Monday, October 6th, 2014 In Life of a panther
Intro from the Chief Panther
Copypanthers is on a mission to help people and companies monetize their language assets. We help companies boost their sales by making it easy to implement great content on their websites that is ROI positive, which obviously increases relevant traffic and sales. In turn, this allows us to fulfill the second part of our mission, which is to help our amazing crowd of expats, retired people, boot-strapped entrepreneurs, digital nomads, students and stay-at-home-moms and dads to be able to add flavor to their life by monetizing their latent language skills.
One amazing person that impresses me and our Panthers everyday is Karen (Senior Production Manager), who explains what it means to be a Production Manager at Copypanthers.
Hope you enjoy it!
Cem A. Arel
Production Manager in a Nutshell from Karen
Being a Production Manager for Copypanthers is a really great job, if you love writing and proofreading, while keeping in touch with a lot of different people everyday through Skype and emails.
Working as a Production Manager, you manage a team of writers/proofreaders/editors
through different translation or writing projects, while ensuring the 5-star quality of Copypanthers.
- You need a team of great people who ideally have some experience writing texts for the internet. If they don’t have experience, choose people who have an almost perfect grammar and spelling, and who love to write.
- You can often find enough interested people through your own network, or the network of your team.
- Facebook is a great place to ask if anyone is interested. Writing for Copypanthers is a decently paid writing job that attracts numerous people who like the idea of getting paid to write. They should not expect to make a lot of money every month, but they can think of it is getting a lot of extra pocket money every month while continuing to work their day job/studying/staying at home with their children. It can make a huge difference in someone’s life and allow them to get through an education, or to stay at home with their kids. For others it means the holiday they have always dreamt about.
- They should sign up through your own personal referral link. If they know more people they will get their own referral link. You get €12 per person you refer, and who successfully completes a project. It sounds like easy money, but it isn’t as you often answer a lot of questions while looking for the right people!
Work as a Production Manager from the comfort of your home and drink all the coffee you want!
Once you have your team together, you will begin your project
- Projects vary in sizes, and some are really small, while others are very large, often lasting many weeks. Ask your senior at Copypanthers how many weeks the current project will last, and add a few weeks – there are always unforeseen circumstances.
- Ask your writers how much time they have on their hands daily. Most will have a couple of hours everyday.
- Projects are managed through Google Spreadsheets. The Spreadsheets have a welcome page with information to potential writers, where they can see what milestones they must go through before they are accepted to continue with the project.
- The milestones of the project are important as you will be able to see what kind of quality the writer can deliver. You will also have a lot of contact with the writer at this early stage, and have the opportunity to get to know them. You will provide feedback on the work that the writer does, and it is really important to point out all the things that the writer did correctly, as well as what the writer did incorrectly:
- Mention all the things that the writer has done correctly – or sum it up to some positive feedback. It is great to be appreciated for work well done, and the writer should know that you appreciate the work that he/she has done. If you have started out as a writer yourself, you know exactly how it feels when you get feedback. Your writers would like to know if they have understood the requirements of the project, and if they have done everything correctly
- Any spelling errors or mistranslated words, as well as incorrect grammar, must also be pointed out at this stage, as well as any misunderstandings that the writer may have about the project.
- At this stage, you should spend 1-2 hours on every writer checking their work, and making sure that they understand every aspect of the project before proceeding.
- When a writer has been through the first 2 milestones they are ready to continue on their own. They will have more questions, so you want to make sure that they will feel comfortable asking those questions.
- Always remember to be both polite, honest and friendly in your emails and Skype calls. To the writer you are the only contact with Copypanthers, and due to the solitary nature of the job the only contact in a somewhat repetitive workday. The work is interesting and fun to most of the writers – but it also gets tedious.
Ensuring Great Quality Throughout the Project
is your most important job, as Copypanthers has a 100% satisfaction guarantee
. This basically means that all work should be delivered without any grammar mistakes and that the language used is completely consistent with that of a native speaker. There must be no sign of software translating the text.
