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I can proudly say that, after 6 years in business, I’ve learned that there is a time for passively operating my business and for actively operating it. And, let me say, both have their challenges.
When COVID hit in early 2020, I found my stride with the active operation of my translation business. It included cold-contacting potential clients, writing bi-monthly blog posts, interacting on LinkedIn, and regularly posting on Instagram. These types of activities helped me find new clients and develop professional relationships with other translators. It didn’t feel like work, just part of my standard operating procedure.
Over the summer of 2021, though, I've had so much on my plate with selling and buying a home that I have not had time to be active in the above sense. So, I gave myself permission to stop the forward momentum of my business and to rely entirely on passive operations to simply keep it idling.
To me, being passive meant letting the work come to me. I checked my email for job offers from current clients and did those jobs. Of course, I also invoiced them and fielded client questions. I stopped investing in professional relationships, since I needed more time with friends during this high anxiety period. I knew my translator colleagues would still be on LinkedIn when I returned. These passive operations allowed me to maintain an income, my translation skills, and my long-term clients, all of which I was grateful for. However, I knew I could do better, and I started itching to move forward again (I don’t idle well, I get antsy).
Since my new home went under contract this week, I decided that I'm ready to be active again, to blog and interact with the translator community. There’s just one problem… I have to re-wire my brain. See, since I stopped using the “active operations” muscle, it’s gone all flabby and weak, and my old friends Procrastination and Perfectionism easily overpower it. For example, today, I’m having a very difficult time sitting at my keyboard to write this come-back blog post. I wrote two sentences earlier, then decided it was time to brush my dog. I returned to the computer 10 minutes later, wrote two more sentences, then got up to make a snack. By then, it was time for a scheduled phone call with a friend. Now, it’s early afternoon and my perfectionist voice is piping up and telling me, “This post isn’t good enough, so you should save it and go back to it tomorrow with a clear mind.”
I am determined to continue flexing this muscle though and return to growing my business. After all, that same determination is what got me here in the first place. I look forward to seeing you on LinkedIn or in my inbox to discuss business and life as a translator. I've got lots to say after a few months away!