( continued from part 1 )
Q: 4)What were your sell from home secrets? What made your home based business stand out from other agencies, even some real large ones?
A: You have to know your market really well and be aware of what’s going on with your competition (research, research, research)because, when your client is at the other end of a phone line instead of in front of you, the quality of the answers to your client questions is paramount.
You have to come across as knowledgeable, self-confident and professional whether you sell from home or else where.
Your voice needs to transmit a genuine interest in their problems and a genuine desire to help solve them.
Also you must tell your clients outright when something isn’t feasible and tell them why. They’ll respect you all the more for it and, even if they get another agency to do for them what you refused to do, it’ll bomb and next time they’ll come back to you. I think that’s what made BCPLI stand out.
Managing the client’s expectations is very important. Many clients don’t realize that translation and interpretation are complex, highly specialized services and that they are not inexpensive. In here, like in everything else, quality has a price and you cannot be afraid to ask for that price.
Q: 5)How did you go about choosing your translators to work with? What was the criteria you based your hiring decisions on?
A: I interviewed the candidates whenever possible. When not possible, I gathered references from other translators or from translation desks at the Courts etc.
I was never afraid to ask the best in the profession to accept my jobs even if they were a bit more expensive because, in front of the client, they were BCPLI’s face and were the image of the business.
The criteria was simple … In addition to their command of the languages, they had to have a professional attitude to their work. They had to be on time, be prepared beforehand and not get lost in the areas where they were supposed to go, dress adequately for the job, be organized, observe neutrality in the proceedings and report on time among other things.
If one or more of these weren’t present, or weren’t present too often I couldn’t keep the interpreter any more. For translators, it was to deliver completed jobs in time, proofread and with a neat appearance.
Q: 6)In your view, what makes a good translator?
A: What makes a good translator is the same as in any other successful endeavour in life, it’s a passion for the chosen profession. When you’re passionate about what you do you keep striving for perfection and that’s what differentiates the mediocre from the best.
Q: 7)For translators who are struggling to find enough work and clients, what’s your advice to them? How do they sell from home?
A: It’s the same for all the self-employed. You must have your name in front of the largest possible number of potential clients, canvass, make cold-calls, advertise and ask satisfied clients to refer you to other potential clients. Marketing must be a relentless pursuit for struggling translators as it needs to be for any profession or trade.
Q: 8)I know you are retired now, so what’s happening with the agency? Who is doing the sell from home job?
A: It was really fortunate that when I was ready to retire, my brother Francisco and his wife Lily were ready to step in after the completion of their previous careers. They are now running BCPLI very successfully and the transition could not have been more smooth.
There’s no such thing as easy home base business. Starting a business from home can be rewarding, but you have to be willing to invest the time, effort and money.