Greater than 2 minutes, my friend!
While the year had started quite well for me, last week suddenly everything went quiet. No one called – a part from a prospect who told me I must be out of my mind to charge such a fee for 2 hours of consecutive interpreting and hung up. I kept checking my e-mail inbox, but nothing. This hadn’t occurred to me since my second or third month in business. Instead of panicking, I tried to make the most of it.
As it usually happens when I´m not that busy, I got creative and started to think of what I could do to move my business to the next level. Here’s a list of 10 things I did last week and I usually do, when I’m not under time pressure:
…a new post for my blog, a story like this for The Open Mic, an article for the magazine of my Interpreters Association or whatever provides an added value to my clients or colleagues and increases my visibility
collect ideas for my next blog posts (or Open Mic stories J), my new website and my marketing plan
3. Plan and prepare
…a seminar I’m giving at the end of March. I met the organizer to discuss contents and marketing strategies
– a class on social media for more seasoned colleagues I’m giving next week at a local translator meeting
… a few translator gatherings or “Stammtische” like we call them in Germany; invited a few people to give a presentation at our local “Stammtisch” here in Aachen.
Attend a bunch of networking events to get away from the isolation of the home office.
These include: translator gatherings, business breakfasts, events held by industry leaders in my field of specialization (Marketing Club Aachen and Social Media Aachen, just to name a few)
6. Look for new clients:
– register for a workshop on internet law, offered by a local lawyers’ association, hoping to meet many prospect clients there
– visit a prospect to discuss how translation services could help them grow internationally
– meet people from my business network to discuss how we could recommend each other to prospects
7. Connect people
(something I really love doing!)
– recommend colleagues for language pairs I don’t cover
– introduce people from my network that could be interesting for each other
(maybe I should consider starting a dating agency)
help out younger colleagues: give them tips, introduce them to contacts, encourage and motivate them, answer their questions, send them interesting links etc.
-attend CPDs in my fields of specialization;
– learn about new software and tools available for freelancers and try them out
– read books about freelancing and marketing
10. Keep in touch:
Nurture prospects, colleagues or a business contact sending them birthday wishes, invitations or an article they might be interested in.
Needless to say, I devote some time to the boring things too, such as accounting and invoicing. But I always make sure I have some good music in the background.
Sometimes after a “creative day” I’m often even more exhausted than after a “normal day”, spent translating or interpreting. Is that because of the many ideas that float around my mind all the time?
Of course I take it easier when I don’t have a job. I might sleep half an hour longer, take a long bike trip or spend more quality time with the people I care about. Which definitely helps me recharge batteries for busier periods.
What about you, dear colleagues? What do you usually do when no one calls?