Advice from a freelance translator: go to a coworking space

Today we sat down with Annelise Meyer, a freelance translator with some great advice to offer peole who are new to both freelancing and coworking.

What city are you from and what is it that you do?

I’m from Paris and I’m a freelance translator.

Do you only work in Paris?

No, I work all over the world.

What is the platform you use to find places to work all over the world?

I use Copass quite a lot whenever I go to a new city. I will also Google coworking plus the city that I’m intending to visit.

How has being around other freelancers helped you with your own freelance practice?

It helps me with sharing feedback, getting to know other people, and it also gives me a chance to speak other languages which I love to do. Plus, being in a coworking space surrounded by other busy people can be very motivating.

How did you first discover coworking?

I was at Networking Evenings which was the first coworking space in Paris. It was at a coffee shop which had two or three tables which were shared by the bloggers. The coffee shop explained that they were doing that and that they welcomed freelancing bloggers who wanted to work together in the same room.

How long ago was that?

Well when I first went and spoke to the manager and asked if there was room for me he said no that it was only for web bloggers. It was kind of like the Bill Gates garage where it was only for men and webbies only. I just kept checking the opening up of new spaces. La Cantine opened up in 2008 and I tried to stay informed, but it was very slow at first. The region administration discovered that it would help to have coworking spaces so they financed a lot of openings and now we have many coworking spaces.

How long were you at Mutinerie for?

I was there for four years.

What was it like being part of the community and how many people were there?

There could be anywhere from 30 – 70 people there every day. You could sit anywhere you wanted. It felt nice getting there in the morning and seeing the people you knew. Even when there were new people you would get to talk to them at lunch time. We had lunch at these huge tables and even the new people felt comfortable because everyone would talk to them.

The atmosphere was always very nice. The spaces were very separated so if there was a noisy one we could sit down and discuss, but there were also places to go where you could have silence. Being there everyday it took me two hours to commute but it was really something I enjoyed and looked forward to.

After building your freelance translation career and being a part of the community, what kind of advice or tips would you give to new freelancers or what do you wish you had known when you first started that you know now?

I wish there had been coworking spaces but there weren’t when I started. Really try to find other people to talk about your ideas. The angst and the fear of your idea of being stolen is totally stupid and you should always try to share your ideas and discuss them with people who are like you.

My problem at first was that I was the only person in my family to become a freelancer. Everyone was either calling me all the time because they thought I had nothing to do and didn’t have a job. It took them time to realize what I was doing. For a long time they would always ask if I was okay, or if I had work. We are in France so they wouldn’t ask about the money but they ask about the work. That was quite hard at first because no one knew what it was like to be a freelancer. Some thought I was brave and others thought I was crazy.

So being able to meet other people just like you is absolutely something people should do and going to a coworking space is one of the best ways to do that.

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