5 Things Every Freelance Language Translator Should Know
Whether you’re already a freelance translator, or a translator thinking about going freelance, we thought you might benefit from a few tips we picked up from Steve Gordon, Jr.’s book, 100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers: Insider Secrets for Working Smart & Staying Creative.
Going solo doesn’t mean you can’t be part of a team
Very often freelancers go solo because they want to escape the office banter, the “water cooler” chatter, and the constant interruptions. Ironically enough, after experiencing freelance isolation, it’s not uncommon for many of us to start missing these social interactions. Just remember: Going solo doesn’t mean you need to live in isolation.
Try renting a desk in an office once or twice a week through ShareDesk. That way you’ll still be surrounded by people, but you won’t be locked into a monthly lease.
Another suggestion that we’ve mentioned before: Connect with an accountability partner, someone you can call or email in the morning to report on what you’ll be working on for the next four or five hours. Then around lunchtime, call back and give a brief “account” of what you accomplished. This will keep you productive and connected.
There’s no such thing as talking too much
As the adage goes, it is impolite to talk about one’s self, but when you’re a freelancer you’d do well to throw that philosophy out the window.
Tell everyone what you do for a living. By talking about your work, you enhance the industry, educate the public, practice your pitch, and may even get a fun project in the process.
Keep that day job—for now
One of the best ways to start off as a freelancer is to keep a full-time day job and take on freelance work that you can do on nights and weekends. Try to build up projects and clients until you have a flow of steady work and enough jobs to keep you busy for at least six months.
It will take a lot of hard work and dedication to do this because you’re basically working two full-time jobs, but the benefits will be well worth it in the end. The biggest benefit is that all the stress and long hours will help prepare you for going solo, managing clients, and dealing with deadlines. Plus you’ll already have a roster of stable clients.
Remember the old Boy Scout motto: “Be prepared.”
Hopefully, if you regularly spend four to eight hours a week developing your business, you won’t experience harsh dry spells.
When you’re working on projects and have a lot of deadlines to keep track of, it can seem strange or silly to pull hours away from a client to work on business development and marketing. But doing so is critical because the work you do to promote yourself this week may not pay off for weeks, months, even years down the road. You have to always keep yourself in front of people and remind them that you’re available.
Learn the art of negotiation
You set your rates where they are for a reason, so don’t accept a counter offer if it isn’t fair. Instead, negotiate by doing one of the following:
- Offer to get the job done faster: Many clients would gladly pay extra to wrap a project a week early just so they don’t have to worry about it.
- Offer a discount for paying your full fee in advance: Getting paid in advance is a rare treat. If the client can’t (or won’t) meet you exactly where you want, accept a lower rate for full payment in advance.
- Ask for more time to get the project done: If you’re taking a job at a lower rate, ask if you can have an extension on the deadline.
- Offer a bulk discount. Does the client have any upcoming projects that she could offer you? If so, take on those projects and offer a bulk discount.