Emotional self-discipline as a key ingredient for success as a freelance translator

business people network and communicate in speech bubbles.

I’m sure we’ve all heard and experienced how important self-discipline is for freelancers, particularly those working from home. Some of us may naturally gravitate towards working all of the time and others of us might have trouble motivating ourselves to do any work at all. Without the routine of going to the office every day for a fixed number of hours and being answerable to somebody higher up and without a set start and finish time, freelancing really does bring with it as many challenges as it does luxuries. But that isn’t quite the topic of my blog post today. What I want us to look at in this post is emotional self-discipline and how I believe that this is a key ingredient for success as a freelancer – and one that people are much less aware of.

Emotional self-discipline

I’m going to start by letting you into a little secret: I hear voices in my head. In fact, I can hear one right now “you’re not seriously going to write that are you?”. Perhaps you hear them too. If not, try listening a little more closely because we all have them. It’s just mind chatter and it’s completely normal (or at least I hope it is). This mind chatter is simply the mind’s way of making sense of what we are doing and protecting us on the basis of past experience. The mind’s main objective is to keep us safely in our comfort zones and to keep everything as it is. Now there are certainly advantages to this. I mean, if your mind remembers that you once did something and something terrible happened, then you’re unlikely to want to go and do it again. However, what about all of those opinions those voices have and judgements those voices are constantly making on things you haven’t tried out yet, like raising your rates, contacting new clients, choosing a new area of specialisation and so forth. If we listen to them all of the time and haven’t learnt how to distinguish between useful objective information and fear, then the voices will soon start to take over your business. Are they already running yours?

The only way to grow, both personally and as a freelancer, is to take steps out of your comfort zone and to be prepared to try something new – even where the outcome is uncertain.

The illusion of control being necessary

Not being in control isn’t something that the human mind can handle very well. For that reason, it does all it can to try to stay in control of every situation. This is one of the reasons that voice telling you not to take new action is so loud. The only way to stay in control is to take the same action you’ve always taken. Then there’s no (or little) risk. But remember that saying “no risk, no gain”? It’s 100% true. If you want change, if you want to get out of the vicious circle you feel you are stuck in, then you need to take new considered action and then let go and be open to what happens next.

Listen carefully

When you start carefully listening to the voices in your head you may find that there are several, that some want to support you and some want to hold you back, some are encouraging you to move forwards and others are doing everything they can to stand in your way. Which of those voices is the loudest? If it’s not the one encouraging you, then it might be useful to ask why you are listening to the ones that are trying to hold you back. Is it just because they are louder? Is it simply a habit? Is it easier for you that way?

I hear from so many translators who feel like they are stuck in a vicious circle. They read books about marketing, they try to take new action but they rarely get very far. Even if they have the best of intentions and some of them are the most conscientious translators I know who are excellent at their craft, and yet lack of emotional self-discipline leaves them unable to break out of this vicious circle.

A process, not instant results

Like anything, learning to practise emotional self-discipline is a process. If you expect immediate results then you are going to be in for a disappointment. Just like any new client or personal relationship, learning to get to know your mind and to listen to and to differentiate between the different voices and to weigh up which ones you are going to choose to listen to takes time. But once you start to do this, you will feel more empowered because even if you still find yourself listening to the obstructive voices for a while, you will, from the time when you finish reading this post onwards, at least be aware of what you are doing and awareness, as I tell my mentees again and again, is the first step on the path to change and the first step on the ladder to success.

Action steps

  1. Pay attention to those inner voices. What are they saying? Is there more than one? Listen carefully to what the quiet ones are saying.
  2. Write down everything those voices are telling you on a piece of paper. This is important as it allows you to detach. When they are all in your head shouting for attention, it’s easy to lose track or to only hear the loudest ones or the ones you are most used to listening to.
  3. Now that you have everything down on paper, try to disidentify with the situation. Perhaps try imagining that you are advising a good friend rather than yourself.
  4. Go through the statements provided by your inner voices one by one and look for objective useful information and write it down.
  5. Identify the statements which are purely fear-based. Identify what the fear is in each case.
  6. Determine whether the fear is valid or whether your mind has simply been making up stories about one of the potential outcomes and is perhaps focussing on what it considers to be the worst case scenario. Ask whether the negative outcome you are expecting is a certainty or whether there are other possibilities.
  7. Take the new action. Coach yourself through it if necessary. Talk back to those voices and explain why you are doing what you are doing and that you have carefully considered the situation and that this is the best objective course of Action.
  8. Let go, trust and embrace any changes. Remember that until you take new action, you can’t know exactly how things will change. Life is never as black and white as our minds want us to believe it is.

