How Freelance Translators Can Market Their Services in Less Time (Three Hours a Week!)

How much time does it take you to market your translation business? My answer is 2-3 hours a week, including looking for clients and contacting them.

You probably think that is a not enough time.

So, let me tell you why 2-3 hours may be all what you need.

As a freelance translator, you don’t need hundreds of clients to serve. You only need seven to ten regular clients who can pay you reasonable prices. Actually, you can work with as little as three to five clients, but I like to increase the number to distribute my income across more clients and avoid the risk of losing a big part of my income if I lose a large client.

If you get two new clients every four months, then you can get six new clients in one year.

This growth may not work for everyone, but it is doable based on my previous experiences. It can happen if you do your marketing consistently, and that consistency can be achieved with only three hours a week.

Here are some tips to market your translation services in less time and achieve more results.

Tip 1: Plan Your Actions

Freelance translators marketing

You can take many actions to market your translation business.

For example, you can send emails, complete an online application, send follow-up emails to a client, update your website, update your resume, or send personalized connection requests to LinkedIn contacts. There are tons of actions you can take.

You need to decide what actions you will take and plan when you will focus on them on weekly or daily basis.

This planning will keep you on track and you will not have to spend time thinking about what you need to do now to market your translation business.

I prefer to plan my actions one week ahead. For example, this week, I know I will be doing an SEO audit of my website.

Plan your marketing actions ahead of time to avoid wasting time.

Tip 2: Block Time Off

The best way to do something is to block off time for it in your time management system, whether that is a Google Calendar or your daily journal. You can even add sticky notes to your desk to motivate yourself and remember what you need to do.

The best time to do marketing is during the first hours of your day. Your mind is clearer, and you can finish tasks faster.

Maybe you think it is better to block off the morning for translation tasks.

I agree with you, but remember that you only need three hours a week to market your translation services, and without marketing, you will not have enough clients to send you translation tasks!

You could block off only one morning for marketing and use the rest of the week’s mornings for translation work.

Tip 3: Speed Things Up with Templates

With time, you will find that clients ask the same questions over and over and that you give the same answers.

You will also find that specific introduction emails get you more responses. Why not create templates for these emails and answers?

You can create templates for introduction emails, follow-up emails, LinkedIn connection requests, and online application answers.

 However, you will need to personalize these templates before sending them by adding the person’s name or the company name. By doing so, the recipient will not feel you are sending pre-written responses.

Use templates for your marketing to spend less time doing it!

Tip 4: Batch Your Actions

In tip #1, I explained that you need to plan your marketing actions ahead of time, and you can add to that by doing similar actions together.

For example, send all your follow-up emails together (and if you have templates, you can even do them in less time).

Doing similar tasks all at once will enable you to finish them faster because you will use less energy.

Final Words

I know you realize how important marketing is for your translation business. That is why you need to be serious about it. A few hours every week is enough to achieve results. Yes, there are other factors involved, such as the quality of your emails and your relationship with potential clients, but consistency can fix many weaknesses.

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about these tips or if you have any additional ones.

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  1. There are many mistakes on the first paragraph and your first tip doesn’t even have an explanation, it just shows a bonus which has nothing to do with planning… I appreciate the effort but this blog post is not useful.

    1. Sherif Abuzid says:

      Hi Arrigo, sorry about the mess. I discovered a draft copy was pasted in the website, along with design mistakes.

      I have fixed these now and hope you will find the article useful.


  2. Yes, I agree these are good tips. I do not have a set number of hours for marketing as my work flow changes. There are slow periods and other very intense ones. In slow periods I can fit in far more than 3 hours per week, possible a couple of hours a day, that´s 10 hours a week at least. In periods where there are lots of urgent translations, 3 hours may be difficult. What I ensure is that when I am not translating, I am marketing, ie not sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, so I write emails. One important point about emails is you should write a good subject line such as “Cooperation with + name of the company you are addressing”. With emails, you only have a few seconds to get the recipient´s attention, otherwise, no matter how good your email is, the reader will lose interest.

  3. Greetings Mr. Sherif,
    I learned about you from peers and glad I am one of your subscribers. I have been applying all what you stated as I read that too many times. But I like how different you simply phrase and specify elements here because they are your personalized expertise and customized to the Translation Industry. You reassure my thought efforts of what a translator merely needs. Moreover, what I sort of lack is consistency and focus. I have watched you previously and I like your approach towards consciousness in the translation industry; Additionally, from a marketer’s perspective which makes it all more defined.
    Thank you for posting and taking the time reading my comment.

    Have a good one.

    1. Sherif Abuzid says:

      Wow. Thanks a million, Yara!

      I have not checked the comments for a couple of days and your comment just gave me a lot of energy. I talk only about what I know or experienced. It comes from real-life experience and that is why you feel it is customized for you :). Also, the content is structured in a certain way so you can read it quickly and get some action-tips out of it.

      Keep following as more to come 🙂


  4. As a new-comer in freelance translation jobs, I find your tips are very enriching in order to get me set, since I am in the hunt for clients, despite being a long time translator. Thanks

    1. Sherif Abuzid says:

      Hi Lerois,

      Thanks a lot for your nice words. I know how hard to start a career as a freelancer, just be patient and consistent in your marketing. Happy hunting for clients 🙂

  5. Thank you Mr. Shetif. It is really a useful article but till now I do not know how can I send an attractive note to vendor manager. All what I do is sending connections to them and after they accept my invitation, I offered my services and experience but there is no reply. Would you tell me please what is wrong?

  6. Noha Sallam says:

    Great article.. Thank you.

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