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31 mar. 2011

10 trucos de marketing para traductores

Uno de los principales quebraderos de cabeza para los profesionales autónomos es cómo anunciar sus servicios de manera efectiva. En muchos casos se emprenden acciones de marketing aisladas con escasos resultados, lo que nos lleva a pensar que hemos malgastado nuestro tiempo o, lo que es peor, nuestro dinero. Sin embargo, hay que tener presente que la promoción de nuestros servicios es una carrera de fondo con resultados a medio y largo plazo si se es constante. En esta entrada pretendo indicar 10 sencillos trucos de marketing para servicios de traducción que pueden ser de ayuda para aquellos que empiezan o para aquellos que no obtienen los resultados esperados.

1. Especialízate. Como ya se comentaba en “Los siete pecados capitales de los traductores noveles”, la especialización no es solo necesaria para ofrecer un trabajo de calidad y ser más productivo, también es necesaria para ofrecer nuestros servicios de traducción. Supongamos que queremos contratar los servicios de una gestoría para que nos lleve todo nuestro papeleo como traductores autónomos, ¿escogeríamos a una gestoría que llevase grandes empresas o a una que se especializase en autónomos? Y si encontrásemos alguna especializada en traductores seguro que no nos lo pensaríamos dos veces a la hora de elegirla.

2. Introdúcete en tu mercado objetivo. Sea cual sea tu especialidad, debes meterte de lleno en el mercado al que quieres acceder. Por ejemplo, si has decidido especializarte en la traducción farmacéutica deberías conocer cuáles son las asociaciones de farmacéuticos de tu país o del mercado al que quieras acceder según tu combinación de idiomas. También sería buena idea que te pusieras en contacto con laboratorios y que acudieses a las conferencias o ferias del sector.

3. Envía tu oferta de servicios. Los traductores autónomos no somos empleados y, por lo tanto, no solicitamos trabajo. En realidad lo que hacemos es ofrecer servicios y solucionarles problemas a nuestros clientes. Quizá pueda parecer algo muy evidente, pero si enviamos un correo electrónico con el asunto “Solicitud de trabajo como traductor” estamos diciendo algo muy distinto a lo que diría un asunto como “Oferta de servicios de traducción”.

4. Hazte tarjetas de visita y repártelas siempre que tengas ocasión. Aunque en muchas ocasiones no conozcamos a nuestros clientes en persona, debemos tener tarjetas de visita y llevarlas siempre encima. ¡Siempre! ¿Qué sentido tiene ir a una feria de laboratorios farmacéuticos para promocionarnos como traductores farmacéuticos si no tenemos nuestras tarjetas encima? Por mucho que hablemos con el jefe de compras del laboratorio más importante de España, si no le damos una tarjeta de visita es muy probable que no se acuerde de nosotros cuando le haga falta alguna traducción.

5. Haz publicidad dentro de tu mercado objetivo. Siguiendo el ejemplo de la traducción farmacéutica, ¿crees que un laboratorio buscaría a un traductor en las Páginas Amarillas? Si conoces bien el mercado con el que quieres trabajar, sabrás cuáles son las publicaciones más importantes del sector. Intenta promocionarte en los medios relacionados con tu mercado objetivo.

6. Escribe sobre tu especialidad. Si publicas artículos relacionados con tu especialidad ganarás credibilidad y es una buena forma de publicidad gratuita.

7. Preséntate físicamente ante tus posibles clientes. Aunque el correo electrónico está muy bien, una visita en persona es mucho más eficaz para que te recuerden. Puedes aprovechar un viaje para solicitar alguna reunión informal con un posible cliente para así conocer mejor sus necesidades y ofrecerle un servicio personalizado.

8. No mantengas a tus contactos en el olvido. Esta es una de las claves para que no se olviden de ti. Si vas a una feria o a un congreso, también debes pedirle la tarjeta a las personas con las que hablas. Así podrás ponerte en contacto con ellas más adelante para ofrecerles nuevos servicios a modo de recordatorio.

9. Ofrece un trato personalizado. Antes de ponerte en contacto con una empresa por primera vez, deberías averiguar quién es el jefe de compras o cuál es la persona que suele encargarse de subcontratar servicios.  Si envías un correo electrónico a una dirección del tipo “Info@miempresa.com” sin saber quién se encarga de gestionarla es muy probable que tu mensaje acabe en la papelera.

10. Sé constante con todas tus acciones de promoción. No esperes obtener resultados de la noche a la mañana, así que debes ser constante y no dejar nunca de promocionarte. Ponte objetivos como ponerte en contacto con 10 posibles clientes cada semana y cúmplelos.
Estos son solo unos cuantos trucos generales que tenemos a nuestro alcance para promocionarnos. Espero que os hayan servido de inspiración para poneros en marcha.

