Describing what freelancing is like doesn’t always come naturally

Post #7 of Safeguarding your freelance business

Dear all,

When I explain what I do I usually get a smile often followed by a “that must be really hard” or “all those hours in front of a screen …“. But there was one occasion when I was told by someone that if a mom of three, whose personal and family circumstances I am not aware of, can manage alright, then I shouldn’t be having any issues with only one child.

Which translates to… feeling as if they world cannot understand a simple concept: Freelancing has no stable working hours.

In that specific moment I didn’t respond to say that a mom of 3 who works in an office and returns home has a completely different lifestyle from a mom of 1 who needs to stay alert, be available, respond to emails while her child or children are home. I am “fine” with getting emails at 22.00 but if you are a parent it’s not easy. Parents who do “normal” non-freelancing jobs know that the moment they step into their homes, regardless of the noise, no freelancing project is going to “invade” those precious family moments.

Sometimes it takes me a while to react. I mean to things people say. What about you?

The only positive thing about reacting late is that the lesson is not only learned but an “official” reply is ready to be served next time. I don’t recall how I responded but it certainly wasn’t along the lines of my now well-elaborated reply which is now well embossed into my mind:

- Freelancing has no stable working hours (simple) or Freelancing never ends (edgy) or Freelancing moms, compared to moms with non-at-home jobs face a variety of challenges throughout the day (precise)

Safeguarding your business also requires that you know how to describe what you do and that you defend yourself. Don’t overlook at how to best communicate all aspects of freelancing. That way, you avoid a lot of anxiety. You need to be able to communicate your thoughts effectively not only to clients but also to the people that surround you. I thought it would be easy to cope with the latter but apparently it is not.

But – hey – the Spring is here and it seems as if the blossoming around us will show us the path to maturity.

What do you think?

M.

Some thoughts about diversification for busy freelancers

Post #6 of Safeguarding your freelance business

Dear all,

The new year started really well for me. Which translates to….feeling grateful, blessed, lucky and a bit tired.

What I want to address today is the question of …time.

If you have been freelancing for some time and have had to cope with overlapping deadlines and a lot of hours of work from day till late at night, then you know that time is money. Time is a lot more than that.

You need time not just to work. You need time to think. Even if you eventually find out that thinking while working works best. But that is just my opinion. And you need time to figure out how to best diversify your business. What if my clients stop sending me work? What if Italy cuts back on imports to Greece? So far so good but what about tomorrow? However, diversification is also a personal desire. Even if I had the absolute certainty that I would be always as busy as I was recently, I would still do other things.

And by working on side projects (inadvertently diversifying), I have come to some conclusions.

Here they are.

1. UNDERSTAND yourself better. This is the toughest part. Sometimes I think I figured it all out and then I am back to square one. What you are really good at?

2. BE REALISTIC. You might be dreaming of becoming a public speaker at local and international events but if you do not have the time for basic everyday things because you have small kids, then you should be more flexible and find the right thing for the circumstances you are in.

3. BE PASSIONATE. Being realistic is not enough. Your side projects – a way to diversify – need to reflect what you have in your psyche. What is it that could make you happy both professionally and personally? You need to constantly work on your side projects regardless of the little time you can allocate to it. To be able to do that, it has to be something that makes your heart sing.

4. THE SITE (not side) THEORY. I got you now. I am getting into the deep waters of my theory now. Not having my own site has really helped me do some serious thinking about where I am and where I want to be. I am still not there yet completely but some improvements have been made. This is how this theory works: If you were to create a website for your business, how would you name it? What tagline would you have? What pages would you like to see? What clients would you want to attract? I have done this “exercise” a few times and have even deleted a site I started creating. Then I created it again from scratch and the pages I have there now are getting close to what I would like my business to be in the near future. The site is not up yet and I do not even know what is going to happen with it but I am trying to learn from this. For example, if you go for a tagline such as “Connecting Continents” (let us say you are a Chinese translator in France) this could mean opening your horizons for more services and not just translation. You could be a laison or a business consultant too. I have two taglines to be honest. One of them, appears on my Proz and Twitter and the other one…oh well, I keep that for myself. In case, I manage to make all my professional dreams come true.

