We never look forward to dry spells, but experience has shown us that they can actually work in our favor. Why? Because they give us time to reflect, assess our business strategy, and figure out what’s working and what’s not.
To get back on track, we always start by asking ourselves these five questions:
When was the last time I attended an industry event?
Podcasts and webinars are helpful, but if you’re serious about increasing your visibility, you really need to attend industry events in the flesh. Not sure where to go? You’ll find a comprehensive list of translation conferences here.
Am I truly connecting with others?
I used to groan when I was within earshot of anyone using the word “network.” That changed when I finally realized that there’s a difference between disingenuous talk and meaningful conversation. Networking isn’t dirty or selfish. To the contrary, real networking stems from a genuine desire to learn something about the other person.
If you’re truly networking—whether it be through social media, blog comments or in person at conferences—you’re building a relationship, you’re finding out what you have in common with someone else, you’re learning how you can help them and how they can help you.
When was the last time I spoke to my classmates?
If you went to university, chances are that you were surrounded by peers who shared similar goals and career aspirations. What have they been up to? Where are they working? Who are they translating for? Meet up for coffee, find them on Facebook and pick their brains.
Do I have any other industry experience? Can I use this experience to market myself?
We’ve known men and women who were copywriters, chefs, teachers, social media managers and web designers for years before they became language translators. Use your industry experience wisely. Are there any industry trade shows happening in your area? Browse the Internet for companies that align with your specialization and reach out to them.
When was the last time I (or someone else trustworthy) reviewed my marketing materials?
When I say “marketing materials,” I’m talking about your CV, your blog, your website, your LinkedIn profile and so on. Chances are that you are too close to your own marketing materials to look at them objectively. Appeal to your fellow language translators on the Proz message boards; there are lots of willing souls who will review your materials, offer advice and encourage you.