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Going freelance how to start?


I am going freelance soon and I was wondering if anyone had any tips about agencies, internet sites etc. to register with to help find work or any other avenues they have found successful.

I have had some response to some initial enquiries but I was wondering how to build up momentum and maximise the opportunities available to me.

Any help would be very gratefully recieved.

Nik Kellingley

20 Responses

  1. Going freelance – line the ducks up
    Hi Nik

    Great decision – now the fun starts. The type of organisations that you need to build alliances with will depend upon the type of freelancer you are/ want to be. Realise that if you only work through assiciates your date rate will be half the rate you will be able to charge yourself – but how good are you at selling & marketing?

    Descide your ‘vision’ of the type of work you want to do & ensure that you follow this – it is easy to follow the work and end up doing the type of work that you do not enjoy.

    Being freelance is about networking – on-line & offline – the balance is up to you.

    For me a target is 100 days of deliverable income – the rest is admin, sales etc!

    I have published some headline things to think about on – which in any case is a great place to start – just tell ED I sent you!

    They are called – going freelance & thinking about going solo.

    Use TrainingZone to tell the world you exist and share your knowledge.

    Also use

    good luck
    Going freelance is a bit like decorating – everything takes twice as long as you origionally thought (ok 5 times)

  2. Going freelance
    Congratulations on going freelance … I am confident that you will find that this is a great step to take.

    I would recommend regestering with TrainerBase ( as they post oppotunities for registered memebers.

    I would also recommend joining forces with other training providers to enable you to get some assosciate work.

    Wishing you every success.


  3. link ups with other trainers
    Hi Nik, good luck. I would agree with the above. You need to work out what works for you and focus on that.

    Now that we don’t deliver training anymore, we are always looking to link up with people who do

    see and click on contact

  4. Register at
    Hi Nik and welcome to freelancing. There is a new website about to be launched aimed at freelancers who train in the social care You can register now to get ongoing free stuff and info about costs etc.
    Other websites I’d recommend are ; and for lots of free resources. Good luck.
    Jonathan Whiter

  5. You are Welcome

    We always need good quality trainers with their own material.
    Our target audience is local authorities and we operate throughout the UK. Many of the courses we run are quite specialised and technical although we do have more “general” courses in our portfolio.

    You can check us out on our website although I must warn you that it is still under development. You can also drop me a line at

    Can’t make any promises about amount of work – but who knows???????

    Best wishes and good luck.


  6. Network, network, network
    Our experience is that the VAST majority of our work comes through our networks.

    When you leave work your networks will degrade very quickly unless you do something about it. Feed the network with stuff about ther are in which you want to operate; don’t regard this as transactional, just adopt a ‘give’ attitude and eventually it will pay back – sometimes via the oddest connections.

    Good luck (it always comes in handy!)


  7. soul searching

    you may have already done all of this but if you haven’t some of it may help, ask yourself….

    1. Why am I going freelance?
    2. What type of work am I seeking?
    3. What type of hours do I want to work?
    4. Where do I want to work?
    5. Do I want to work alone or with a team?
    6. Do I want to design or deliver?
    7. How important is income and at what level?
    8. How fast to I need to start earning?
    9. What does my spouse/significant other think?
    10. How good am I good at self selling?
    11. Can I do credit control?
    12. Where is this going to lead? Could I get back into corporate employment..if so when?
    13. Am I technically able to stand alone without support?
    14. Who will I turn to for technical and business advice?
    15. Who will I turn to for moral support?

    I’m sure this isn’t exhaustive and some answers will create new questions but I’d strongly recommend thinking these things through before you start.

    As a bit if technical advice…try the Personnel Managers Yearbook for prospective client companies and consultancies.
    If working as an associate remember to ensure that the associate agreement supports you as well as the organisation you associate with…lots of them are rather one sided

    Hope this helps
    Good Luck

  8. Be Business Wise uses Associates
    Dear Nik,

    Be Business Wise has over 80 associates. Please have a look at our website at to get a feel for what we do.