Fuente: El taller del traductor de Elizabeth Sánchez León

¿Cómo conseguir experiencia como traductores?

Cuando terminamos nuestro periodo de formación, una de las principales dudas que nos asaltan es: “¿Cómo consigo que alguien me dé mi primera oportunidad?“. Nos disponemos a realizar nuestro currículo cuando nos damos cuenta de que en el apartado de experiencia profesional no tenemos nada que incluir. Pero gracias a Internet no hay que esperar a terminar la carrera para poder empezar a hacer nuestros pinitos en el mundo de la traducción. Por suerte, y a pesar de la proliferación de los traductores automáticos, los traductores humanos somos necesarios en muchos ámbitos. Y gracias a Internet es posible obtener esa codiciada experiencia mientras estamos estudiando todavía. Todo es cuestión de elegir en qué ámbito queremos especializarnos. A continuación os dejo unos enlaces de lugares en los que es posible colaborar como traductor. ¿Conocéis algún otro enlace interesante?
 
Traducción audiovisual
http://www.ted.com/OpenTranslationProject

http://blog.tales-tra.com/

Fuente: El taller del traductor de Elizabeth Sánchez León.

10 mar. 2011

13 Serious Mistakes No Freelancer Should Ever Make

Posted March 9, 2011 in Freelance Stories

Ooops! “We’re human, mistakes happen.” That’s what my business coach IM’d to me, when I went wailing to her after I failed to make a Skype appointment with an important prospect.
Sure, freelancers are human too. And we all make mistakes.
But I still felt awful. I felt like a failure. I’d let my prospect down. I was a terrible freelancer.
So I turned to my freelancing community and found that, indeed, other freelancers make mistakes too. Today, I’m sharing those mistakes with you.

Thirteen Bad Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Here are the 13 worst mistakes a freelancer could make:
  1. Working without a contract–This seems to be pretty common. Sometimes, freelancers start out while they’re still in school. Or just doing it on the side. So they don’t treat it as a serious business. Or sometimes, we just trust our clients too much. We can’t believe they could stiff us… until they do.
  2. Working with just any client–Here’s another biggie. Often, we get a bad feeling about a client. We see lots of red flags popping up, but we ignore them. We need the money. We need this client on our portfolio. We need this! And then things fall apart. We look back and kick ourselves, because we knew all along this was a bad idea.
  3. Missing deadlines and appointments–This is what I hear the most from people who hire freelancers. I’ve got plenty of clients who find me after being burned by freelancers who flake out on them, miss deadline after deadline while never running out of excuses, or simply disappear.
  4. Starting work without getting paid first–This is another common mistake, especially by freelancers who are just starting out. Again, it stems from trusting the client too much. The solution is simple: ask for a down payment first, before starting to do ANY work.
  5. Charging too little–Freelancers’ insecurities are most evident in our fees. We charge too little, because we don’t really believe in what we’re worth. Or we base our fees on the salary we used to make was employees. Or we ask for what we can live with. So we end up getting paid way less than the value we actually bring to our clients.
  6. Taking on too much work–This is a natural consequence of charging too little. If you don’t get paid much for each project, then you need to complete more projects to reach your income goals. Big mistake! Over-extend yourself and you end up missing deadlines, delivering poor quality work, burning yourself out, and thinking “freelancing sucks!”
  7. Neglecting your marketing when times are good–Sometimes we get in a groove, a good one. We’ve got lots of projects lined up. We’re working in a state of flow doing things we enjoy doing. The money’s pouring in. So who cares about marketing, right? Wrong! Freelancers need to be constantly marketing, getting leads, and keeping them “warm.” Because if not, one day, we’ll wake up and there isn’t a new project waiting for us. There’s no new check to deposit and yet the bills continue to arrive in the mail.
  8. Not having clear deliverables–You may have a contract, but is it a good one? Does it clearly state what outputs you’re going to provide, and when? And how you’re going to get paid, and when? And what your clients’ role is in the completion of the project? I’ve heard of freelancers proceeding to do certain tasks, only to find out the client hadn’t wanted them to do it. Don’t even think about getting paid. Ouch!
  9. Not having a “kill fee” in the contract–Here’s another mistake I myself have made. I forgot to include my kill fee, or how much my client has to pay if he/she discontinues the project after I’ve begun work on it. Once again, sometimes a shabby contract is as bad as not having one.
  10. Submitting completed work and client files without getting paid first–Here’s another mistake made by overly trusting freelancers. Remember that, once you’ve turned over the finished product to the client, you don’t have a hold on them any more.
  11. Not following up on proposals–This is a mistake we may not even realize is causing us to lose clients. I’m guilty of this myself, because I’m quite a shy person. I don’t like pestering people. Following up feels like pestering. But it’s a big mistake to assume your clients have received the proposal you sent, much less read them. If you’re like me and feel nervous about following up, read this step-by-step guide to a smarter follow-up.
  12. Not upselling clients–Here’s another mistake many freelancers don’t even realize they’re making. Freelancers who don’t “upsell”–offer to do more services than what their clients asked for–are leaving money on the table. Upselling may feel slimy and used-car-salesman-y to you. But in fact, it’s a sign of a remarkable freelancer. When you upsell, you have to anticipate your clients’ needs and be there to help meet them. When you offer an effective upsell, you’re showing your client that you fully understand what they’re trying to achieve, and you know how to help them get there.
  13. Neglecting your finances–Freelancers are usually a creative lot, which means many of us are not comfortable dealing with numbers and money. It’s too easy to sweep finances under the rug, until tax time comes. This is another big mistake. You can’t manage what you don’t see.

