Firstly, I wanted to thank you all for the support and comments during my first series of blog posts about logos.
This month, I am going to talk about how can you get that so-valued first translation assignment. In this post, we are going to analyse what things we need to get done before facing our first client. During the next posts, we will study how can we succeed during the pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase phases.
If there is something I have learnt during my first year as a freelancer is the fact that you have to be ready to face every unexpected situation. The more you have planned beforehand, the more chances you will have to get things done properly.
There are three main aspects that we should considering when looking for our first client: marketing materials, our business from inside and the translation-related materials.
Marketing material and marketing plan.
- CV. You need to elaborate a CV focused on your translation/interpreting skills. It’s one of the first documents that you will be required in certain situations (i.e. if you contact a translation company or apply for an internship). Here you can find a good guide on how to create a good CV by Marta Stelmaszak.
- Portfolio. If we want to work with direct clients, maybe this would be more useful, as they always want to know what you can do instead of what have you studied or how many courses have you taken. Advice: Be sure that you choose pieces of work that are relevant for a specific client. We will see in next posts that you should not offer the same services to all your clients and the concept of client segmentation.
- Business cards. They are essential to promote or business. Hand them over and keep some of them always with you. You never know when are you going to need them. Advice: Maybe you will need the help of a designer so they can look professional. The Websites for Translators Team has great offers. I can also give you my -10% code if you are about to get some with MOO.
- Website. Your website must be the pillar of your on line marketing strategy. Here you can include everything we have mentioned so far. Maybe you should consider to invest in getting a professional website done, or you can start creating one for free and, as your business evolves, getting your own domain. Wix could be a good start.
- Blog. Blogging is a good way to attract potential clients to your website and show them your expertise. Maybe it’s not that essential if you want to win that first client, but consider to add a blog to your website as your business evolves.
- Social Media Networks. This is a good backup that will make your clients trust you. Try to make a social media plan and be visible on the Internet.
2. Getting your business ready.
- Terms of business. Every translator must know under which terms and condition are we selling our products, and we have to inform our clients about them. I have mines displayed on my website, but you can always email them together with the first quote you send them, for example, and ask them to read them and let you know if there is something unclear or if they disagree on any of them. You must tell your clients that these terms of business are set to protect both, your business and your clients. Here you can find the ITI’s model of Terms of business.
- Pricing. It’s one of the first things that you are going to be asked for. I decided to create a simple table with all the prices of the different services I provide. Make sure that you also include any subcharges that may arise of any assignment (i.e. urgent assignments, assignments that you decided to undertake during weekends or holidays, or any assignment that will need to be processed with special tools, such as OCR tools, etc.) I am not going to tell you how much you should charge for your services. I would need a whole series of blog posts for this topic. The only apiece of advice I can give you is “make sure that every hour that you work is worthy”. This calculator may be very useful.
- Professional insurance. Maybe if you are going to work on sensitive issues such as medical or legal translation, you should consider to get this type of insurance so you can be covered in case anything goes wrong.
- Memberships. You should consider to join a professional association as your business evolves.
- Quote layout. This type of layouts can be very helpful and will save you a lot of time. The sooner you can send your quote over, the better, and the client will appreciate it. Remember that a quote of a specific assignment is one of the first thing you will be asked for. And the same applies for your invoices.
- Benefits for the clients. Take your time to make a list of the benefits that your clients will gain by using your services and send it together with your quote. This way, you will justify the pricing of your services and your clients will be aware of how valuable our services are and they will be more likely to accept your offer.
- Pay your taxes. Depending on the country where you are currently working, you will have to look for any legal requirements to work as a freelance translator/interpreter.
3. Translation-related needs.
- CAT tools.
- Glossaries and dictionaries.
- Collaborations. Maybe you should considering to collaborate with some client when dealing with certain assignments.
- Suppliers. How are you going to deliver your products? Sometimes just an email will be enough, but not always. Think about this. Maybe you should add a subcharge to you pricing table when you will have to send your translations by means of certain delivery services.
Would you add something more to these lists? Do not hesitate to leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org