    We are also always looking for people who can create quality online content. Is this an area of interest?

    Iyou are interested in working with us, do please give us a call.

    Contact details are on the website.

    Best wishes and GOOD LUCK,


  9. Develop your networks, develop your client list

    Talk to everyone you currently work with, partner organisations, accreditation bodies, suppliers and then go through your phone book and talk to everyone in it – tell them what you are planning to do and ask if they know anyone that would be interested in buying your services – you will be amazed at the leads this will generate.

    Once you’ve done this keep a list of everyone that seems to be a reasonable ‘Prospect ‘ for work and keep in regular contact with them.

    Talk to associate companies – in particular at the start as they can help get you going – see our website in case there is anything you feel you can offer our team too and drop me an email if you can.

    Best of luck in your new endeavour – this will be an exciting time for you and worth all the effort it takes to build up a client base

  10. Survival Guide

    Have you read “The Independent Consultant’s Survivial Guide” by Mike Johnson isbn 1-84398-116-5? Mite be a useful £22 (from Amazon) investment.

    AKA Ed.
    Founder and Editor of TrainerBase

  11. Never give up!!
    Hi Nik,

    Just four months into going freelance myself and a few observations that may help.
    1.As long as you’re prepared to work hard and be flexible you won’t regret it.
    2.The best chance of work comes through personal recommendations, so network as much as possible.This is also the cheapest way to market yourself.
    3.Think about your point of difference-why should someone come to you?
    4.Register on Trainer Base -£50per year gets you access to tendering opportunities.I’ve already got work through this route.
    5.Speak to people who have done the same thing and learn from their mistakes.You will make mistakes just don’t repeat old ones.
    6.Keep costs to a minimum at all times but keep your eyes open for genuine opportunities to publicise your business.
    7.Consider setting up a limited company-tends to carry more impact and tax advantages as well.
    8.Keep a sense of humour and perspective.
    9.The next call could be the one so never ever give up.

    Good luck and hope this helps

  12. Networks are key
    Nik, I have recently done the same and I’m now up and running and loving every minute of it, including being skint! I used the local Business Link organisation, very useful. Try also your local chamber of commerce, your bank, learning and skills council, HM Revenue and customs. All free advice. Hook up with someone who has already done it successfully and pick their brains. CIPD publish a great book called ‘The Independent Consultants Survival Guide’ by Mike Johnson.
    The other advice I would offer is to start listing everyone you have ever known and then prioritise how and when you are going to contact them, not just for work but also tap into their network too.

  13. Network!
    A lot of people who go it alone fail because, while they may be brilliant at what they do, they lack the skills to market themselves. There are a few things you can do to raise your profile:

    As others have already mentioned – networking is vital. I freelanced for 11 years, and got a lot of my work via referrals from other freelancers who were unable to take on a job for one or other reason.

    Invest in a classy website that works. Make sure there are no grammar or spelling errors on it. Make sure navigation is easy and intuitive. Include overviews of your products, case studies and testimonials.

    Namedrop. Ask your satisfied clients if they would be prepared to go on record with their views and quote them in writing and verbally. But DO ask first!

    Get blogging – writing, reading and commenting. Use your trading name in the blog title. Don’t use other people’s blogs as a platform to hard-sell your services (that’s rude), but establish yourself as an expert in your field. Be generous with what you know. Respond when people comment on your blog.

    Make sure your business cards are professional looking and keep them to hand at all times

  14. Freelancing
    I agree with most of the other comments – word of mouth is certainly the way i get most of my freelance work – so network like mad.

    See if you can give something useful away on your website (useful to your potential customers that is – 10 ten tips for ..whatever etc.) Make sure it has all your contact details on it.

    Think about something you do a lot of and see if you can turn it into a more ‘off the shelf’ product – this enables you to market it very effectively. In particular try selling it to top level or umbrella organisations – who can then offer it on to their own members – making it more affordable for individual participants and covering all or most of their own costs.

