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End of the year musings December 10, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings.

I’m sure most of you also read Corinne McKay’s blog, Thoughts on Translation, but just in case you don’t (and if you don’t you should!), you should check out her latest post on her End of the year to-do list for translators. She has lots of good suggestions, and I am actually thinking of implementing some of them now while I am prepping my holiday card list.

I always send out holiday cards around this time to all the clients with whom I have worked throughout the last year – and a couple that I want to remind that I am still here and available. I decided to edit my list down drastically this year, but I still have 28 cards going overseas to clients and friends in Europe. I took advantage of having a lull today and took my laptop to one of my favorite breakfast restaurants to bang out my annual Christmas letter. I drank coffee, enjoyed a nice Cajun omelet, and reflected on the past year as I composed the letter. I don’t send the Christmas letter to my clients, but since I send out all the cards at once I have a set pattern I follow. I write the letter, drop it off at Office Max to be printed on holiday paper, buy stamps at the post office, print off labels based on my Microsoft Access database (which I have been maintaining throughout the year), and then stuff the envelopes and mail the cards off. It’s a nice feeling to have the big stuff done now. I should have it all done by this time tomorrow and can then concentrate on a proofreading job and any translation jobs that may come in in the next few weeks.

I plan on reviewing my clients like Corinne suggests. I have a feeling the balance will have shifted. My biggest client is most likely no longer my biggest client, but that is okay. I think now my revenue is probably balanced more evenly over several clients, and that is much more healthy. They still send me work, but not as much as in the past because they lost a big client this year who decided to hire someone in-house. There is always some attrition every year, so this isn’t all that surprising. This just proves how important it is to constantly market yourself. I found two new clients this year who have almost made up for the shortfall, and I just acquired two more this week – both through recommendations from fellow translators.

I also plan on either having my Aeron chair repaired or buying a new one before the end of the year. My lower back was tender during my massage yesterday, and I attribute that to the broken pneumatics in my chair. I am not sitting in the chair properly at the moment, and that is not a good idea ergonomically speaking. Corinne suggests any big purchases be made by the end of the year, and that is valuable advice. I bought a new sound card this afternoon at Office Max as well, so I’ll be installing that later tonight. Remember, any purchases for your office are tax-deductible – and that includes software and computer hardware.

January always tends to be a little slow while companies are starting back up after the holidays and reviewing and drafting their budgets, so I am preparing mentally for that – and if necessary I can use the financial cushion I have built up over the year. Hopefully the new clients and my existing clients will start contacting me with work by then. If not, I have some books I have been meaning to read and I might even get around to setting up my T-Mobile Dash to check my e-mail on the go…



1. Corinne McKay - December 10, 2009

Thank you for the shout-out; glad the tips were helpful!

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