We did it again!
Last week, on 17th November, we had another live chat, and this time we talked about all things…client! And there wasn’t a technical
hitch challenge in sight! (Unless you count my cough…) We looked at the different mix of clients that translators have; from 100% agency to 100% direct, and everything in between.
So what did we learn? Just like with the rates chat, we learnt that it’s a personal thing. What works for one translator might not work for another, and, above all, we came to understand that that’s okay. It’s good to be different, and each combo has its own merits.
So what did we find out about “catching” these clients. One thing I mentioned during the chat was that everyone who contributed, whether they were a panellist or a colleague contributor, all apologised for the low-tech, non-flashy way that they’d come across their clients. Nobody started their contribution with, “Well, it was extremely complicated, and cripplingly expensive.” Because it wasn’t. And it’s not. Whether it was word-of-mouth, networking, plain old professionalism or living in their source language country that netted our colleagues their clients, they were all at pains to stress that it wasn’t complex.
So how did some of our colleagues get their best (also a very subjective term!) clients? In no particular order, it was down to:
- Past positions
- Pitching to client
- Colleague recommendations
- Through their website
Nobody mentioned advertising, nobody talked about pricey CRM systems, nobody even hinted at a sales funnel. It was all down-to-earth, all reasonably priced (mostly free).
It was all, well, obvious stuff (sorry guys.)
If I were to try and connect the dots between all their techniques (though nobody wanted to call them techniques!) it was all to do with communication. Communicating with colleagues, communicating with potential clients, whether through Linkedin, in-person networking or through the medium of your website.
The only potential expenses might be your website and/or getting out and about to industry events (though these don’t always have to cost a lot.) And connecting with potential clients doesn’t even have to be in-person (at first) – getting your Linkedin profile sorted (here’s a Linkedin mini-masterclass on that if you’re stuck), participating in Linkedin groups, as well as contributing and consuming content are amazing ways to get “on your client’s radar screen” (as Chris Durban put it in her quote from the session.) We ran a poll to see how attendees were using Linkedin and the results were interesting (and so encouraging!)
One last point on Linkedin – did you know that there are a range of webinars and courses you can access through the site? Anything from accounting for small businesses through to ebook publishing – it’s a brilliant resource. You can access a free month’s trial here (thereafter it’s £16.49 per month, I think.) I just found out about it recently, and I’m still on my one month’s free trial, but I decided after my first course that I’d be signing up to the full version – it’s seriously useful.
I’d like to thank….
As I mentioned, we had contributions from a range of colleagues around the world; some participated as panellists, whilst others provided their anecdotes and (bravely) let me try and do them justice.
So I’d like to thank Claire, Andrea, Victoria, Christina, Chris, Joanna, Eleanor and Rich.
Once you’ve listened to the recording, I’m sure you’ll agree their contributions were terrific. Their anecdotes, experiences and wisdom are being crafted into a lengthy blog post which will hopefully be of use to countless translators…wherever they are on their professional path.
The eagle-eared (is that a thing? Let’s make it a thing) amongst you will pick up on me mentioning the lovely Nicole Koenig’s name as a panellist, but unfortunately she had to dash off because of an emergency (she’s fine though, don’t worry!) so I couldn’t do the session with her. Rest assured though, her brilliant insights will be included on the aforementioned Colleague Contributions blog post, so you’ll still get the benefit of her experience!
So this post is to share the long-awaited recording of Let’s Talk Clients. At the moment it’s in podcast form, with the video soon to follow. As ever, share it, forward it and generally wing it around the internet as much as you fancy. The more people it helps – the better! Just click on the podcast icon/bar thingy (technical terms, obviously) at the bottom of this post to listen in while you’re driving, walking the dog or, as my friend Victoria so beautifully put it “picking up the Lego so no more gets stuck in your foot…”
One last thing…
In the podcast you’ll hear me talking about something called Challenge 500. I’ll be sending out more details to subscribers and “launching it” (ooooh! Fancy!) within the next few days, but here’s a sneaky peek….
I felt I needed a reminder that freelancing is supposed to be about freedom (Braveheart-esque face paint optional.)
So next month I’ve challenged myself to finish 2016 on a real high (and set myself up for a great 2017.) What started out as a fun thing to do for myself then turned into a challenge to my current course participants, and it’s now grown into something bigger (and better!) as I’d like to get 500 freelancers involved (you can help by doing the aforementioned sharing, forwarding and willy-nilly distribution.)
The challenge will be over the course of 5 days and it’ll look at a few of the elements I concentrate on in the course (though, admittedly, the course is in a lot more detail!) and challenge us to do something about them.
So what does the challenge look like?
Just kidding. Here’s what we’ll be doing and when…
Monday: Set our goals
Want a better work-life balance? Or to break into a new industry or specialism? Super…but how are you going doing that? No more vague “have more me-time”, “work less” scribblings in your diary. Let’s work it out in detail.
Tuesday: Work out our rates
Remember we said freelancing was about freedom? *gets blue face paint* What about financial freedom, and the freedom to set your own rates? Day 2 will be all about working out how much you need (and want) to charge your clients, so you don’t have those panicky moments when you’re asked for a quote.
Wednesday: Current client analysis
Have you ever really thought about the clients you work with? And whether you, you know, like them? What about how that fits in with other stuff…like their reliability, and how much they pay you? Today we’ll think about that.
Thursday: Raise rates/dump
Yeah, this is the scary day. Based on what we looked at yesterday, we’ll decide if your clients are in or out, and use our templates to tell them. If they’re out, we’ll send them their marching orders (it’s a nice letter, I promise), and if they’re in, we’ll decide if we need to raise their rates (yup, you’re gonna tell them that too.)
Friday: Testimonial time
Phew. It’s Friday. And time for the nicest challenge of the week. Hearing about how awesome you are. You’ve done all the hard work (in this challenge, and for your clients in the past) so now we’ll make sure they’re working hard for you. Social proof is amazing; people buy from people they trust, so having testimonials from happy customers is our goal today…..with the help of a template of course.
How will it work in practice?
5 challenges, over 5 days. Monday to Friday. No breaks. No momentum-losing weekends to put us off.
I’ll send you an email a day, with a video, a challenge and a workbook (and probably a template or two – you know me, I like a good template.) I’m kicking it off on Monday 5th December 2016 – it’s before the mad rush of Christmas (and before people start to take time off) but it’s also well ahead of the New Year, so that we’re ready and prepared to take on the world by the 1st (okay maybe 2nd) January 2017. (Oh, and the challenge is free, obviously.)
If, you’d like to join the course participants who’ll be using Challenge 500 to kickstart their learning (and go into more detail on the tasks) – you can sign up to the course by clicking here. If there’s sufficient interest I might do a Black Friday / Cyber Monday / early Christmas pressie discount on the course price…just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d be interested.
Don’t worry though, you can just do Challenge 500 for free, yourself, by signing up with the link below.