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A – Z of freelance training: Part 2


In the second installment of her guide to being a successful freelance trainer, Sharon Gaskin runs from F to J.

F is for feast and famine
Ask any freelance trainer and they will tell you one of the main challenges they have is feast and famine syndrome. You know, that situation when you are either staring at your blank diary wondering how you are going to pay the mortgage this month whilst keeping half an eye on the job ads or feeling desperately stressed out because you are training 5 days a week and can’t cope with the workload. People often describe this scenario as something that just happens to them, almost as if it’s an inevitable part of being self employed and that there’s nothing you can really do about it. But there are things you can do to avoid it.
The most important action you can take is to develop the right mindset about marketing. Marketing is an ongoing activity, something you should do every day, not just an afterthought when you are not out delivering training. So make sure that you plan marketing activity into your daily and weekly schedules.
G is for grin and bear it marketing  
Many freelance trainers tell me that they hate marketing. It makes them feel stressed and they wish they didn’t have to do it. The thought of making a cold call brings them out in a cold sweat. They work themselves up into such a state by the prospect of going to a networking event and walking into a room full of strangers that they end up getting nothing from it or not going at all.
I can understand this and I used to feel like this too. But if you don’t market your business you won’t have one – it’s as simple as that. So start focusing on marketing activities that you actually enjoy. As you start to think about all the potential marketing methods that you could use there will be some, I promise you, that you will feel more naturally drawn to than others. Some people absolutely love public speaking and if that’s you – then go for it – use it to your advantage. It’s so important to make your marketing fun and enjoyable – because it’s such a fundamental part of your business
H is for happiness
When you start your own business it is your opportunity to create your way of working and your own life. One of the best things about being a freelance trainer is the fact that you are in control. You have complete freedom to do what you want to do. If you have an idea you can just go with it instead of having to run it by countlesss decision makers and work through tedious office politics. So use your opportunity – think about the work you really love to do, that really gets you out of bed in the morning and work on ways of getting that type of work.
It’s much easier to run a business when you are passionate about what you do and you will find that people are naturally attracted to you because of it.
I is for information products
I'm sure you're all aware of the current trend for creating information products as a way of adding multiple streams of income. It seems to be everywhere at the moment. I'm coming across more and more business owners who are providing products such as Special Reports, E Books, and Teleseminars. This is a fundamental part of my own business - The Trainers Training Company.
What's so great about the concept of information products is the fact that once you have created them they can be sold online without your direct involvement. Of course, you have to spend time marketing your products but once you have done that you can look forward to your orders coming in whilst you are sleeping or away on holiday.
This is a really attractive concept for freelance trainers. Realistically freelance trainers only have around 120 fee earning days in any one year. Believe it or not, once you take out time spent marketing your business, client visits, writing proposals, admin, holidays etc that's what you will be left with. So, in effect you have a limit placed on your annual income.
Now you may be thinking here this is all very well but what on earth could I create an information product on? What topics would grab people's interest?
Try this simple exercise:
Keep a diary for 30 Days. Every time you have contact with one of your clients listen carefully to what they are saying about their current problems and challenges. Or ask them 'What's the biggest issue that you are facing right now that you would love to find the answer to?' Write down all this information in your diary. At the end of the month you will have a topic for your information product. And if your clients want, need and can afford your product then they will buy it. 
J is for just do it!
Procrastination can be the curse of many freelance trainers, particularly as many of us work from home with all the distractions that that can bring! If you are to succeed in your business you need to have a disciplined approach to work, know exactly what you need to achieve in a day and let nothing get in your way. However, that doesn’t mean that you should be restricted and feel that you should work between 9 and 5 if you don’t want to. One of the best things about being self employed is that you can set your own hours and agenda, it doesn’t really matter WHEN you do things as long as they get done in the end.
Sharon Gaskin runs The Trainers Training Company which helps freelance trainers to create successful businesses. You can also read her blog here and join her Freelance Trainers' Network group here on TrainingZone 

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