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What to do when you loose a big client
Thread poster: Virginie Proisy

Virginie Proisy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:23
English to French
+ ...
Jul 4, 2017

Hello everyone,

Just wanting to share you the feeling you are going through when loosing a client.

I have been translating now for five years and nerver experienced such a panic feling, feeling useless with a declining turnover
I am alone and have to come up for all fix costs and it's really hard!

I am sending everywhere applications but competition is fierce between linguists and you can't overcome it!
I am just going through a nightmare!

I am translating from German into French mainly!

Do you know agencies that are looking for German>French linguists!
Thank you for your help and your attention!

Kind regards,
Virginie

[Modifié le 2017-07-04 19:18 GMT]


 

Stepan Konev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 12:23
English to Russian
Typos Jul 4, 2017

Virginie,
Your message is full of typos that you could easily prevent by simple spell checking or (even easier) by double reading your text. Maybe this is, by any chance, the reason?..

[Edited at 2017-07-04 19:15 GMT]


 

Morano El-Kholy  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 11:23
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Try to cheer up :) Jul 4, 2017

Dear Virginie,

I know that you are now feeling a lot of pain and that no words however can makeup for your panic.

But, I want to assure you that loosing a (big) client though it represents a major catastrophe! is not the end of the world. In our career, you make a lot of profits and gains and you also loose a lot of work and maybe clients too. So, this is absolutely a normal issue. Try to make necessary amendments and seek for another resources/agencies.

I know how it feels to be so desperate and sad. Cheer up. You are not alone after all icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2017-07-04 19:31 GMT]


 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Marketing! Jul 4, 2017

As you said, you've been sending off countless applications. Send more!

I've also written numerous posts about fear of losing big clients, the number one tip has been to never rely on one main provider. Diversify your clients otherwise you'll risk being left high and dry!

Now you're in a position where you've basically got to start from scratch.

I don't think asking for work on this ProZ forum post will bring anything other than criticism, but it does show you must be desperate. Keep trying! Reach out to old clients, upgrade your skills, gain accreditations, network.

There is so much info on this site about how to start off in the translation industry. If you can't do anything else, just read the wealth of knowledge available here.


 

Virginie Proisy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:23
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You are so great ! Jul 4, 2017

Morano El-Kholy wrote:

Dear Virginie,

I know that you are now feeling a lot of pain and that no words however can makeup for your panic.

But, I want to assure you that loosing a (big) client though it represents a major catastrophe! is not the end of the world. In our career, you make a lot of profits and gains and you also loose a lot of work and maybe clients too. So, this is absolutely a normal issue. Try to make necessary amendments and seek for another resources/agencies.

I know how it feels to be so desperate and sad. Cheer up. You are not alone after all icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2017-07-04 19:31 GMT]


Morano,

You are a great guy, God bless you!


 

Virginie Proisy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:23
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jul 4, 2017

DJHartmann wrote:

As you said, you've been sending off countless applications. Send more!

I've also written numerous posts about fear of losing big clients, the number one tip has been to never rely on one main provider. Diversify your clients otherwise you'll risk being left high and dry!

Now you're in a position where you've basically got to start from scratch.

I don't think asking for work on this ProZ forum post will bring anything other than criticism, but it does show you must be desperate. Keep trying! Reach out to old clients, upgrade your skills, gain accreditations, network.

There is so much info on this site about how to start off in the translation industry. If you can't do anything else, just read the wealth of knowledge available here.




Yes you are right, I am sending multiple applications and hope it will be fruitful!
Have a lovely evening!


 

Morano El-Kholy  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 11:23
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Welcome, any time. Jul 4, 2017

Virginie Proisy wrote:

Morano,

You are a great guy, God bless you!


Welcome, my dear sister.

PS. I am not a guy. I am a lady icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2017-07-04 20:03 GMT]


 

Virginie Proisy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:23
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sorry, confusing! Jul 4, 2017

Morano El-Kholy wrote:

Virginie Proisy wrote:

Morano,

You are a great guy, God bless you!


