After a break from blogging and CPD to focus on completing my MA dissertation and setting up my business, I’m here to tell you about The Freelance Box, an excellent business master class for translators. I attended the workshop last Friday and my head has been buzzing with ideas ever since.
The Freelance Box is run by Valeria Aliperta and Marta Stelmaszak, and last week’s event at Friar Gate Studios in Derby was organised by the ITI East Midlands Regional Group as their first full-day CPD event. Each attendee is given a small cardboard box in which to place all their business ideas, which is a great physical reminder of what you’re aiming to accomplish and something which any small business owner could benefit from.
As a newcomer to professional translation, I was worried that the workshop would be a little advanced for my level. The message that stuck with me is that in order to be successful as translators, we should seek to avoid the competition by finding direct clients, maybe even clients who don’t translate currently or who don’t realise they could benefit from translation services.
Everyone was a little hesitant about the first activity, which required us to role-play giving our elevator speech to prospective clients at an imaginary trade fair. But actually it was surprisingly easy to have a conversation about your services if you focus on listening to the client’s needs. I realised that maybe this is something even I could do!
So far in my career, I’ve found the translation industry to be a really supportive and welcoming environment, and it’s great that so many translators take the time to blog, tweet and organise events about how to succeed. But having attended the Freelance Box, I’ve realised that many translators are reluctant to work mostly with direct clients, because it’s all too easy to remain within this cosy bubble the translation industry provides. We reach out to only a few direct clients, even though we may not be satisfied with our agency clients. It may seem obvious, but perhaps it’s important to get equally involved in the industries you specialise in- after all, that’s where the clients are.