Deciding to put the security of a salaried job behind you and to become a freelancer, is a bold move. However, it could well be the best decision you have ever made. Business is constantly evolving and companies are seeing the value in hiring top freelance specialists, instead of in house employees. Doing this saves companies money, but it also creates opportunities for people like you to earn money while you live your dreams – provided you learn how to effectively promote yourself as a freelance translator.
When you work for a company as an in-house translator, they take care of the marketing, and you simply have to show up to work. Then again, they limit how much you can earn by only giving you as much work as they think you can handle. When you’re a freelance translator, you can take on as much work as you can fit into a day, since you already save time on the daily commute.
Expert Tips for Marketing Your Freelance Business
Today, we’re going to give you some tips from a seasoned freelancer who works 8+ hours a day, 6 and sometimes 7 days a week and who has work scheduled for weeks and months in advance, without ever having placed an ad. That’s right – all this business has come from building a reputation online and from word of mouth.
Freelance Business Marketing – Step 1: Get a Professional Website
Since you won’t be going around with your CV, meeting potential employees, you need to help them put a face to your name. But more important than seeing your pretty face and knowing what your hobbies are, they need to see what you can do. They need to see your portfolio and they need to know that you’re a professional. However, a website can do more harm than good if you don’t bear some important facts in mind:
- Use a self-hosted, professional domain, instead of a free blogging platform.
- Ensure the content is professional by sticking to the topic.
- This is not the place for social or political rants or for personal attacks on people you don’t like. It is also not the place for pictures of your kids, cats or fish.
- Include a Portfolio page with examples of work you have done in the past.
- Include testimonials that act as a reference of your skills and professionalism.
Freelance Business Marketing – Step 2: Use Social Media Wisely
LinkedIn is a great place to make professional connections that can bring you business, but be sure to also use Facebook, GooglePlus and Twitter to engage with users. Remember:
- Gear your content to the audience on each of the platforms. What works on Facebook will not necessarily work on LinkedIn.
- Don’t spam. Share other people’s posts, because that will encourage them to share yours, too. It will give you more credibility and boost your online reputation.
- Never condescend, and keep your rants to a minimum. It is good to be yourself, but preferably the best version of yourself.
Freelance Business Marketing – Step 3: Sign Up to Freelancing Platforms
A good freelance portfolio on Proz, Translators’ café, Odesk, Freelancer, Elance, Fiverr and on other platforms puts you in the right place, at the right time. After all, that’s where potential employers will be looking when they need a freelance translator.
Freelance Business Marketing – Step 4: Get Referrals and Ongoing Jobs
Steps 1, 2 and 3 are just the start of marketing your freelance business. There’s much more to marketing than to let potential clients know that you’re in the business. True marketing is all about how you treat your customers, how you deliver on your projects and your attitude towards your business. Here’s what you should do, every day:
- Charge fairly – not under, not over, but just right.
- Stick to deadlines by keeping to a schedule.
- Under-promise and over-deliver, always.
- Be responsive by getting back to your clients in 24 hours or less, always.
Being a freelance translator is a fantastic opportunity to get paid for your passion for languages. You can do it from anywhere, at any time and it pays well. By following the tips above, you can make the most of this opportunity and promote your business (almost) for free.