Here are some pointers for marketing yourself and your services. They are based on my own personal experience and on the input of other colleagues.
This is a follow-up to the 16 rules for dealing with agencies.
- Focus on the things you are really good at. Don’t list specializations that you would like to work in, but only those that you have actual experience in.
- Don’t go overboard in your advertising: for example, don’t list “too many” working languages (the meaning of “too many”, of course, is highly subjective) or unrealistic language combinations (e.g., if X is your mother tongue, don’t offer language pairs with 3 or 4 other “active” languages – it might confuse the client and doesn’t look too professional).
- Have your own website: there are many free hosting services out there; take advantage of them! Also, in addition to your profile page, ProZ gives you free webspace – USE IT!!! And if you don’t, at least disable the link in your profile. Potential clients are likely to click on the link and might get impatient if it does not work (because all they see is “Welcome. This is your default page”). So, use it or disable it!
- Speaking of your profile page, keep it updated! The same goes for your personal website.
- We all send out applications to agencies on a regular basis. Keep a list of those that you never heard back from. Contact them again after a year or so (things and circumstances change).
- With globalization upon us, we tend to neglect the local market. Take out an ad in your local Yellow Pages. If nothing else, it will be yet another source of income for you. Some companies may be wary about sending a huge project halfway around the world; they might just be more comfortable with a local translator within “easy reach”. In other words, that Yellow Pages listing might just land you a big one!
- Networking – no explanation required ()
- Never sell yourself short. It is alright to mention things such as “languages are my passion”, but, again, don’t go overboard. You don’t want to come across as someone willing to work for free.
- Set out your terms and conditions in clear, business-like language. Post them on your website or prepare a separate document that you can easily forward to your client. As a colleague here said, make clients appreciate you; let them know that you are a professional who knows his/her business inside out.
- Here is something that I have been using for a while: prepare your own PowerPoint slide-show presentation. Sometimes clients will call you up and ask for a brochure detailing your services, etc. (for some, a website is not enough, apparently). So, send them a – compact – PP slide presentation – just one of several marketing tools. And, by all means, produce your own brochure. Many translators (not only agencies) provide clients with folders and brochures (at the ATA job fair, for example, several freelancers used a combination of business cards, CVs and folders to advertise their services).
Please add your own ideas and input.
[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-19 20:25 ]
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Good suggestions, Werner. Here are a couple more I learned from working as a freelancer and as an in-house project manager.
1. If you are a freelancer, keep in mind that you _offer services_ and _run a business_. So when you send your resume to a potential client, don\'t make it sound like you\'re applying for a job (\"I am seeking employment as a freelance translator\", etc.). State what your business can offer to that client.
2. Keep resumes/CVs short (2 pages max.) and include essential information only:
- contact information (address, phone/fax/mobile numbers, e-mail address(es)
- language combinations (specify!!)
- areas of specialization (be brief)
- equipment (especially software)
That\'s all I can think of for now.