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Those of you who have been on one of my workshops will know that I believe that one of the best ways to get in front of clients and ultimately get work is to build good solid relationships with people. People buy from people who they know, like and trust. So, any freelance trainer trying to sell their services is going to have to be prepared to do a lot of networking.

One of the things I’ve been hearing a lot though recently is ‘This is all very well, and I can see what you’re saying – but all this networking and building relationships with people takes so long and I have a mortgage to pay this month. I need work now – not next year!’

So, are there any alternatives to the networking route and do any of them provide a quick and easy way of getting work?

1. Working as an associate for training companies

Working as an associate can certainly feel like a quick way of getting some work as it’s the training company who will be investing the time and energy in getting the client – not you. And it’s always good to get a phone call asking you to deliver a couple of days training – you can just put in your diary and all you have to do is just turn up and deliver. But it’s not always that simple.

How many of you have sent in your CV to a training company and heard nothing back? Or been to a meeting that was full of promise but never came to anything? The fact is – if you want to get work as an associate you have to work at getting your face known to the training company in the first place and then building a relationship with them! It’s a bit like dealing with a recruitment consultant or an estate agency – when you first call you are just one of many others who are looking for a job or a house. It’s unlikely that anyone is going to remember you let alone what you are looking for. But if you make the effort to put in a call every week and talk to the person on the other end of the phone, take time to get to know them and build a relationship with them – guess what? When the right job or the right house – or the right training assignment comes up – you will be one of the people they think of first.

2. Getting yourself listed as a supplier on a training directory

Many buyers of training use directories such as the Learning Practitioner’s Association Find A Trainer service to source their learning and development needs. Registering for directories such as this (via the Trainerbase site can be a great way of getting direct leads and ultimately more business. However, as you would expect – there are a lot of freelance trainers on there so if you are expecting to just register – sit back and wait for the work to flood in – think again! To be successful and get the most out of your membership you will need to spend time on activities that are going to raise your profile in the eyes of potential purchasers, for example adding images and links to your standard profile and including testimonials. The Association provides plenty of support in helping members to do this in the form of workshops and articles on their website. Follow and implement their suggestions and it will put you in with a much better chance of securing work.

3. Cold calling

One of the people that came to my workshop a couple of weeks ago was saying that he always felt that he ought to cold call people – even though he didn’t like doing it and didn’t feel that it was that successful – it made him feel that he was being proactive and actually doing something rather than the ‘social’ feel of a networking event. I can see what he means by this and many other people have expressed the same opinion.

Is cold calling a quick and easy way of getting work? Some freelance trainers I know HAVE had some success doing this – as the person they have called has just happened to need what they are offering right at that particular time. Many, many others though have found it to be time consuming, disheartening and a big drain on their confidence levels. I have personally never used this method – in my days as a Training Manager I used to get really irritated by phone calls from people trying to sell me training and vowed I would never be one of them!

4. Getting work from other freelance trainers

Imagine getting a phone call from someone in your network – they have just been offered some work in London next month but they don’t want to travel down there so they wondered if you would like to do it instead? Isn’t it just great when that happens? And when it does happen it definitely feels like a quick win!

However, other freelance trainers will only pass work over to people they know, like and trust – and in order to achieve that you will need to put work into building and maintaining your network.

So, if you are looking for a quick, easy and magical solution to getting work – I’m afraid that there isn’t one. Whichever approach you decide to adopt be prepared to invest time, energy and effort. Do the right things consistently and well and you will get results.

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