We recently published a popular Translators’ Hub post detailing six important reasons for having a mentor. Hopefully we were able to convince you of a mentor’s importance to your freelance career, and in this post we’ll take a look at some of the different ways you can actually find a mentor.
Here are five different ways to locate one:
1. Search social media
No doubt you’re already active on various social media channels, but are you actively using them to seek out mentors as opposed to using them exclusively for securing new clients? By performing some quick searches and engaging other freelance translators in discussion, you’re bound to find someone who will be happy to advise you, perhaps even on an ongoing basis.
2. Browse freelance forums
Similar to social media, specialist forums provide an online environment to discover new contacts. Of course, you can guarantee that users of a translation forum will work as translators themselves — or at least be interested in the profession. This should make finding potential mentors much easier, although the scope of potential candidates will be smaller than social media channels.
At Tomedes, we’re fans of the proz.com forums, and suggest that you make it one of the first freelance forums to check out.
3. Ask your networks
If you’ve spent time working with a few clients and researching the freelance translation profession, then you probably have a few contacts that might provide suitable candidates. But if not, then it’s likely that you’re only a few steps away from finding one by using your network of contacts.
Emma Cossey of freelancelifestyle.co.uk found one of her mentors this way, and it’s possible that finding a mentor in this manner might even provide you with advice free of charge. So be sure to spend some time considering whom you know already, and you might be surprised to find that you already know of someone who could be a suitable mentor.
4. Draw on your previous employer
This point is especially relevant for freelancers who used to work ‘in-house’ for a translation company, but mentors for general business matters can come from any form of previous employment.
If you were on good terms with your old boss, perhaps getting back in touch to ask for some advice over a coffee might be a good option? Alternatively, perhaps some of your co-workers are in a similar position to you and might prove helpful? Leaving your old place of work to branch out on your own doesn’t mean that you have to simply forget about your old colleagues. And chances are high that there might be some useful people to get back in touch with.
5. Hire a professional mentor
There’s a host of freelancers who work as mentors-for-hire in addition to their main line of work, and making use of these individuals’ services could be a good option for securing a skilled mentor. Whilst this is most likely a more expensive option, it can still be an incredibly good investment if you find the right person.
As with all products and services, you’ll be able to pick the mentor who best meets your needs, which isn’t always an option when using the other methods mentioned in this article. It’s also worth noting that you can bill a professional mentor’s fees as a business expense.
Hopefully this article has served as a good follow-up to the previous Hub post, and given you some tips for securing a mentor of your own. Please let us know how you found your mentor, if you have one. Or let us know how your search for one works out!