To be a translator, you need to hustle to get your name out there, find work and pay the bills.
But what does it mean to “hustle”? Shove our services down people’s throats? Sheepishly send out resumes and cross our fingers?
Fortunately, there’s a third and more enlightened way to “hustle” for your translation business.
You don’t know from hustle
I’ve found a great example of how to balance hustle with humility, and in an unlikely place: the Bollinger Champagne house.
Lily Bollinger was a force to be reckoned with in the champagne industry.
When her husband died in 1941, Lily became the head of a major company while World War II was raging at her doorstep.
Even while tending to the wounded and organizing funerals in her bombed-out town of Aÿ, Lilly Bollinger held onto a burning passion for champagne. When the war ended, she travelled the world to talk to well-heeled patrons about the drink she loved so much.
Champagnes in general are huge brands backed by lots of extensive marketing and ads. But the Bollinger house didn’t advertise. And despite that, it became the preferred champagne of the British Royal Family (and James Bond!) and is rated as one of the best champagnes in the world.
How did Lily Bollinger do this?
By implementing stringent wine processes and then going out and telling people about her excellent product.
So what are Lily Bollinger’s lessons for translators?
Love your craft
When you love what you do so much, you pour everything into improving every last possible detail.
Are you a master of punctuation? Can you word tailor with the best of them?
Do you read extensively about the sector you translate in?
You can always improve some area of your translation skills, which makes it much easier to sell your business.
Make your product so appealing, it sells itself
When your service is fantastic, you have no lack of confidence to let people know about it.
If you never miss a deadline, have a can-do attitude in the face of criticism, and constantly look for ways to help your clients, you can’t help but have a thriving business.
Sell your passion
As you can see from the quote above, Lily Bollinger didn’t just sell champagne. She lived it.
Is translation a way of life for you?
Do you live, eat and breathe the language of your sector or industry?
Do you do everything you can to improve your knowledge and experience?
If so, then your passion will become a client magnet.
And the more passion you develop, the less you’ll have to hustle.