Speaking of the go-getter spirit, I’m hard-pressed to think of a better example than Omar Postigo-Martell, who owns and operates Well Translated, a Spanish<>English agency here in Colorado. I first met Omar at a talk I gave over the summer at the University of Denver’s translation certificate program, and not long after that he left his full time job as a financial manager in favor of full time language work.
Omar is a great example of what it takes to succeed as a freelancer, as well as the quality of life advantages that make the freelance lifestyle so appealing. Omar sent me five of his top reasons for taking the freelance plunge:
- No paid paternity leave after my authorized four-week absence
- Costly seventy-six mile daily commute, resulting in gas refills every four days
- No yearly performance reviews
- Lousy benefits and no salary increase in four years
- Plenty of sick days to justify snowboarding in the winter time
Omar’s reasons speak to why freelancing is a solution to what the Rat Race Rebellion calls the “sprawl and crawl” lifestyle: more time to spend with our families, a lighter burden on the environment due to decreased commuting, more control over our work environment and income, and, let’s be honest, the chance to hit some fresh powder and let cubicle-dwellers battle the weekend traffic and crowds.
A few other aspects of Omar’s success story are worthy of a mention as well. First, he’s done a great job of “getting his name out there,” which is so important in a business like translation that is extremely word-of-mouth driven. While I was browsing the website of the Boulder County Business Report during a coffee break, up popped Omar’s recent article “Bilingual Ability Doesn’t Equal Good Translation,” and he also landed a great freelance assignment with the Boulder History Museum, making the text of their new exhibit “Growing Seasons: An American Farm Family at the Beginning of the 20th Century” available in Spanish.
There are certainly lots of other paths to success as a freelancer, but I think that Omar’s story illustrates some of the most important ones: motivation, assertive marketing and thinking outside the pool of traditional translation clients.