Your Turn

This is a pretty long list!
It’s not that freelancers are more human than others. It’s just that we’re navigating the freelancing waters pretty much on our own. Most of us are just winging it and learning things the hard way.
Fortunately, we have blogs like Freelance Folder and the forum where we can learn from each other — including each other’s mistakes!
Moreover, life always gives us another chance — if not with this client or prospect, then with the next one.
Which of these mistakes have you or do you make? What other mistakes have you made that other freelancers should avoid? Share them in the comments so we won’t make the same ones.

About the author: Lexi Rodrigo is the creator of The Savvy Freelancer, a blog that's all about achieving creative and financial freedom through freelancing. Check out Lexi's free guide, 31 Days to Start Your Freelancing Business (or Make Yours A Better One).

Source: Freelance Folder

How To Make Sure You Get Paid

How To Make Sure You Get Paid (Part 1)

Steve details how you can avoid payment delays by taking the proper steps up front to ensure that your invoices to clients get paid promptly.
February 24, 2011 | Steve Slaunwhite
You've completed a client project. And now you're waiting… waiting… and waiting to get paid.
Not a great feeling.
But you can avoid payment delays (and the lost sleep that goes with it) by taking the proper steps up front to ensure that your invoices to clients get paid promptly.
Here are some ideas:
1. Set Clear Expectations Up Front
In your fee agreement, make it clear exactly when your invoice will be sent and when payment is due.
In my agreements, I explain that my invoice is sent one week after I submit the copy and that payment is due in 30 days.
2. Get the Name of the "Accounts Payable" Contact
Ask your client who in the accounting department takes care of "accounts payable". This is the person responsible for vetting and paying invoices.
You want to make friends with the accounts payable person! He or she will be able to give you the status of your invoice and tell you when to expect payment. In certain circumstances, he or she can speed things up for you, too.
3. Ask For Part of Your Fee Up Front
It's standard practice in the creative freelancing world to get some of your fee up front; usually 50%.
Now I admit, for clients that I trust and have dealt with for years, I waive that requirement. But for new clients, I always ask for that 50% payment. You should, too.
A simple way to word it in your agreement is: "The payment schedule is 50% now and 50% upon completion of the project."
If a new client balks at paying part of your fee up front, that's a red flag. Think twice about taking on that project!
4. Try the 10% Technique
I learned this technique in Alan Wiess' book, Million Dollar Consulting. And it's amazing how often it works!
You simply put a clause in your agreement that states, "A 10% discount can be obtained when paying the full quoted project fee in advance."
I've had many clients pay my entire fee up front to get that 10% savings. In fact, some corporate accounting departments are required to take advantage of all discount opportunities from vendors.
5. Trust Your Gut
If you get a sense that a potential new client is going to stiff you for payment, don't take the project!
Early in my career, I had a meeting with a potential new client. Just as I was about to take on the project, he said, "Don't worry about being paid. I wouldn't think of not paying a freelancer if I was 100% satisfied with his work."
Oh-oh. I didn't like the sound of that. At the time, I needed the work. But I walked away. And I'm glad I did.
6. Look Like a Real Business
If a company sees you as a fly-by-night freelancer, it may not pay you as promptly as it would a real business. That's not fair, but does happen.
So make the right impression by making your invoices look "Fortune 500 professional".
There are plenty of excellent invoice templates, software and online invoicing services that will enable you to do this.  I've heard that FreshBooks is very good. QuickBooks, too.
7. Make It Easy For Clients To Pay You
Send your invoices promptly. (Remarkably, some freelancers don't!) Make sure your invoice includes all the information the client needs, such as the project name, reference number, purchase order numbers, etc.
Also, accept PayPal and credit cards. You can do that simply by setting up a PayPal merchant account -- which is free.
8. Follow Up the First Day Your Invoice Is Overdue
As soon as your invoice is due -- say, 31 days after you've sent it -- call your client or the accounts payable contact. Ask about the status of the invoice and when you can expect to receive payment. Don't settle for vague assurances like, "A check will be cut in a couple of weeks." Get an exact date. Then follow up again a few days before that date to make sure your check gets processed and mailed.
9. Hold Back Creative Rights
In your agreement, state that the creative rights to your work automatically goes to the client once the project fee is paid.
So… if your project fee is not paid, you still own the rights. And, technically, the client can't use your copy without your permission.
This technique doesn't guarantee you'll get paid. But it is something you can use as leverage when an invoice become long overdue.
Years ago, my invoice to an ad agency client went more than six months overdue. I finally reminded them that I still owned the creative rights to the copy and may have to notify their client to stop using my material. (A series of brochures.) It was hardball. But it worked. A few days later, I got my check.