 

Photo credit: Fotolia #50460503

 

 

Advertisements

The importance of making conscious decisions

Conscious business

Did you know that “I don’t have a choice” is the most disempowering thing you can tell yourself? And do you know what, it isn’t even true. You always, but always, have a choice.

You may not always make good choices and you may feel under pressure (financial, emotional) to make a particular choice but, even then, you are still making a choice.

It’s really not surprising that many translators feel like they don’t have a choice. Just look at the way many translation agencies and even some direct clients communicate with freelance translators. “Please translate this text by Friday, 9am. We will pay a rate of X.” Erm, hello? Am I an employee? I don’t think so. If you are interested in my translation services, I will be more than happy to send you a quote with my earliest delivery date if I decide (choose) that this is a project that I am interested in working on. I’m prepared to hazard a guess that there must be one heck of a lot of freelance translators out there who accept (choose) to be treated by translation agencies and clients in this way. Otherwise, surely they’d have changed the way they try to talk to us by now.

What you need to know

You have a choice about how your business develops.

I’m not talking about being able to control everything single thing that happens in your business. I’m talking about welcoming everything that happens into your business life and making conscious choices in order to steer your business in the direction you want it to develop (your choice). It’s about being proactive and not allowing (choosing) to let other people’s priorities run your business. How many times have you accepted a translation job you didn’t really want to do because the buyer sounded so desperate/was putting on the pressure and you felt like you had to help/had to do it.

Do you aspire to work for more direct clients but you find yourself filling all of your time with work for translation agencies? By accepting (choosing) all of these jobs and not making time (your choice) for marketing and getting out and meeting potential direct clients, you are, in fact, making a choice to move away rather than towards your goals.

Sounds crazy when I put it like that, right?

If you do not make conscious choices, your business will develop a life of its own.

Now I know that when we’re busy and stressed or under financial pressure, we sometimes make snap decisions on the spur of the moment and may come to regret some of them. I’m not for a minute suggesting that we can all be perfect and on the ball every second of every day. However, what I am saying is that by learning to live in and to make choices from the present moment in line with our goals, we will ultimately move our business in our direction of choice. Proactivity is key here but equally important, in my experience, is making time on a regular basis to reflect on the choices we have made recently to determine whether they were in line with our goals and objectives. And when we do make choices which don’t fit with what we really want, it’s a good idea to try to work out why we chose to act in that way so that we can learn from our behaviour and make more positive choices in the future.

Perhaps you have a belief that you can’t say “no” or that you have to please and serve every client who comes your way or perhaps you are a very helpful person. Don’t worry, we are all running programmes of behaviour that go back to childhood in many cases. By taking time out to take conscious stock of why we may have made a choice we later regret or which was simply not in line with what we really want, we can learn from this behaviour, learn to notice these automatic patterns when they start to play out and to make better choices next time round. Our priorities come first, not those of other people.

Your goals should be flexible.

There is a big difference between changing your goals because you are procrastinating (your choice) over taking action towards achieving them (negative motivator) and choosing to change them for a good reason (positive motivator). What I’m talking about here is accepting that right at this moment, you are the person you are today with the knowledge you have at this present moment. On the basis of who you are today and with your current level of knowledge, you can set your goals and start working towards them. However, since we’re all growing every day through experience, it may well be that in six months’ time, you have a different perspective and want (choose) to set different goals. This is ok and it’s another reason why it is necessary to regularly take some time out to consciously reassess our situation and to check whether we want or need (choose) to make any adjustments.

Take away tips

  • Get clear about what you want for your Business.
  • Check-in with yourself regularly. Ask whether your actions and choices are in line with your goals.
  • Make conscious choices.
  • Remember that you always but ALWAYS have a choice.

