Clearing out the clutter
Welcome to 2015!
A little late, I know, but I only returned to work at the end of last week after a splendid Christmas and New Year break.
So what does this year hold in store? I’m afraid I’m one of those people who love January. I know some people find dark winter days difficult to get through, but I love the idea of a new start and an excuse to clear out the Christmas clutter and begin again. I don’t exactly make New Year resolutions, because I find they are too easily broken, but I do like to have intentions and aims for the coming 12 months.
Sometimes, it’s just a matter of continuing what I have already started doing, and that’s the case with my regular swimming, which began at the end of September. I’ve never been a great one for sport or exercise, but an attack of sciatica a couple of years ago made me start thinking about my health, particularly in a job where I have to sit down most of the day, and in the autumn I began going swimming three times a week. The results, in terms of me feeling better and fitter, have been fantastic and I’m determined to keep it up in 2015.
Something else I’m going to do is to follow through a decision taken at the end of last year and increase my rates for this New Year. Anyone who has ever gone through this process will know that it basically consists of two stages: 1) making the decision and informing your clients and 2) making the rate increase stick when you send out your first bills and you receive the inevitable queries from customers who have missed or ignored your notification. So far I’m delighted at the response to my increase, as some of my customers are already sending me orders for work at the new rates, simultaneously demonstrating that they accept the change and that it hasn’t put them off using me. But I’m sure there will be others who argue with my January invoices. With them I will be flexible but firm, willing to negotiate on particular bills but, in the longer term, determined to maintain the new rates I have decided to charge. After all, I took the decision for a reason: there is no excuse for backing off now.
A serious aim this year is to move forward in my process of specialisation. I would really like to concentrate more on one of my favourite areas, where I believe I do my best work: tourism and the related areas of history/heritage, the arts, music and food and drink. To this end, I am planning to attend a tourism trade fair in Barcelona this spring to publicise my services and, at the moment, I’m in the process of getting a leaflet designed ready to take with me. In addition to this, I’m planning an e-mail marketing campaign aimed at likely customers, using a pdf version of my leaflet when it has been produced. I’ve never done anything like this before and it’s exciting, while also a little daunting because I really have no idea how these potential customers will react. However, I think it’s something I have to try in order to target my services at the kind of client I want to work for. Now is the time to make the push. If it fails, I will have lost very little, and if I pick up only four or five new regular customers I will count it as a success.
Finally, I want to improve my use of my blog. I’m very happy with the English version of Only Human Translators, but I realise that I’m not making the most of the opportunity offered by the versions in my other working languages. Rather than translate or have translated what I write here, I’d like to aim those parts of my blog at my customers, rather than at fellow translators, and fill them with interesting content about tourism and the related areas I’ve already mentioned. The problem I have, however, is lack of time. I only have so many hours to spend on my blog every week and curating that kind of content may simply prove to be too ambitious. One possibility may be to scale back my writing here to give me time to do it, but while I’m enjoying blogging in English for translators and while I still feel I have things to say I’m reluctant to do that. Perhaps another solution will present itself. In the meantime, I’ll do what I can.
I have to say, though, that if this year is as interesting and successful as 2014 was for me, I will certainly have no complaints. I hope 2015 is good to you too!