Hey there, I’m Sara Reyniers, ex freelancer, now manager of my own translation agency Word Atlas bv. Wondering why someone with her own agency would start an Academy to help freelance translators get ahead?
Because I stood once where you are now. When I started as a freelancer in 2016, I quickly learnt to get a few clients in my field (public sector), but I also experienced my first dry spell and the slight panic that comes with it. I’ve been in countless price negotiations where I was told my rate was too high (yes, that still happens today!). And in my first attempts at marketing, I spent a lot of effort and had high hopes for the result, only to be disappointed by the lack of response.
The translation sector can be tough, and as a freelancer, you tend to feel you’re on your own. And if your curriculum at university was anything like mine (I have a Master in Translation), you’ve learnt hardly anything about the real-world business side of freelancing. Grammar and text registers, sure, but rates and finding clients?
So how did I turn things around?
I had quit my job to also develop other projects next to translation work (I confess, I’m a generalist). I quickly learnt that freelancing wasn’t going to allow me to get my ideas out into the world. In the summer of 2017, I started building my own database of freelancers to be able to outsource work in the hope that doing management instead of translation would give me the freedom I was looking for.
I figured that if I just learnt some marketing, things would be alright. Did that work? Not so much. I had forgotten about a few golden business rules: choose your ideal client, define your unique value proposition, and turnover goals and profit goals are two different things. So I dived into business and entrepreneurship. I did courses on marketing, copywriting and finance, I signed up for an online business school, and I have had both a personal coach and a business coach to support me since April 2020.
That’s how I learnt to properly set goals for my business and how I could adapt general business information to the reality of a freelance translator. Gradually, I decreased the number of days I was doing translation work and I spent my time studying and expanding my business. By 2020, Word Atlas had grown big enough for me to stop translating entirely and to hire a fulltime employee. In 2021, my estimated turnover from Word Atlas will amount to 800,000 euros, all through organic growth!
What I offer
In Translation Business Academy, I combine teaching with mentoring and coaching. In my online courses, I’ll teach you how I’ve used business and entrepreneurship theories in the translation sector, so you don’t have to figure it out anymore. My own experience allows me to relate to your situation, which means I can give mentoring advice and examples. When you decide to follow my course for freelancers who wish to build their own team or even start an agency, a number of one-on-one coaching hours will be included in which we work on your main obstacles (mindset or practical skills – whatever you need to take the next step).
I believe that the best recipe for long-term success is finding your path in the freelancing world that’s true to who you are and building your strategy around that. Whether you love freelancing or wish to build your own team, my courses are a tool to understand your blind spots in the way you’ve been doing things. For instance: I can show you possibilities that hadn’t occurred to you yet (like in my course where I explain 7 paths you can take to build a clear profile – the traditional medical/legal/… specialization is only one). Or I can help you optimize your strategy for reaching out to clients instead of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. That’s why you won’t find separate short courses here about how to update your CV or how to make the most of LinkedIn. It’s the spaghetti thing.
What else you should know
I’m Belgian (native language: Dutch) and live in Ghent.
I love journalism and business podcasts, and have a thing for cookbooks (I buy at least a new one every spring). I also like films and series, but I don’t watch exciting Netflix series on weekdays, because I get so drawn into the story that I don’t sleep well afterwards. Totally blaming Sense8, La casa de papel and Lupin for that! So when you work with me, you’ll find that I’m compassionate as I get drawn into your story and I’ll think along with you. Be aware though that I’m also no-nonsense and my feedback is honest and to the point. I usually have a lot of ideas and I’m results-driven.