In recent years, the idea of working as a freelancer seems to have attracted many enthusiasts. The number of people choosing this route is continuously growing amongst all occupations. Not only professionals who have worked and gained experience in all walks of life are choosing this path, but also people who are at the very beginning of their careers decide to take the worthy risk.
Similarly to any other job, being a freelancer comes with advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps what appeals to many people the most, is the idea of being your own boss, which also shows in this survey. Being able to work when and how you want is a great benefit, however, what’s important to keep in mind is that you are responsible for finding work.
I have worked as a freelance translator for over 5 years now and although the early stages were difficult, I can now say that becoming a freelancer was perhaps one of the very best decisions I made in my professional life. Thanks to my ‘marketing strategy’ and a bit (truthfully – a lot) of luck, I am fortunate enough to work with Language Reach and Translation Services 24, some of the top translation agencies in London. Prior to this however, I had to construct an effective strategy to market myself and present my skills in a way that would reach and appeal to potential clients, and so here’s what’s worked for me.
Brand yourself through your website
Although I have worked in the translation industry for a few good years now, I am still what many like to considered a ‘new’ translator, having joined the business in the digital era. I can only imagine that this has made it relatively easier compared to the time when some of my follow linguists joined the industry prior to the World Wide Web.
A personal website, if designed and planned correctly, can be a huge benefit to any freelancer. A clear layout with high quality content is exactly what you should aim for. Not only this, but you should equally push for a template that will give visitors ease when navigating around. In terms of your content, one of the most important things to highlight are your skills and experiences so make sure that you display these clearly.
Simply following through with simple techniques such as these will optimise search engines to list your website higher in the search results. Try to think of your website as an online CV that your potential employers will see. Not only this, but having a personal online platform makes it easier for you to continuously update your skills, credentials and experiences, improving your chances of getting job opportunities.
Create a profile in the best places
When you’re just starting out as a freelancer, it is important to do some research in order to find the leading organisation or institutes within your industry. Great examples of such organisations within the translation sector are websites such as the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, Chartered Institute of linguists or Proz. These are some really great platforms to grow your online presence as a professional freelance translator. If you specialise in another sector, as previously mentioned, do the research and find out which organisations are recognised within your niche.
Publish and become an expert
Having a blog as well as guest posting on other relevant websites truly are great ways of growing your online presence. You will be able to not only interact with people from your industry and niche, but also be seen as an expert, giving you the opportunity to reach more potential clients.
Use the right language in your email content
Whether you love it or hate it, sending emails to your potential clients is one of the most important things you’ll do when starting to work as a freelancer. In fact, email campaigns are perhaps the most frequent way a freelancer gets a job! You will have to sell yourself and your services in just a couple of lines, without necessarily writing a book.
What I’ve learnt is that clients want to see which languages I cover, my specialities (in my case legal translations) my rates and any professional associations that I’ve acquired. Make sure the content of your emails is short but effective as the people you will be emailing receive tens if not hundreds of similar emails every month!
Building your own brand isn’t something that can be done overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and effort, but if done correctly – will prove effective. Gradually establishing your name as a freelance professional, thanks to the internet, is now much easier than it was even just 10 years ago.
It’s however important not to forget that challenges, such as competing with pools of other freelancers that offer equally brilliant services, still exist. This is why it is important to utilise as many tools as possible to grow your online presence, whether that be through social media, your blog, website or via a public associations and stand out from the crowd!