1. A business plan !? What’s that ? A new boring administrative task ? I’m not a company, why should I care about that ?
    In fact, it is what I thought till I read this article.
    A very clear article, very useful.
    To tell the truth, we all should prepare a business plan.
    I agree, it’s neither a piece of cake, nor my (your?) cup of tea, but it is essential, as essential as a cup of tea at dawn is for me 🙂


  2. Hi Catherine, thanks for posting, and it’s nice to see you here! I think your initial reaction is a common one. It just sounds like more work! It is definitely worth the exercise to at least sit down and go over some of the points in the article mentally, maybe over that cup of tea, and see what the results are, what you learn about your business from it. Writing it down and nailing down the fine points can be difficult.Having a formal plan and set of goals (and a good idea of how to get there) is worth the effort though. It might be interesting to see just how many freelance translators have a business plan.


  3. Business plans do not have to be complicated. I remember with fondness some very successful people who could write “everything” on the back of a box of 30 cigarettes.
    I use the Proz “Rate Calculator” under the Tools tab as a starting point to set my earnings targets before the start of a new year.
    I also keep a “Register” which details all the jobs I do – client name, P.O., date & time received/delivered, language pair, word count, rate, invoice number, invoiced amount, invoice currency, date paid, rate of exchange, conversion to Euro, electronic receipt no (for tax dept.) and date receipt issued.
    The register is a useful “at a glance tool”, and rarely needs more than a few minutes, e.g. at the start or the end of a job, to update. It also yields a wealth of information that I like to have at my finger tips.

    The fun part of “the plan” is when I get paid.
    1. I can update my register;
    2. I can update the “Actual” on the simple business plan, which has one single figure I am interested in: the variance of my annual earnings to date versus the “target earnings” for the year. Right now, it tells me I am behind target.
    Reason: very slow payer. 😦
    But, based on current workload, etc., and all things being equal, I shall be ahead of my “target” by the end of June.
    It is good to have a benchmark like this to help me sleep at night (The drudgery described above is worth it!) The actual:target variance helps me see if things are starting to go wrong: it is possible to take corrective action early.
    The important thing is to have a point of reference that *you* understand, rather than cash flow statements, etc. which may render the object of the exercise meaningless.
    These two simple tools help me feel “in control”. No complicated mathematics, either!


  4. Hi Allison, excellent comment. I definitely agree with the fun part you mention. Seeing your progress against what you have projected is a satisfying feeling if you are where you wanted to be, motivating if you are below that, and both exciting and motivating if you are above. Good luck with the slow payer!


  5. Wow ! Allison, a great comment and a very useful demonstration.
    Yes, you are right : The most important is to build a structure that “I/you” can understand. No matter if your colleague or your neighbour, or even the man at the bank, does not understand every item “I/you” decided to consider as “greatly significant”.
    The key is to feel comfortable, with our own criteria.
    In fact, it is even possible to add apples and pears, if it is what helps us feel “zen”.

    Have a nice weekend


    • @ Catherine (who I first encountered [and was overawed by] in the early days of Lantra-L – nice to “see” you, two days in a row – virtual teaser for Rome yesterday):
      To apples and pears, add water. Blend. Great energy drink. Serve with ice and a straw, sprig of mint.


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