This is not a news blog or an advice blog or any sort of company blog. It's more of an opinion blog.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Your Great Advantage: Flexibility

They say your greatest strength can also be your weakness. This is certainly the case with structure in translation agencies and corporate clients.

As a freelancer you don't have the benefit of structure, or only have it to a very limited extent, but therein also lies your strength which most agencies and most of your business clients don't have.

This isn't even necessarily come down to some sort of competitive comparison between 'you' and 'them' — why would you compete with your own client anyway? Rather, it equips you with the ability to offer something new, something different, something they aren't normally able to do.

Situationally, this allows you to fill their gaps, ones they can't fill on their own — and this give them more flexibility — and also to become a leader and agent of change, in spire of being so small.

Here are some of your unique advantages connected to flexibility and lack of structure:


  • Direct access for your clients and partners to the top (and only) decisionmaker.
  • No pipelines of any kind.
  • Full clarity and no diffusion.
  • No dissents or stale mates within management.
  • Less waiting time for anything at all.
  • More ability to negotiate than when two rigid giants meet.
  • Much more efficient information flow (shorter, more direct, quicker, more expert).
  • Typically next to zero need to comply with your procedures and bylaws, so there's all the less bureaucracy to deal with.
  • You aren't normal workforce, so labour legislation doesn't normally apply to you.

So get the most out of them, rather than pretending you're something you aren't.

On the other hand:

  • As the complete owner of your side of the bargain, you can make decisions a manager or representative would be fired for. You aren't going to fire yourself, are you?

Woah. What does that even mean? Well, for starters, you're allowed to think outside the box — if you allow yourself that. The thing is, it's up to you and no one else.

Next:

  • You don't need to make every potential client an actual client.
  • Not every inquiry has to lead to a successful 'sale'.
  • Not every trip to the negotiation table has to lead to some form of understanding and compromise.
  • You won't be fired for not taking on a client you'd rather not have.
  • There's no higher manager to fire you for not meeting sales quotas and for wasting opportunities that didn't excite you much to begin with.
  • Hence you can experiment more, as long as you're ready to live with the outcome.

You will need to live with the economic outcome for your business, but no one's going to intervene and punish you as a person, break your career, make you leave in disgrace, or even take away your quarterly bonus or chance of getting promoted. Nothing.

… The whole office drama of covering one's gluteus maximus is simply not there, so it's all the easier to just do your job.

Whether you cut costs or generate them, accept risks or avoid them — it's your decision and made to your standard, not someone else's, as you see fit. You want to just give something a chance for the benefit of experience and insight? You can. You want to take a more conservative course and stay within your comfort zone? You can. You can also employ a bunch of other criteria that corporate policies typically wouldn't even allow you to consider. So take advantage of it.

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