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How to find more direct clients?
Thread poster: Paola Grochi

Paola Grochi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 10:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 20, 2009

Hi everybody! At the moment I'm having one of the lowest of lows regarding work. At the same time, I still work for two direct repeated clients but since I'm leaving my teaching job due to maternity leave and won't be back until March next year I'm really looking for ways to find more direct clients (I've never worked for an agency before!).

Can you share your tips to approach potential clients?

How did you find your best-paying clients?

What marketing methods -- both short and long term -- would you recommend?

And, by the way, where are all those translators who claim to have to turn down work because they're overflown with jobs? Just wondering...

Thanks in advance for all the advice you can give me!


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
excellent advice from Chris Durban Oct 20, 2009

Keep your chin up Paola!

Chris Durban gives some excellent advice during this interview (in English) shown by the German translators association on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uVjn_u9YZ4


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Eva Stoppa  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:53
Member
English to German
+ ...
great input Oct 20, 2009

Thank you John for this link. The interview is really interesting!

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Susana Valdez  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:53
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Thank's John Oct 20, 2009

Great Link! I really enjoyed the interview. It's good to hear someone that knows what she is talking about.

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Emilie Griveau  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:53
English to French
+ ...
Chamber of Commerce Oct 20, 2009

Hi Paola,

You should try contacting your local Chamber of Commerce.

They usually have a list of their members on their website (here in the UK at least). You can then see which business/clients might need translation services and then contact those potential clients directly.

I went to my local Chamber of Commerce, and they've been really helpful. I also had a chat with the International Trade Manager and he asked for my details. You never know!

I think the Chamber of Commerce is a great way to network and get your name out there.
And it only costs a little bit of your time! (or a little more if you want to get a membership).


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Eva Stoppa  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:53
Member
English to German
+ ...
I`ve been thinking about that too Oct 20, 2009

Hi Emilie,

but will they also help you if you are not a member?

Somebody posted on another forum that the foreign chamber of commerce, I don`t know if I got it correctly, at least that`s the German name for this, has more addresses from abroad which is useful if you translate into your mother tongue and live in the country of your mother tongue.


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Emilie Griveau  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:53
English to French
+ ...
It's worth a try Oct 20, 2009

Hi Eva,

I am not a member of the Chamber, and they helped me out. Go there and talk to them, instead of sending an email.

I don't know anything about the "Foreign Chamber of Commerce", but getting in contact with the person in charge of "International Trade" is a good start, as he or she would be in contact with exporting/importing companies and businesses.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Same problem... Oct 20, 2009

If you can call it a problem. I've been freelancing for over 20 years and, touch wood, been very busy. I've had a few direct clients come and go, including one that gave me huge volumes of work for a couple of years, but I've never managed to earn my living substantially from them. It seems like translation companies have cornered the market. I don't have any great issue with that, provided that they add value, and most of them do.

Are there many translators out there who get most of their work from direct clients?

PS: good luck, Paola!

[Edited at 2009-10-20 17:50 GMT]


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
I do Oct 20, 2009

philgoddard wrote:

Are there many translators out there who get most of their work from direct clients?


I do - and there are plenty of others.


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Mariela Diaz-Butler
United States
Local time: 08:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
then give me your secret! Oct 20, 2009

John Rawlins wrote:

philgoddard wrote:

Are there many translators out there who get most of their work from direct clients?


I do - and there are plenty of others.


Then you're the person we want to hear from! I guess my question is, how exactly did you get started? How did you acquire your direct clients? About how long did it take you at the beginning to land your first direct client and how did you come about it?

I used to be a manager for an agency and finally went solo last year... only to find out that my only client so far is my old company (not complaining, as I make quite a good bit from them, since they know me and trust me). You can see how this can become a problem, as I'm putting the proverbial egg dozen in one basket... I just need ideas!

Thanks!

Mariela


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 15:53
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Direct clients use mostly agencies Oct 20, 2009

Except for correspondence clients need multiple translations most of the time. That's why they use agencies. These documents need conversion for CAT-use and dtp, which their own stuff cannot handle. Its easier to do business with one agency and their PM than with 25 freelancers.
So you better look for agencies too if you are serious about working full-time.

Regards
Heinrich

PS: average year income-wise, but had lows. But have been on holidays already for 9 weeks total, so no reason to complain.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
Direct Clients Oct 21, 2009

Yes, you can hear from me, I have practically nothing but direct clients, but I work on the US-Mexico border in EnglishSpanish. Here is where the demand is, I got there by networking.

I think networking will help anywhere, try it. It involves a lot of effort, but it is worth it.


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:53
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
networking - revamped website Oct 21, 2009

networking will help - visit local business meetings, check out websites of companies you would like to work for, use Facebook, LinkedIn and othern social networks to look up all you old school friends and colleages and students

Modernise your site a bit (depending on local taste), put a space between "moresamples", on the Proz -> Preeschool course designer with 1 "e"?,

You need to find out who is looking at your site, mostly Spanish speaking or mostly English speaking?? (and modify the language accordingly)

Forget about accepting test translations, you may be desparate at some point, but you don't want your clients to know it.... You are generally extremely busy, but you can find the time to provide special care and attention for all new clients in your busy day - instantly.

Scrolling through the site is sometimes too much effort for some clients, add contact details and email to the top of your site " For instant quote" etc ...

===
Ed


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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:53
English to German
+ ...
mostly direct clients Oct 21, 2009

I get most of my work from direct clients. I got them through networking and recommendations or they found me on the IoL website.

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