5. BE FREE. You do not need to do things because others do things. You do things because it is natural for you to want to go for it. If you are busy translating non stop, why worry, why diversify? Yes, I know. It’s your heart’s desire. In that case, yes, go for it. Work while on the bus. I always take notes on the bus. Which I take once a month or so. I started taking notes for a writing project at the playground. Nobody got hurt. :)

6. TEST NEW WATERS. The other day I inquired about writing an article for a publication. I do not know what will happen but I am glad I approached them. I realised I needed to do more than just blogging. If you see an opportunity, try and check it out. A slot of 5 minutes you create today could mean something bigger tomorrow.

That is all. For now.

M.

image source

Tagline or slogan giveaway!

diapositiva152.jpg

Updated 07/01/2015: Due to new translation assignment (rather urgent too) I might not be able to get back to you straight away. But I will be accepting your requests until the 16th of Jan as promised. :)

Dear all,

I hope you all enjoyed Xmas. May you always be in good health and surrounded by the people you love.

Time to give away something to my readers! I have been thinking about it for some time but I wasn’t sure. Well, today I decided to go for it. Maybe it’s because of the melomakarona?

Here’s the story. After posting some fun and cool slogans on my blog here and here, I took part in a slogan contest and won – out of 300 entries the majority of which were written by English native speakers – which encouraged me to continue exploring this passion of mine.

What you get for free:

A minimum of 3 taglines or marketing slogans for your business to choose from (for the difference between a tagline and a slogan read this) along with ideas, suggestions, keywords to help come up with a tagline or slogan that works.

How to participate:

All you need to do is comment here or email me at phimag (at) live (dot) com. You do not need to follow my blog but I will be glad if you do.

Giveaway period:

From 28/12/2014 until 06/01/2015 (extended until the 16th!)

How it works:

To create your slogan or tagline, I will need the following information about your brand and/or business: goals, mission, what kind of message you want to convey, what you would like to avoid, whether you want to go for something bold, fun, powerful, classy etc. The process is simple, straight-forward and I will be involving you as well for feedback.

Important:

The slogan or tagline is written only for you. You cannot sell it. You may use it on your business lit, website, marketing materials and it is completely free of charge. By participating, you automatically agree that your name and/or company will be mentioned on this blog or other channels or material I use for professional reasons. However, if you wish to remain anonymous, I will respect your wish. If you don’t like the slogan or tagline, no worries.

That’s it. Interested? Great! I will be looking forward to hear from you! Really!

M.

Theodora project: Some good news/1

 ***

She walked up the staircase holding about a dozen of flowers for Theodora’s room and a cold breeze of air slightly lifted the hem of her velvet green dress. Helena loved green. She was fortunate to have more gowns, tunics and toiletries than the other maids. A devoted maid, a trusted friend, an ally to the Empire’s most important woman. A woman who many people considered as influential as her husband. Helena knew too much and she had no intention of letting people become aware of the weight she was bearing. It would be catastrophic for some and, naturally, a blessing for most.

As soon as she entered the Empress chambers, she saw Theodora talking to Acacia giving her instructions for the newly arrived cases from Ephesus. Before Helena closed the door, Acacia had left, leaving a disconcerted Theodora who, nonetheless, seemed not to be in the mood to talk.

“You don’t need to tell me where you were.”, said Theodora.

“I am not going to tell you unless you ask me to”, replied Helena. “But we need to talk. You need to tell me what’s happening to you. You always do”, continued Helena.

Theodora approached the chair she always loved to sit on. As she was delicately arranging her favourite cushion, she confessed.

“I am not feeling so good, Helena… I feel something is going to happen soon, something we will not be able to stop. And the thought of not having one single person I can trust in the palace, grieves me. But I understand. You do not have to stay here forever.”

The Empress was about to hear some good news.

***

This is an ongoing writing project of mine, a story, something I have been keeping in my mind only vaguely. It is taking form as we speak. I mean, as I write it here. To read the previous posts, please click on Theodora Helena Project Category underneath the post.

A BIG thank you for taking the time to read this and for following this blog! Feel free to share your thoughts.

Theodora project: Picking flowers

***

As she was approaching the gardens, she noticed that the roses looked neglected and sad. No place to hide in the palace. Even sadness was conveyed in all ways possible. Flowers suffered too. The gardener had been sick.

Helena had no intention to continue this path. She knew that Petros would never return from Venice. As she was struggling in the meander of her thoughts, she picked some of the exotic flowers recently planted by Perusian and headed to Theodora’s Champers. The Empress had been acting peculiarly. For the first time, Helena knew nothing.

***