As a freelance, you have to be prepared to work at a quite unsteady pace. Sometimes, there are very busy weeks and your email inbox is full to bursting with projects and client meetings, and in other weeks, you might start think that everyone’s forgotten about you, and that can be worrying.
So, how can you cope with these feast-and-famine cycles and remain optimistic? Our freelance translators from the Acolad Community shared their tips on how to keep busy in quiet weeks:
Take some time for yourself
Mens sana in corpore sano: that’s THE basic rule for everyone, not just for freelancers. Having a healthy mind in a healthy body is the best way to get through these quiet times and keep smiling. Get plenty of sleep (maybe even a lovely lie-in), eat a balanced diet, take part in sport: above all, look after your physical and mental health. Taking care of yourself is not just about having a healthier lifestyle. You could also go to the café and do a bit of people watching, catch up on those books you started months ago, as well as articles or blogs about translation. Lastly, take the opportunity to see your family and friends and spend some quality time with them.
Take advantage these quieter weeks to expand your network and build close-knit relationships with colleagues, clients and prospects. This will enable you to show them that you are constantly active and remind your clients that you are still available for them at any time. Going to conferences, translation shows and other networking events, like our meetups for translators is an excellent way to build a network. If you are rather introverted, you can also develop your network on social media and platforms dedicated to translators like… Acolad Community. 😉
Hone your skills and never stop learning
Are you in the middle of a week with no projects? That gives you plenty of time to develop your skills! Take some online courses or participate in webinars, read articles or books about an area of expertise or a more specific topic, learn a new language or revise a language you studied in the past and gave up on, practise your skills in IT, marketing and negotiation. Always learn to prepare yourself for new prospects and sell yourself efficiently. 😉 Not only you will keep busy, you will also show your future clients that you are a professional, with the ability to reassess yourself and stretch the limits of your knowledge.
Take care of other tasks
As an independent translator, you don’t only manage translation projects within your micro-company. You must also deal with bills, accountancy and more tedious administrative tasks. It’s less exciting than translating, that’s true, but once it’s done you will be less stressed. That’s why a quiet week can sometimes be a good thing. 😉 Moreover, there are tools, software and websites for freelancers to make your life easier by helping you manage your time and accounting records, or create state-of-the-art visuals even without being a design pro.
Create a professional website
Why not take the opportunity to create your own website? As the owner of your own company, a website is the showcase for your services and skills. Plus, a well-ranked website with a beautiful layout will catch the eye of potential clients and increase your online presence. So, make the most of a week with fewer projects and set up your website, especially if your previous online course was about WordPress or another CMS. 😉 Don’t worry beginners, there are plenty of ways to bring your website to life, even if you know nothing about coding: web development platforms (e.g. Wix and Jimdo), buying turnkey websites, as well as web agencies.
Being a freelance translator is a long and winding road, so it’s natural that you will face failures and challenges, but you mustn’t let these things get you down. You should learn to keep a positive mindset and make the best of bad situations. One thing is certain, there is no magic formula, everyone has their own way of doing things! And don’t forget, if you want to find more things to do when you’re going through a slow patch, your colleagues in the Acolad Community are always there to lend a helping hand and a friendly ear. 😉