The advantages of becoming a freelance trainer
There’s no doubt that freelancing does have its advantages. You can choose when and where you work (including from home), enjoy more variety in your working day, and develop your experience with various customers.
At its best, freelance life gives you complete control over your career. If you want to achieve something or offer a specific service, the only limitations are those you place on yourself.
All freelance trainers need to be prepared to demonstrate how they satisfy certain criteria regulated by Ofqual and CCEA Regulation. These criteria include:
- the qualifications expected of trainers
- monitoring and quality assurance systems
- teaching and standards
- syllabus content
If a company has identified that trainers are needed in their workplace, they must ensure that those identified have the appropriate training qualifications – typically, this may be Level 3 Award in Education and Training (AET) alongside the course qualification intended for delivery:
If you want to work within the teaching or training professions or are considering a move to this arena but require the formal initial training necessary to teach in the Further Education and Skills Sector. Then this Level 3 Award in Education and Training is ideal.
This introductory qualification prepares you to teach within a wide range of contexts and provides you with the essential skills to build a successful teaching or training career.
- Employers may also identify some other level or standard of training appropriate to their needs, first aid being one example.
The findings of the first-aid needs assessment can help employers decide whether their first-aiders should be trained in FAW or EFAW or to some other appropriate standard. As a guide, the table in First aid at work: your questions answered suggests what first-aid personnel to provide under different circumstances. From experience, we’ve found many freelance trainers look to deliver first aid qualifications due to the demand and the fact that these types of courses provide a recurring revenue annually.
FAW training courses involve at least 18 hours of training and are run over a minimum of three days. EFAW training courses involve at least six hours of training and are run over a minimum of one day. Other appropriate training identified by an employer should have a duration related to the syllabus content (compared with FAW and EFAW). HSE continues to set the syllabus for both FAW and EFAW.
In the initial stage, 80% of the work you receive may be from one client, but you should aim that no more than 30% of your turnover should be from one client or an associate group in a year or two.
Some further tips on what’s required moving forward:
Deciding on a trading name – this is important; it needs to reflect your intention and values.
Decide on a specialism − The more you specify, the easier it is to sell.
Hire an accountant − They will help you save more.
Get a brand or logo developed − it will help you to have an online presence. We can help with this; visit our services page on our website.
Day rate − One should decide a day rate and then stick to it; also, one should develop a business model and ensure that your business is sustainable.
Have terms & conditions − You should stick to them, and you should charge for the cancelled dates. Both existing, as well as potential customers, should have a clear understanding of your business policies.
Website − You should have a website; it is beneficial; we find more and more people are hiring freelance trainers from the web, again this is something we can help with; check out our site here.
Build Network − Network with people you know, and you should ask your network to refer you to those who would benefit from your offer.
Understand what your offer is and what others cannot do. How well you can articulate it.
As a freelance trainer, your customers will require certificates to verify that you can deliver their training requirements. Before certificates expire, you will need to ensure undertake requalification courses as appropriate. Once certificates have expired, you are no longer considered to be competent. Not all qualifications require prequalification, but you should carry out (CPD) Continuing Professional Development in line with best practice. In the past and as part of your (CPD) freelance trainers progress from Level 3 Award in Education and Training (AET) to the Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training (CET), thus providing a better understanding of learners’ needs. Freelancers are not required to have achieved a Level 3 Award in Education and Training or a Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training before undertaking a Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET). However, some individuals may already have completed one or both of these qualifications. The Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET) Course will allow you to apply for QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skill) status. It is suitable for teachers, trainers, and tutors working in further education, adult and community learning, or work-based training within public, private, voluntary, or community organisations. To assess, take a look at the following qualifications that will help you on your way, the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement Qualification (CAVA).
Are you ready?
So you have decided to go for it? At this point, we will assume that you have the relevant certifications you will require to start the process. This will include those within the field you want to teach and assess.
Let’s make a start
There are plenty of things to consider, some of which I’ve already touched on briefly. We will now look at some of these points individually.
Have you a business plan?
Having a business plan will serve as a roadmap that will provide direction for your journey. This formally written document will describe the nature of your plan and background information. It will contain your business goals, the methods you will put in place for achieving those goals, and your time frame for reaching them. It will also detail your financial projections and the strategies you intend to implement to achieve the stated goals and targets.
You will need to consider what type of course(s) you want to deliver. Generally, there are three different types. These are:
Bespoke courses are ones written by you. They do not require you to be qualified or have any prior training experience, meaning anyone can deliver them.
Accredited courses are written by an awarding body, for example, Highfield ABC, TQUK, or City and Guilds; however, you will need to be registered with an awarding body before you can deliver these courses.
Before companies can offer government-funded courses, they need to be accredited. These companies can then call on your services as a trainer to deliver these.
What courses/qualifications should I offer?
You have a choice here.
Keep your training relevant to your own experience and qualifications, thereby being a specialist in your field or branching out into other sectors related to your industry and allowing growth. An example of this would be a security company that moves into health and safety and/ or first aid, as these areas are related to security.
Offering more services means more revenue, but remember there will be competition. Similarly, being a specialist in your field may mean you can charge more; however, the numbers that may need your service(s) could be limited.
Which awarding body should I go for?
Many awarding bodies in the UK are regulated by public regulators governing qualifications in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland (i.e. Ofqual, SQA, Qualifications Wales, and CCEA). The role of the Regulators is to accredit and approve Awarding Organisations to award qualifications.