 

 

Photo credit: ©Ron Mader, Buzzword Bingo: Conscious Business Flickr

 

Translating in one direction or both – your choice to make

Choice Wooden Letterpress Theme

Today’s post is an English translation with slight adaptations from an article I first published on my German blog. When reviewing the site stats for Translator Mentoring Blog earlier this week, I found that the most popular post by far continues to be Should I only translate into my native language? which suggests that this topic is one which translators, especially those just starting out, struggle to get their heads around. This is hardly surprising with so much conflicting information out there, apparent rules, requests which seem to run counter to these “rules”, and strong opinions. So I thought that my readers might be interested in this article which is a brief summary of the main points I discussed at a workshop last year. A longer article is soon to be published. Please feel free to e-mail me if you would like a copy.

The future of the translation industry – what will translator training look like in the future?

In September 2015 an interesting invitation landed in my inbox. I was being invited to speak at a workshop entitled “Foreign Language for Future Language Professionals: Reassessing Market Needs and Training Programmes” in Trieste, Italy. The seminar was being organised by the University of Trieste and the European Union and would address, among other things, the topics of translator training and translation competence into the non-native language and the extent to which this is necessary given the native speaker principle which appears to dominate the industry.

As a representative of the translation industry, in my presentation I wanted to set the advantages of the native speaker principle against my experience of the requirements and needs of corporate clients and to explain why translators must be extremely competent in their foreign language(s), irrespective of whether they translate into their non-native language or not.

The native speaker principle

Personally I am and will remain a proponent of the native speaker principle, but purely because this happens to fit my own personal circumstances. The main argument in favour of the native speaker principle is that it ensures that the translation is linguistically and grammatically flawless. In many cases, this is, of course, of utmost importance. However, being a native speaker of the target language alone is in no way sufficient to ensure that the translation also properly accurately conveys the source text message – and this must surely always be at the very top of the list of objectives.

The native language of the translator therefore is only one factor which must be considered when commissioning a translation. Equally important is whether the translator understands the source text, i.e. the level of his/her foreign language competence and specialist technical language of the subject-field concerned. Only if the translator has a very good command of the foreign language and the specialist technical language, can he/she produce an accurate translation into his/her mother tongue.

Unfortunately, this second point is often ignored when applying the native speaker principle.

From ideals to reality

What is more, academic rules and ideals (“only translate into your native language”) are often not in line with the requirements of the industry and the needs of clients. It is increasingly the case that companies and clients are looking for their internal translators to meet all of their translation needs. Perhaps a company has a regular translation requirement and therefore wants to employ an internal translator, but doesn’t have enough translation work for it to make economic sense to employ one translator per language pair, let alone one translator per language direction. In such cases, it clearly makes business sense to employ one translator who can offer all of the language pairs required in both directions. But even companies which work with external translators are increasingly looking for a one-stop shop – often due to time constraints and concerns relating to confidentiality.

Translator training

Whether future translation graduates translate only into their own mother tongue or in both directions is, in my view, a question which each new translator must decide for him/herself. There will always be a market for translators who only offer the highest quality translations into their own mother tongue, providing that they also have extensive specialist knowledge in their field. However, there will also always be a market for translators wanting to translate in both directions.

Whatever the decision these translators make, it is, however, extremely important that they are given the opportunity during their training to increase their foreign language competence to the highest possible level and to polish their writing skills in the foreign language because, irrespective of whether they later decide to translate into the foreign language or not, one thing is for sure: in order to be successful in today’s translation industry, more than average foreign language competence is absolutely essential, not least for marketing purposes and communicating effectively with clients.

Your choice

So ultimately there is no “right” or”wrong”. Whether you decide to translate in one direction or both is simply a choice that you, as a businessman or businesswoman, are free to make on the basis of your skillset, your strengths and weaknesses and your vision. Know that whatever choice you make, there are clients out there for you – it is your job to find the ones which are the right fit for you.

 

Photo credit:

Choice Wooden Letterpress Theme: ©Fotolia – #81195249 – © enterlinedesign

Mastermind groups and how they can benefit translators

Mastermind

I was very excited when Karen asked me to write a guest post about mastermind groups, because I absolutely love mine. I look forward to the session and always come out feeling that I’ve made progress. So let’s jump right in and talk about what a mastermind group is, what the benefits are, and some factors to consider when putting a group together.

