Let you worst clients go. “The Pumpkin Plan” by Mike Michalowicz for translators.

19 Jun

I read a lot of marketing and business-related literature. And it is not that often that I come across strategies that can be applied to any business in any industry. The last book that has this universal nature was “The Pumpkin Plan” by Mike Michalowicz. As usual, I will try to highlight the most important thoughts that can (and should) be used by any freelance translator. And I am certain that many of us have applied the same methods to let your business grow – here and there.

The core principle, or catchword of the book, is “kill your clients!”. Not all of them of course, but those “who make you cringe when you hear their names”. 4 years ago for me these were i) agencies from certain countries (like India, China, former USSR countries), ii) anyone who pays NET 60, NET 90, etc., iii) clients who mostly send proofreading assignments, (iv) clients who are rude, (v) clients who lower the price at their own discretion when the project is over at the slightest excuses, etc. I believe we all have a black list of such clients. So, why not just let them go and concentrate on the best clients we have, and spend more time finding the type of clients which is the best for us?

The math is simple: now your best clients can tell you (both indirectly and directly) why they stay with you. It may be that you return their emails faster than others. It may be that you are a technical translator who specializes in the industry they represent. Or you may be the one who is able to do the translation and DTP at the same time. Which means that you will have to look for the same type of clients – like your best clients. And, by the way, you now have a lot of time to cater your best clients. Let now others wait for 60+ days to get their payment from that monstrous translation agency. Let now others fill out tons of documents required by another Fortune 500 translation agency with 20 offices worldwide.

You can also stop offering some services which attract your worst clients. Or, you can raise your rates to let your not-so-good clients go. You can also tell them that you are booked until the end of the year.

What next? You have more of your best clients. And you don`t have time to serve them all. The answer is: raise your rates 2 times, 3 times, 4 times or more. Needless to say, you have to treat your best clients like stars. Answer their calls first. Let others wait until you serve your best client.

To cut a long story short, people can`t juggle with 25 cups of different shapes and sizes without breaking at least one, which means that you will have to choose. “More is not better, people. Better is better”.

Shockingly surprising. And shockingly simple.


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