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Adrian Pitt

Develop-meant Training Consultants

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First week of Self Employment – HELP!

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Hi all,

Well, after pondering my navel for the last five years, plucking up the courage to 'go it alone', I've eventually made the leap. I've just spent the last three months in a very frustrating and stressful role with the boss from hell! Ironically, I owe her a favour as she's been the catalyst for me to come out of my comfort zone and find myself here messaging you guys. Work has already started to come my way, which is promising, having put the feelers out over the last few weeks. I'm off to my Business Link start up workshop tomorrow, armed with a bucketload of questions. However, I thought I'd test the water with Training Zone members, too who I KNOW will give me the invaluable advice I need. Please feel free to answer as many of the queries below as you can! I've no doubt there will be MANY more over the coming months!

Costs - I'm trying to determine what the "going rate" is to charge customers for half day and full day training programmes. Now, I know that might be a "how long's a piece of string?" question (and some of you might be a bit shy in revealing your rates!) but, I'd like a general idea if you can? I'll more than likely be delivering a lot of the training I designed and facilitated for the Connexions information, advice and guidance service for young people - working with practitioners to enhance their work with youngsters and supporting managers to work with their staff. When I worked for the Connexions Learning and Development team, my colleague and I would commission courses anywhere from £400 to £1500, so, I MAY just have answered my own question! I don't want to over price myself out of the market, but, then again, I don't want to be doing myself out of pocket. Do most trainers expect that clients will also pay their travelling expenses and overnight accommodation? It seemed to be the case with some of the providers we had in at Connexions.

Hourly rates - I plan to do some freelance NVQ work, a bit of Assessing and Verification, plus I've had a company approach me for some consultancy work. What would the going rate be these days for hourly work? I don't want to be cheeky and ask too much, but I don't want to be shy and ask for a rate that won't at least help me break even.

A website question - I've secured a name and a few domains. Should I be a .com website or a .co.uk? The jury is still out on this one. I've done a bit of market research. Some folk say that .com sounds more corporate and professional. Others say .co.uk let's customers know where you are and that you're targetting a UK market, which I am. I'd love to read your thoughts on this one.

Thanks in advance for your help. Here's to many more hours messaging!

Best wishes,

Adrian Pitt,

Developmeant Training Associates

Learning and Development how it's meant to be

6 Responses

  1. Buy both domains

    Hi Adrian and good luck in your new venture. I don’t operate in the same markets as you so cannot comment on rates etc.

    However, I do have a website and was advised if possible to buy both the .co.uk and the .com domains and get them filtered to the same website. This is because people often don’t remember the end of your site name (ie whether it’s one or the other) so if you have both you get them anyway.

  2. Going it alone
    Hi Adrian,

    First of all congratulations, hopefully self employment will be everything you want it to be, I jumped in to it 9 years ago and it was the best thing I ever did, despite everyone telling me at the time that I was mad to turn my back on a successful career (though their interpretation of successful; fancy job title, executive car, decent monthly income was a little different from mine; flexibility to do what I enjoy, variety, meeting new people, strong work life balance).

    The best pieces of advice I can give is network, network, network, ensure that you continually update your skills and knowledge, never take on a piece of work that doesn’t play to your expertise, if you are bringing people in to a project for support make sure you know what they can do (please don’t take recommendations from friends as they can lose you both a client and a friend), take every opportunity to market your business, don’t rely on one or two key clients, especially in your first couple of years, and set your rates at a level that pays you what you are worth and makes you competitive in the market for the talents that you have.

    I also work in a different area to yourself so couldn’t give specific advice for your type of work although as you rightly say rates vary widely. What I would say however is be flexible, my charges are different for design and delivery than they are for consultancy, different for 1 days work as opposed to 10 days work and different depending on what I am doing for the client. In saying that I have never been afraid to walk away from a project which isn’t commercially viable or is going to pay me what I am worth, always keep in your head that you are a business as well as a person.

    As far as half days and hourly rates are concerned I tend to charge 70% of my day rate for a half day and 25% for an hour unless I am doing it gratis in the hope of getting some business. Most self employed people charge expenses on top, personally I don’t as I live in France (that work life balance again) and personally I don’t think it fair that clients pay for my expenses when in actual fact I have to travel to do the work anyway. I also don’t charge for meetings to start the project or to evaluate the success of the project but many people do.

    Hopefully the advice has been of some use, and good luck, it sounds like you have made a good start with clients already lined up.

    Regards, Andrew
    http://www.ajlaycock.com

  3. Thanks!

    Cheers for the advice re the .com and .co.uk dilemma. Fortunately, I’ve been able to secure both domains for the name, so, as you say, whichever I plump for as the "main" one, I’ll have t’other one filter through to it.

    Best wishes,

    Adrian.

  4. Cheers Andrew

    Thanks Andrew, really sound advice.

    I suppose I have an insight into charges having commissioned lots of trainers over the years for the careers service and I know, when making those commissioning decisions, my colleague and I didn’t always go for the cheapest option, we’d go with the guys who would give us what we wanted, quality and reputation.

    I agree re networking. I started putting the feelers out a few weeks ago when I decided full-time employment (and the new boss from hell!) just had to go! Already that marketing has started to reap rewards, so, I’m really positive for the future. The time feels right now, can’t quite put my finger on why, think fate has played a part!

    I appreciate your help. Now all I need is a good mugshot so I look as good as you guys on here!

    Keep up the good work. Hope to bump into you again.

    Best wishes,

    Ade.

  5. Some thoughts
    Adrian

    Well done on getting work so quickly; some trainers have lead times of 6 – 18 months on contracts.

    There is some information on going it alone on our .info site at http://www.trainerbase.info/information/independent/

    As to domain names; .com is (supposed to be) a USA company and .co.uk is (supposed to be) a UK company. Do you want enquiries from outside the UK; if not go for .co.uk. FWIW some trainers are now moving away from the own web sites and concentrating their efforst on training or business related portals like LindedIn or TrainerBase. We have a number of members who use their TB profile as their main web presence as it is far better at getting traffic.

    Just a thought.

    Peter

  6. Cheers Peter

    Thanks Peter for signposting me to trainerbase and Linkedin. I’ll go and have a nose now and do my homework.

    Best wishes,

    Adrian.

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