What is a mastermind group?

A mastermind group consists of like-minded people who come together to support each other in moving their businesses forward. The idea is to meet for regular, structured sessions in which each participant takes a turn at being in the limelight for an agreed period of time. When it’s your turn, you get to report on what’s happened since the last meeting, and then talk about things you’re currently working on, asking the group for feedback and ideas. You typically come away with a few action items that you plan to work on in the period before the next meeting.

Beyond that, the mastermind group can be set up according to the requirements and preferences of those involved. The number of people in the group can vary, as can the length or frequency of meetings. Some mastermind groups meet locally and face-to-face; others are online.

What are the benefits?

Reality Check
Sometimes it’s easier to see things clearly if you have to explain them to other people. As you start to explain, you realise where the gaps are and what you have to perhaps work on a bit more.

On the other hand, it could be that your mastermind buddies notice that you’re really on to something and encourage you to pursue it.

Challenge
When discussing an issue or an idea, you may realise that you’re basing your thinking on certain assumptions, and by asking questions such as “why do you think that?” or “why not?” the other participants may help you to realise that these assumptions are not necessarily true.

Brainstorming
When you’re working on something new, other participants can act as a sounding board, offering feedback and asking questions to help you refine your concept. Even hearing suggestions that you don’t like can help you figure out what you do want.

Extended Network
Participants benefit from each other’s networks. It often happens that you need something doing, and another person will say “I know someone who can help with that”. So your network expands.

Experience
People bring different experiences and perspectives to the table. If one of you is facing a particular situation and isn’t sure how to handle it, it can help to talk things through, discuss various strategies or play through scenarios.

Accountability
For me, one of the most important aspects of the masterminding group is accountability. If I make a commitment to, say, write a blog post before the next meeting, I find it easier to be disciplined and actually do it, knowing that I’ll be asked about it when we meet again. Of course there are no consequences if I choose not to do my action items, but I find that the act of writing them down and telling the others in the group is very motivating.

Encouragement
After working with people in a mastermind group for a while, you get to understand their journey, and you know exactly what it means when they say “Hey, I achieved X this week!” It’s great to be able to offer and receive praise and encouragement.

Social Contact
You get to go out for breakfast! Well obviously not if you’re meeting on Skype, and of course it doesn’t have to be a breakfast meeting, but in my case we meet at a café and discuss business over scrambled egg and cappuccino. Whether online or face-to-face, it’s good to get out of your own head once in a while and meet with like-minded people.

What do you need to consider when setting up a mastermind group?

My mastermind group grew organically out of a couple of networking meetings where we felt we all got on well and could help each other. If you’re thinking of putting a group together, here are a few things to consider:

Trust
One of the most important things is that you feel comfortable with the others in the group. A mastermind group works best if you can talk openly, knowing that what you say will be treated confidentially. And since we often talk about ideas in their early stages, it’s important to know that nobody’s going to run off with them.

Balance
The whole point of a mastermind group is that everyone has something to add, everyone benefits. So it’s important to have a feeling of balance – otherwise it can turn into a one-way coaching session, which is not necessarily beneficial for the person in the coaching role.

Similar yet Different
Your mastermind buddies should be people you can relate to and who will understand what you’re going through. But at the same time it is tremendously beneficial to be in a group of people with complementary skills, different ways of thinking and networks that don’t overlap too much.

An important factor to consider is whether you want to be in a group with people from your industry or from a mix of industries. There are advantages to both approaches: people from your own industry will have a good understanding of issues you may be facing, while people from other industries bring a fresh perspective.

Commitment
The mastermind concept works best if all of you are committed to meeting up regularly, so it’s important to find people who, perhaps after a trial period, are prepared to stick at it in the medium to long term.

How to find mastermind buddies

There are as many ways to find mastermind buddies as there are to network. Mastermind concepts are offered in various business groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. Alternatively you could join up with colleagues you’ve met at conferences or networking events, or interacted with online.

