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Dealing with the year-end lull December 29, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.

Most translation agencies are closed between December 24th or December 25th and the first week of January. We don’t get too many lulls in our industry, so we have to take them when we can get them. I just finished a 2,000 word job and loved the fact that I had two days to do it. I went out to breakfast yesterday, worked from a friend’s office for a bit, and bought a desk chair to replace my broken Herman Miller chair (which will go out to the desk in the living room as soon as I take down the Christmas tree). I took advantage of the fact that my dog was at the groomer’s today and did a thorough cleaning and vacuuming of my apartment (she usually barks at the vacuum and tries to attack it, so I usually only do a cursory vacuuming when she is here). I also took a mess of old paper and newspapers to the recycling center. I feel refreshed and revitalized.

Another problem that freelancers have to contend with is the brief one or two week lull in payments in January. Some agencies pay their invoices early right now to get some tax benefits of making payments still in 2009. Not my agencies apparently. I have about $1500 in outstanding overdue invoices (and that does not count the invoices that come due next week). I received several checks yesterday with a huge pile of mail, but my mail box today was pretty empty. It seems to me as if most companies are busy doing year-end stuff, so they let the payments lapse a bit in January. It’s also pretty quiet until things start ramping up again mid-January. I spent time today sending out all my outstanding invoices to ensure they get processed before the end of the year – or first thing next year. In the meantime I have made sure I have a bit of a cushion to carry me through in case there are some lean moments next month.

I would be interested if you are experiencing a lull and how you handle things. I also hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and that 2010 is the most profitable and busiest year ever for all of us. See you all next year!



1. Kevin Lossner - December 29, 2009

Lull? I wish. Actually, things are quieter, but that means I can work with fewer interruptions while most enjoy the traditional holidays. I put the time gained from dealing with less mail and fewer calls into planning for next year or better things, like playing with the dogs and working on my command of Waidmannssprache. I enjoy living and working a bit out of sync with the rest of the world and will take my holiday later when the weather is better and the crowds where I want to go are thinner. Right now we have ice on the sidewalks, streets and forest paths, and it’s not much fun trying to walk on it and keep from breaking a leg.

2. Caitilin - December 29, 2009

I *love* the lull! It’s the time for things like put new toner in the printer, updating software, preparing tax paperwork for the accountant, and generally ‘sharpening my saw,’ — doing all the things that get put off during the busier months.

My family also loves it, since it means I’ll be upstairs making dinner earlier, so it’s less likely to be something thrown together at the last minute.

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