Freelance Translators: Surviving and Prospering During Bad Times - Part 2
Regardless of our career, we should all continue learning – seeking new knowledge and skills.
Get in Touch with Old Clients
These are clients you’ve already worked for in the past, so already you have a contact you’re familiar with. Touch base with these people to see how they’re doing, and remind them that your services are still available to them. Sometimes these calls are received at precisely the right moment – because they were just thinking about calling you! Either way, it’s a great marketing strategy to keep in touch with your old clients to simply let them know of any new services or specialization you may be offering.
Who Owes You a Favor?
It doesn’t hurt to call in a favor every now and then. Use your contacts and/or clients and ask for suggestions, advice, and hopefully, referrals. It’s important that you get the word out that you’re looking for work because we know that more job action takes place from casual acquaintances than it does from people close to you. And importantly, don’t forget to return the favor!
Never Stop Looking for Work
Any free time you have should be spent looking for work. There are many online portals advertising new work, so make sure you’re familiar with these and check in on a regular basis. Other translation professionals will publicize their business by leaving comments on online forums and blogs.
Become an Expert and Specialize
Find an area of interest and specialize; and if you’re already specializing then learn as much as you possibly can and make yourself an expert on the subject. Because it’s already a subject that interests you, you’ll find that taking an online course or doing some form of study will not only be interesting but will place you in a market where people seek you out for your specialized translation services.
Sell Just One Thing!
Most self-employed people wear many hats, but it can be very confusing to prospective clients trying to understand exactly what you do. So sell just one thing. For the purpose of this post we’ll assume that you work in marketing and communications, but that one thing you sell might be copywriting. You’ll find that only a portion of your revenue will come from copywriting, with the rest of your revenue coming from other aspects of your business once a relationship has been established and trust has been built.
Put Yourself Out There
If you’re looking for work, you’re going to have to get out of your office and start letting people know in-person that you and your services are available. Start attending functions, like a translation conference or a networking lunch. You’ll find that most of your clients will come from face-to-face contacts or alternatively getting a reference through a colleague or other contact. If people already know you prior to requiring your services, they’ll be more than happy to discuss their business, their translation needs, and how you might be a good fit for them. It really is all about networking, and you can’t be shy about this. It’s important to remember that networking works for both parties: perhaps today you’ll be the one who receives a referral or the name of a potential client, then next time it could well be you helping someone else.
Never Stop Learning
Regardless of our career, we should all continue learning – seeking new knowledge and skills. There are always different branches or sidelines of your career for you to examine, new courses to take, new skills to learn, ways of differentiating yourself from other people offering the same services. There will always be a new niche for you to slip into, something that interests you, and a way for you to boost your financial status.