Mélanie Bernier is an Elite+ Mompreneur® Member from London, Ontario. Her company WordFrog Inc. is a provider of dynamic content creation and French translation services that span a wide range of industries. Although she often deals with marketing materials and websites, Mélanie’s clients tend to come to her with technical translation projects, such as manuals, packaging and specifications. She also has a new side venture, a document download website called DocuLauncher, where Mélanie is always adding new documents that are useful for entrepreneurs in their everyday operations, with a goal to make it a go-to for small businesses in situations where paying a lawyer or a writer is not possible or necessary. We are so excited to share Mélanie’s Success Story!
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I was in College and only 18 years old when I started my translation business. I needed a way to earn money on a flexible schedule, so I put myself out there as a novice translator and quickly grew a client base. I then worked as an in-house translator and an ECE in the French school board for a few years before taking my business full-time.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
I enjoy the flexible schedule and my ability to make my own hours if needed. Some days are very challenging, but I would never trade it for a 9-to-5 job. I am also very motivated by doing “piece-work” instead of earning a set salary.
Can you describe a typical day?
I typically start my workday around 7am at the kitchen table. I train for running and cycling races, so I typically do that in the afternoon. I then spend another few hours working throughout the evening.
Who do you count on for help?
My husband helps me with a lot when my schedule gets crazy. However for the most part, I have things under control and find that attending regular Mompreneur meetings with my local group really helps me keep challenges in perspective and find solutions.
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
The number one thing that I have sacrificed to be an entrepreneur is the work-free vacation. I even answered work emails on my wedding day in Mexico. It has gotten easier throughout the years, but I consider it my responsibility to look after my clients, no matter where I am. I don’t necessarily translate on every vacation, but I keep tabs on my email and any small jobs that come in.
What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
I usually take one day off per week, and spend it outside running with my dog, mountain biking and maintaining our house and yard. I really enjoy going to the movies, so my husband and I are at the movie theatre at least every other weekend.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
Right now my goal is to fill my client base with high-quality technical companies that work with me directly. I no longer accept projects from translation agencies as I want to maximize the value of my work. As for DocuLauncher, I see it as a great opportunity for passive income and an occasional break from translation work.
Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?
It’s easy to get caught up in all of the business advice and information out there. Your biggest priority at the very beginning is to establish your business, and things like assistants, newsletters and weekends off will come later. Don’t spend a ton of money on business “gurus” in a time when starting a business is virtually free, and your hard work is your most valuable asset.