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A - Z of a Successful Freelance IT Trainer: N is for Networking

You may be the best IT trainer in whatever subject/software you deliver your training in, but if nobody knows who you are, it does not make any difference.

One can spend thousands of pounds on advertising and marketing, and it can still not increase your bottom line.

In business, especially in a personal delivery type of business like training, "People buy people before they buy products and services"

The most effective way to get your name out there and make businesses aware of what you do is to network.

Successful networking can be condensed to 2 major points:
  1. Networking is NOT selling, it is the art of building beautiful beneficial long lasting relationships with others.
  2. Networking is like Martinis, it can be done, anytime, any place, anywhere and with any one.

How hard can that be?

All it takes is to strike up a conversation with someone, be interested in what they have to say and most importantly listen.

I know when growing up I was constantly told "Do not talk to strangers", and most people still adhere to that advice, even when at a networking event.

Walking into a room of strangers can be daunting, but to make things easier for your self, look for the person alone in the corner and start talking to them.  They will thank you for it.

You never know who you are talking to, who they know and who can potentially be interested in your service and/or product.

Then you need to follow up and keep in contact.

The amount of times I have met someone at a networking event, and they give me their business card, and say that they will email me to arrange to meet up, and they don't.  Then 2 years later I get a phone call out of the blue, with them trying to sell me some product or service.

It's ridiculous, it's like going on a date, and then after no contact,  being proposed to 2 years later and expecting the answer to be yes.  It's not going to happen.

Networking will generally not result in business over night, as it can be a long game, and it is for this reason, that I tend to network when I donít need the business, that way I am not pressured in worrying about turning a networking event into a  full on sales pitch.

There is nothing worse and/or off-putting than being ambushed by a desperate sale person, trying to sell you something you neither want, need nor are interested in.

You do not need to attend a formal/arranged networking event to network, it can be done anywhere.

Initially I would look at your personal network of family and friends, and tell them what you are doing.

My first ever freelance training contract came from a work colleague of mine, who gave me her list of potential contacts that she was going to call when she was thinking of becoming a freelance IT trainer.

Even now when any opportunities comes across her desk that she thinks I may be interested in she drops me a lline.

I also have an informal group of freelance trainers, that share amongst us training assignments and/or opportunities that we either cannot or do not want to deliver, for a number of reasons, including availability, the wrong skillset and/or the daily rate.

We also support each other as and when needed and keep in regular contact with everyone.

Over the years I have belonged to a number of networking groups, and just like trainers, not all networks are equal, and I used them for different things, and I have been a member of most of the networking groups in my area, including the  Chamber of Commerce, BNI, Merseyside Young Professionals and Professionaliverpool.

My ethos was "Try it if it doesn't work, don't renew my membership"

I have to say now that most of my networking nowadays is virtual, below are some of the freelance (IT) training networks that I currently belong to:

Free Virtual Networks:

Linked In:
  • IT Trainers
  • Solo/Lone Trainer
  • Microsoft Applications UK
  • Professional Trainers Worldwide
  • The Associate Group
  • Training Directory UK Information Group
  • Training Professionals
  • Trainer Talk

Training Zone

Subscription Based Virtual Networks:

Training Professional Network

This is not a definitive list, if you have any freelance training networks that you can recommend and/or share, please let me know.

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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