I’ll offer just a couple of links out of many:

One of my own mastermind buddies, Thomas Lorbacher, now offers a Germany-based service that brings like-minded people together to form mastermind groups (http://mastermind.covisto.de/)

And there is a brand-new Facebook group that offers a platform for translators interested in mastermind groups or other types of collaboration (https://www.facebook.com/groups/standingoutexchange)

I would definitely recommend joining (or forming) a mastermind group. I’ve come to know my mastermind buddies very well and we all help each other stay on track with our businesses. Add to that the opportunity to go out for breakfast every two weeks, and you’ve got a winning combination.

Author: Jane Eggers is a British freelance translator who lives in Heidelberg, Germany and specialises in IT and all-round English-language support for small businesses. Her website is here: www.jane-eggers-translations.de.

Content Marketing for Translators – What You Need to Know

SEO

Would you like to fill your website with content that your customers love and improves search engine rankings but aren’t yet on first name terms with SEO & Co? No problem – in this guest post, Katharine Eyre presents 5 tips on how you can optimise your web presence with even the smallest of budgets.

Content marketing

The concept of “content marketing” has enjoyed a firm place in US corporate life for several years now; now it is slowly being recognised in Europe. Content marketing is a type of online marketing which does not have the sale of goods and services as its primary objective, but the supply of relevant, informative and entertaining web content to the internet user. This content could take the form of a blog, a white paper or tips for using a product manufactured by the company behind the website.

By offering a continual flow of quality content, the credibility of the company grows – as does the level of trust by the customer. In this way, long term customer relationships are built and maintained. In short: with a well thought-through and consistent content marketing strategy, the chances increase that a visitor to your website becomes a customer and that a one-off commission becomes a long-term business relationship.

Making content marketing work for translators

As a translator, it’s difficult to assert yourself on the market and distinguish yourself from other service providers. However, with good content marketing, it is possible to gain an advantage over the competition.

Since many translators are sole traders who have only small marketing budgets, the production of the right content marketing strategy is a must. Only in this way can you choose and take the most suitable measures for your target group – thus using your available resources in the most efficient and economical way.

With these particularities of the translation industry in mind, I have put together the following 5 content marketing tips for translators.

#1 – Give your website a spring clean!

The first step in any content marketing strategy is to take an inventory of your website. Check for outdated content, “dead” links, contradictions and overlaps. I recommend entering all the pages of your website into an Excel table inventory, recording which content is contained on which page (text, pictures, info-graphics etc.). You can then use this as a basis to decide which content requires amendment, which content should be removed from the website and which new content needs to be produced.

#2 – Make a customer profile

The customer is always at the centre of any content marketing strategy. The content you provide has to gain his interest and keep it. In order to get to know your customer, I recommend putting together a customer profile. This could (for example) cover the following characteristics: age, sex, nationality, job, relationship status or hobbies. The more characteristics your profile considers, the more accurately you can tailor your web content towards the needs and wants of the customer.

#3 – Feed your website regularly

Google loves new content and rewards websites which are constantly updated with fresh content with better rankings in the search results. For you, this means that filling your website with content is no longer a one-off job, but an ongoing project which you have to keep going besides your core translation activities.

If you have a blog, be sure to publish at least one new article every month. Other regular features, such as a “Word of the Week” or information on seminars which you hold, should also be refreshed as often as possible.

#4 – Spread the word

Another method with which you can raise your visibility on the internet is to publish your content on other websites, e.g. networking platforms such as “Xing” or “LinkedIn”. In the marketing business, this technique is referred to as “seeding” – you sow your content on ground belonging to others in the hope that your business will grow.

By seeding your content, you are highlighting your special competencies and skills and are seen by more people – who may well need a translation at some point!

#5 – Thy shalt learn to love SEO

Do not be scared of these three letters! With a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of instinct, you can configure your website in such a way – structurally, technically but above all regarding content – that Google can easily understand and interpret it.

Here, there is no getting around detailed keyword research. By keywords, I mean those fundamental concepts which describe the main content of a website. This also includes word combinations. Which keywords are selected will depend on your customer – think not only about what you offer (e.g. “Translation”, “Italian”, “Arabic”), but also what words the customer may type into the search engine while looking for such services (e.g. “technical translations”, “law”, “German” or “contract”).

