10 Things freelance translators should do every day (Part 1)

This post was originally published in my old blog. When this was first published, I did do all of these items daily for a couple of months and the results were so good that I no longer had time to stick to them! The two main benefits at the time were that my level of interest in my career and in engaging with fellow translators increased, as well my client base.

Some of these items became habits and I still do them most days. In part 2 of this post, I will give you some tips to accomplish these in an integrated way, so that they do not take the best part of your day.

The post you will see below is not exactly the same as its original version. I have updated some of these items with insight that I have gained since I started developing these habits. To make it easier and shorter for my readers, I have divided this list into two – items 1-5 (part 1) and 6-10 (part 2) – and provided some practical examples of how these items can be done daily/weekly without being too time consuming.

I hope it is as useful for you as it has been for me. Enjoy!

This list is an adaptation of a post by J.T. O’Donnell on LinkedIn, 10 things to do every workday, which inspired me to think about 10 things that freelance translators could do every day.

First of all, my two basic assumptions for this list are 1) every freelance translator is also an entrepreneur wishing to develop his/her translation business; 2) Freelance translators have understood the need to be visible online for their business and make time for that on a daily basis.

If you are a freelance translator and assumptions 1 and 2 do not apply to you, I suggest you consider them seriously.

On to the list…

1. Read something related to the translation industry – There are many interesting blogs about translation, such as Corinne Mckay’s Thoughts on translation and Speaking of translation; there are interesting discussions on LinkedIn groups for translators or about translation, such as Portuguese Translators, the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters and others. You may also read the news about new CAT tools on their respective websites. Feel free to ask for more suggestions if you are struggling to find interesting reads on twitter @EAP_engandport! If you are a medical translator, you may also like to follow @EAPMed for translation and medical industry updates.

2. Read something related to business development – Again, some of these translation blogs and groups will have articles on business development for translators. I myself share quite a few of those when I come across interesting advice, but do not limit yourself to those. Make sure you also read other blogs and articles related to business development, as they may have invaluable insight for your business. I personally like following famous entrepreneurs on LinkedIn, like Richard Branson, and reading what they have to say about business development.

3. Send two e-mails to touch-base with former colleagues or clients – If you endeavour to have a positive relationship with your clients and colleagues, you will always be able to find something to send them that may be of interest to them or just a general e-mail asking how things are going. The purpose of this is not to get business directly, but to keep you connected. Traditional ways of getting business leads are not the only way of getting more business; your relationships will bring more business to you, if you work on them, than any business generation initiative that you alone may undertake. Be human, be helpful, be nice and just enjoy the opportunity to connect with someone.

4. Empty client inbox list – This is business 1o1 and should be the first thing you do every day. If you do only one of these items each day, do this one. It does not need any explanation.

5. Have three quick non-work related conversations (in person or IM) with people in your contact lists every day. If you work in office, this may sound silly, but freelancers working from home are often isolated and may go for whole days without talking to anyone. Obviously, three is an arbitrary number; you need to work out how many of these you can have a day without disrupting your work, and have as many as you can! This is important because it is not all about work, again, sometimes the opportunities are in developing good relationships and focusing on the people, rather than on what business they can bring you. In my experience, a lot of my business has come from friends and people who knew in passing what I did, but were not necessarily in the industry or clients in any way. Even if they never bring you any business, having these spots of unrelated conversation everyday will keep you sane (especially if you work for hours at home and alone), so treasure them!

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