to do my job well in the company where we used to work but I had no clue about working environments, co-worker relationships, how to deal with demanding bosses or how to balance work and personal life. She woudl make me take breaks when she could see that I was about to crash Continue reading

cookbook design

How to publish a cook-book

Inspired by my talk with Nadia, over at @greenrootskitchen, a personal chef and vegan enthusiast.

So you’ve got a few cool recipes, an audience with raving reviews of your food – an idea about a book has been forming, and it has got you thinking, “Oh well this could be something great, but how on earth is it going to get out of my head and become an actual book?”

First of all, you have to answer the one question that is the same for most kinds of books: are you planning to publish traditionally or are you looking for self-publishing options? Continue reading

Dear Reader…

My dear readers! I’d love it if you could devote just a few minutes of your time to help me decide on some changes I was thinking of doing to my blog 🙂 I’m sending you my thanks along with a big hug and a juicy summer smoothie 🙂

That’s it! Thank you for taking the time to add your valuable input to my future planning 🙂

As promised, here is your super yummy smoothie to help you through the day ❤

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Ps. I might or might not be preparing something super fantastic about books and literature for you! Stay tuned xoxoxoxoxo

Is freelancing like team sports or is it a solo game?

Working as a freelancer might feel like the world’s loneliest job but it doesn’t have to be, and even shouldn’t be especially if you want to be a successful business owner.

As freelancing in any field requires more than one skills (your service of choice, bookkeeping, marketing and many more), it is more something like team sports: to survive in the freelance world you need to have reliable co-players. 

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As a translator, in particular, Continue reading

The busy translator’s guide to summer style

Some of the best summer nights out are with shorts and t-shirts and beers at your local. However, summer is also known as the “wedding season”, aka the time when you have to plan your weekends depending on your friends’ weddings. These things should all take place in winter, when we would love some more socializing but no, as we live in Greece and summer is THE season for everything, they all have to be at the same time (sigh). Continue reading

How to make your own blog in 5 steps

I can’t stop saying how much I love blogging! If you are reading your favorite blogs and would like to have your own but don’t know where to start I’m here to tell you its easier than you think! I’ll give you some basic steps and I promise that it gets easier the more you work on it 🙂

photo by mediamarmalade.com

photo by mediamarmalade.com

Please note: I’m giving you the steps for a free blog, not a self-hosted one  – self-hosted blogs are also easy to work and more stylish but I think that the free scheme is good for a beginner in blogging.

  1. Choose your platform: Blogger or WordPress or even Tumblr. I’m more of a WordPress fan for this type of blogs as they are easier, more simple and there is support online and through wordpress, too.
  2. Choose your name. Brainstorm and write down a few ideas, think of what topics you’d like to cover and play with their meaning or combine them. Be creative J When you have chosen your platform, you can try your name and see if it is available. Pick something simple and memorable, something you will be able to say to someone without having to spell it out.
  3. Choose a theme – I’m always wasting ages on choosing themes! Most times I end up with the same as I seriously can’t choose J But don’t waste too much time on this step: choose a simple one, easily customizable and when you learn your platform sufficiently you will be able to upgrade to a more complex one, add widgets, plugins etc. There are many pre-designed themes for various subjects, such as magazines or food blogging.blog templates
  4. Decide on your menu and pages: usually your menu is the line under the header image and over your content and displays your pages (such as About Me) and categories (such as Books/Magazines). You can also have just one page and have your articles show like a diary. My blog has only 2 pages while my Greek blog features categories as I write for a lot of things there and wanted to make navigation easier.english blog metaphrasi1
  5. Write your first post! Most platforms have a very easy interface for posting. In wordpress it is under Blog Posts>Add new. You will see a category menu on your right and pick at least one category and (optional) some tags. You can also add a featured image – to be featured whenever your post gets shared 🙂
  • Your blog does not have to be immaculate from day one, so don’t stress too  much about it but don’t forget to thoroughly proofread your posts, choose nice, clear images (plenty of advice online for which images are best for blogging) and don’t forget to be your fabulous self! Don’t try to copy the exact same look of someone’s blog – they might be cool but they are not you, right?

    And if you are at loss for inspiration, check out this post about Where to find Inspiration and how to keep it.

    A final tip: connect your favorite social media to your blog so that your readers will be able to find you in their favorite medium. I’m obsessed with Instagram lately J

    Are you feeling ready? Follow my blog for more juicy info, follow your favorite blogs and join the blogosphere! If you need more technical advice (that I can offer) I’ll be glad to help and there’s also a reader here that is a wordpress expert I think J

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