Welcome, my dear sister.

PS. I am not a guy. I am a lady icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2017-07-04 20:03 GMT]


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:23
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
(short-term:) turn down other clients less often + (medium/long-term:) step up your marketing Jul 4, 2017

There was an article in the ATA Chronicle about this very topic last year.
Sometimes you have to turn down jobs because you're not available, right? Well, now that will happen less often in the short term. In the medium/long term, you will eventually find new clients.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Get prepared! Jul 4, 2017

I had one major client for 20+ years. They accounted for 60-75% of my income. Then their market changed, their business changed, and they sold their own 5-story building, and moved back to the founder's home, as they began so many decades ago.

Of course, it took me years to regain the level of income I had with them. I learned the lesson to avoid putting too many eggs in the same basket. However I had to learn how to cope with a considerably larger number of clients.

That one client knew how busy they had made me at any time, so they wouldn't demand too much. Any one from larger number couldn't care less about your existing workload. Many of them come up every couple of months or so, and expect you to be 100% available for them, for the duration of their new assignment.

If you brush any of them off, it's natural: they'll have to find someone else to do what they expected from you. Though now and then they might regret it, there is a chance that they'll find someone else just as good, or perhaps better, and perhaps cheaper!

The key is in time management.

It's not a matter of "never saying no", but every time telling them what you CAN do... and getting known for always keeping your promises. They should feel confident enough to avoid applying a safety factor to the deadlines.

Say it's a Monday, and they need a job done by Monday next week, early in the morning, for a very important meeting at 8 AM. If they don't trust your timeliness, they'll say they need it by Wednesday. If they don't get it by Tuesday morning, they have the entire day to nag, so you'll deliver on Friday, and they'll feel reassured during the weekend, won't spend it worrying.

I never deliver late, and make sure they know it. So they ask me to get this job done by Wednesday. I could do it, but it would be exactly the time I need to do it; no chance for mishaps, no room for Microsoft seizing my computer for two hours doing a Windows 10 update (like the one I had today).

I tell them that I can PROMISE it for Friday, but I'll try my best to get it done earlier. Sometimes I manage to deliver it on Tuesday night. At worst, I'll be delivering on Thursday or Friday, but never later than that.

I prefer to deliver two days early than two hours late. How do I do it? I "pad" my committed deadlines. If nothing happens in the meantime, I'll deliver early. But if a top client of mine calls with an emergency, I can go extinguish their fire, and then move back to that job, and still deliver in time.

It is easier said than done, but your goal from now on will be to keep a bunch of clients as happy as you kept that big one.


 

David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
How can you know it for sure? Jul 4, 2017

Sometimes clients are only sleeping. It's the low season. I'm not sure the competition is that fierce in this pair.

[Modifié le 2017-07-04 23:30 GMT]


 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:23
Member (2015)
English to French
+ ...
Don't panic Jul 5, 2017

Hello Virginie,

Colleagues have already provided you with excellent ideas, I would say it is urgent not to panic. When we panic, we lose access to precious (self and other) resources, let alone are prone to flawed decision-making.

It helps to review your situation and see where you stand, what you can do. You have many positive reviews on your profile, I’m sure you’ll find new collaborations soon enough (and yes, maybe you can also refresh some past collaborations).

When contacting agencies, it’s not just a numbers game. Make sure your approach has a good chance of landing new jobs. Take good care of the e-mails you send and of the documents you provide.

CV

For example, I feel your CV could be reworked and be more geared towards translation (careful with the typos too). It could also benefit from a “service offer” instead of a “job-seeking” mentality: http://translationethics.blogspot.gr/2014/03/business-tips-for-translators-1-cv-vs.html#.Vd4_3yWqpBc/ (check out the sample PDF there for inspiration). You are now a professional translator offering your services and seeking a business collaboration with agencies, not an individual that wants to get hired. That’s why I would also advise you to have some terms and conditions ready, to show you are setting the rules (or at least are an equal partner). You can find recommended terms in French and English on SFT’s website: https://www.sft.fr/

I would remove the rates from the CV as those are limiting (also, EUR 0.08 is not currently equivalent to USD 0.12), add CAT tools and maybe choose something else than “Key Account Manager, Sales Assistant for different companies abroad / 8 years foreign languages English / German tuition, for children and adult ” at the very beginning of your CV.

