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.

Conclusion

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!

If you think “family”, this post is likely to surprise you. If you think “rest”, then think again. Don’t get me wrong, these two are up there among the top best reasons why I don’t work on weekends. After all, it is during the weekends that my family gets the best of my attention. And I really feel physically regenerated after a proper weekend’s rest when my HP (to use gaming jargon) is replenished to the extent that I am able to face another week. But if family and rest are not the number one reason to avoid working on weekends, what then? Continue Reading…

First of all, I want to thank those of my visitors who have given their time to help turn this article into the article below. You have all contributed to making this content useful for our Transylvania Digest community, and for many others who will be sharing the content through social media. I’m sure many more of you will engage in commenting and sharing tips, now that we have a solid architecture for the office of a translator. So, here we go. Continue Reading…

exclam3This article is now closed. This other article now has the info you are probably looking for.

One of the great things about freelancing is that you are queen or king of your own office, can choose your own throne, can decorate according to your own tastes and, most importantly, you can give it the functionality YOU want.

My original intention was to come up with an article outlining what I think is essential to a translator’s office. As I started thinking about it, I realized it would be a pity to limit the article to what I find useful. So, I figured that if this article is going to REALLY be useful, it has to include some of the best ideas and practices out there. My plan is to Continue Reading…

Here’s an interesting article on Freelance Switch that I think you will find useful. Thanks to Tess Whitty ‏@Tesstranslates for sharing it.

There are a million freelancers out there. The question is, how are you going to get noticed and help people remember you and the type of freelance work you do?

The answer is branding yourself. As a freelancer, you need to create a memorable way for prospects to easily recall who you are and your freelancing specialty. I’ve reviewed hundreds of freelancers’ websites, and most of them don’t do a good job of presenting a memorable brand. But the good news is, it isn’t hard to improve your branding and gain a higher profile as a freelancer.

There are two basic ways to approach branding as a freelancer:

  • Create a business name that tells people what you do in a snappy, artful way
  • Use your own name but develop a concise motto or tagline that fills prospects in on your specialty

I know freelancers who’ve had great success using both of these strategies, so it’s not that one approach is always better than the other. It’s a question of which approach appeals to you and works best for the message you’re trying to get across.

Let’s look at how these branding approaches play out as you develop all the building blocks of your marketing toolkit as a freelancer. These are the steps to building a brand each freelancer needs to go through. It’s important to develop a clear brand message for your business.

Your goal is to present a consistent, unified message in all your marketing — at in-person networking events, on your website, on your business cards and other printed marketing materials, and in social media. Repeating one brand message will also help make you easier to remember. Let’s look at key branding tips to consider when creating your freelance brand.

Click here to read the rest of it.

Playing in the major league of the translation business may require that you be part of a major league team. Common Sense Advisory, a US-based research company, published earlier this summer its annual report on the global translation market, that includes a ranking of the top businesses in the language service industry.

Here’s what I would like to know: have you partnered with some of them? Would you like to help the translators’ community understand what it feels and looks like to work with a major industry player? That could help some of your peers make an informed decision when trying to approach a top-level company. Please drop a comment if you would like to contribute.

So let’s get started by taking a look at the companies that made it in the top 25, based on their revenue. Don’t forget to comment. Continue Reading…

A gimper is someone who cannot settle with mediocre or even standard performance. When they look at the expectations other people have from them, their first concern isn’t whether they can meet the expectations, or whether they can getaway with substandard. They want to overachieve and they will spare no effort until they’ve exceeded all expectations. Continue Reading…

In a world with an ever expanding need for multilingual communication, translators are looking ahead with above-average optimism. Whether you partner with agencies or have your own clients, the translation industry seems to be one of the best to work in. But if you’re a freelancer, I bet you would like to see your business increase. Getting direct translation clients, is one way of doing it.

For the sake of fairness, I will mention that this article was inspired by a discussion on Linkedin, and I owe a great deal to the contributors to that discussion, like Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz or Matt Bulow among others. I decided the discussion brought up many great ideas that are definitely worth a summary. So here’s a few things that might help you to get direct translation clients. Continue Reading…

Time has taught me that I’m most effective in an environment that contains a minimum amount of distractions. A silent environment is especially important on this job, especially if you aim to increase daily work speed, accuracy and output. Therefore, working from home where you may have massive distractions (unexpected guests, TV, kids, fridge) could easily reduce your productivity by 50%. Continue Reading…

If you are considering becoming a freelance translator, you should be able to come up with a straight answer to a number of questions. Here are five of the more important ones:

1. Do you like translating, really?

The office of a freelance translator can sometimes be a rather destitute place, can you handle that? You should if you really like translating and have experienced the gratification of an ever-expanding horizon. If you sometimes lose track of time while translating, and find it difficult to stop, well, then you’ve most probably got it in you. Continue Reading…