Once you have chosen your keywords, it is time to integrate them into your website in the most advantageous way. Use the keywords in titles, headings and descriptions – and be sure to place them at the start of a paragraph.

The use of keywords should, however, remain modest: the number one principle of SEO is always the relevance and readability of the content for the user. Google reacts negatively to the overuse of a specific word and punishes websites for this with lower rankings.

If you would like to learn more about SEO-optimised writing and read German, this article offers further Information.

Start your content marketing campaign today and get web-fit!

 

Katharine Eyre is a former lawyer, turned content marketing consultant and translator living and working in Vienna, Austria. While she is not busy translating legal texts from German into English, she focuses on building up her content marketing company, Content Instinct (www.contentinstinct.com).

Photo credit: http://www.seolinkbuilding.org/

The Five Steps to Charging on Value not on Price

Value

Today’s post is a guest post by my own coach, Vanessa Ugatti, The True Worth Expert. Over to Vanessa:

No doubt, you’ve heard it before – focus on value, not on price.  The question is are you doing that or not?  I would hazard a guess that many businesses pay lip service to this, rather than really doing it.  Fear dominates the world of commerce – there’s always someone willing to do it cheaper.  So let’s get straight to the point – no procrastination or shilly-shallying; it’s time to make a decision and the sooner you make it the better.  Neither path is easy; ultimately the choice is yours.

Step 1

Ask yourself the following question:

Do I want to be the person doing it cheaper?

If the answer is yes, keep on doing the same thing and I can guarantee that you will get the same results. Don’t bother reading this article either, because you’ll be wasting your time. On the other hand, if the answer is no, take a deep breath and carry on reading.

So far, so good.  If you’re still with me, you’ve successfully jumped over the first hurdle.  Well done.

Step 2

Ask yourself this: When was the last time I really looked at and understood my value?

For most people who have an expertise, it’s not easy to understand their value.  The longer they have been doing it, and the easier it has become, the more they take it for granted.  Consider the following:

  • How long did it take you to become a professional translator?
  • What did it cost you?
  • What did you have to give up while training/learning?
  • How long have you been a professional translator?
  • If you were to rate yourself in terms of how good you were when you first trained on a scale of 1-10, what figure would you put on it?
  • If you were to rate yourself in terms of how good you are now on a scale of 1-10, what figure would you put on it?

I will hazard a guess that it took years – longer than it took a chartered accountant to train, a doctor or even an architect.  It’s no mean feat.  Although I’m not a translator, I am a fluent French speaker and know how much time and effort was required to reach that stage. Remember you have gone beyond that level and are able to communicate a message effectively from one language into another. It’s an amazing skill and don’t you ever doubt it!  Are you starting to see your value?  If you don’t understand your own value, it will be unlikely that your clients will.  Understanding your value is something which takes time and you also need to review it on a regular basis.

Step 3

Ask yourself the following question:

Are the clients I’m working with in general the sort of clients who will pay me on value or are they looking for cheap and cheerful? 

If it’s the latter, then clearly you’re working with the wrong clients!  As previously mentioned, although I’m not a translator, I do know from coaching Karen that those of you who are working for agencies, for example, will definitely not be able to charge on value, as the agencies are dictating the prices and driving them down.

This situation means that you are not actually in control of your business; the agency acts as your employer, but without any of the benefits of actually being employed. This then erodes confidence, creates self-doubt and makes it harder to change.  It’s a vicious circle which needs to be broken.

Either way, you must target those clients who will value your service and pay you accordingly.  This may well mean making some radical changes in your business to be able to achieve this.  I would also encourage you to decide on a specialism so that your marketing can be focussed on a particular industry or profession.  As a generalist, you will be competing with all and sundry and therefore price will likely be the dictator.  On the other hand, as a specialist, you elevate yourself from the masses and it’s then that you can charge a premium for your expertise.

Step 4

Eliminating limiting beliefs

By now, I get the impression that you could be feeling a little overwhelmed.  If that’s the case, I apologise.  However, I’m not one of those fluffy people who say this is going to be easy.  If it was, everyone would be doing it.  Rome wasn’t built in a day; you’ll need focus, patience and determination to get where you want to.  Moreover, it’s not just about marketing and what you do practically; it’s also vital to work on yourself.   If you fail to do this, you’ll potentially limit your earnings and feel frustrated into the bargain.