Finally, I always prefer to deliver CVs in PDF format.

ProZ profile

Do you get potential customers contacting you through your ProZ profile? You could improve it a bit for maximum impact.

Some tips:
—Put your main pair first.
—You have a fair amount of Kudoz, but your expertise categories could be reworked to give a better sense of your specialties. I’m sure you can reorganize these a bit. For example: you can place Philosophy in “Also works in” and replace it with a field that will be more likely relevant to agencies and clients.
—Maybe find a more fitting/professional picture? Preferably one that is not upside down and does not feature any prop or violin.

Lastly, I think the title of “about me” section is misleading. This section is not really about you, it’s about what you can offer to the clients and agencies that will look up your profile. If somebody uses ProZ directory to find you, you want to convince them they should go ahead and contact you. Instead of the “I”, focus on what it is that you can provide.

Don't panic! Good luck!

[Edited at 2017-07-05 06:33 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Set yourself a rule... and stick to it! Jul 5, 2017

DJHartmann wrote:
I've also written numerous posts about fear of losing big clients, the number one tip has been to never rely on one main provider. Diversify your clients otherwise you'll risk being left high and dry!

Exacty! My rule is to do whatever it takes so that no particular customer represents more than 20% of my income. I admit that this means that I have to stretch often to do more work than I really need for a reasonable income level, but this stretching keeps more clients happy and reduces the risk of being in big trouble when a big account disappears for whatever the reasons.


 

Maija Cirule  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 12:23
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Hello Virginie Jul 5, 2017

Virginie Proisy wrote:

Hello everyone,

Just wanting to share you the feeling you are going through when loosing a client.

I have been translating now for five years and nerver experienced such a panic feling, feeling useless with a declining turnover
I am alone and have to come up for all fix costs and it's really hard!

I am sending everywhere applications but competition is fierce between linguists and you can't overcome it!
I am just going through a nightmare!

I am translating from German into French mainly!

Do you know agencies that are looking for German>French linguists!
Thank you for your help and your attention!

Kind regards,
Virginie

[Modifié le 2017-07-04 19:18 GMT]


Sorry to hear about your worries but this is not a Doomsday situation. I know how it feels as I was in your situation more than three years ago. My tips: maybe you should improve your ProZ profile, it looks without any individuality for my taste, and pay attention to keywords to ensure that potential clients can find you. I don't think that sending applications will help you, in most cases they are considered as a spam and deleted without reading. Try to create a bare-bones budget or borrow some money and focus on improving your CV and skills.

[Edited at 2017-07-05 05:11 GMT]


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:23
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Send a 'postcard' to clients you really like Jul 5, 2017

Whatever you do, keep on good terms with your best clients. Tell them when you are back from a holiday, and remind them you are there.

I was shattered when one of my major clients folded and fell out of the market - in its day it was a progressive agency and my former employer. But I had others... One of them suddenly decided at its headquarters that it would not work with translators who did not live where their native language was spoken... and I lost another whom I had depended on heavily in the early days.

However, my favourite PM also moved on and contacted me from a new agency that could see the advantages of some translators living where their source language is spoken.

Tell your favourite clients when you have time on your hands, or tell them wen you have been on a training day or taken part in some activity that keeps your skills up to date. (Self study counts here, of course, you don't need fancy certificates and diplomas!)
Collaborate actively, and cultivate a professional relationship with clients where you can. Make yourself visible - answer KudoZ questions. Contribute sensibly, even if you don't gain points - you will be noticed.

Develop a business personality that PMs will think of when looking for someone with your skills.

Fill out more details on your profile and see that good clients can find you when they need you. That is far more effective than sending yet another CV when they are not actually interested.

Keep trying, and good luck!


 
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