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What would we do without other people? My experience in the self-employed world illustrates well the reality of this fact: it's impossible to succeed alone. As I have written it in my presentation text, I never got to study translation. After finishing a Master Degree in Literature, I had no clear perspective as to what career was ahead for me, apart from my attraction for writing since childhood, but I didn't really question myself about that. Quite rapidly, I wanted to be an independent worker and create my own small business.
I had to learn my new profession as a home-based translator and editor by practicing it — but it's not by myself that I've been able to put in place my activities as a self-employed. Indeed, the help received from business networks has been a real treasure. And I didn't know yet about online social networks like Linkedin during the first years of The Writing Box, between 2000 and 2004. It was all about meeting people in person in the material world!
Financing and networks
To bring my project to fruition, I obtained a financial assistance from Emploi-Québec for business start-up called "Support for Self-Employment", then I got a support from my CLD (Centre local de développement), the CDEC Côte-des-Neiges/Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and the SAJE. Pendant ces mêmes années, j'ai obtenu un prêt des Cercles d'emprunt de Montréal, the latter allowing me to buy some pieces of equipment: a printer, a scanner, furniture for my office. Thanks to the SAJE, as well as the Cercles, I had the chance to meet many businessmen and women starting up in different fields of activity. And it is how I met some of my first clients! Especially, on the reference of the SAJE, I helped about twenty of them to prepare and write their business plan. It's also with the SAJE that I was able to be part of Synaxis, a business mutual aid network, which allowed me to create new relationships, to attend conferences given by successful business people and to have my services displayed on the members list.
In terms of profession, the group that has been the most useful to me is the Langagiers network. Created by a self-employed translator and technical writer, essentially to bringing independent language professionals out of isolation, it was gathering a few dozen members some of whom I had the opportunity to meet in person, during meetings with a more friendly than formal ambiance. Eventually, I came to help extending the Langagiers activites on the Web by developing a website and managing the discussion list. The latter proved to be very helpful mostly when I had terminology questions! Langagiers have been like my coworkers for a number of years. Only the Langagiers discussion list remains today.
Learning to network
Along the way, I also took part in creating a few small networks that didn't see the light of day, but we have to admit that it's a difficult challenge to coordinate with each other towards a common goal. Each of these experiences, albeit disappointing, has been rich of teachings. Also they may have been a necessary preparation to the successful establishment of a new network that is now coming to realization. Along with a friend who is a medical copywriter I met through Synaxis network about 10 years ago, we're developing this project for a few years now and these days we're giving birth to it for good. It's a collective of translators, editors and copywriters working in the field of health that we baptized Medicotexte.
For me it is clear that I would not have been able to realize my business dream without the help of all these services and networks. We never know what new opportunities meeting new persons through networking can bring, whether it is to benefit from other entrepreneur services to realize a project, to find new clients, to develop partnerships or even lasting friendships. That's why I have the feeling that first it's in human relationships we need first to invest our energy to create a viable business. Because, in the end, even an independent worker has to be interdependent!