18 Jul Marketing a Freelance Business
Most translators and interpreters are freelancers, meaning that they take on a variety of clients and jobs and don’t work for a specific company. While this type of work can be flexible and rewarding, it also brings with it a set of challenges. One such challenge is the need to market oneself and establish a solid client base, so that in “dry times” the freelancer doesn’t find him or herself without work. If you are a freelancer and have found yourself struggling with this very issue, the tips below on creating a successful plan for your business development form a great starting point (provided by Tess Whitty on the LinguaGreca blog).
- Develop a business foundation. This is a “definition” of your business—the services you offer, how you are different from your competitors, etc. Answer the following questions to help you formulate your business foundation:
- What services do you offer?
- What areas do you specialize in?
- Who are your clients?
- Who are your competitors?
- What are your unique selling points?
- Make a financial plan. You need to have a clear picture of your costs, including your time, how much you need to pay the bills, and how much you need to generate a living. Once you have determined your costs, you can set a minimum and maximum income and form rates and take projects based on the financial picture you’ve drawn for yourself. Consider these questions while making your financial plan:
- What are your costs?
- How much do you need to earn?
- How much do you want to earn?
- Based on these answers, what is your desired hourly, weekly, monthly, annual income?
- How much do you want to work?
This rate calculator on Proz.com can help in determining the rates to charge in order to meet desired income.
- Finalize a marketing/action plan. Once you’ve established your business foundation and financial plan, you can begin to formulate a set of steps to reach your goals. The best thing to do is to set aside a certain amount of time each week to work on marketing—even during busy work times. This will help you to avoid the “famine” times of work. Use the following questions as a guide when making your action plan:
- How many new clients or projects do you want and in how much time?
- How much more do you want to earn?
- Where will you find your new clients?
- What marketing methods will you use?
- How will you market and provide service to your existing clients?
- Can you offer additional services to your existing clients?
Use your three-part business plan to make a calendar of tasks for each week and month. By doing this, you can establish a successful freelance business that will help you spend more time doing what you love and guarantee you a more sustainable income.
See Ms. Whitty’s site www.marketingtipsfortranslators.com for more information and for a marketing plan template for freelance translators.