Marketing a Freelance Business

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).

  1. 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?
  1. 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 can help in determining the rates to charge in order to meet desired income.

  1. 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 for more information and for a marketing plan template for freelance translators.

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