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SMART goals for freelance translators

Updated: Mar 6

Hands up if you have ever thought:

"Argh, where do I start? All my colleagues seem to be doing better than me, but I am barely making ends meet/not progressing in my career and I don't know how to move on from here!"

  • Firstly, you are not alone!

  • Secondly, it's great to know your long-term goals and see people you wish to emulate, but it can be daunting and downright prohibitive only focussing on the long-term.

  • Plan small steps you know you can achieve and you'll be amazed how far you can get in 1 year. This is where SMART goals come in.

Today, I want to talk about SMART goals for freelance linguists.


So, let's remind ourselves what SMART goals actually are and how they are relevant to freelance linguists.

SMART goals are different to the usual goals you might set for your business, in that they have to meet certain criteria. These criteria ensure that your goals are specific and targetted for your business, in order that you can achieve them easily and know exactly what you need to do to attain your goal. The criteria for SMART goals are that they must be:

  • Specific - zone in on exactly what you want to focus on

  • Measurable - decide what evidence would prove that you were making progress

  • Attainable - make sure that what you decide is doable within the time

  • Relevant - any goals you choose, should align with your values and long-term objectives

  • Time-based - set a realistic end-date, but one that is not so generous that you are not motivated

How can SMART goals help freelance linguists?

  • Bring focus to your business

  • Motivate you

  • Ensure that the goals you set are truly important to you and your business

  • Bring clarity to how you want your business to progress

Examples of poor SMART goals for a freelance linguist:

  • Grow my business

  • Earn more

  • Find more clients

What are some good examples of SMART goals for freelance linguists, then?

  • I am going to write 3 x 500-word blog posts for my freelance website in this quarter.

  • I am going to spend 2 days every month this quarter looking for new clients in online groups for the sustainability industry in Germany.

  • I am going to ask for 3 referrals from my existing clients and upload them onto my website/promote them on social media by the end of March.

It's so important to be realistic about what you can achieve. Nobody is successful overnight. Success is always the result of a great deal of effort. After all,

'He who fails to plan is planning to fail.'

(Winston Churchill)

Now that you know more about how this business tool could be of use to you as a freelance linguist, why don't you create one for your business? I'd love to hear how you got on, so feel free to drop me an email ( or send me a message on LinkedIn!


To read more of this kind of material or if you would like to speak to me about translation (Russian, German, or Dutch), localisation, or proofreading, please click here to see a list of my services and get in touch today.

Thanks for reading!

Marjolein, The Native Crowd

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