Poll: How long did it take you to build a portfolio of regular clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 01:35
Mar 16, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How long did it take you to build a portfolio of regular clients?".

This poll was originally submitted by Anabel Martínez

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:35
Italian to English
+ ...
1-2 years Mar 16, 2009

However, although my second-ever client (after I went full time) is still one of my best clients today, other regulars have dropped along the wayside and been replaced by others over the years. So it's a regular but constantly evolving portfolio.


Alex ST  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:35
Member (2009)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Applause for Proz community Mar 16, 2009

I have been non-paying member since August 2008. And I got client already in February. That is wondeful and shows how people around the world are looking intesely inside Proz.com. Why people visit this website if they are not interested. And, why do they go to Proz while there are many translation web provider in the net. Because they are looking for the most appropriate translator in their need.

Soon, I'll join to be paying member to explore more about the privilege available in this website. Do you agree?


Interlangue (X)
Local time: 10:35
English to French
+ ...
There was a life before the Internet Mar 16, 2009

Even my very first client was a "regular", but after I bought my first fax, I got 2 regulars, then 3 or 4. Then I got a modem and more customers. The Internet certainly made things a lot easier. Let's put it this way: I started out as an occasional translator for one, then several regular clients, became a part time translator for several regular clients and Internet allowed me to resign from my teaching job and work full time for several regular customers. When there is so much work I have to decline some for a while, some regulars (especially with smaller urgent jobs) stop contacting me, but when business slows down (after 9/11, after the EU enlargment and now, for instance) former regulars try and usually find me ready to work for them again (knock on wood)...


Daniela Lara  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:35
English to Spanish
there was, but I can't remember Mar 16, 2009

There was a life before internet, but I can't remember. I had my first contact with the internet when I was 18, now I'm 26. I started to work as a translation a few months ago and my only client send me the documents by mail, we live in different cities, very far away, so we need the internet, and also I need the internet to translate. That's way I have troubles remembering how did I do my homeworks at school without internet, we probably had many books at home... But it's so much easy now.


Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:35
English to Spanish
Hmmm Mar 16, 2009

How many clients should one have in order to consider it a "portfolio"?

I'm not trying to be nitpicky, btw. I answered 1-2 years, but now I'm not so sure. I think "it's an ongoing process" would've been a better answer in my case, since I don't think I have enough regulars yet to label it a "portfolio". My current regulars do send me enough work to keep me busy and earn a good living as a full time freelancer, though.

Still, I need to find more baskets. Risk diversification and whatnoticon_smile.gif


[Edited at 2009-03-16 17:17 GMT]


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
15 Years Mar 16, 2009

Yes, there was a life before the Internet and I do remember it. After all, I was brought up in the era before there was even TV.

It took 15 years working with pencil and paper, haunting libraries and filling my head with stuff. All that stuff helps me a lot today.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
How many in a portfolio? Mar 16, 2009

I said more than 3 years, but I only have a few and wonder how many regular clients would be considered to make up a "portfolio"?
I'm thinking about redefining "regularity" too, given the current slow rate of incoming projects...


Heike Kurtz  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:35
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Started with one regular Mar 16, 2009

when I started in 1998, I already had my first regular customer - my former employer (I had to move several hundred kilometers, so I could not work in-house any more). Since then, my customers tend to come back eventually, even though it sometimes takes months or even years between jobs. I have a few real "regulars", though (monthly and bi-monthly publications).


Oleksandr Kupriyanchuk  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:35
Russian to English
+ ...
First, one client found me... Mar 16, 2009

...and it turned to be a success (the mutual one), and then the process started to develop.


Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:35
Portuguese to English
+ ...
about 1 year Mar 16, 2009

I started part time, bought my shiny Proz membership, etc., while still waiting tables and doing other things to make the rent, but, within about 1 year, I was able to give up my "day jobs" and focus only on my freelance translation activities.
Proz.com has been an integral part of my business the entire time, and where most of my clients find me (or I find them).
Things had gotten so slow over the past six months (after 4 years of full time freelancing) that I was beginning to consider waiting tables again, but, thankfully, at least so far this month, things seem to be picking up again.
I have lost a few clients along the way (gone belly-up, or, I stopped working with them for payment issues, etc.), but I've recently found some new clients, and, I have some that have been with me since the very beginning.
In fact, my very first client ever still sends me work, and we found each other right here on Proz.
I have some clients that send workly nearly every month, and multiple projects, others that send work ocassionally, some maybe 3 or 4 times/year, but, all in all, I consider them all regulars, if I've worked for them more than 2 or 3 times, which, at this juncture, includes all but my newest clients.
There are ocassionaly 1 time only clients, but these are largely local immigrants with birth certificates to be translated, etc., and they often refer me to their friends and family, so, I still get repeat business out of the deal.


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:35
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
My previous employer was my first client Mar 17, 2009

Like Heike and others, I started my free-lance business with my previous employer when I left PAHO/WHO in 1992 with the idea of moving from Washington DC to San Diego. (I was determined to follow the sun while I was still young enough to enjoy it.) Luckily my portfolio grew quickly thanks to my former associates and other colleagues, who graciously sent clients my way. And the rest is history...


Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:35
English to Russian
+ ...
Lifetime Mar 17, 2009

Building a portfolio or regular well-paying clients is a lifetime never-ending activity. Alas....


Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:35
Member (2004)
English to Italian
before the Internet... Mar 17, 2009

yes, I think it took me 2-3 years... but I still work for many of them... after 16 years...icon_smile.gif


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Jared Tabor[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Poll: How long did it take you to build a portfolio of regular clients?

Advanced search

Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »

  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search