Welcome to the blog! This week I take a break from scheduled programming to discuss goal-setting in the languages and translation industry!

How are you doing with your resolutions for the new year?

British newspaper The Guardian announced last year that 24th January is the day we are most likely to break resolutions. If you’ve made it so far but are starting to falter, this (hopefully!) encouraging post is for you.

 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when running your own business.

Especially with no formal business training.

And this is the case whether you’re in the middle of a busy period and the work keeps coming, or you’ve suffered a major setback and are feeling discouraged.

 

In many ways, social media has made this more of a problem.

Whereas you’d once never have thought to compare yourself and your business to others, social media now has your colleagues shouting their achievements from the rooftops, never whispering a word about hiccups and out-and-out defeats along the way.

This makes it easy to feel like everyone is succeeding except you; suddenly the entire world is achieving their goals with ease while yours simply feel out of reach.

 

The fact is, freelancing and business – nay, life – is a marathon, not a sprint.

A huge number of highly successful people have witnessed all kinds of failure before finally making it, even when they had everything going for them (another good reason, incidentally, to read non-linguist business blogs). I refer you to this picture:

 

If you’re in a rut but know you want to run a business, you shouldn’t give up.

However, you should try to work out what it is that’s stopping it from working.

Is it time management, the (lack of) opportunities for work in your current location, or the attempt to transition too fast to a new market (e.g. direct client work)?

Perhaps you’ve moved countries and your business has suffered in the interim, or maybe you’re just being run ragged by  burning the candle at both ends.

 

You don’t have to rush success.

When feeling bogged down, break your goals down into smaller chunks and remember that, like all things, it takes time.

Once you adjust your mindset and expectations (especially in terms of time), you will not only feel more satisfied with work, but will also be able to appreciate the little bits of progress you are making (the Japanese concept of kaizen).

By reducing the time you spend worrying about keeping up with the Joneses, you will find you have more time to work towards your personal goals.

It’s worth remembering that there’s nothing wrong with you being employed part-time while establishing yourself, or even choosing to take on part-time work after the fact. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed; it’s just your own path.

If necessary you can use this time to lay the groundwork for your future breakthrough, e.g. by developing your expertise, gaining experience and networking.

 

Ultimately, you have to remember that YOU are your business

Which means you can shape it exactly as you want – so if you’re not happy about any part of it, you do have the power to change it!

You just have to figure out what your goals are, what obstacles are in the way, and let go of any unfair expectations you are placing on yourself.

Then, with a little hard work and initiative, the rest will fall into place in time… so how about those resolutions of yours?

 

Keen for more tips?

Why not check out these fab articles on regaining focus, avoiding burnout and taking the new year by storm?

 

***Edit: the darker side of freelancing***

While I’m reluctant to end a positive blog post on a negative note, it has to be said that pervasive sadness/depression shouldn’t just be pushed aside; your feelings are yours alone, and shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re really struggling, all you have to do is reach out for help. The following articles may help to show you aren’t alone:

I’d urge anyone who has felt depressed for a long period or who has had dark/suicidal thoughts to approach their GP as soon as possible. Depression is a chemical problem and it is treatable, so please reach out.

 

What have you done in the past to buoy yourself up as a frustrated freelancer? Share you thoughts in the comments!

 

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