Greater than 3 minutes, my friend!
First of all, happy New Year to everyone here at Open Mic!
Today I would like to share one of the latest developments in my translation and interpreting business. For those of you attending BP17, this is just a small taste of the 50-minute talk I will be giving at the Hotel Aréna in Budapest on Saturday, May 6.
Throughout 2016, I began to realize that even though I love translating as well as the translation process and the intellectual challenges that go with it I can hardly spend a whole day translating. After 4–5 hours spent at my desk – as ergonomic as it may be – I feel the need to get some fresh air, see people and do some networking or anything else that does not strain my eyes or my brain.
This helped me become aware that I might need to do more of the things I love. In other words, I should translate more texts that appeal to me personally. That’s when I decided to bring some focus to my freelance translation business. Up to now, I had always pitched myself as a “marketing translator”. But this was much too broad. I sharpened my area of expertise to include only marketing copy for the food, fashion and lifestyle industry. However, even that was somehow too broad and I felt the need to narrow down the field further.
I remembered having read in The Wealthy Freelancer by Ed Gandia, Steve Slaunwhite and Pete Savage that freelancers should specialize in something they’re passionate about. More easily said than done I thought (which is pretty much always my first thought when reading advice by super gurus), but definitely worth trying. According to the authors, all you need to do is apply the Discover, Identify and Position (short “DIP”) technique to pursue YOUR niche.
The first step involves discovering what you have to offer. If your hobby can be easily turned into a specialization – say, if you love horse riding, travelling or outdoor sports – well, lucky you, go ahead! However, this might not be the case for many of us.
I myself had to get more creative. I started by brainstorming about my education, passions, beliefs, political views and – (don’t laugh!) – what I wanted to be when I was growing up. I started writing down that I’ve always been interested in natural, healthy and sustainable foods and that I wanted to become a nutritionist when I was younger. I even caught myself thinking that I had always wanted to make the world a better and greener place. And then everything started falling into place. After this huge brainstorming session, it seemed somehow logical that I should specialize in marketing copy for organic food and natural cosmetics companies – a field in which Germany is a pioneer.
According to the book, the second step is about identifying if there’s a market for your specialization and finding your ideal client. At this point I should tell you that I spent hours, even days, at my desk doing painstaking market research, looking up my target companies on the internet and collecting all sort of data such as company size, the number of employees, contact details. I highly recommend doing this!
To be honest, though, I didn’t want to spend too much time on this. So I looked for trade shows and attended the SANA fair (an international exhibition of natural products) in Bologna, assuming that German companies exhibiting there might be at least interested in selling their products in Italy. Of course I did some homework before going to the fair and approaching my dream clients: I tried to find out more about their products (some of which I tried out myself), services, sales structure and philosophy, stalking them on social media etc.
For the record: my visit to the SANA earned me two new great clients!
Once you’ve found out what you have to offer and have assessed if there’s a market for it, you need to position yourself within that market. Besides visiting trade fairs and other industry events to get my name out there, I started trying out inbound and outbound marketing techniques, which include creating dedicated social media profiles and a blog as well as updating my website. I will go into more detail about this is at BP17. Of course I will also tell you which marketing efforts have paid off so far.
In my talk, I will explain what I do on a daily basis to make sure I stay on top of my game in my specialization, i.e. how I manage to find time to read industry publications and cultivate my genuine interest for the niche I’m specializing in.
Have I made you curious? I would love to see at BP17 in Budapest!! (Don’t worry! There will be a few other awesome speakers, too). Otherwise, check out my new website saccani-translations.com or my Twitter account. Also feel free to add your two cents to what I’ve written!
Looking forward to your comments.