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Have I lost my mojo? February 26, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.
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I was writing invoices last night, which I normally do as soon as I deliver a job, but had been putting off for a variety of reasons – the biggest one being the malaise I have been suffering from in the last month or so. I realize it is a seasonal affective disorder thing and have been taking steps to combat it, but it is sometimes easier said than done. The fact that the weather was 47 degrees yesterday has helped a bit. I actually became motivated enough to dust and vacuum my apartment (and my hallway stairs, which I had been neglecting all winter – vacuuming them in 10 degree weather when the hallway is unheated isn’t an inviting thing to do). I still have quite a bit of work to do to dig out from the malaise-induced bedlam in my apartment.

Anyway, I have digressed from my original point… When writing the invoices I started doubting my line and word counts and whether I charge the customer for source text or target text. I have decided to spell it out directly on each invoice (target word, source word, Zielzeile, Quellziele) so I don’t have to remember what I charge for each individual client. I imagine Translation Office 3000 would help in this situation, but I got out of the habit of using it last year.

I don’t remember ever having been this confused before. I have a couple newer clients, which doesn’t help matters, but this is the first time I looked at all the translations I had done in the last couple weeks and didn’t know where to start and wasn’t sure if I had forgotten to include a job that I might have archived already. Hopefully once spring breaks my foggy brain will clear up, but in the meantime, how do you keep track of what you charge your clients?

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Comments»

1. Dondu N. Raghavan - February 26, 2009

Use PractiCount & Invoice. It will give in the invoice the name of the file on which it has done word counting prior to invoicing. There you are.

Regards,
Dondu N. Raghavan

2. jillsommer - February 26, 2009

Hi Dondu, I actually do use PractiCount for my line and word counts. I’m more concerned with keeping track of what I charge to whom. Since I’ve raised my prices for new clients and kept my old prices for some older clients (not that drastic a difference, but enough to have to keep me on my toes) I’m having trouble keeping them all straight now.

3. Gabi - February 27, 2009

Hi Jill,
I don’t use one of those all-in-one management things either, which for some reason make me feel rather insecure. Instead, I keep customer data in an Excel file. One sheet per customer with pricing history (where did we start? when was the last raise? etc.), and an overview sheet with all customers current per-word and hourly rates. Without this file, each invoice would get me into trouble.

4. Karen Tkaczyk - February 27, 2009

My solution is to invoice when delivering each job. For clients for whom I invoice in batches/monthly then I create the invoice with the first job and add a line item for each subsequent job.
I use Microsoft Small Business for tracking customers and invoicing, because we had a licensed copy lying around doing nothing when I started translating. If I were starting from scratch I’d buy TO3000 but my system isn’t broken, so I’m not fixing it.

5. Effie - February 28, 2009

Hello Jill,

I use TO3000, as you can keep track of everything: what you charge each client, if it is by word or line or hour, when was the last invoice and if it has been paid, as well as being able to create reports by client/month, etc. to see how you are doing.
It can be a bit of a nuisance as you have to create a project and then the job (in version 9), but I think it is still worth it.

jillsommer - February 28, 2009

Effie – that is EXACTLY why I stopped using it. I hated creating a project and a job for a minimum job. Maybe I should look back into using again. Thanks, everyone!

6. Cathy Flick - May 19, 2009

In my task list (first page of each job, where I might also include some term notes), I include “make up invoice” right before “draft text” …. So I just have to fill in the character, line, or word counts mindlessly right before delivery and do the calculation for the total bill. I get the template for the invoice by looking for “[alphanumeric code for job] invoice/[client name]” since all my invoices (Word docs) are named that way. So even if the last job was 10 years ago… I can find a template handy that also reminds me how I last billed the client (I can find the same pricing info in my time tracking program, TimeSlice, where I use one file for everybody and so can easily sort by client to find all jobs for anybody). My task list also keeps me on track for other things, so I can be interrupted and not end up doing something twice, and also special instructions go there (e.g., the final font the client wants, even though I don’t want to work in it: Change font xxx to xxx is the last thing on the list). If I’m proofreading or reading through my text at the end, for instance, I put *** where I left off when the doorbell rang, the phone rang, the cat upchucked, etc. so I can find my place.

7. Cathy Flick - May 19, 2009

P.S. Don’t worry, you’ll get your mojo back (and hopefully already have, since this is May and you wrote this back in February…). I have been vacuuming up huge numbers of flies for a few days, and thought I had lost my mojo for fly massacres because they were starting to all escape The Vacuum Cleaner of Death. Turned out that I hadn’t lost my mojo, just my suction. Cleared the plug, and the flies aren’t safe any more (unless they take my suggestion to fly to freedom through the open door, which the smartest do). Your plug will clear, and your mojo will be back.

Also it’s normal to find that your steel trap of a mind begins to rust. Happened to me long ago. I just learned to keep lots and lots of notes and lists telling me what to do and when… Lists in my DayTimer book, on my cell phone (a Palm Centro with schedules and alarms), post-it notes on my computer (real and virtual), and my time-tracking program with delivery dates as the first item in the Notes (always visible). I even schedule when to wash my hair or do the dishes or clear out the litter box when really frazzled… 🙂


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