A freelance best practices checklist

I’ll be honest; I love self-evaluation tools. When I presented a seminar on “Beyond the Basics of Freelancing” for the Northern California Translators Association last summer, I decided to create a self-evaluation tool for the attendees and we also used this checklist at a meeting of the Colorado Translators Association. People seemed to find this tool useful and helpful, so I decided to post it here as well; of course some of the associations (ATA, CTA, etc.) don’t apply if you don’t live in the US or Colorado, so feel free to substitute a professional association of your choice.  The list includes some best practices and some indicators of freelance success; feel free to contribute your own suggestions too!

_____ I have a marketing plan for my freelance business
_____ I am satisfied with my income as compared with how much I work
_____ My business comes mostly from repeat clients
_____ I have three or more regular clients
_____ I keep my rates by the phone/computer
_____ I always have an updated version of my resume ready to send out
_____ I usually have as much work as I want
_____ I ask my clients for feedback on my translations
_____ I ask to see the edited versions of my translations
_____ I track my income on an ongoing basis
_____ I proofread a hard copy of my translations before submitting them
_____ I have a profile on LinkedIn or a similar website
_____ I regularly update my profiles on the CTA, ATA etc. websites
_____ I participate in online discussion groups such as the CTA listserve, ATA division listserves, ProZ forums, etc.
_____ I write articles for trade publications such as the ATA Chronicle, Multilingual or local newsletters
_____ I have a website and/or a blog
_____ I gather objective data about translation rates by reading the ATA Compensation Survey, talking to colleagues about their rates, etc.
_____ I calculate my hourly rate for different types of translation assignments
_____ I read the local, national and/or international business news
_____ I network and/or market myself in industries related to my specialization(s)
_____ I actively try to improve my target language writing skills
_____ I actively try to improve my knowledge of terminology in my specialization(s)
_____ I do pro bono translations
_____ I offer additional services other than translation, such as editing, proofreading, interpreting, voiceover, transcription, teaching, copywriting, etc.
_____ I ask for my name to be included on my translations whenever possible
_____ When I am too busy to take on a project, I offer the client a referral to another translator
_____ I accept a variety of payment methods such as credit cards, wire transfers, foreign currency checks, etc.
_____ I continue marketing even when I have a lot of work
_____ I regularly keep in touch with clients I haven’t heard from in a while
_____ I send tokens of appreciation (card, gift, etc) to clients and colleagues
_____ I ask clients for testimonials to put on my website, brochure, etc.

5 Responses to “A freelance best practices checklist”
  1. johnbunch17 February 22, 2010
  2. Judy Jenner February 23, 2010
  3. andytrans February 23, 2010
  4. Marian February 23, 2010
  5. Tips For Translators February 23, 2010

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