Being a freelancer is a chance. A lot of freelancers embrace their way of life and wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.
But let’s be honest, to start freelancing was not always so easy, and we often wish we had a mentor to share his/her experience. Since we can’t really be your mentor, here are a few tips that the interviewed freelancers wish they had received when they were just starting their careers!
1 – Always make sure you have all the information that you need
Find out everything you will need to know about a project as soon as you begin so you’re not caught by surprise later. For instance, if you’re a translator, always make sure you read the source text before accepting a project. A good rule of thumb is if you have even the slightest doubt, go ahead and ask.
2 – Create your own processes
Following the last point, creating your own protocols will help you a lot because a little organization can go a long way. When dealing with a client, make a list of all the questions that need to be asked. A checklist with all the specific guidelines for a project or all the tasks you need to complete in a day can also be very helpful.
3 – Keep track
Make sure to keep written records of everything you agree on with your client. It may not serve as legal proof in case something really bad happens, but it may come in handy. Also, keep track of the companies and project managers you have worked with. You may need this information if you need a recommendation or are ever looking for new jobs!
4 – Be present online
Show the world how great you are! Use a network like Acolad to communicate with other translators and create a network. To start freelancing also means that you become your own marketing team.
Also, being online will help you keep up to date on what’s happening in the market! The translation industry is constantly evolving constantly, you need to keep up with automatic translation, post-edition services, and other innovations.
5 – Be transparent
Be honest with yourself about what you are able to do. If a client contacts you about a new project, you don’t have to accept it. Don’t feel comfortable with a project? Then don’t work on it! There is a gap between accepting an impossible project that will only discredit you in your client’s eyes and doing a project out of your comfort zone to challenge yourself. In the case you’re up for a new challenge, you should always let the project manager/client know that you might need a longer deadline.
6 – Measure your productivity
Following the last point, it is important for you to know, approximately, how long a project will take you to complete. If you’re a translator, calculating how many words or pages you translate a day is also a great source of motivation: with training, you will see how quick you can get. Be careful not to compare apples and oranges: a marketing document needing transcreation will always take longer than product descriptions.
These are only a few of the practical tips that most freelancers only learn after they have made a mistake. If you want to start freelancing, remember: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!