The whole purpose of a New Years Resolution – and any other resolution for that matter – is to help us get further. Most people would agree that in terms of personal satisfaction, professional achievements and financial freedom both play a major role. No wonder we spend a 3rd or more of our active lives at work. Many people – and I am one of them – have an open chapter for business goals every year.
With this article I intend by no means to go public with my own goals (people once used to believe that’s a good motivation booster, but things change), but perhaps to motivate you to write down at least one goal for our business this year, if you haven’t done so yet. You can leave your business success to chance this year, or you can take the matter into your own hands. If you, like me (and most people I know) are reserved about setting goals for fear of failing, it should help to know that, according to one recent study, you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Here are some goals you could adapt to your own situation for this year.
1. Increase your productivity by X percent
One way of increasing your business this year is to increase your weekly average capacity. A successful freelance translator earns more than most people with a nine-to-five job because THEIR time is THEIR money, and freelancers who know how to effectively track and manage their time are likely to have a better business, because they are more productive. I’ve discovered that, by staying focused from early morning to 2 PM, I can easily finish a typical day’s work, which leaves me with another 3 hours which I can spend taking up more work from a new client, or playing with my kids, or attend a course. Would you be willing this year to push your limits and see if you can be more productive by focusing more on your work? You’ll get more done, and have room for more. Worst case scenario, you’ll have more leisure time.
2. Increase your earnings by X percent
There are basically two things we can do to increase our earnings as translators. Some of us might need to consider a rate adjustment, in sync with national economy (inflation, increased taxes etc) and personal objectives. One mistake we often do as freelancers is to ask for permission to adjust our rates. Does your car wash and your dentist ask for your permission when they want to increase their rates? We are service providers, and we set our own rates and rules.
One other thing you could do is to bring a new client on board. If you think you can increase your productivity and eliminate most of the time leaks (time you cannot account for) in your day, then perhaps it’s time to approach a new customer.
3. Set up a website to market your business
Let me say this up front: this won’t work miracles, but it will certainly matter enough to make it worth. Remember the days when commerce and services all revolved around the physical address of a business? That’s where you bought things and had things done for you. Okay, you still need to go to a hairdresser to have your hair cut/done, but more and more services and products now get delivered online. So the usual shop address has moved online with the internet revolution and there’s no excuse for your translation business to not have an internet address.
Once you have a web address, it’s really easy to set up a website and describe your business and services for anyone interested. Now you will have a nice web address to include in your e-mail signature (and I bet you write lots of e-mails every year), or to share with friends and prospective clients on different social media. In my next post I will show you how to set it all up, so be sure to subscribe to my e-mail list on the right.
I hope these thoughts will to some extent inspire you to set at least a goal for your business this year. To be sure you achieve it, keep down the number of goals, write them down, and make them measurable. Good luck!