A substantial number of translators worldwide are freelancers, many working from the convenience of their own home. While home office has its own undisputable allures, there are plenty of pitfalls you might fall into. Make sure you don’t make the following freelancing mistakes!
Freelancing mistakes: #1 Bad organization.
You get up late, then breakfast, catching up with the news, the social media, a couple of YouTube videos, another cup of coffee… After all, you are your own boss, right? Wrong. By the time you actually get down to working, you realize it’s way past midday and you haven’t done anything. As a result, you end up working late into the night, desperately trying to make up for the lost time.
Good organization is key to successful freelancing. You need to keep a consistent schedule and try to minimize distractions, striving to be more productive. Try to always work within steady hours – for some people it will be early in the morning, others prefer working in the afternoon or evening. As a freelance translator working from home you have the comfort to be able to experiment. Check out what works best for you. But once you find you productivity peak – stick to it.
Freelancing mistakes: #2 Wasting time on multitasking
Many people like to believe they can multitask when it comes to work. In the past, multitasking was believed to increase productivity. But the sad reality is, that it doesn’t. Think about the last time you were trying to do a few things at once. Can you honestly say you gave each of the tasks the attention it deserved? Was it really efficient? The experts say, that when most people try to multitask, they end up switching back and forth to different activities, which has a negative impact on the end-result. You’re losing focus and waste your time, because your brain needs to familiarize itself with the task again.
Freelancing mistakes: #3 Forgetting to plan ahead
First of all, specify your goal well. Consider the pros and cons carefully and a given decision will bring you closer to your goal. As a freelance translator, you need to take care of more than just translation projects. You need to build good relationship with your current clients and look for new ones. You are solely responsible for creating your online presence and marketing your services to others. Thinking ahead is an important skill allowing you to allocate your resources wisely and organize your work in the most efficient way. The last thing you want to do is to make random, haphazard decisions.
Freelancing mistakes: #4 Messy workplace
Seems pretty obvious, but a disorganized working area may really distract you and have a bad impact on your productivity. Let’s start with separating your working space from the rest of your home. This is even more important, if you don’t have a separate room. The lack of a permanent working area at home is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Keep your workplace tidied and organized – the messier it gets, the more distractions it creates. Disorder prevents you from concentrating on the task you are doing. When the desk is tidy, you’ll be faster and more efficient.
Freelancing mistakes: #5 Not setting a boundary between work and private life
It’s easier to turn off your laptop and leave the company than to stop working when your home becomes both an office and a place to live. You need a lot of self-discipline to work as much as you really should. It’s best if you’ve developed the rhythm to clearly define the times you work and when you definitively call it a day. Keeping a work-life balance is an important factor that helps both prevent work burnout and reduce stress.
No matter if you’re just getting started, or have already learned the ropes of the freelancer lifestyle, making mistakes isn’t something you can avoid altogether. Don’t beat yourself up. The important thing is to take a step back once in a while to look critically at your day-to-day life and see if there’s any room for improvement.