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I don’t have a plan – and that’s okay too December 20, 2011

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Uncategorized.

A lot of my colleagues are posting about end-of-the-year reviews and marketing and business plans. I don’t have a plan, and I’m okay with that. Everyone always talks about having goals and working toward those goals. My only goal is to consistently deliver quality translations to my clients and keep them happy. If you are like me and don’t have a plan and don’t have any desire to draw up a plan, that’s okay. I look at my bottom line at the end of the year compared to the year before and if it is about the same or a little more it’s been a good year. This year my income is about the same as it was the year before, so I’m completely content.

Tonight begins Chanukah, and the Christmas season is also upon us. I have a fun day lined up with my nieces tomorrow and am spending as much time with family and friends as I can. I hope you all are blessed enough to do the same. I wish you all a happy holiday season.



1. patenttranslator - December 20, 2011

“I look at my bottom line at the end of the year compared to the year before and if it is about the same or a little more it’s been a good year.”

Sounds like a plan to me.

Man plans and God laughs. It comes from Yiddish: Mann traoch, Gott läuch.

It’s a proverb in a number of languages.

2. Website translator - December 20, 2011

Jill, that is exactly the attitude. All that fuss about business plans is like all the beginning-of-the-year intentions that people think of and that by February they have already forgotten.

I am with you, the best is to keep doing what you can do as good as you can, and forget about end-of-the-year reviews, marketing, business plans and all that stuff. Ultimately, the only good strategy is to do your best for your customers. Word-of-mouth is the very best business plan there is!

3. Marco - December 21, 2011

This is the best business plan post I’ve read this year!

Carolyn Y. - December 21, 2011

I agree! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

4. Kevin Lossner - December 21, 2011

Jill, as you know I’ve done a lot of advocacy for business plans for translators in the past. But the context is important. I think the plans are a useful roadmap when one is starting out; certainly they can be helpful when a freelancer is applying for a home construction loan or a line of credit for the business to cover outsourcing risks or whatever. These were precisely the reasons I drafted various business plans for my translation businesses in the past. In fact, as you may know, in Germany these are required to be eligible for the various forms of startup support the government has offered over the past few decades.

In your case, you have a stable “system” and barring major changes of some sort, little need for formal planning and documentation. That would be an utter waste of your time in your situation. The only way a written business plan would make sense for you or someone else well-established is if changes in the market required a complete change of strategy and you must have a formal declaration of your new approach for some reason like getting a loan or recruiting partners for a new venture.

Jill (@bonnjill) - December 21, 2011

I’ve never had a business plan. Even when I was starting out in Germany I never had a plan. I just bought a computer and started translating for people. Every year I translated for more clients. I had a part-time job as an Internet researcher though, so that helped. Guess I’m one of those “wing and a prayer” people.

5. Fabio Said - December 21, 2011

Hey Jill, I guess it’s OK not to have a plan. What really matters is that you are happy with your business and live a fulfilling life.

Happy holidays to you too, and enjoy the quality time with your family! 🙂

P.S.: It was nice spending a few hours in Godesberg with you last October. I look forward to seeing you again in Berlin in September for the BDÜ conference and yet again in San Diego at the ATA conference.

6. Tom Ellett - December 21, 2011

I’m with you on this one, Jill. I’ve never had a business plan either; just a general idea of the type of work and clients I want to pursue. In my 15 years of freelancing I’ve found, like you, that consistently delivering quality translations is the best way to keep clients happy and build my business and reputation.

Happy holidays!

7. Svetlin Simeonov - December 22, 2011

Happy holidays to all ! Spend as much time as possible with your family. I think that this will be the best plan for the close future .

Anke Wiesinger (@AZTranslations) - December 22, 2011

I couldn’t agree more, and I also totally agree with you, Jill!

Happy holidays and a good start into 2012 to all! :o)

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