The Alchemist's Lair
Thoughts on writing, language, life as a freelancer,
and what comes to mind.
and what comes to mind.
Back in 2013, Nicole Y. Adams invited me to share my experiences as a translator and copywriter in her book Diversification in the Language Industry. Since then, I have received quite a number of emails from fellow translators asking for tips and advice on how to diversify their business, and how to promote their new services.
Individual stories vary, but most requests have a common trait. That is, people often see diversification as a quick fix to pad out their wallets and get more work.
And this is where problems begin - leading to frustration, disappointment, and eventually failure.
Indeed, diversifying your offering can help you reach your income goals more easily - provided that you have what it takes to do it right. However, there is nothing quick about it - and thinking of diversification as the Holy Grail of business success is useless if not disruptive.
Diversification is not a must
Diversification should be an educated choice rather than a backup plan. If your translation business is not solid enough to keep you going, you'll probably want to try fixing that before moving on to "the next big thing".
People claiming that translation alone is not a viable business model - and that big companies diversify so we should do that too - often forget that those successful big companies usually plan carefully before embarking in a new venture. And we should either.
Diversification needs solid foundations
Different services are likely to require different skills - and chances are you might need to work on some to hone them at least up to a professional level before you can include it in your offering.
Remember that reputation is hard to gain, but very easy to lose. If your new service sucks, people would be less likely to hire you for your other services - which is not in line with your ultimate goal, I guess.
Diversification requires increased marketing efforts
Different services often apply to different target markets, which means that you'll need to invest more time on creating targeted marketing activities to attract new customers in the relevant segments.
This easily translates in working longer hours, and investing more money. Still, if your core service isn't selling enough, you might not have the resources you need to launch your new offering properly.
The bottom line
If you're thinking of diversifying your offering as some kind of "make money fast" scheme, think again.
Success in business is based on smart planning, hard work, and consistency. You can't just replace one of those elements with a new service, because it won't work.
Diversification should only come when you're ready for it - and only if you believe this would be a wise move to bring your business to the next level.