Poll: Is getting started as a freelancer more difficult than in other jobs?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:53
SITE STAFF
Nov 18, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Is getting started as a freelancer more difficult than in other jobs?".

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:53
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I don't know ... Nov 18, 2017

... because I don't know about other fields to compare it with. Getting started as a freelance translator can be difficult. We used to tell our students that it could take as much as three years before they could begin to count on a steady income.

In my case, I transitioned from full-time employment as a translator, so I already had my contacts lined up when I started.

[Edited at 2017-11-18 08:55 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 13:53
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I don't know... Nov 18, 2017

I changed my career path several times before becoming a translator and I only started freelancing full-time after retiring from an in-house job. So, personally, it wasn’t difficult at all to get started, I had the experience and everything was sort of lined up until two years on I lost my main client (It wasn’t my fault! They were accused of monopoly practices). It was a hard but good lesson. If I had just jumped into the profession without adequate knowledge I wouldn’t have survived and the fact is that I’m still here…

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:53
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Nov 18, 2017

It all depends on how you approach the whole thing.

I started as an employe and sort of slipped into being a freelancer. But seeing as I could prepatre myself for being my own boss, I found it easy.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:53
Member (2007)
English
+ ...


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Is it just me? Nov 18, 2017

I had to answer "other" as I can't make head nor tail of the question. It doesn't seem to me to be grammatically correct and it's meaningless.

What question are others answering?


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Some things... Nov 18, 2017

I've been doing it long enough now to be used to it, but it took me a long time. Starting up is the worst. Until I started freelancing, I'd only ever worked as an employee, so my employers had always taken care of the tax and SS payments. It took me a while to get used to having to do all that admin stuff myself. I find the setup for self-employed workers in Spain rather unfair, as I have to pay the same amount every month in SS contributions, regardless of whether my earnings are enough to cover it all. And despite all the lip service paid to "job creation", there seem to be very few government incentives, if any, for self-employed workers or small businesses here.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Querer es poder Nov 18, 2017

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I had to answer "other" as I can't make head nor tail of the question. It doesn't seem to me to be grammatically correct and it's meaningless.

What question are others answering?


Au contraire, the meaning seems quite clear. They've simply omitted to repeat "getting started" in the second half of the sentence.: "Is getting started as a freelancer more difficult than (getting started) in other jobs?"
They're asking whether it is more difficult for freelancers to get started up in translation, as compared to other employment sectors. Perhaps they could have worded it better, but I wouldn't call it unintelligible.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:53
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Still can't answer Nov 18, 2017

neilmac wrote:
"Is getting started as a freelancer more difficult than (getting started) in other jobs?"

Perhaps I'm being more than usually pedantic today., but freelancing is a business. You can't compare it to a salaried job. Maybe the latter have periods of (state-compensated) unemployment, but mostly they just need to apply, get an interview, land the job, and that's it. A business - whatever its type - is almost always going to take many months or even a year or two to become established.


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Dorothy Schaps  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:53
Member (2010)
German to English


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Me too, Sheila! Nov 18, 2017

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I had to answer "other" as I can't make head nor tail of the question. It doesn't seem to me to be grammatically correct and it's meaningless.

What question are others answering?


I answered 'I don't know' for the same reason! I think they meant to write 'getting started as a freelance translator'...


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Harder but worth it Nov 18, 2017

When you are employed, you know for sure that there is a check waiting for you at the end of the week, and the hardest part about starting up as a freelancer for me was wondering if I would be able to succeed at it. (I have always said that it takes six months to get used to the ins and outs of any regular job, and coincidentally, it took me six months to get 40 hours a week of free-lance translation work.) Those were a hard six months. I remember checking my email hopefully again and again, and often seeing nothing. I followed all the tips passed on by friendly contributors to ProZ.com and similar websites and devoted most of my days (I still had some evening classes to teach) to researching, sending out CVs, building a website (now offline), setting up files and so on. Gradually the work grew from the tiniest trickle to a decent flow.


[Edited at 2017-11-18 16:50 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
Definitely more difficult... Nov 18, 2017

...as finding a freelance assassin spot for the government (aka, á la James Bond) is almost impossible these days).



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Daniel Frisano
Monaco
Local time: 14:53
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
MUCH harder Nov 18, 2017

And I mean a h*** of a lot harder. At least it was like that around the turn of the millennium. Nowadays, who knows... it is much easier to get advice and compare experiences, but then again, you may end up even more confused than before.

Anyway, when you are employed they always train you at the beginning. Yes, sometimes quite hurriedly, but companies are generally willing to set aside a few hours or even days of work of an experienced employee to train newcomers. It's in their interest that the newly employed become productive quickly, after all.

That obviously doesn't happen when you self-employ your ambitious self. Unless you have a really great mentor, of course, and I don't think they are easy to find.

Still, as Jessica wrote, harder but worth it! Just the look on somebody's face when they tell me "Man, you seem to be always on vacation!". (They don't know that I am NEVER really on vacation, but hey... keep eating your hearts out!)


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:53
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Much Easier Nov 19, 2017

I had to start both as a translator and as a business manager.
As business manager, I had to start as an assistant, work in-house with all possible disadvantages, and it took me 10 years to become a manager and earn a decent salary.
As a translator, it took me six months to make twice as much money, with half the discounts, working at home in my own standards.
I'm wondering what people call hard, but I believe people who answered "harder" have not actually tried to start in another area.


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