Some people are naturally more organised than others — perhaps you’re one of those people, or maybe you read the first clause of this sentence with a pang of guilt! Regardless of your personality type, staying organised as a freelance translator is crucial to your success.
This Translators’ Hub post will attempt to provide some basic pointers to help you keep on top of running your business, especially if you’re just starting out as a freelance translator. By performing each of these steps every day you’ll be on your way to freelance success.
1. Manage your email
Email is probably the main communication channel that freelancers use to secure work and remain in it, and you’re undoubtedly aware of the importance of replying to client messages. However, ensuring that you manage your inbox well is crucial to building a professional reputation, and daily attention is necessary.
Try to set an expectation with your clients as to how long they can expect you to get back to them — 12 hours? 3? Even less? It’s a bad idea to keep your email notifications on constantly, as this provides a major distraction from your translation work. But devoting a short amount of time to working through your inbox once or twice each day is essential to staying organised.
2. Check your time is budgeted well
Checking what work you have lined up for the day and how long you expect it to take you is important to freelance effectively.
By budgeting your time each day you’ll know how much work you’ll be able to accomplish and whether you can take on any additional work from potential clients. You’ll also be able to guard and look forward to your personal time later in the day.
Using a stopwatch or a timer app is a good way to make sure you stay on track, and using one to manage your workload each day will increase your productivity.
3. Look for new clients
It’s important to spend some time each day looking for new clients. If you already have a full schedule for the next few weeks then it’s tempting to neglect this. But it’s crucial to ensure that potential clients know about your services so that you have another source of revenue lined up for when your current contracts end.
Simply spending a short amount of time contacting some companies, polishing your marketing copy or searching the internet for translation-related vacancies will ensure that you keep the work rolling in.
4. Follow-up with existing clients
How many previous clients do you have? After you’ve built a sizeable clientele, it’s a good idea to send follow-up emails to ask how they’re doing and whether there’s any further work you could help them out with.
Obviously, you don’t want to send too many emails to old clients or you’ll soon annoy them! So if you intend to do this daily, make sure your previous client list is big enough to ensure you don’t keep sending the same clients requests for more work.
5. Use social media to discuss business
Did you know that 70% of social media users look at their accounts each day? If you’re not regularly using social media then you’re missing out on forging a wealth of instrumental relationships: from finding new clients to receiving advice from fellow translators, putting yourself out there each day will lead to many opportunities that would otherwise go untapped.
What are some of your daily business routines? Is there anything else you do each day to ensure your freelance business runs smoothly? Feel free to let us know in the comments.