Project and Time Management

posted in: Translation business | 0

After being sent the biggest job of my career (originally estimated at 1.3 million words – revised total now 720,000 words), I have just been sent another 70,000 words (300+ pgs), and have a miriad of other ‘regular’ projects going on (i.e. still have 10,000 words to finish tonight before moving on to those big ones, just got sent 4k to finish by tomorrow and have another couple of second-round revisions), I have a direct-client social media advertising plan underway bringing in a steady stream of NAATI jobs (approx 6/day), and this is all while being affected by COVID all week long.

HOW TO DO IT?

The ‘secret’ is teamwork (one of the AUSIT National Conference topics, what a cooincidence!).

For each of those big jobs I’ve been completely open with the project managers and clients, saying ‘this is too big to handle alone, let me handle it with my team’. I give the clients/project managers a choice to save themselves the hassle of recruiting and managing teams, and offer them a better, more consistent outcome. Within the first hour of receiving the first batch of that huge job, I’d assigned over 100,000 words to my reliable team mates… part 1, done! It was the same for the 300+ pg job. I was open and frank with the client and said that I’ll use a number of team mates, all who have signed NDAs with me, and we can deliver it as soon as you require (3 weeks).

The second ‘secret’ is being transparent with your team mates and with the clients. Trying to hide the value of a job from your teammates is stupid (and futile). For that massive job, I’ve told my team mates that by handling the client, handling the project management (and essentially all the liability), my cut is 20%. We all know where we stand from day 0. For the 300+ page job, the client is well aware that I’ll be utilising external resources and has acknowledged that. I’ll need to proof the completed job and sign it with my NAATI stamp. Because most of the document is basic verbatim translation, I’ll be building a team to help with the easy content via ProZ.com and only handle the tricky parts myself.

Finally, WHAT ABOUT THE NAATI JOBS?! 1: using AcudocX technology means most jobs can be finished in less than 3 minutes if the customer completed self-service, and 2: team work on AcudocX means the other certified translator/s who I’ve recruited to my ‘agency’ are able to claim jobs, and I take a small cut from each job that goes through.

HOW MUCH IS IT WORTH?

This is the golden question but it’s not clear just yet. This month will easily be a $1k/day month from translation.

WHAT ABOUT MY HEALTH?

I make sure to spend the most valuable time with my loved ones: we eat breakfast and dinner together, play games, I read bed time stories to the kids and we play music together. This is the most important part, because mental health is the thing that can bring everything to a standstill. My wife knows what it means when I have this kind of workload and makes sure to take care of everything else. Without her support, I’d be in trouble.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE?

Yes! I’ve hired 2 part time staff who will be helping me from next week onwards. One will be a TA (Translator’s assistant – or a personal assistant (PA), in other words) and the second will be helping with my business management. Both are keen and driven and want to make working with me an experience they can build on.

I’ve always invested much of my business earnings back into the business and back into myself. In this way, I can grow and while growing, can bring everyone else along with me!

fun times ahead!!! I think I’ll see the sunshine again in May.

freelancer #translation #businesstips

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