In this post, we’ll take a look at translators who are still in the freelance launch phase and try to identify the pitfalls that cause so much worry and stress when just starting out in the business.
Don’t Make the Mistake of Expecting Too Much from a Half-Hearted Marketing Effort
Unless you already have direct clients to kick-start your translation business, then sending out a few applications to translation companies is not going to be enough. Sorry, but it’s going to take a lot more than that! You’ve decided to become a freelance translator, so your job now is to market, market, market and continue marketing until the day you decide you no longer wish to be a freelance translator - because the marketing of your translation business should never end!
Don’t Expect a Short Start-Up Phase
You’re starting a new business and you’re going to be looking for clients - this all takes time. Don’t make the mistake of expecting the start-up phase of your freelance translation business to be just a couple of months. You need to start marketing (looking for work), then you need time to do the work and time to get paid; so realistically, six months would be the very minimum to expect for start-up. It could well be a year or longer!
You Must Have Strong Language Skills
Many professionals believe that it’s difficult to develop the cultural and linguistic competence professional translators need without spending time in your source language country.
As with any other business, people can’t possibly know about you and hire your services if they can’t find you! You can’t be shy about this: you have to put yourself out there. People can’t refer clients to you if they don’t know what you do, so let people know who you are both in person and online.
Get Your Rates Up as Quickly as Possible
A trap for new translators is getting stuck on the low-rate treadmill. Obviously, no-one sets out to be underpaid, and we know that working is certainly better than not working, plus, when you’re trying to break into an industry you have to start somewhere. The intention is usually to start low then trade up to better-paying clients, but the problem arises: when and how do you do this? Some translators keep working long hours at low rates, just to pay the bills, and because they’re not confident of retaining their clients, they stick with their low-paying clients.
Being Self-Employed Is Not Always a Walk in the Park!
You may have heard the saying about the entrepreneur working 60 hours a week so they don’t have to work 40 hours a week for someone else. Even though working a lot of overtime is not advisable, the essence of this statement is quite true. Yes, working for yourself is indeed a lot of work, but people who choose to be freelancers prefer to take responsibility for their own future by making their own decisions. Being a freelance translator does not suit everyone, but for those who do choose this path, it can provide an amazing lifestyle.