There are many and very different definitions of both what a freelancer and a solopreneur are out there. I guess that, at the end of the day, it all comes down to how we perceive ourselves and our career paths.
In my case, the more I worked in bringing MCL Interpreting to life, the more I started thinking of myself as a solopreneur. Here are four reasons why:
- I am developing my own brand.
There is a reason behind everything MCL-related and a point to it, even to the clothes I wear when on assignment. I do not just provide interpreting services but I do so in my own MCL way, based on my own beliefs of what professional interpreters should do for their clients and how.
- I work within a niche market.
I have developed what I do over time and continue to perfect it. I do not just interpret for the highest bidder. I provide three specific types of interpreting in a limited number of languages and for clients from specific regions of the world. MCL is not a first-come, first-served, mass-produced thing but a quality- and client-oriented service.
- I believe in creating long-term professional relationships.
This apply to both clients and colleagues. The idea is to work in collaboration to achieve the highest expression of our goals in the most efficient -and, why not, fun- way. To me, it is not an in-and-out situation in which I limit myself to provide a certain service for a certain amount of time at a certain rate to just move on to the next project as soon as I can. My goal, as the professional linguist I am, is to add value to both my clients and my profession.
- I devote time and effort to build a network.
I take pride in knowing that word-of-mouth referrals, both from happy clients and from colleagues who have enjoyed working with me, constitute the largest and most effective form of promotion for my services. It is humbling, to say the least. So, I take the time to give back, to help, to promote our profession and grow our community, and to reach out to existing and prospective clients and to the general public to share valuable and useful information with them.
The freelance life seems to be lonely, random, and unpredictable. You just land a job and keep your fingers crossed for the next one to be waiting for you just around the corner and not five miles away. Whereas, running a solopreneur project like MCL Interpreting feels to be a more purposeful, goal-driven, value-adding, career-building enterprise. Perhaps it is the sense of purpose and structured approach that makes it different?
It may well all be in the eyes of the beholder but, at the end of the day, is not that what matters the most?
“For our own success to be real, it must contribute to the success of others.”
Photo by MCL – I took this photo while out for a walk in Wimbledon Park last summer.