Operating as a sole trader or freelancer gives you a lot of freedom, but it also means taking on a lot of roles all at once. You need to do more than be a talented translator: you need to be a keen business person, IT specialist, accountant, HR department, and marketer. You have to wear all these hats as a freelancer, and if you don’t juggle them successfully, then you run the risk of looking unprofessional and losing clients.
Managing such a professional image and customer service is a challenge, and many don’t know where to start. With this guide, you’ll learn the key areas to focus on to become more professional as a freelancer:
Creating a professional website is essential
While word-of-mouth recommendations are great, you cannot rely solely on your existing clientele to bring you the work you need to stay afloat and succeed as a freelancer. That is why having a website is so important. You need potential clients to be able to find your business easily, and people look online to find services, products, and expertise.
Your website does not have to be complicated, but it does need to be aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, clear, concise and mobile-first. If you have absolutely no talent for website design and do not feel confident in customizing a theme template, then outsourcing this to a professional website designer would be a worthy investment. If you are hoping to work with international clients, you should consider contracting a professional website translation service to translate your content into any relevant language.
Your website is your digital platform. It should have everything a prospective client needs to be convinced you are the right person to hire, and then it should be easy for them to contact you the way that they feel most comfortable.
Create and optimize professional profiles online
Depending on whether or not you have a physical location where customers can visit you (an office, for example) you will either need to take one or two steps to optimize your online profiles. In both cases, you should go through all listings in your industry and create a company or freelancer profile. Being findable on all directories is key to connecting with customers. You can boost your reputation further by guest posting content to top sites and magazines in your industry: it’s all about being seen in the right places.
The second step is important if your business has a physical location. In this case you need to add NAP listings and optimize your Google My Business profile. With these stages completed people will be able to search your name and find who you are, where they can contact you online and in person, and why they should.
Always use professional invoices
This applies to both clients and suppliers. You are operating as a business, and therefore you need to provide a professional persona, especially for your accounting. Thankfully it’s easy to send off professionally created invoices. You can use a free printable purchase order template to send to suppliers, free printable invoices to send to clients, create a quote template to send out, and so much more all with free tools available online. You save money, look professional, and have all your accounts officiated.
Set up branded voicemails and automated responses
You won’t always be available to speak with clients, which is why it is important to have a professional response waiting for people who are trying to get in touch with you. This is especially true if you are working with overseas clients in different timezones A professional voicemail and recording system is a good place to start, but you should also set up an automated email response for when you are out of office.
Utilize the best business tools and practices
You may be working alone, perhaps even from home, but remember you are running a business. With this in mind, you should set up and use the same tools and practices any other company would to improve customer relations, visibility, and reach. From SEO to social media marketing, to accounting and beyond. If you cannot do it yourself, save yourself valuable time and potential errors by hiring an agency or specialist get the job done right. Whether that’s contracting an accountant to manage your finances or a top-quality translation service to help you communicate with your Spanish-speaking clients, for example. It’s more than worth the expense.
Remember this and your business with thrive
You are your brand, which means you need to assume many roles throughout the day to provide your clients with a professional, uniform impression that lets them know that you are the perfect person for the job. You don’t, however, have to do it all on your own. Outsource where necessary to ensure quality throughout your brand and seek advice from experts wherever you can.
Projecting a professional image is key to success, and it can actually make your success more obtainable. Follow this guide, and you’ll be well on your way towards achieving this goal.
Want to take your business to the next level by engaging with interational markets? Contracting skilled translators through a reliable agency like BeTranslated is key to this expansion. Get in touch with us today for more information or to get free, no-obligation quote.