TERP HARD TRUTH: YOU ARE A BUSINESS
During 2020, the restrictions brought upon by the pandemic changed the way we do our job – the actual interpreting, I mean.
But in 2021, as the dust sets and the new normal starts shaping up, both the interpreting community as a whole and each of us individually will have to decide how we want to move forward and continue to do our jobs.
What a frightful and tremendous opportunity!
When all bets are off, everything is possible. And when everything is possible, there is no beaten path to follow. Instead, we have to make our own.
The first step is to accept the fact that each of us is a business, whether we work with agencies, for our own direct clients, or both. We were solo businesses in 2019, we continued to be so in 2020, and we are still solo businesses in 2021.
It does not matter whether you trade as a company or as a self-employed individual; this is just your standing for tax purposes in the country where you reside and bears no effect on the fact that, like it or not, the first hard truth you need to face in order to make it past 2021 is that by simply providing professional services in exchange for money you are indeed running a business.
What does this mean?
It means that you are not an employee nor a five-year-old selling lemonade in front of your house to whomever walks by in the summer.
It means you – and you alone – are responsible for the well-being and the success of your endeavours.
It means you can and should implement entrepreneurial tactics and skills to help your business grow and, with it, develop the interpreting career of your dreams.
Five entrepreneurial tactics useful to interpreters
- Provide a curated selection of services to a specific group of people that will benefit the most from your work, be them agencies, direct clients, or both
- Craft a unique proposal for them – focus on one proposal at a time
- Organise your proposal around a structure/method and decide what you will automate, what you will outsource, and what you will do yourself
- Build a strong and identifiable profile/brand for yourself – LinkedIn is your best friend here
- Turn the people you serve into a community and have an ongoing conversation with them
The key is to be targeted, unique, identifiable, and shareable. This on top of providing outstanding interpreting services, which I assume is a given.
You might have been able to make do approaching your work like a hope freelancer until now, but 2021 will have no mercy on the unprepared, interpreters included.
The world has changed; and everyone is pivoting accordingly: agencies, consultant interpreters, RSI platforms, the Institutions, conference equipment providers, and professional associations. So should we.
You are a (micro)business. Own up to it and take charge of your future.
It is a lot easier than you think.
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