Welcome to Saturday Business chat. Today I have the great pleasure of introducing Sian Edwards, a friend and fellow home-worker who lives locally to me. If you do work from home, it’s great to have local people around who you can meet for a coffee and a chat when work and time permit. Sian also told me about proz.com, which is a great resource if you’re a translator or, like me, you do localisation, as it puts you in touch with customers all over the world.
It always makes me happy to see how much my interviewees love their work, and here’s another person who does! Let’s meet Sian …
What’s your business called? When did you set it up?
I trade under my own name and have been a freelance translator since 2006. I worked in various roles at three different translation agencies before taking the plunge.
What made you decide to set up your own business?
I wanted the flexibility to fit my work around my family life.
What made you decide to go into this particular business area?
I have always enjoyed translation, ever since I was a student. I enjoy it so much that it hardly feels like work! So it was an obvious step for me.
Had you run your own business before?
How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?
I jumped in at the deep end. I’ve been a full-time freelancer from the start. But I did have a lot of work from my former colleagues already lined up.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
Don’t rely on just one or two clients. I lost my major client after a few months and, although I was able to replace them fairly quickly, I could have done without the panic!
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
Get some business cards printed, go out and network! Don’t sit in front of the computer by yourself all day. It will be good for your state of mind and you might even get some work out of it.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
I wish I’d made the effort to find out more about accounting and tax when I started. Some kind of course or workshop would have been a good idea. The transition to paying six months of income tax in advance came as a particular shock.
What are you glad you did?
I’m glad I was bold. It’s not in my nature at all, as I’m quite a shy, introverted person, so approaching people I knew in the industry in the hope that they would send me work felt a bit cheeky. But it worked and gave me a much-needed boost at the start.
What’s your top business tip?
Don’t be afraid to say no. If you don’t have the time to do a good job, it’s better that you don’t do it at all.
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
The amount of work offered to me has gone up and up. At the same time the type of work I do has become more specialised.
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
The same, but with a tidier office!
Ah, yes: the double tax thing (which I blogged about when it hit me). I found it so helpful to do my course at the beginning of my freelance life (see my post about setting up your own business for links) and don’t know how I’d have coped without it. Good luck with that tidy office, Sian!
Sian can be contacted via her profile on www.proz.com. She does German to English translation.
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more freelancer chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured.