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As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same
Marianne Williamson
Institute of IT Trainers - Freelance Trainer of the Year 2006 & 2009
Liverpool Business Connect Member
  Maximum Impact Solutions Limited - Reporting Solutions, Creating Answers
Reporting Solutions - Creating Answers, Crystal Reports, Dashboarding (Xcelsius) & SQL Reporting Services

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A - Z of a Successful Freelance IT Trainer: M is for Motivation

Before becoming a freelance trainer, one needs to ask oneself, "What is motivating you?"
  • Is it the money?
  • Is it the glamourous lifestyle?
  • Is it the security?
  • Is it being your own boss?
  • Do you want more control over the decisions that affect your life?
  • Do you want to work smarter rather than harder?
  • Are you not happy where you are currently working?
  • Are you looking for a better work-life balance?
Other trainers constantly ask me "What motivated me to become a freelance IT trainer?"

What motivated me to become a freelance trainer was that I was disillusioned by the quality of the training solutions delivered by the training companies, and the little relevance the training was to the delegate at the desk.  "I felt that the customer deserved much better than what was currently being offered. "

Whatever it is that driving/motivating you to become a freelance trainer makes sure it is something that is going to sustain you when the phone does not ring, a client cancels at the last minute,  you have to chase a late payment or a client simply rips you off.

Initially life as a freelance trainer can be hard:
  • Getting work,
  • Building your reputation,
  • Raising your profile,
  • Making people aware of what you do,
  • Getting use to the flexible work environment

The life of a freelance trainer, consists of more than just writing and/or delivering a training course.

Whilst the life can be comparatively cushier than a full-time trainer, with many opportunities, there are also many out there who will want to take advantage of you, and make simplest things more complex and difficult than they really need to be.  Not everyone is looking to do business ethically where there is a win-win situation for everyone involved, as primarily they are looking to get the best deal for themselves.

At the end of the day you are running a business and you are in the business of delivering training solutions.  This may be to clients directly, or as a sub-contractor.
In business nothing is personal, and there have been times in the past, where I have delivered sample training for tender training contracts, on the understanding that on winning the contract, that I would be delivering the bulk of the contract.
On winning the contracts I was not told, and only when things started going wrong with the training months later did I receive a phone call, with some of the most pathetic excuses for why they did not contact me on winning the contract,  to deliver a course to rescue them from loosing the contract.  It was the quality of my training that won that contract and kept that contract.

In one case I had to wait over 4 months before I got paid, during which time I emailed, phoned, left messages numerous times and was on the verge of taking them to court.  After that I decided I would never work with this client again, unless I got payment upfront, and I increased my prices by 25%.

Another client asked me to rewrite a number of their training manuals, and when completed and sent back, til today, 2 years on, I have not been paid for these services, even when I won the judgement at court for payment.  They simply folded the company and started a new one the next day, selling the manuals that I had rewritten.  That company is well and truly off my Christmas card list.

These things are part and parcel of being in business, and while not nice and unethical, it just means that you have to remind yourself what your primary motivation is.

Because I want to give the best realistic and relevant training experience to my clients, I am always looking for ways to improve what I do and how I do it.

I am lucky to have a job where I can influence, motivate and inspire others in their work environment, and be part of a transformation where the delegate at the end of a course is energised and excited to return to their workplace with the confidence and creativity to implement their newly learnt skills and knowledge within their job role.

That's my motivation and that what keeps me going when things do not go to plan.

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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