Posted by Grace Bosworth on Nov 30th, 2011 | 0 comments
I can honestly say I’ve loved every minute of running a language services business, even with its related stresses and increased responsibilities. I love this business and the amazing linguists I get to work with day in and day out; I can’t imagine myself doing anything else with my life. Is being an entrepreneur easy? Never! But it is rewarding………as the end of the year rolls around and we all start to reflect on the year past and project into the year ahead, here are a few lessons I have learned over the past year……….Global2Local has had some great successes this year and I am very blessed.
Here are 9 crucial things I have learned from running an up and coming language services company:
- Pay people quickly. It’s awful when you’re a small business waiting for a check to arrive. I try to minimize the wait times for our subcontractors, interpreters and translators alike. We all want to get paid; I know the pain waiting for money can cause, why pass it along?
- Cut out the “time burglars.” The phrase “time burglars” was coined by one of my team members, and it refers to the people in your life and business that waste your precious time. This applies to networking groups too- take a careful look at some of the events you go to and groups you belong to; some of them are never productive, even if they are fun. Go if you have time but not when critical projects are on the line.
- Connect with the translation community. I have learned so much from talking to other linguists, translators, interpreters, project managers, and agency owners online through Twitter, Facebook, Linked, and the many other forums. Social media connects our industry and I have learned so much from all of you.
- Outsource your weaknesses. I’m not an accountant; that’s why I have an excellent one! I am willing to pay a mechanic to service my car…….why try to do something I am not an expert in? We also have individuals for Web development, web support, and technical troubleshooting. Don’t try to do it all, it does not pay.
- Delegate! I am terrible at this but getting better. You can’t be everywhere at once and have your hand in every project. Trust the people you hire and let them do their jobs.
- Be careful doing business with friends. We had a situation in which a branding company offered to make some business cards for us. We agreed and were really impressed with their design, we said we would take 250 of them, a minor amount of business cards. Rookie mistake, we didn’t discuss a price with them, thinking “how much can business cards be?” We were SHOCKED to receive a bill in the hundreds of dollars for a small set of business cards
- Don’t freak out, just get busy. There were a few times during the year when a flush of uncertainty would come over me. I’d realize the workload in the coming months wasn’t as crystal clear as I’d like it to be. I would worry that we weren’t quite meeting our goals. All one has to do is watch the evening news, the economy is not great. I WOULD freak out, but just a little. Then I’d put my head down, and concentrate on the day ahead. Drown out the background noise.
- Keep putting your money where your mouth is. (Yes, I know; a grammatically incorrect colloquialism, but I’m making a point, here!). I am a big believer in walking the talk, practicing what you preach and (insert another tired cliche here). I encourage paying translators fair rates and we pay fair rates. There are a lot of “bad” agencies out there, I don’t want to be one of them. If nothing else, I want Global2Local to be a great agency to work for and work with, that is absolutely a factor within my direct control.
- Believe in yourself. I don’t know if it’s hubris or arrogance on my part, but I believe in the quality of the work I do. I believe in myself as a business owner and I truly believe that our translation and interpreting services are top notch! I owe it to the world to stay in business and because we are such a good agency to work for, we owe it to the language services industry to stay in business. I think when you do something well and you know it, it’s a bigger crime to hide your talent and not share it with the world. Tell your story! You owe it to yourself and your business to help manage your own success.
I’m still learning the ropes as an entrepreneur, but I’m enjoying the journey as much as the work. What comments can you add to my list? What have you learned this year? Please share! I would love to hear it!