At the beginning of each year, it is a ritual to take resolutions and set goals for the next 12 months. Translators are no exception to this tradition. But it proves worthless to set unattainable goals. New Year resolutions are to be supported by well-thought considerations. Below are a few tips on how you can set yours.
Assessment – Achievements & failures
1. Never plan for a new year without assessing the previous one. 2. Be as objective as possible as you list past failures and successes. You may use the 5-question approach by Corinne McKay. 3. Try to understand the cause(s) of your previous year failures and the factors that have helped you succeed. 4. Understand that each year is unique and set attainable goals. Consider the SMART approach for more efficiency.
Branding – How do people perceive you?
5. Define a few core values you want to be associated with (professionalism, creativ0ity, reliability, etc.) and reflect them in whatever you do during the year.
6. If you don’t have a logo, ask a graphic designer create yours.
7. Use consistently your brand colour(s) across all your communication (letterheads, business cards, email signature, social media covers, blog illustrations, etc.).
8. Include hashtags (e.g. #cdlancer) related to your brand in some news you share on social media.
9. Let your audience (blog readers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, for instance) comment on brand-related activities: industry events (you may be interested in the Open Translation Day), courses or other Continuous Professional Development activities you organise.
Marketing – Translator’s Expertise for Sale
10. Draw up a marketing calendar and review/update it on a regular basis. Get started by downloading this one-page marketing plan for freelance translators.
11. Analyse both your online and offline marketing channels and try to intensify the most efficient ones.
12. At least once a month, seize or create an opportunity to market your services solutions to a given audience.
13. Encourage people to spread the world about your expertise (via word-of-mouth, blog sharing, social media referrals, etc.).
Capacity Building – Keep Learning
14. Point out your weaknesses as a professional translator (time management, CAT proficiency, QA checks, client search, etc.) and plan for remedial actions.
15. Plan to attend a given number of translator training opportunities (webinars, online tutorials, e-courses, etc.) and set your agenda accordingly.
16. Plan to search and follow influencers within the language industry. Consume what they write and say (on blogs or social media) and feel free to react (questions or suggestions). Follow this guide and you’re good to go.
Client Base – Review Sources of Income
17. List all your clients and classify them per status (prospects, past, current), type(translation companies, direct clients, individuals).
18. Pledge to contact past clients and try to reactivate them.
19. Draw up a personal checklist to ensure you always give the best as a professional translator (email receipt and confirmation, awesome services, post-delivery suggestions, etc.).
20. Review your payment methods and align them with client preferences.
21. Review and update your payment terms, as well as frequent accounting issues. If necessary, set new directions.
22. Plan for weekly/monthly expenses as well as long-term investments.
Authority – Be(com)ing the Expert
23. If you have a blog, think about packing your best posts into a downloadable asset.
24. If you don’t have a blog, consider writing guest posts on other people’s blogs.
25. Think about organising at least one event that will profit translators and/or other linguists (informal meeting, online gathering, conference, webinar, podcast, etc.
26. Plan to write an e-book or run a mini-course. This guide may come in handy.
Work/Life – Work Happily
27. (Re)Arrange your workplace and make it more ergonomic. You may want to follow the OSHA guidelines.
28. Plan for holidays and make sure you go really go in OFF mode when you take them. This is important to avoid burnout.
29. Offer your spouse meaningful gifts to calm her/him down and remind her/him about your love (emphasise that your computer isn’t a lover).
Well, I didn’t realize I would give so many tips to help you take your New Year resolutions. I still believe there may be aspects I forgot or didn’t emphasize enough. Feel free to add them by commenting below.