Remote work is flexible, challenging and very rewarding! It is not a cookie-cutter model and will look different for different people. Your remote work lifestyle will also vary depending on your profession, job requirements, and schedule.
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About 2.5 years ago I quit my relatively secure job working for a state university. I had a pension, benefits, and insurance, but I was also overworked and stressed out. My anxiety was at an all-time high. I had been working 40 hours a week while attending school part-time and struggled to devote time to my family and my studies. After much thought and reflection, I chose to put my mental and spiritual health first. With the support of my husband I gave my 2 weeks' notice and started my remote work journey.
Prior to quitting my job, I had actually already acquired my first remote contract. I got my start in freelancing by working as a data annotator. I soon realized that I could find more clients in this subfield of machine learning. Right now BIG companies are hiring contractors with a background in linguistics to work in natural language understanding or NLU. We help train machines to sound like humans! This is a very minimal description, but if you have a degree in Linguistics and love semantics, morphology and syntax then you have sought-after skills. There is a strong need for individuals with both formal linguistic training and computational or machine learning knowledge.
During the early months of my freelancing career, my hours varied considerably and this led me to seek supplemental income. I began exploring other fields related to language and communication. In the course of a year, I studied everything from medical transcription and subtitling to python programming. I also studied abroad in Spain and Japan and took several foreign language courses including Japanese, Chinese and Spanish. In 2019, I completed my certificate in Business Spanish. Then in 2020 I graduated with a 2nd BA in East Asian studies. Prior to graudating, I decided that I was ready to start my own language consulting company. Thus Translatable LLC was born.
As a language consultant, I contract my services out to various companies to provide data annotation, translation and transcription services. I also consult with organizations in both the private and federal sectors to advise on how to best integrate machine translation software into their organization. At the present moment, I am expanding my business operations and still very much enjoy working within the field of machine learning and language technologies.
Overall, becoming an entrepreneur has drastically influenced my spiritual well being and mental headspace for the better. My anxiety is better managed and I thoroughly love the flexibility that managing my own schedule offers. I set the terms, define the boundaries and work for myself which in turn has afforded me the freedom to travel, work remotely and continue my educational pursuits. Being self-employed is not easy! It takes hard work and determination. I have several mentors and various networking communities as well. I hope to inspire and encourage others to pursue their own entrepreneurial ventures as well. Are you a small business owner or independent contractor? Share with me in a comment where you are in your personal work journey and what goals you may have in the coming year!