I was heeding the advise of my Entrepreneurial Linguist consultant Judy Jenner and attended a local business expo and networking event arranged by the Chamber of Commerce last week. I was very sceptical going there. Who would need my translation services there? What was I doing there? I decided to go there anyway, with the mindset that I wanted to see what kind of businesses would be there. It was also good to get out of my office chair and actually network with people in the flesh for a change.
To my surprise I had a lot of fun. What did I get out of it? No new customers off the bat, of course, but many people were interested in hearing what I did. I found a PC-consultant that can fine tune and "clean" my computer for $45 four times a year, which sounded like a good deal to me. I became a member of the Local Business Women's organization and promised to give a presentation during one of their networking events. Last but not least, I was offered to be featured in the local/regional business magazine. I also got some contacts for event planning and tourism companies, who might need translation services.
So, even if you are translating into a unique/rare language, it is well worth attending a local business networking event from time to time, especially if companies that work in your expertise areas will be there. You never know what you will get out of it.