In an ideal world, one freelance translation job would pop up just as the previous one was about to finish. Of course in the real world that’s rarely the case. What’s more likely is that a quiet period spent scrabbling around for work will be followed by one which sees two or more clients suddenly needing you to undertake urgent translation work for them, all at the same time.
Learning to say no
As a freelancer you are responsible for your own income and the more you work, the more you can earn. However, you need to achieve a work/life balance that suits your lifestyle. Saying yes to every job that comes along can lead to incredibly long working days. If that suits you then great, but if not, you need to learn to say no. But how do you choose which client to say no to?
Look at the short-term…
Consider the work that both clients are asking you to undertake and how long each translation will take you. Look at the value of each job and work out which one you can commit to based on the time you have available and how much you are in need of the income.
…then look at the long-term
However, before you decline a translation job based on the short-term considerations, be sure to look at the bigger picture as well. If one of the jobs you have to choose between is from a long-term client, it might be better to keep that client happy in order to guarantee future income from them. Alternatively, a new client might be a refreshing source of new income – and even be happy to pay a higher rate than you charge your existing clients.
Weighing all of this up will help you to understand which of the jobs you ought to choose – and your gut instinct should confirm your decision.
What is your process for choosing between two clients? Is it something you have to do very often? Let us know by leaving a comment.