What limiting beliefs do you have which are getting in the way of your success?

Karen is proof of what I’m saying.  She recently told me that because of the work we’ve been doing together, that she is now charging top fees to her clients and getting them, whereas before, that wasn’t happening.  Even though there are others in the marketplace willing to charge significantly less, (their competence level may or may not be as good as hers) because she now understands her value, both consciously and unconsciously, and has no qualms stating her fees, she is able to charge her true worth.

Step 5

Get help!  You can’t do it alone.  Be willing to invest in yourself.  Find the right people to support you on your journey.

Author biography:

Vanessa Ugatti, The True Worth Expert, coach, speaker and author of Amazon Bestseller, True Worth, dramatically shifts the thinking for people in professional services  taking them from their own perceptions of not feeling they can really charge what they are worth, to doing just that – and more! This unique ability, to bring out the best in people, has evolved for her over many years of facing similar challenges both professionally and personally, even questioning her own value in business. 

To access a complimentary copy of True Worth: How to Charge What You’re Worth and Get It, and to find out more, visit: www.thetrueworthexpert.com.

True Worth

 

 

 

 

Title photo credit: Got Credit

Focus on your goal – but don’t get ahead of yourself

The elevator to success is out of order

After talking to my mentee recently, I realised that it was perhaps about time I wrote a post on how to transition from where you are now to the better paid direct client market. Because it is, of course, a process and doesn’t happen overnight. The journey won’t be the same for everyone, however, so my aim in this article is to provide a few tips to point you in the right direction and to help you stay on track:

  1. Keep your sights on your goal – but don’t get impatient and don’t rush it

If you have been working exclusively or mainly for agencies for some years, there is no sense whatsoever in waking up one day and deciding to ditch all of those agencies so that you can start working for direct clients – as tempting as this may be – because, unless you have a magic wand, it’s going to take time to build up a direct client base. The important thing is to note the status quo and to ascertain what it is that you want to change and why (perhaps you would like to work with more direct clients because you think the work will be more rewarding, perhaps you want to find better paying clients so that you can work less whilst earning the same amount). It is important that you know your “what” and your “why” so that you can keep yourself focussed and on track.

  1. Step by step – replace clients successively

If you have been freelancing for a while you probably have at least a handful of different clients. Make a list of them and rate them according to categories that are important to you (e.g. good communication, fast payers, interesting work, rates, etc.). Do you already have some clients that you consider to be category A clients? If you do, make a list of all of the qualities and characteristics of those clients so that you know what you are looking for in new clients. If not, use your imagination. What qualities would your ideal category A clients have? When potential clients come along who seem to have these qualities and characteristics, you can start to replace the less than ideal clients on your list with these new clients. Be sure to do it successively and not to cross off all of your less than ideal clients at once: you still have to ensure that you are earning at least the same amount as before and ideally more.

  1. Create time for marketing – and do it

If you are currently working flat out for agencies to make ends meet, then you will need to claw back some time from somewhere in your day for marketing activities. Although it can sometimes feel like marketing is futile because it is unusual to see immediate results, constant steady marketing will bring you a steady stream of new clients over time and allow you to build your business in a gradual and healthy manner.

  1. Accept where you are now – and that growth is a gradual process

It is tempting to get frustrated and impatient about business growth but the fact is that you are where you are at the moment and you can’t change that for the present. By constantly taking steps, however small, towards your goal you will get there – in time. Just stick with it.

  1. Face your fears – and move past them

Many people find that the reason they can’t move forward with their business in the direction they want to go is that they are standing in their own way. Somewhere there is a misalignment between what they want to achieve and what they think they can achieve. There can be all kinds of reasons for this, usually based on past experience or the limiting beliefs they have grown up with. As a freelance translator you are your business’ most important asset. Personal development is a key aspect of business development and well worth considering undertaking if you find that you are struggling to reach your goals – or even to take the action which you hope will take you there.

Photo credit: Steps to success © Celestine Chua, http://www.flickr.com