ProZ.com Blog

Using the BlueBoard to get clients

August 31, 2021 / by Andrew Morris

Earlier I hinted at a more effective way (at least in my experience) to get clients via ProZ than either responding to ads or polishing your profile to a high shine – important though these are.

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Because both these methods are in essence passive. The first depends on ads turning up out of the blue, and the second on a client happening to seek out your profile.

But when I think back to the beginnings of my years on ProZ.com, the tool I used far more often than either of these was the BlueBoard.

I would narrow down the search to a specific country (in my case, France), then sequence all the agencies so that those who scored a 5 appeared top of the list.

(At which point, someone is bound to make the outlandish claim that agencies pay for 5s, and that the whole system is untrustworthy. I’ve heard that on occasions, just as I’ve heard on occasions that Bill Gates wants to implant 5G chips in our brains – often from the same sort of people).

If you’re a member, you can of course see the nature of the comments made, as most people explain why they have given a five. Sometimes they are laconic “Good payer, nice communications”, while sometimes their comments extend to the rhapsodic and lyrical.

Having identified, say, 20 agencies, I’d go to their websites, check out whether they might be a good fit for me (not too technical or financial, not too automated, perhaps small businesses run by fellow freelancers) and then pop them an email. Not a boring mass thing either, but one which was tailored to them, with a comment or two on their website. Personal, friendly, distinctive.

Of course some – even most – would ignore my message. But I was never hoping to get 20 new clients with one emailing session (although now I might equally turn to LinkedIn). But two or three would respond, and perhaps one of them would go on to be a client for years.

In fact, of the 20 agencies I worked with before my direct client portfolio took over, I’d say at least 16 were picked up this way…

So if you see the BlueBoard just as a tool for checking the bona fide of clients, think again. It’s also a fast-track way to find out who the best people are to work with, and a great springboard for your next marketing campaign…

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This post originally appeared as part of a series on ProZ.com in the Translators and Interpreters (ProZ.com) group at facebook.

Part II continues below... 

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One of the first agencies I ever picked up on ProZ.com (via the BlueBoard technique I mentioned earlier) is the only one I still work for today, ten years on, and now only around the time of the Cannes Film Festival.

At the beginning, when all my work was for agencies, they used to send me between €1,000 and €2,000 of work every month, which was fine as I was also picking up work (in lesser quantities) from a dozen other agencies at the time. But the other day I looked back through my yearly accounts to try and work out exactly how much they had paid me (given that my latest invoice to them during the recent Festival was for €3,400), and the total worked out at over €110,000 in ten years.

That all represents quite a return on that initial investment…

Oh and did I mention that I got taken on board after doing a free test? 😃

Sometimes the beginning of a relationship with a new client can seem unremarkable, unpromising, pretty much like all the others. It’s when you see things in terms of lifetime value that they really come into perspective.

Finding clients is a great start. Cultivating, maintaining and benefiting from them over the years is where the hard work, the quality and the consistency pay off…

Andrew Morris is the moderator of the Translators and Interpreters (ProZ.com) group on facebook. The group numbers over 50,000 and is provided as a professional resource for those who work with language or who offer language services. 

 

Topics: freelancer, jobs, ProZ.com, facebook, Blue Board

Andrew Morris

Written by Andrew Morris

French to English translator, Translation Mastermind founder, ProZ.com staff.

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