They are experts in developing high-quality qualifications that meet the needs of employers and learners. They approve centres and work with them to ensure high-quality delivery of qualifications, and they carry out activities designed to assure the quality of the qualifications awarded. They also develop innovative products and services to support their centres and learners.
With this in mind, you need to choose an awarding body that works for you. After all, there is no point in applying to become a registered trainer and working towards delivering qualifications with that awarding body that does not offer the qualifications you wish to deliver.
Take your time and research the awarding bodies that offer the sectors you wish to go into. You must choose the correct one for you!
What are the resources, and what ones will I need?
Resources are the books, handouts, equipment, objects you will use to deliver and assess your subject. They should stimulate learning, add impact and promote interest in the subject. Resources should be accessible and inclusive to all learners while enabling them to acquire new skills, knowledge, and understanding.
Some awarding bodies will have resources available that you can use, for example, handouts, delegate packs, and assessment material. There may also be additional resources that you can purchase. These can include powerpoints, textbooks, and kits. While these are an extra expense, they will save a lot of time for you as you will not have to prepare your own. They will also be beneficial to the learner. If and when working for a company as a freelance trainer, the company may indeed supply the resources and paperwork for the course, therefore, reducing your expenses.
Remember, you may need additional resources depending on the subject you are teaching. Examples of these might be CPR manikins for first aid courses or a fire extinguisher/ blanket for fire safety qualifications.
If you decide to design your own resources, individual needs should be taken into account; for example, dyslexia, a hearing impairment, visual impairment, physical or mental disability. You may need to produce handouts in a larger-sized font, on different coloured paper, or ensure plenty of white space surrounding the text (the blank area around the text/pictures).
How much should you charge per course?
How long is a piece of string?
The reason for that statement is there are many factors to consider.
- Are you delivering at a customer’s venue, or do you need to hire one?
- Do you have to provide catering?
- Are there travel costs?
- What is the timeline for the preparation of the course?
- Do you have to purchase resources for the course/ learners, or are they available from your client/awarding body?
- Is there a demand for the course?
- What does your competition charge?
The fees you charge for your services must ultimately have due regard to your business plan and the marketplace in which you operate. With that in mind, market research will be essential for you and could well be the difference between success and failure.
What ‘marketing’ approaches should I take?
Good question. Unfortunately, the answer is a little more difficult to come by and may take a bit of time and trial and error to get completely correct.
In the meantime, there are aspects of this that you can start to work on:
Carry out your market research
Market research is a vital part of developing your marketing strategy. It is about collecting information that provides an insight into your customer’s thinking, buying patterns, and location. It will also allow you to monitor market trends and keep an eye on what your competition is doing.
Profile your target markets
Promoting your product or service to everyone will be costly and ineffective. Your target market should need your product or service and be willing to pay for it.
By grouping or segmenting your potential customers into specific characteristics helps to structure your marketing strategy.
Commonly segmentation is based on factors such as:
- geography – location
- demographics – age, gender, education level, income, occupation
- behaviour – loyalty, attitude, readiness to buy, usage rates
- lifestyle – social class, personality, personal values.
Identify your unique selling proposition (USP)
Your USP is the reason your customers buy from you and not your competitors – it’s what makes you different (and better!) from everyone else. It is important to know what you do differently from the rest and convey this to potential customers.
It may be the unique services you offer, your exceptional customer service, or the resources you use during your training. Continually ask yourself:
- What special skills or knowledge do you have?
- What makes your customers come to you instead of your competitors?
- How do your customers benefit from purchasing your services?
- Which aspects do you generally highlight when you describe your services to strangers?
Choose your marketing avenues.
While there are many marketing avenues available, you must consider your target audience when determining which ones to use. Options include a website, social media, blogging, brochure and flyers, networking events, print advertising, and cold calling. Knowing which of these avenues your target market uses is critical.
Set your marketing goals and budget
Like every part of your services, you should have marketing goals to define what you want to achieve through your marketing activities. Your goals should be realistic with a timeline beside each, helping you stay on track.
You will also need to allocate a budget to your marketing activities. Your marketing budget may need to include elements such as:
- website development and maintenance
- search engine optimisation strategy
- design of branding
- printing of promotional material (business cards, brochures, signage, etc.)
- donations and sponsorships
Develop your brand
A brand is more than a logo, colours, or tagline. A well-formulated and communicated brand emotionally connects with your target customers and conveys who you are, what you stand for, and what you can deliver.
Nurture your loyal customers
Always remember that your customers are the key to your success, so it is crucial to look after them and encourage their loyalty. Providing an exceptional service can keep people coming back and set you apart from your competitors.
Strategies to build loyalty in customers include:
- communicating regularly with customers through social media, blogs, or e-news
- providing after-sale follow up
- delivering on your promises
- going the ‘extra mile’ and providing benefits that exceed initial expectations
- using feedback and complaints as an opportunity to improve services
- listening to customers
Monitor and review
It is vital to continually monitor and review your marketing strategy and activities to ensure they are achieving the targets and goals you have set. Having a review date in your calendar will ensure this part of your strategy is not missed and will allow you a chance to make changes if necessary.
Lastly, always remember the main aim of your training is to help people develop their knowledge and skills. If you continually do this to the best of your ability, you will profit from the greatest marketing tool there is; word of mouth. There is not more successful way to market your business than word of mouth. It comes without cost and is guaranteed by doing what you do best, delivering the finest training there is.
Remember, however, if learners have a negative experience with your training, they are likely to spread this news to any potential customer.
Your freelance career can start now…..
Why not book an Initial Consultation with one of our team who will help you take the first step towards setting up. You can contact us with any questions or book an initial consultation here.