It’s interesting that many freelance translators don’t set goals for their business, yet we know that goal-setting is a vitally important element of running any business – and yes, that includes running a freelance translation business too! When you work day-in-day-out without any goal in mind, this type of passive attitude can only lead to low job satisfaction and job stress, and it’s no wonder! You feel like you’re at the mercy of your clients and that they’re dictating how, when, and what rate you work at; instead of having the satisfaction of knowing that you’re actively progressing towards achieving your goals.
Let’s have a look at some suggestions for setting and achieving your goals –
Define Your Likes and Dislikes
Ask yourself what you enjoy and what you dislike about being a freelance translator, and make sure you write your answers down. Do you hate the stress of rush projects, but you love the flexibility of your job? Be honest about your specialization: do you find it boring? Or do you love your specialization, but you’re not feeling challenged at the moment? Once you’ve completed your list, find ways to shift your work towards the aspect’s you enjoy. Making this kind of inventory can be eye-opening, because suddenly the answers will be clear.
Rank Your Clients
Divide your clients into groups – Group A, Group B, and Group C. Your Group A clients should be your drop everything clients. These are the clients that are easy to work with, they’re the clients who pay well, and their translation projects are interesting. Unfortunately, most Group A clients don’t require your services on a regular basis, so unless you have a lot of these clients you still need another source of income. Group B Clients are your bread-and-butter clients – they’re the foundation of your business. It’s these clients that keep your Inbox filled with work; they usually pay on time, and their work can be either tedious or interesting. Group C clients are those clients who may offer a particularly interesting project, but you only work with them when business has been slow or you have some other motivation.
Now that you’ve ranked your clients, work out how you can identify more Group A clients. What are the specific characteristics of these clients? Once you have the answer to this question, you can then search the Internet for more potential clients like them. An additional benefit is that you’ll also discover some characteristics of your business. Group A clients are probably going to be direct clients because, once a translator has reached a certain level in the industry, they will have moved beyond translation agencies maximum rates. Any translator who’s reached that level won’t be able to increase their income without moving towards working with direct clients, and that will involve undertaking one hour translation reviews.
Make Sure the Goals You Set Are Specific and Achievable
Being specific and being achievable are the two characteristics that make goals worthwhile. Instead of setting vague goals like: ‘To be less stressed’ or ‘To make more money’, set yourself actual goals that you can reach, and be specific. These need to be measurable objectives. As an example, your goal might be to find one new direct client in a specialization you’re really interested in; or perhaps to find three new direct clients that pay more than your current per-word rate within the next three months. It may be that you set a goal of increasing your income by 30% in the next financial year, or that in six months’ time you won’t be working any more than one night per week. Of course, these are just suggestions, but whatever your goal is, write it down and make sure it’s specific - and achievable! Good luck!