Do Nothing

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We oftentimes hear from our lovely colleagues that they are stuck in a situation that they don't like, mainly that they don't receive the rates that they deserve. This is a common complaint not only in our industry, but in many other industries. In our book and on this blog, we have given advice for many years on how to get what you want from your business, including the rates that you want. However, what many don't think about is that changing a current situation to a better situation requires something crucial: changing something.  Doing nothing and changing nothing won't change the status quo.

We know that change is difficult, but if you don't like your current work situation (or even just a small portion of it), you have to change something. Doing the same thing over and over will give you the same result (presumably) that you have been getting and that you don't want. So change something, even if it's something small. If you don't like a current client, take the risk of not accepting any more work from him or her and look for a better client. If a client isn't paying you, write a strongly worded letter asking for payment. If you don't get paid, don't work for them anymore even if they promise they will do better with payment next time (which you've probably heard before). 

Yes, we are aware that some of these strategies are risky and may not yield the results that you want, but in order to be successful and put yourself in the situation that you want to be in, you have to take some risk. No one is successful (at least that we know of) without taking some risk, even if it's just a quantum of risk. Take baby steps and don't be too hard on yourself, but our main point here is: as a freelance linguist, you have the ability to change things. Try it and see what happens. No one else can do it for you, and it's almost impossible to change others, such as your clients, but you can change what you do and what kind of client you pursue. We have taken plenty of risks and not all of them have worked out, but we have stuck to our number one rule: we ask for and get the rates that we charge, but we don't get them for all potential clients, which is fine.

You always have the option of doing nothing. But if you don't like the status quo, you are going to have to make some changes.

What do you think, dear colleagues? We would love to hear your thoughts on today's quick post. 


Alison Hughes on June 26, 2015 at 1:32 AM said...

So agree. I was stuck in a rut for years due to family and budget constraints but when things did change, and I had more time and money to actively look for new clients, I realised I'd done a lot of the groundwork in baby steps (going to small-scale events, volunteering for ITI and even latterly social media etc). There are so many little things you can do that make a difference, even if all they do is build your confidence. I actually talked about this at the ITI Conference in April.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on June 26, 2015 at 9:05 AM said...

@Alison: Thanks so much for reading and commenting. We are so happy to hear that you got out of the rut and that you'd already done so many things to change the status quo. Excellent that you talked about this at the ITI conference, I bet our colleagues found that most helpful indeed. Change is hard indeed, but it's so worth it! And we so agree that building your confidence is key, too. Happy Friday.

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz on July 26, 2015 at 7:01 AM said...

Perhaps you'd like to write a longer, more detailed post some other day about the baby-steps methodology, so to say? (E.g. SMART goals with emphasis on the A, with a couple of real examples.) In my experience, translators tend to be quite intelligent and resourceful people, definitely not strangers to hard work, either, but most are followers rather than leaders. Followers aren't 'worse', they're just different. They don't even always need a leader to hold their hand and pull their weight, but sometimes just to give them the initial impulse, to start their engines and supply the fuel for the first couple hundred miles of the way.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on July 27, 2015 at 1:41 PM said...

@Lukasz: Thanks for your lovely comment! We weren't really planning on writing a longer post on this, but thanks for the suggestion. Maybe we will in the future! And we completely agree: our lovely colleagues are indeed very intelligent and resourceful indeed. An impulse is always good, for both followers and leaders, and it's usually best when it comes from the outside! We sometimes need them, too.

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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