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T. Watson
Institute of IT Trainers - Freelance Trainer of the Year 2006 & 2009
Liverpool Business Connect Member
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A - Z of a Successful Freelance IT Trainer: J is for Jump

In life there are no guarantees, but if you are going to become a freelance trainer, you really just got to make the jump.

I am constantly asked "When is a great/good time to become a freelance trainer?"

The answer is there isn't one.

You just have to plan, market and believe in yourself.

Years ago Penny, a friend of mine, invited me to Go Ape, even though I didn’t know what Go Ape was I said yes.  A week before we were due to go on this Go Ape thing Penny asked me again, and again I said "I would be there with bells on."

At this point I thought I better find out what this Go Ape thing was, and found out it was an adventure playground assault course, 60ft of the ground.  Naturally I was a little apprehensive, but I thought what the heck, lets just go for it.

So we drove up to the Lake District, got kitted out, signed the disclaimer, listened to the safety training and off  we went.

Things were fine, until I got to a piece of apparatus, which was a zip wire across a 50 metre stretch, 60 foot in the air, to a cargo net.

The instructions were, “Clip on and step of the platform”!!!!

Looking down there was no safety net, just air and the ground.

My body was saying step off, and my brain is asking "Step off where?" So for a few moments I am stood paralysed unable to move.  Looking around, I could see I was holding up proceedings.

Suddenly I thought  you know what I am going to jump, "What is the worst that can happen?" 

Jumping into the unknown

Initially I can feel myself falling towards the ground, and then the zip wire kicks in and I swing across to the cargo net.

This experience was as frightening and exhilarating as my decision to leave a full-time paid IT training job, to become a IT freelance trainer.

It is not possible to be in a full time job and run a business, you have to be fully committed and focussed on what you are doing.  Sitting on the fence, hedging your bets, trying to do both just results in failure on both sides, as well as a sore bottom.

I thought that I would become a freelance trainer when I had over 10 clients, and at least 6 months of training booked.

As it so happened, the day I jumped, was following a Microsoft Powerpoint 2000 Introduction course, which always finishes with lots of fun and laughter, and as I was walking through the quiet corridor to my office, I asked myself "What am I doing here?"

Before I left that day I had written my letter of resignation and handed it in.

I walked out of that office with a big smile on my face, and felt free.

Although I had some money saved up, I only had one client, but no training booked, but it got me focussed to go out there and make it happen.

In all my years of being a freelance trainer, I have never regretted the decision, my only regret was that I did not jump earlier.

I would like to hear your comments, experience, opinions and thoughts about this subject, please drop me a line or two below:


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