10 Things freelance translators should do every day (Part 2)

This is part 2 of the 10 things freelance translators should do every day. Please click here for items 1-5.

6. Review the top three goals for your translation business. It is all very well sitting down one day, usually when you are not very busy and feel like you should do something, and writing goals for your business. However, this is a big waste of time, if you lose track of what is most important for your business. We must keep our goals in focus. It is very easy to forget about them when we are on a working spree, with enough translation work to works 10-12 hours a day, but it is no good only thinking about them when the work dries up. As translators, we love reading and translating, and it is easy to forget about all other aspects of our business when we can do just what we like, but the dry periods will come (less often the more established you are) and it is much harder dealing with those, if you have to start from scratch. This is a very quick item to tick, because if you stick a poster in your office with your three main goals and read that first thing before you start working, you have done it! Nevertheless, do not underestimate it because it is quick and easy; being constantly reminded of where you are going will make decision-making a lot easier for you. For example, one of my goals is to focus my business on medical translations, which is what I like and am good at. Hence, if I keep that in mind, it will be easy to say no to a job in a completely unrelated field, even though I have a couple of spare hours, and use those hours to contact more potential clients in my field.

7. Identify and execute one task to support each of the top three goals that you have identified. These do not need to be massive tasks or incredibly relevant. If you make sure you do at least a little something every day, in the long term you will be doing something major. For example, my current goals are 1) delivering high quality translations, 2) developing a solid and loyal client base and 3) promoting my business online consistently. So, today, my three tasks are:

1) Learning about a new CAT tool required by a client (to support goal 1)

2) In addition to steps 3-5, I will be joining and engaging in discussions in some new LinkedIn groups related to the medical industry (to support goal 2)

3) I will be updating some of my social network profiles, which have not been updated in a long time (to support goal 3).

8. Post five valuable pieces of content on all my major social media accounts. This blog post is one of my five valuable pieces of content for today, but I have also tweeted a couple of other interesting articles that I read when doing items 1-2. This step may be tied in with steps 1 and 2. For example, if you are reading an interesting post about the translation industry, you may post that to a LinkedIn group or share it on twitter. If that post gives you an idea, such as I am writing this blog post now, you should also share that with some of your social media networks. If you always approach your reading with a view to improve your knowledge and to benefit those who connect with you, than accomplishing this item will come naturally to you, because you will be excited about sharing any valuable information that you come across. My only warning is, when posting valuable content, make sure you always think about whether they reflect your professional image and fit in with the network with which you are sharing. You may find this hard to do every day though, because you may not have the time to do a lot of reading/writing every single day, so you can use a social media management tool, like Buffer or Hootsuite, to schedule and plan your posts to ensure your readers and followers hear something from you daily.

9. Read articles and post at least five comments to non-translation related topics that you are interested in. This item is not related to items 1 and 2, this is to be more like item 5. You may share some of what you read here with friends or other contacts, who are interested in the same topics as you, as a means of keeping in touch with people (see items 3 and 5). Nevertheless, essentially, not everything has to be related directly to our industry or our business. If you have other interests, make sure you read about them and develop relationships with people who like them too. This is important for your sanity and because we never know where our next business may come from. In addition, we are in the business of language, so nothing that is communicated is really off-topic for us.

10. Take a full minute (or more) to appreciate what you have and how far you have come. Even if you are fresh out of school, obtaining your education is a milestone, and you should allow yourself to feel good about that. Forgetting about giving ourselves due credit is easy, particularly during those dry periods I mentioned in item 6, but a healthy business requires healthy leadership. You will never develop a solid business, if you do not think of yourself as a worthy entrepreneur. Acknowledge your mistakes, but acknowledge what do right as well.

If you want to create a healthy habit of doing these 10 items every day, my suggestion is:

–          Start your day reviewing your goals and thinking about what you have accomplished. Allow yourself a few minutes to feel grateful for what you have and to think about what you want. Allow these feelings to guide you through your workday. (Items 6, 3 and 10)

–          Then turn on your computer and reply to all your clients (item 4). Even if you do not have the answer for what the client is asking at that time, let the client know that you are aware of his/her query and are working to find a suitable answer for it as soon as possible.

–          If you do not have a deadline looming over you soon, allow yourself 30 minutes to 1 hour to read and learn about our industry and your field of expertise (items 1 and 2). Make sure you share whatever you find useful and helpful with your networks (item 8) or with specific people who you think my find it useful (items 3 and 5).

–          Plan your day so you that you have time to do your three actions for item 7 (they may also be tied in with other items depending on your goals) and so that you have time for breaks. In your breaks, phone a friend (item 5), see someone for lunch or just read/watch something that you find interesting (item 9)

Let me know if you find this useful, there are many other ideas to share! Good luck!

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