    This is really working for me – as I can offer FREE (or almost free) training to the main organisation as long as they recruit enough paying customers to fill the other places (plus they do all the booking admin etc.)

    Good luck – and remember – what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!

  15. Thank you
    Thank you everybody who has given advice so far it’s really good of you and much appreciated.


  16. Networking on the Net
    Hi Nik,
    How about networking on the Internet? There is a number of professional networking services like

  17. Ltd co
    I would concur with all other comments.

    However, I have found that it is very useful to form a Ltd Co, many contracts will demand that you have limited liability status, and although you could use an umbrella company, as a starting point, it is really quite expensive as you pay them for their services each month, plus a limited company is better for you tax wise. Also, try to ensure that you have more than one contract to different organisations each year, otherwise you will be deemed to be as good as employed by the Inland Revenue and this will be more expensive tax wise. Plus a Limited Company status could engender a more professional appeal.

    As someone else recommended, Business Link are excellent and provide all kinds of support and free classes on setting up in business.

    Finally, join local business groups, breakfasts, lunches and meetings etc brilliant for networking, keeping up to speed with business trends, laws etc – and fun to attend.

    I am currently setting up a second business, that will be looking from input from other trainers – if you wish to learn more please feel free to contact me. See my own any questions post.
    Good luck

  18. Some more thoughts
    Good luck! It’s a great life!

    We are a limited company – I think it’s better as still some large companies won’t deal with anyone who isn’t. We’ve been going for 10 years now so must be doing something right!

    Here are some thoughts:

    Thing’s I’m glad I did (some I did straight away and some I got to eventually!)

    – Decided what my brand was – and therefore (and possibly more importantly!) what it wasn’t. Decided how I wanted to spend my time, what market I wanted to operate in and at what level, what my pricing architecture was and how flexible I would be – or not (negotiation points).
    – Wrote down a list of everyone I knew and their contact details.
    – Produced an Excel spreadsheet with their details which I update monthly and refer to quarterly for my business reviews (so that I can be sure that everyone is contacted regularly)
    – Produced an Excel spreadsheet which I update as and when detailing my various product offers across the top and my clients down the side. Then I know if there’s anything that clients don’t engage me for/possibly don’t yet know about.
    – Got a Coach (helps me with my business plans and keeps me on track) – also having a coaching supervisor and being same
    – Didn’t put all my eggs in one – sector – basket.
    – Set aside office days (for me Mondays) and ‘thinking days’ for concentrating on the business plans, catching up with people, having lunch, doing research, etc
    – Set aside a ‘Training budget’ for my own development (which I spend every year) to keep myself current AND to remind myself what it’s like to be a delegate and what the competition are up to!
    – Read around the subject especially for the sectors I ‘inhabit’ – not only does this keep me up to date but of course means that I can contact them to demonstrate that I am interested in what they do and have my finger on the pulse.
    – Had a separate business phone line installed in the office at home
    – Streamlined our collateral – website, logo, business card, compliments slips etc
    – Built up and maintained my contacts assiduously.

    Things I wish I hadn’t done

    – taken too long to be clear about what I don’t do (after which my life became a million times easier!)
    – taken too long to be clear about what my price architecture is (I only negotiate for volume, I never offer it up front and if someone doesn’t want to pay my price for whatever reason I walk away, so to speak! Whilst of course maintaining the relationship!)

    Absolutely don’t do any cold calling and as little advertising as you can (unless you intend to run public courses) as all your work will come from people you know and people who know people you know!

    I hope this is useful!

    best wishes

    Andie Hemming

  19. Freelance Trainers
    Some wonderful ideas so far. I have produced a small list with some fresh ideas that worked for me. Just send me your e mail and I will send it to you

    Best Wishes


  20. Possible work with LMD
    LMD are an established Training Company working with many associates. We operate in the Public & Private Sector designing and delivering bespoke learning solutions. Please give me a call or drop me an email if you are interested in finding out more about associate opportunites with us.


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