A successful freelancer who effectively builds his own brand generally tries at least once a year to summarize their previous activities, review customers and orders received, to draw conclusions for the future and choose the direction in which they should develop their business. That’s why from time to time it’s best to look critically at yourself. Think about your skills and the way you’ve been handling your business, and perhaps develop some new freelancer habits. Even if you’re just starting out as a freelancer or considering this type of career, you might find these tips useful.
Freelancer habits: 1# Take a look at your rates
Determining the correct market value of your freelance work is a real nightmare for most of people. Setting rates that are too low, and thus inadequate to the amount of work you have to put into the preparation of the project, can rob you off the joy and satisfaction. In the long run, it may lead to the feeling of burnout and frustration. And this is usually the main reason people leave the nine-to-five job and decide to work for themselves!
Dictating too high rates, on the other hand, you risk that you will discourage the client and lose a potentially lucrative project. It’s worthwhile to take various factors into account and look at it realistically. Do you feel your earnings are adequate? Do you take out as much as you put into this?
Remember that this type of a job often requires you to invest in yourself. You often have to look for additional resources, developing courses, workshops, etc. You are also yourself responsible for the office supplies, equipment and so on. A lot of your energy also goes to activities like research, marketing and contacting clients. It’s worth having all this in mind when thinking about the real amount of time needed to complete a given assignment and correct the rates if necessary. Each year you gain a lot of valuable experience, invest in your development and knowledge. As a result, it comes as no surprise that at some point you would expect a raise. As a freelancer, you deserve it too!
Freelancer habits: 2# Forget about clients that are holding you back
Regardless of whether you are talking about one of your regular clients who is with you almost from the beginning, your neighbour’s cousin who, sometimes, asks you to translate something for “old times’ sake”. It’s high time to make a list of regular clients and examine it critically. It may dawn on you how much time you’re wasting on unprofitable projects. An remember that profitability is not just the amount of money you receive in exchange for work. After all, there might be other benefits too. You can find interesting, useful contacts, gain experience in something new or get more exposure or recognition. However, if you find yourself pulling an all-nighter for poor money to complete another dull project, just because your old client asked for it, perhaps it’s time to say: “stop”. Don’t be afraid to terminate relationship with such a client or renegotiate the terms and rates. Only this way will you have time to look to new, better projects and clients.
Freelancer habits: 3# Learn new things
This rule applies to individuals doing all kinds of freelance work, but seems especially true for translators. Look critically at your skills and verify your expectations towards yourself and reality. Maybe there’s a program you always wanted to master, but you tell yourself that it’s not the right time? Maybe you want to promote your business through social media, but you don’t know how to start, so you prefer not to get involved in marketing? Or, on one hand, you want to do it, but on the other, keep postponing it and can’t force yourself to actually getting down to it? Perhaps you are thinking about taking on a new specialization, but don’t do anything to even get started? Remember that every time you engage in a professional project, it’s a great investment of your funds and time.