A translator confessed…
“I’ve worked hard to build up a loyal client base, but I don’t always have the bandwidth to satisfy all my clients needs…”
And my response was, “What a great problem!” I didn’t realize what the implications were…
The translator then when on to explain the real dilemma. They wanted to keep their loyal clients happy and not risk losing them to someone else. They would then subcontract the work out.
Thus creating another real problem- they would have to proofread and make sure the work was up to snuff to keep their clients happy. So what to do with this fork in the road….err dilemma.
Some thoughts on how to handle bandwidth problems and project planning. Not comprehensive, but hopefully helpful.
1. Plan Ahead
Feast and Famine Seasons- In the past few years have you noticed busy seasons versus slower? This can be true if you are working with a particular industry. On the advent of a busier time of year, you may want to write a friendly email to your loyal clients reminding them you are going to be filling up with work and are happy to work with them- you welcome them sending you any work they may have sooner than later.
2. Revisit Your Pricing- You may want to raise your rates
If demand is high, maybe you are charging too little? Many people don’t raise their rates for fear of losing loyal clients, but you need to adjust your rates! Here’s a helpful way to handle a client calling in last minute… Tell them you would love to accept the job. Be honest that your bandwidth is tight. Depending on their deadlines you may be able to squeeze them in. A 24-48 turnaround may cost a premium of 100%, a 3 day turnaround may be 50% premium, and finally give them you normal rate if they can wait til your finished with your current assignment.
3. Form Strategic Freelance Partnerships
Use your networking skills to find like-minded professionals. Maybe it’s a freelancer with a similar specialty and in the slower time of the year test out proofreading with them. Once you are pressed in the busy season- mention to your client you would happily refer them to a colleague that can do the work. If the colleague does well- then you’ve made your client happy. If the colleague is a let down- then this is a win for you, making your client more eager to work with you in the future.
Ever feel the time-crunch? There’s only 24 hours in a day and when you’re busy, you’re busy. Make sure to be gracious with clients and make strategic relationships for these crunch times!
Please share any techniques or stories in the comments below!