I have been self-employed for more than two years. What made me quit my full-time job and start my own business? How I built my clientele?

I went to university in 2004. My original plan was to do the Master’s programme and study for two more years to be a translator and interpreter. It was my dream! In 2009, I finished the Master’s programme and my father told me to pack and move home. I had been living and studying 300 km from my family, I could have afforded to rent a flat alone with a beginner teacher’s salary, so financial pressure won: with my Master’s degree in my pocket, I moved back to my home town. I was a Philologist in English language and literature and a teacher of English.

Three months after receiving my degree, I started working at a language school. The salary was horrible, so I decided to change after a few years and I was offered a job at another language school where the money was okay, the work was challenging and exciting, and the language learners were great. I wrote a language exam practice test collection book with my boss and I was the teacher of the year after two years,  and I got promoted to the headteacher at the age of 28.

Something was missing, though. In 2016, I got pregnant. My daughter was born in November that year, so I went on maternity leave. In Hungary, you can be on maternity leave for up to 3 years, which sounds cool, but I’m not a sit-at-home-type. After 6 months I had the worst depression I could ever imagine. My therapist suggested that I learn something, like a new language or go back to university. Perfect timing: I had enough money to pay for tuition and I had enough time. I went back to university to follow my dream and train to be a translator and interpreter.

In autumn of 2018, a few months before the final exams, my boss called me and asked me to go back to work. I was willing to, but I had one condition: I wanted to translate and interpret besides teaching. She didn’t agree. We decided to say goodbye to each other and I sent her my letter of resignation.

On 3rd January, two weeks before the finals, I registered myself as an entrepreneur at the local government. I could only work as a teacher at that point, but in mid-January, after the exams, I extended my range of activities with translation and interpretation services. The dream I had had for 15 years came true the day I got my degree! I was over the moon.

My former boss at the language school called me because a colleague of mine had resigned and she needed someone urgently. I agreed to go back as a subcontractor (1 day/week) and to build my own clientele, I advertised myself on the Internet. I also started to work with a former teacher of mine and in 3 months, the tuition fee I had invested, paid off.

I started to spread like the flu. My students sent my phone number to their friends and colleagues. Whoever I had worked for a translator, hired me again.

My marketing strategy is word of mouth. I rarely advertise my teaching services, my students, friends and acquaintances recommend me to their friends and family members. I have regular clients who I translate and interpret for. My ultimate aim is to provide such high-quality work and attitude to my students and clients that make them recommend me to others.

If you are self-employed, what is your business strategy and have you built your business?

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