So those are some ideas on how to get paid promptly. But what if the worst happens? You call, email, call again, but don't get your check? In Part 2 of this series, I'll explain a step-by-step strategy that works well.

How To Make Sure You Get Paid (Part 2)

By Steve Slaunwhite
In part 1 of this series, I explained what to do upfront to make sure you get paid promptly for the freelance work you do. If you follow those tips, you'll find that your check will be "in the mail" (or the digital equivalent of that happy event) much more often.
But no matter how careful you are, there may instances when a client is frustratingly slow to pay your invoice or, worse, refuses to pay at all.
Not a pleasant experience.
So, in those circumstances, how do you get your money?
Here are some tips that will help.
1. Follow Up the First Day Your Invoice Is Overdue
This is a repeat from part 1 of this article, but it's worth mentioning again here…
As soon as your invoice is due -- say, 31 days after you've sent it -- call your client or the accounts payable contact. Ask about the status of the invoice and when you can expect to receive payment.
And don't settle for vague assurances like, "A check will be cut in a couple of weeks." Get an exact date.
2. Don't Settle for Excuses.
When you follow-up on an overdue invoice, your client may cite an internal problem as the reason why payment has not been sent. For example:
"We're having a temporary cash flow problem."

"We can't pay you yet because our client hasn't paid us."

"We've installed a new accounting software and are experiencing some technical glitches."
The excuse may be valid. Or it may be a stalling tactic. Regardless, you have a right to know when your invoice will be paid. So don't reply meekly with, "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I'll call back in a couple of weeks." Instead say confidently, "I understand how that might delay payment a few days. Can I expect to receive a check by next Tuesday?"
3. Collect the Check in Person
When an invoice is seriously overdue, arrange to pick up the check in person. That sends two important messages to your client. One, that you're serious about getting paid. And, two, that they need to have your check ready when you arrive.
You can put it to your client this way: "The check will be cut next Friday? That's great. I'll stop by and pick it up. 3:00 p.m. okay with you?"
Or use this variation if the client is not local: "The check will be cut next Friday? That's great. I'll arrange for FedEx to pick it up that afternoon after 3:00 p.m. Okay with you?"
4. When the Client Doesn't Respond
In some cases, you might find that your calls and emails are ignored by your client. Not a good sign.
If your client is local, drop by and enquire about the overdue invoice personally. This tactic almost always gets a response. It's difficult to ignore you when you're standing in the lobby.
If the client is not local, send a letter by courier or registered mail.
Either way, ask politely but firmly exactly when your overdue invoice will be paid. Then arrange to pick up the check on that day.
5. When All Else Fails
What do you do when the worse happens? Months and months go by and, despite your best efforts, the client still hasn't paid your invoice?
You have a couple of options: A collections agency, or small claims court.
A collections agency will attempt to collect on the overdue invoice on your behalf -- usually for a 50% fee. So the most you can expect to get is half the money you were owed. But that's infinitely better than nothing.
Another option is small claims court. It's designed for the do-it-yourselfer, so you can usually file a claim without a lawyer. The process, however, can be long and time-consuming. Still, it's satisfying to get your "day in court" and, if your claim is justified, you stand a good chance of getting a judgment against your client for the full amount owed.
So those are some good ideas for collecting on an overdue invoice. But your best strategy for getting paid is to make sure you do the right things upfront, as described in part 1 of this series. You'll save yourself a lot of grief. And you'll sleep better, too.
Homework
1. Make of list of 3 things you can do to ensure you get paid promptly by your clients.
(Ex. "I'll start a policy of requiring new clients to pay 50% of my quoted project fee upfront.")
2.  Create a template by writing a friendly but firm email requesting the status of an outstanding invoice. 

Steve Slaunwhite coaches freelancers in how to find a niche, attract great clients, and build a dream business. For more information, visit www.greatclientsonly.com

Source: International Freelancers Academy