How can I succesfully develop my business as a freelance translator?
I started working as a full time freelance translator 2 months ago and find it hard to get noticed by agencies and therefore to build up experience and get references.
The beginning for freelancers is so difficult. Some freelancers have gotten the first project since 6 months they started.
1) You should sign up to the freelance platform as Upwork, Freelancer.com, PeoplePerHour.
2) Fill your profile where you put all your skills and experience. The important thing in the profile is your portfolio. Put your previous works. If you don't have them, write some examples.
3) Take small projects. It helps you to get first references.
4) Use additional tools for searching jobs. For example, Periodix (https://periodix.net/) finds the greatest freelance jobs to be hired. It helps you to apply for the best jobs for your profile.
5) Build long-term relationships with your clients. It helps you to get other projects from that.
After some time, you will have enough orders to open your freelance agency and share your jobs with other freelancers.
There are some great recommendations provided below, but I do agree with Gary. In your question I don't see a few key factors
1) What language(s) are you translating?
2) What is your goal as a freelance translator:
a) Who do you want to work for? Do you want to work for large corporations or do you want to work with solo-entreprenuers?
b) What are you thinking of charging? This will definitely narrow down your potential client.
c) Have you done research where other freelancers are offering the same service as you are above?
When it comes to marketing your service, remember a simple concept for marketing in today's world. "Either Be The First, Be The Best, Be The Loudest or a combination of all three".
I would start with that and then look at where you want to build.
Good luck with your business,
Katrien: While all of the suggestions already given have merit, there is lack of focus on defining potential customers. You also did not disclose in what languages you are skilled. Large companies with frequent international interests will have native speakers on staff or will communicate in English. Some of my friends in your field have found a ready market with commercial lawyers, international litigators, patent law, and technical markets for symposiums conducted in and delivered in local language. These suggestions may require you to get additional training (for example as a para legal or in technical specialties) and research to identify and then to sell to those firms. I am not sure that agencies can deliver these unique clients. But the work is there at elevated rates. Good luck.
How very exciting to be staring a new business. Just super! (in any language.)
I think there are a few things you can do to get noticed but my favourite is to hit the target market on the head with your services. Try doing an e-mailer - a short service description (one paragraph) and translate into the languages you specialise in. Send to the creative guys at the agencies, editors at magazines and news papers as an example of your work. Pay a good creative copy writer to write a catchy paragraph that will make your target markets sit up and take notice.
Also, pass it onto your friends, ask them to pass it on to their friends, post it on your LinkedIn page, Facebook page, join Freelance Central, take an ad on BizCommunity and get onto the supplier databases of government organisations.
Create a web page (or site). And, as the other contributors have said, get your SEO right up there.
Good luck girl! Much success and happiness
In addition to the already great suggestions, which I would do first. I would also consider reaching out via direct sales (phone calls and inmails through LinkedIn) to the larger advertising, PR agencies, engineering firms and software development companies working internationally. Most will need translators. As will big public companies. There are also body shop companies who source out contractors into big projects. They would be high on my list as well. The providers are usually local and they tend to specialize by industry sector.
I'm a big fan of direct selling, because it gets you out there talking to people. You can start out using contacts found on LinkedIn and Bizo. then if you run out of names, you can buy a list of companies engaged in export or with foreign offices and then smile and dial them to let them know you exist.
I know that likely sounds awful, but in my experience it works really well.
What a great service! You may already be familiar with Odesk, Elance and Freelancer. Plus, you should make connections on LinkedIn. Make every connection as if they were your next client.
Create a video with you (in front of a camera) and translate your introduction, in all the languages you are able to speak or write. Also, use 'closed caption' text at the bottom of the video, so your prospects can see what you're talking about.
No one has time for cold calls. Video introductions make a better impact.
Hope this helps.
Katrien, Great question!
There are several things You can do.
1. Create profiles & offer your services on online places such as elance.com, guru.com, odesk.com and even fiverr.com
2. Make a list of the company and organizations who need your services, find them on LinkedIn, follow the companies, connect with employees. Anticipate what they would need and create a package , introduce your packages in newsletter that You send out weekly. Or in conversations. Of course You'll need to have had some sort of relationship going. So build on that and not only for that purpose either because people always know when one is genuine or not :))
3. Write blogs on the topic of translation and broach topics -such as cultural etiquette- in such a way that companies thinking of expanding overseas will be interested
4. As in # 2, Create a LinkedIn profile etc. and do the same
5. If You read a company's blogs and it says anything about expanding into a foreign market- the language of which You speak , show them what You can do for them. Do not assume they will know.
6. If You can translate, perhaps You can teach, create mini-online/ Skype etc. courses for business people who are travelling overseas and want to or need to be come familiar with the language. Find businesses who want to learn different things here opensesame.com / Or people here lessonvendor.com
7. If possible Join Fortune 1000/ 500/ 100 memberships/ associations where You can take on roles that may showcase your talent. Or where at least You can network with those who need your service.
Hope these ideas help!
I Am Wishing You Well!
Peace +Much Love