Success story mini-series: Winning a dream client

I’m sure many of you have wondered whether LinkedIn actually works, whether you can really land that dream client just by being present on this social media platform geared to professionals like us. I know I did. Even after I started to post more regularly and comment on content that my ideal clients were posting, heeding the advice of those in LinkedInland who know much more than me about these things, I still had doubts that my efforts to be visible would ever pay off.

Then one day in early July, it happened. A translation and localisation project manager at a French EdTech company specialising in providing online training in IT and digital skills posted on LinkedIn. They were looking for freelancers with experience in IT, systems, networks, code and data to translate and localise their training content into English. This was me to a tee! I switched to translation six years ago after a 25-year career in IT. In my last role, I managed teams responsible for systems, networking and data administration, all of which involved some degree of coding.

I didn’t see the post myself at first: I wasn’t yet connected with the OP (original poster). But my network weaved its magic! An existing connection – a fellow translator – remembered my area of specialisation and very thoughtfully tagged me in her comment on the post. After thanking my connection, I left a comment myself and sent a connection request to the OP introducing myself very briefly (you only have 300 characters). She quickly accepted my request, and we discussed my IT and translation experience in more depth over an exchange of direct messages. Part of their selection process included a short translation test, which they were very happy with, and we subsequently agreed terms and rates and chatted about how we would work together.

Over the last few days of July, I carried out my first assignment for my new client, translating the content of their beginners’ web coding course. Once I’d finished my first good draft, the project manager quickly answered the handful of questions I had about style that weren’t mentioned in the comprehensive style guide so I could finalise the translation before delivery.

I loved every minute of this first project, and the project manager’s feedback was upbeat: “Thank you so much for this translation. We are really happy with it and I am very much looking forward to working with you on our upcoming projects from September.” I’ve touched base with them since the end of the summer holiday period, and more work is definitely on the way.

Since this initial success on LinkedIn, my posting, commenting and connecting strategy has spawned more potential direct clients in cybersecurity, my niche specialisation. I’ve connected with two people who may have work for me down the line, and with one who may be able to send tech companies he works with in my direction, should they need English translation services.

I know, I used “may” twice in that last sentence! These are still only prospects. But it’s all about networking and fostering relationships so that people get to know the real you and are aware of what you can offer them or their clients. My story also shows that for referrals, networking in our own industry is just as important as networking in our specialist industry. Be visible, be yourself, and you too can land new direct clients. The magic will happen!

Keith Baddeley translates from French and Spanish into English, specialising in business and technical texts for the IT industry, with a focus on the cybersecurity sector.