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Freelance Training Consultant

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I've been seriously considering going freelance sometime in the new year. I know what I'd like to specialise in and have an idea of how I'd structure the services, but if I'm honest, haven't got much of a clue beyond this! Would anyone have any pointers with regards to getting the work in or anything I may need to think about, It would be greatly appreciated
Many Thanks

Rich Lucas
Rich Lucas

12 Responses

  1. In the same position!
    Hi Rich
    I am in the same position and will be starting free lancing in January. Maybe we could bat some ideas through together? I alredy have 1 client to work with and it would be good to speak to someone in the same position. let me know and we can swap contact info

  2. freelance consulting
    I went freelance about 10 years ago. Here are some points that might start off your discussion.
    I’ve found that all my work has come through word-of-mouth recommendations. Colleagues who’ve spent serious money on flyers and brochures have all said that the money was wasted. I was with a HR director who showed me an intray overflowing with the brochures of freelance consultants looking for work – “I never have time to read these” she said. “I only ever go by personal recommendation”

    A good website is important – not to get work, but to show you’re a serious player.

    The hard bit is to start, in an ethical way. I had to be careful not to ‘pinch’ people that were clients of my organisation. Once you get going though, it’s amazing how people remember you and get into contact even a year or two later, for example when they move jobs.

    Although flyers haven’t seemed useful in my experience, a good Christmas card, sent fairly early, is a good thing.

    It seems important not to appear too ‘hungry’ for work, even when you are.

    Many people join up in loose networks of freelancers who can pass work on to each other, which is a very good start in my experience.

    Getting a valid qualification can help, and it also starts you with a good network.

    KEEP ORGANISED is one of the main things. Get a good invoicing system, chase invoices in the nicest possible way, keep your accounts, set money aside from each payment for the income tax. When I was starting, a very successful consultant said “a day a week on admin, writing materials, keeping up your contacts, is a very good investment’

    If possible, get an informal mentor (or a peer mentor) with whom you can talk things through.

  3. acquiring a reputation
    I agree with you Joanna on recommendation and reputation. However, building a reputation and getting referrals can sometimes take a long time, with serious income ebbs and flows.

    Portfolio working or having an alternative income source is vital when building up a client base.

    The problem though is the perceived lack of ‘purity’ in one’s profession. Meaning, that if someone is that good, how come their diary is not booked solid for years to come (I jest but you know what I mean).

    Unfortunately, there can be the view that touting for business shows too much hunger as you say, but even the likes of Tony Robbins et al are constantly marketing to maintain continuity of flow.

    Then there are ‘events’.

    Despite excellent referrals when I first ran creative thinking courses in 1989/90, the recession and a massive mortgage changed my focus.

    It is not a failing to be pragmatic, or to choose a unique business delivery if that suits your longer term intentions.

    There are alternative ways in which you can build up a reputation – and ensure that clients find you.

    Most industry gurus recommend writing articles or books for example.

    Give speaking engagements or tasters.

    But most of all continue to believe in yourself however long it might take, and never give up.

  4. freelancing
    As a freelance myself, I started out looking for my own clients and had a good first year because of reputation from my ‘old’ career. However, spending time marketing and chasing invoices soon took over from quality time spent delivering training and I changed tack by becoming associate to four consultancies. I now have regular training delivery work and am growing my own business slowly but surely. In terms of finances – it’s been less ‘risky’ as an associate. In terms of experience, I see such a variety of organisations and delivery a variety of courses now, you can’t beat it!
    Jo Lee

  5. Sales and Pricing
    Rich

    Best wishes with going freelance. Two V IMPORTANT aspects that cause many to fail: Sales – not enough of it and Pricing – incorrect.

    Sales is essential and hugely difficult for some, myself included; do some CPD on a Sales Training course if you are not confident.

    More importantly is your Pricing; toooo many trainers don’t charge enough to make their freelance business viable.

    If you want to see my research on Trainer Rates please feel free to download (after joining TB) from http://www.trainerbase.co.uk/ResourcesShop/resources.asp?CategoryID=37. If you would like to read a very good article on how to price, please take a look on the Useful Stuff page at http://www.trainerbase.co.uk/Useful/items.asp?CategoryID=11 and look at Jeremy Hall’s article on Training Consultant Pricing.

    Hope this helps.

    Peter
    AKA Ed.
    Founder and Editor of TrainerBase

  6. Freelancing
    Hi Rich, Good luck with the new ‘venture’. I’ve been frelancing for the past 7.5 years and its definitely a great way to go! My advice would be to have a realistic plan in place and to make sure that it has real work life balance. I found that when I started out, I had a tendency to work every minute that God sent – this impacted(negatively!!) on my energy level and also on my focus. So plan for building a solid business and for an enjoyable life.
    I would agree with other respondents in that having a network of like-minded trainers who have services / expertise complimentary to your own is a great way of building business – essentially you have access to 5 – 10 times your own market through their marketing activities and contacts. In these relationships what goes around definitely comes around.
    Finally, you really have to believe that you have identified that what you have to offer is what the client wants and needs and that you can really deliver for the client. For tips on how to do this I’ve used http://www.clientmagnets.com as a useful resource.
    All the best.
    Jim ([email protected])

  7. It takes time…
    When we set up Midas Training Solutions we were amazed at the long lead times before work materialised from some clients.

    In one case it was two years between running a single day of training for them before a more regular booking was made. This made nonsense of all our cash flow predictions in the early days.

    Luckily all three founding trainers had other sources of income. This kept us all ticking over as the reputation of the company built up and the work began to flow in a more predictable fashion.

    Like other people, word of mouth has been our best marketing tool. And that takes time too…

  8. Some key success factors
    These points are so vital it’s worth repeating:
    – Word of mouth seems to dominate and clients tend to stick to people they know. Therefore networking with the most appropriate people is vital (work out who these people are for your business)
    – Lead times can certainly be measured in years from initial contact for large contracts so try and find a mixture of different types of business
    – Think about who you are selling to, HR or the line, and have a compelling “value proposition”
    – Understand how to price your time based upon client expectation, competition and your actual utilisation. Its much more difficult to get your prices up once you’ve underpriced yourself.
    – Understand your capabilities (& limitations)and what client needs you are able to serve. This is often more difficult than it seems.
    – Make sure you are prospecting continuously otherwise you’ll find it famine then feast then famine.
    – Keep on top of the admin and cash flow projections. Don’t forget VAT and taxes and 60+ day payment times from clients.
    – If you’re starting from a standing start then I recommend the associate route (or start growing vegetables or both)!
    GOOD LUCK

  9. Associate trainer
    Hi Jo, I’m thinking of striking out as an associate trainer in Project Management in the spring of next year. I have some thoughts already about how to go about this but I’d welcome any comments you have about finding and selecting organisations to become associated to.

    P.S. If you’re the Jo Lee that I worked with in a previous life(!), email me on [email protected]

  10. Thanks!
    Many many Thanks to you all

    This has given me plenty to think about, It looks like the associate route would be the best way to make a start and follow on from there

    Thanks again

    Rich

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