No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

First Steps – Setting up as self employed


I'm making okay ground with this. My background is in communications and customer service training, however, I am going to be delivering personal development courses - with a slant towards applying NLP as part of the process. I am employed full time at the moment and am very good at what I do. However, in honesty, as this isn't something i've embarked on before, I feel unsure about how to successfully take the step over to self employment without compromising my financial position and ability to meet my obligations. Any thoughts / suggestions greatly received. Best regards Martyn

4 Responses

  1. Going self employed
    Hi Martyn
    Very best of luck! I started in self employment (after being made redundant twice in 18 months) and am still here 8 years later.

    When I started, I contacted loads of training consultancies and public course providers endeavouring to become an Associate. Most fell by the wayside but a couple stuck. One was by personal recommendation of a colleague (and they are still using me) and the other, I just fell lucky. They were a software training provider looking to branch into soft skills.

    8 years ago, websites weren’t too developed. Now it’s easy to look for the training providers who don’t seem to provide the course areas that you do – this will give you a point of difference from other trainers. You then have a target list of companies to contact.

    I would also suggest building a credible web site – clients seem to expect the presence these days.

    Best of luck with your endeavours
    Happy Days!

  2. Advice On Going It Alone

    Hi Martyn,

    If you are feeling slightly anxious about jumping into the freelance world, that’s entirely normal – it can be quite scary to begin with. But I would also argue that it is incredibly rewarding and exciting just knowing that you can do things for yourself and make things happen rather than having to rely on others. And no office politics!

    Several things that you should do before you even begin to think about marketing:

    1.Identify precisely what you are going to be offering – the more specific you can be the better – personal development covers a multitude of things

    2. Identify clearly and precisely who you are going to be offering your services to – who exactly is your target market?

    3. What qualifies you to offer these services to this target market – or in other words, what is special about you? Why would a client choose you over another trainer?

    In my experience a lot of trainers jump into freelancing without putting enough time and effort into answering these questions – probably because it’s not half as exciting as going out and trying to get business – but this groundwork is absolutely essential to the success of your business and will actually save you time, money and stress in the long run.

    Once you know the answers to these questions your marketing strategy becomes a lot easier and more focused as you know exactly what you are about and who you need to target.

    There are loads of resources on my site to to help you. 

    If you need any further help, happy to oblige – just get in touch.

    Kind Regards,


    Sharon Gaskin

    The Trainers Training Company

    Helping Trainers Create Successful Businesses

  3. Get your paperwork in order now
    Once you research the legal and financial requirements for self-employed individuals, start getting those documents lined up before you go solo. The main thing to determine is whether you want to incorporate, or do something like an LLC, which will help protect your personal assets but require more paperwork for tax purposes.

    Get good software such as Quicken or Microsoft accounting to make sure that you keep track of income/expenses/invoices for your business. I prefer these over something like Excel because you track everything by client and remind you that invoices haven’t been paid, etc., as well as automatically flagging items for tax purposes. Open a separate bank (checking) account for your business.

    Solicit sample work agreements/contracts from fellow entrepreneuners so you have a variety to draw from based on the situation. If the project is going to be long-term or take up a substantial amount of your time/energy within a short time frame, get an initial amount up front. My standard was 25% for the long-term projects, with the remainder billed monthly and 50% for intense, short-term projects with 25% billed at draft delivery and 25% at final delivery. Always put in the agreement to invoice travel separate from your pay.

    Judith Hale’s book, Performance Consultant’s Fieldbook, is full of practical advice on how to deal with and negotiate with clients and includes a CD with forms you can use.

  4. Becoming freelancer

    Becoming a self-employed trainer is not an straight forward job and you need to work on it for some time before it can pick up. Just about any freelancer goes through the same cycle.

    Here are some more points I can add to the rest of comments:

    • Research your field constantly so you don’t fall behind. This allows you to stay competitive
    • Pay attention to contract terms and small prints, in particular cancellation fees 
    • Make your life easier by starting from off-the-shelf training materials so you don’t have to spend a lot of time to prepare for a training course you don’t actually know if you deliver.
    • Know you end goal or mission statement. Ultimately, what are you trying to achieve? This helps you to know why you are doing what you are doing and will help you to get through the tough times which are always inevitable.

    All the best

    Ehsan Honary

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!