There are a lot of ideas for self employment. Offering translation services being one of them is often considered one of those stay-at-home-mom jobs.
No doubt, there are plenty of stay-at-home moms who get paid as freelance translators and they enjoy doing that.
But if you are looking for a long term income stream, you may be in for a big disappointment.
Unfortunately being a freelancer you pretty much are at your clients’ mercy.
You get job requests when you get them and you have to constantly meet deadlines. That is if you get enough jobs to begin with.
I know many freelance translators who would be delighted to trade their freelance career for a stable day job.
Offering services is a great business model. It is also one of the most popular ideas for self employment. But if you have been in the self-employment trench for a while, you may understand one thing – you don’t automatically get your freedom once you start striking on your own. It’s far from it.
You have to design your business from the beginning with a goal of being profitable. Do NOT rely on the belief that if you work hard enough and be patient enough your business will thrive.
It may or it may not. Time and hard work are a given, but they don’t guarantee a success.
Here are a few crucial points you need to integrate into your business. Well, if you plan to run a business and not a hobby.
1- Focus on the value of your service
The reason why freelance websites are so popular is because there are tons and tons of freelancers hungry for jobs – any job that is. That is also why you can find ridiculously low offers for translation assignments done by competent professionals.
You can complain all you want, but as long as there are people willing to do it, that’s the way it is.
Over the years, I find that if you offer translation as an independent service, people tend to bargain. But if the translation service is offered as a supplement for writing, web designing etc., very few clients would bargain.
Often the endorsement of another trusted professional will increase the value of your work. And convenience is something that makes people willing to pay more for.
2- Sell your expertise not your time
There’s nothing wrong with trading your time for money. Many ideas for self employment fall into this category. But if that’s the only way you are earning income, you may soon find yourself struggling.
Your time is limited. And constantly having to look for new clients is very costly and time-consuming.
You need to find new ways to reach your potential clients in a larger number. With internet, emails, social media it is possible to market to a much larger audience with very low cost. You may want to create other products apart from your translation service.
You don’t have to have completely unique or one-of-a-kind ideas for self employment. In fact, if your ideas are too new, you may not have a market demand!
3- Make at least part of your business repeatable
This is crucial to any successful business these days, especially for service providers such as translators. Work to make at least a part of your business repeatable.
You can create digital products such as an ebook, e-course related to your language pair. You can even start your own translation agency.
The point is to leverage your time and knowledge, so you can focus on the tasks that help grow your business. In fact, if you can’t create anything repeatable in your translation business, you may not have a sustainable business.
You are essentially trading a regular job for a self employment job without any benefit or sick leave. You might as well get a day job in that case.
Offering translation service is a great idea to start a business from home. But when you consider ideas for self employment, you need to be brutally honest with yourself. Passion alone won’t bring you success. You have to plan for it. Don’t shy away from the topic of making profit.
Talking about money doesn’t make you less professional. It’s true that most translators are not in for money, but if you don’t focus on making your business practice profitable, your passion will fade sooner or later.