“Frustrated Freelance Translator Can’t Find Clients”

Recently I read on a forum for translators how one freelancer is having trouble finding clients.

  • His day goes something like this…
  • Wake up at 8:00 am
  • Make a cup of coffee
  • Start looking for translation jobs
  • All of them require a lot of work experience that I still don’t have
  • I can’t get experience because I can’t get a job and I can’t get a job because I have no experience, nice!
  • Feel frustrated the rest of the day
  • Go to sleep
  • Repeat

What did the other freelancers on the forum advise him to do? To no surprise it was to get experience by first working for low pay and to build his translation portfolio.

As you can see, these “words of wisdom” are not going to solve his biggest pain point: finding clients.
Is lack of experience why this translator is struggling?

Let’s take a look…

Several weeks ago I had mentioned how some freelance translators keep making the same mistakes in their business and how it’s the ultimate definition of insanity:

“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Let’s take a deeper look into why he’s having a hard time landing translation projects.

Red flag #1 Start looking for translation jobs

The first question is where? It’s mostly likely that this translator is “spinning his wheels” and bidding on translation job portals which are a surefire why to drive yourself crazy. Believe me, I know that from experience.

Before this translator even looks for a client, what’s the first critical step that is missing?
And it’s not having a website, business cards, etc. It’s the most crucial part of finding clients.

It’s actually knowing who your ideal clients is; this is the foundation of running a successful freelance translation business.

If you can’t pinpoint the exact client then nothing else will fall in line.

Red flag #2 All of them require a lot of experience I don’t have

This is what I call the experience trap and this translator is convinced that he can’t find a client because he doesn’t have the experience.

Many freelancers find themselves in this vicious cycle of being held back by their lack of experience.

The truth is, it’s more of a confidence issue than one of competence.
The RIGHT clients don’t care if you don’t have ten plus years of experience.

They only care about  the RESULTS and how they can reach their ultimate business goals with you translation services. If you convey that to your clients, then everything else becomes trivial, including price.

Clearly this translator is not going after the right prospects and will find himself, like many, bidding  to the bottom.

Red flag #3 I feel frustrated the rest of the day

Your thoughts are powerful. So much so they can influence your reality. If you feel “frustrated” and “overwhelmed” there is good chance you’ll get knocked down by each failure in your business.

The frustration and the overwhelm arise when there is no clarity. This translators is confused and unclear on what target market to pursue. He’s only looking to one place to get new business.

One secret of successful translators is that they have multiple streams of bringing in new clients.

They’re constantly evaluating and testing what works and what doesn’t.

When there is a system in place the process is not frustrating nor is it overwhelming. But for many, the foundation of their freelance translation business hasn’t been built and as result they find themselves playing a client guessing game.

Now I want to hear from you. What are you struggling with when it comes to finding your ideal client?
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