I am now an officially insured translator and editor--well...the papers are in the mail, anyway.
I took this financial obligation on, because this will help greatly increase the amount of viable job offers and projects that come my way.
Although I started my business in December of 2008, I sidestepped the insurance and certification questions rather successfully. That is, until this year, when I realized that not being insured and certified was having a negative impact on the amount of viable projects that came my way.
By clearly stating I am insured on my company's website and my professional listings, I am saving potential clients' time (not to mention mine) as the viability decision is being made.
To be an insured translator and editor means that the contractor is protected should a project not turn out as the client expected, and the client tries to make an example out of the contractor. Yet, sometimes, there are trouble-seeking clients who wish to put new contractors to a trial by fire--burning potential bridges elsewhere I might add. Of course, this is a worst-case-scenario.
The client, on the other hand, has the confidence that they are engaging a well-prepared, forward-looking contractor, and that besides being protected by their project contract/agreement/memorandum, there is also the coverage the contractor has in case something goes awry.
I think that preparing for the worst makes contractors be much more conscious and careful about the work they do for their clients. Good will and ethical business practices more evidently persist.
Next on my radar is to seriously read up about the American Translators Association's certification program. Coming from a non-profit, my day job, I'm very intimate with the intricacies of certification programs. Not to mention I was already burned once with the Project Management Institute's CAPM exam--ultimately deciding that wasn't for me.
Professional certification still carries a mystique in business arenas that transcends the value and prestige of other educational institutions' offerings. Sometimes, vocational certificates offer the perception that would be impossible to attain with a degree. Oddly enough.
Certification, and the pursuit of recertification, can be a tricky business. However, many independent contractors find that the perceived benefits (especially, higher client confidence) outweigh the expenses and effort.
I guess I'm really eager to find a new course or project to keep me occupied now that I've finally finished my Masters degree (!).