After my first fly-by-night manga company flew by night, I still had work with Studio Nemo doing anime translations and subtitles, so I wasn't desperate. But the anime companies were basically paying rates that would make one person a nice middle-class living -- but that money went to three of us. So I went in search of more manga work.
Searching for manga work isn't all that difficult. You send out query letters and e-mail to any company that is doing even similar things to what you are doing. A Japanese subsidiary company was putting out English-language versions of children's books based on the Miyazaki movies, so I bought one, sent in a letter praising it, sent in a few pamphlet manga of the work I had done previously, and left with the parting phrase, if you need any translation work done...
It was a fortuitous letter because at that very time, they were looking for new translators. (Don't be too surprised. I wouldn't doubt that at this very moment, there are manga companies that have just had several new titles licensed, and their managing editors are right now wondering who they can give the work to.) The company almost immediately sent me an artbook to translate, and they indicated that they had manga work coming down the line.
This subsidiary company had one reason for existing. They had a partnership with a major Japanese games producer to publish their accompanying magazine, and they knew that if the games producer ever wanted to take over the publishing of the magazine themselves, the subsidiary company would fold, and everyone would be out of jobs.
This led to a get-rich-quick attitude among the subsidiary company. The odd thing is the parent company had some great titles, and if the subsidiary company had taken the long view to building up a line of manga and anime-related items over a period of time, they might have weaned themselves gradually off of the magazine-only existence. But instead they expected everything they put out to sell huge and solve their problems all at once. A computer-based naked-eye 3-D book sold well, but not as well as they expected. (I had to learn how to cross my eyes, and make out the 3-D image in order to translate that one.) The manga I translated hit 147 on the Diamond charts for a month when most of the most popular manga were hovering around the mid 200s, but they were hoping for a number much higher. And they entrusted a Miyazaki movie to Troma Entertainment for distribution (famous for B-movies like Toxic Avenger) and were disappointed when it didn't bring in the ticket sales they hoped for. I remember looking at a newspaper in Tucson and finding out that the movie was playing. There was no advertisement and no description. Just the text of the title in a little box.
Basically, what it meant was that they put out relatively successful products that were well made and popular among the small audience that existed. But they weren't interested in that small audience, they wanted to be moguls. Within a few years, the company was no more. I honestly don't know what happened to it since my association with them ended with the conclusion of the manga, but they certainly didn't seem to be following a path toward lasting success.
Is there a lesson for a translator in this? Not really. The freelancer treats this kind of company with the same respect due to any company. But if you see this kind of compulsion in one of the companies you work for, you will want to make sure you are working regularly for at least one other company as well.