The ATA Chronicle - November/December 2021 - 30

BP
Goal Three
Whatever you do, it's important to acknowledge
your efforts before you move on to goal-setting
for the upcoming year.
direct clients in a specific
sector, agencies in a
specific country, etc.
y Earn the same amount
of income while working
less. This is a goal for a
lot of freelancers who
are working so much
that they're at risk of
burning out.
y Increase your income from
a specific aspect of your
business. For example,
the year after I earned
my court interpreter
certification, I set an
income goal specifically
for interpreting.
Goal Two
Who You Work for
and What Kind of Work
You Do
When freelancers ask me for
big-picture business advice,
the first question I ask them
is, " Are you earning what
you need or want to earn? "
(See goal one!) The second
question is, " Are you doing
work that you enjoy and are
good at, for clients you enjoy
working for? " To answer
this, use some objective data.
Start by ranking your clients:
y A-list: Clients you love
working for, both in terms
of rates and the work they
send you.
y B-list: Clients who have
one " strike " against them
(e.g., they don't pay well,
they are high-maintenance
to work with, or you don't
really enjoy the work that
they send you).
y C-list: Clients with
multiple strikes against
them, who you only work
for when you have no
other work.
This exercise serves two
purposes: it helps you know
what kinds of clients you
would like more of (the
A-list), and what kinds of
clients you would like to
discontinue working with
(the C-list).
30 The ATA Chronicle | November/December 2021
Plan to " Clone "
Your A-List Clients
" I need better clients " is
too amorphous of a goal for
most freelancers to really
take action on. A better
option to is to ask yourself,
" What are the specific
characteristics of my favorite
clients, and how do I find
more clients that also have
those characteristics? "
Here's an example: one
of my direct clients is a
European business school
that hired me to help them
prepare their application
(which had to be in English)
for an international business
school accreditation. Their
application was successful,
and I've continued to work
with them on French>English
translations because they're
now actively recruiting
international students for
their programs taught in
English. I theorized that
they must not be the only
business school in a Frenchspeaking
country with this
type of accreditation, and I
was right. That motivated
me to develop an email
and LinkedIn marketing
campaign aimed at other
business schools in Frenchspeaking
countries that have,
or might be seeking, this
particular accreditation.
Goal Four
Identify a Rose
and a Thorn
To set goals for the new
year in your business you
need to take a big-picture
look at what's going well
and what's not going well.
Both are important: you
can't build on your strengths
unless you know what they
are, and you can't remedy
what's unsatisfying unless
you identify it. A good, nonpunitive
way of thinking
about this is a rose and a
thorn: what's something
that went really well in
your business this year, and
what's something that's
bugging you?
When you do this, really
try to make observations
rather than judgments,
especially when it comes
to the thorn. Saying, " I
didn't work hard enough "
is unlikely to motivate you
to do better. Instead, drill
down into what's not going
well: " I'm having a hard
time staying motivated
because I don't enjoy
my specializations, " is
more helpful. In my own
business, my rose is that
my overall income has been
relatively unaffected by
the pandemic, and I'm in
a master's in conference
interpreting program that
I love. My thorn is that I
really need to broaden my
base of interpreting clients
once I'm done with my
graduate program.
Goal Five
Set Some Benchmarks
for the Year
Wrap up the goal-setting
process by asking yourself
where you would like to be
at this time next year. Be as
specific as you can: Pass the
ATA certification exam? Find
at least one direct client?
Learn a new translation
memory program? I think
that identifying around three
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