You will be the one checking all the files that are delivered to the client, making sure that there are no errors in the text.
If it takes you too long to check the files, then the writers/proofreaders/editors are not doing their job well enough. Then you need to ask them to please be more thorough and correct all mistakes. It is therefore important that you try and keep up with the files that are coming in daily, so you can read through them, approve them and deliver them to the client.
is another important part of your job. You distribute files to the writers – either through Dropbox or XTM Cloud. You will need to find a way to distribute the files to your team, so you use their time wisely. As most files go through 2 writers/proofreaders/editors you need to make the files flow fast from person to person.
It will be different from project to project exactly how you do this, but as a general rule, ask your writers to please only ask for a file if they can finish it within 24 hours. Though it is tempting to give each writer a lot of files and then wait for them to finish them, you will waste other writers’ time. Try and find out how many files each writer wants to do each day. You can do this through the spreadsheet, in a tab called, “How much time do you have?”
When the file comes back to you, you check the quality, correct one or two mistakes, and deliver it to the client. There is often a separate delivery destination, where the files are delivered to the client each day.
File management will take a lot of your time everyday.
Keep in touch with your senior at Copypanthers everyday and ask any questions that you have.
How to Succeed as a Production Manager (and be promoted to Senior PM)
Being a Production Manager should feel like a lot of fun
to you. You will be stressed at times, because you are dealing with deadlines and sometimes hundreds of files that have to be delivered. There will be unforeseen complications
with the big projects – problems that you didn’t see coming.
When you find a solution to these problems and feel that you own your project, that is when being a Production Manager is the most fun. You will find that if you ask your seniors at Copypanthers, they will be more than happy to help you find a solution.
As a Production Manager you need a strong team
behind you in order to complete the projects. You need experience as a writer or proofreader
yourself and you need a really strong grasp of your own language, so you can see if the writers in your team are masters of the language as well. They need to deliver great quality at all stages of the project. And you need to check that the quality is OK, and if it is not, you need to be able to guide them to give you that quality. You can´t be a Production Manager without being superior at your language.
Your team will be real people like yourselves
. People who enjoy writing, and who think it is great that they are getting paid to write. But their time is also precious and valuable. They want to be paid for the great work that they do. When you take the time to talk to them, or answer their questions, you will get to know them and they won’t be strangers any more. You may never meet them in real life, but through Skype and emails you will get to know them anyway, and appreciate them for who they are – as you do in real life. The saying “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet” is also true for the people in your team.
People, just like yourselves, who have great lives doing lots of interesting things, when they are not working for Copypanthers. They have different strengths and weaknesses. Some will just be fantastic at adding the right commas, while others will be great at translating and finding just the right word. Some will be super at Googling and doing research, while others will have years of experience proofreading and making a messy sentence clear. As you work with them, you will come to appreciate all of them. Some work early in the morning, others work late into the night. You will only find out, if you ask them. Once you know them, you will be able to distribute the work to them, so it suits their busy lives. Think of yourself as a team player, and without your team, you are not a Production Manager
Your seniors at Copypanthers are also just people
. Hard-working people, who just love what they do. They love talking to you, they love finding solutions to the problems that they deal with every day. If you work with them as a team player
, you can help them find solutions to the problems that they face. You know more about your team than they do, and you know about the problems that are facing your project.
You are the team player that both works with your own team of writers and the team of seniors at Copypanthers who deal with all the administration, human resource management, finding more clients, etc. The key is to work with both teams as an equal team player
, appreciating all your team members as unique people, who should be appreciated for who they are and what they do.
If you treat everyone you meet with total honesty and a natural curiosity, you will start building honest relationships, as you do in real life. It takes time to get to know each other, and it can´t be faked or pushed along. One day you will just feel that you are amongst friends, and not strangers.
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Photo credit: Mish Mish
/ CC BY-NC-ND