Going solo: SWOT analysis for better business planning

Owen Howard (Spain)

SWOT analysis is a simple yet powerful tool for assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats implicit in a business venture, and can offer valuable insight into the critical issues that determine or influence its success. Freelance editing and/or translation work offers a wide variety of potential specialties. Accordingly, it can be difficult to establish clear goals and to identify the most relevant and fruitful areas on which to focus. Moreover, when starting out, the temptation to accept all available job offers, regardless of the nature of the work, can lead to one losing sight of one's professional goals. SWOT analysis can also be a useful professional decision-making tool for established freelancers, providing perspective and allowing one to refocus and regain direction.
I recently made the switch to working as a freelance authors' editor/translator, and decided to use SWOT analysis to guide my approach to setting up the business. I then returned periodically to the SWOT analysis to monitor my progress. Here, I'll discuss the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats I identified, whether they were in fact realistic, and which items were the most important to consider in achieving my goals.

Owen Howard lives in Zaragoza, Spain, and is a freelance authors' editor and translator with a background in neuroscience research.