“Ramping up Your Freelance Business” (Marian Greenfield)

11/23/2016 4:59 PM | Thais Passos Fonseca

Marian Greenfield on “Ramping up Your Freelance Business”

By Thaís Passos, MATI Director

In her presentation “Ramping up Your Freelance Business” at the 13th Annual MATI Conference, Marian Greenfield emphasized freelancers are business owners and must think like business owners.

She talked about the importance of having a business plan to set earning goals, forecast required purchases, choose targeted specializations (or “verticals”), develop marketing strategies, set work hours, and, of course, to set prices.

According to Marian, some differentiating factors that should help your potential clients decide to hire you instead of another translator/interpreter are: specialization in your language pairs and subject matter, keeping your language skills up-to-date by staying in close contact with all your languages, making use of top-notch research skills and resources, solving your clients’ problems by doing whatever it takes to get the job done well (including referring colleagues if you are not best qualified to do the job), using top-of-the-line hardware and software, and leveraging CAT tools to increase the quality of your translations.

Greenfield reminded us to be more efficient by knowing our strengths and weaknesses and outsourcing tasks that others can do better, cheaper or faster than us, such as: accounting, bookkeeping, technology support, project management, sales, editing, formatting, and marketing.

One of the highlights of the presentation was the importance of marketing effectively. Greenfield said that making use of virtual networking is crucial, but “having a face makes a huge difference”. Good examples of how to put our face out there are: networking in online communities, participating in professional associations, presenting seminars and webinars, attending trade shows, reaching out to chambers of commerce, having a good website, and volunteering in general.

Greenfield’s final message was for us to focus on service and good client relations by maintaining a positive attitude and cultivating a healthy business atmosphere.


Thaís Passos translates from English and Spanish into Brazilian Portuguese. She holds a Master of Arts in Latin American, Caribbean & Iberian Studies with a focus in Translation and a Master of Science in Agroecology, both from the University of Wisconsin. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Medicine from the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil.