• Valérie Gillet

Working all the damn time



In more than 13 years of freelancing, one recipe has never failed me to find new clients and get them hooked: working when everybody is taking time off.

This has led to people implying that I work all the time: evenings, weekends, Christmas, bank holidays... and of course summer.

It's both true and false. I work when there's work to be done. I don't have a "by rule" work-life balance, from 9 to 5 from Monday to Friday. I work by project. And if I have to take work with me on holiday or translate for a few hours on Saturday, so be it.

I've worked everywhere, at any time of the day and the night. There're 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. As long as I have a good Internet connection (or even without a connection) and a few hours to spare, work can be done.

It works for me. I don't limit myself to two weeks off in July or August or a one-week break over Christmas. I go where I want to go, as long as I want to. I can become a working nomad over the summer, work on Sunday and go to the spa on Monday, celebrate Christmas with my family then wake up the next morning and write copy from my bed.

This has secured me a quite lengthy list of clients. Some work with me the whole year long, while others call on me when their in-house translators take time off. Others still know they can assign me that 150-page long report on July 4 and get it back a few weeks later, even though they also know I'll probably translate it from a hotel room in Lisbon or next to a pool in Catalunya.

And it's ok. The important thing being that I'm usually available. I'll try to make it work or at least tell my clients well in advance that from Wednesday to Friday, I'll be away training or travelling during the day, but that I can work evenings if it's an emergency.

So I guess one could tell that I've been working all the damn time since 2009. But I've also grown my business and afforded my lifestyle with two children, travelled around Europe and the world, partied and eaten in good restaurants, bought a flat and a car (as well as far too many pairs of sneakers), paid for my daughter's 15 hours of dance classes a week as well as my own, gone on yoga retreats, made the decision to have another child alone, survived a pandemic, invested in my training... and told my ex-husband 12 years ago with my oversized pride that I would be fine without him thank you very much you just watch me do it alone... and have actually done it without him or any partner for that matter.

So if the price to pay for being a 43-year-old empowered single mom of two who owes nothing to nobody is to have to work three hours a day while on my one-month holiday break in my flat in the South of France...

Does it make me cringe to pay it?

Not at all.

So if you have over-the-summer projects and you're looking for a freelance copywriter or translator, drop me a line... ;-)

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