What does a freelance trainer train? | TrainingZone.co.uk

What does a freelance trainer train?

Hi everyone,

My background is Sales. I am currently employed full time as a Sales Manager for a global company. I want to do freelance training because I want to work for myself and I have delivered quite a bit of training in the current job I do. I loved delivering training and I was actually really good at it hence why I want to specialise in this field. But if I am offering sales training, is that just not enough? I've visited so many other websites and everyone seems to be doing a bit of everything. I mean what does a freelancer do? Is it where they approach companies and deliver any kind of training the company needs delivering for them be it sales, health and safety or whatever? Or does a feelancer specialise in certain areas and this is all they train? I am so stuck, I want to get off the ground but I just don't know how?? Is anyone else in the same boat? Or did anyone else even start off in the same boat? Everyone on this site seems to have made it somehow and appear to be doing very well. I have so much admiration for these people but how have you done it? Please help??



russlater's picture

Hi Ria

1. Some freelancers are "independent consultants" and some are "associates"~if you are independent you set up your USP and compete with the consultancies~ if you are an "associate" you work for a consultancy delivering whatever they sell. Some freelancers (most) do both.
2. If you freelance as an independent you probably have some sort of specialist reputation; you are known to a particualr market as a provider of XXX, but then almost all specialisations have crossover; if you are a management trainer you are bound to get to do some sales training; if you are a sales trainer you are bound to do some communicating/influencing/presenting/assertiveness (It's all part and parcel of the same arena)
3. Ditto as an associate
4. Most training freelancers can also do TNA, design and some consultancy~ it goes with the territory
5. Though many independents and freelancers specialise in an industry sector, most can work across sectors and disciplines
6. No one owns up to doing badly; we all "sex up" our situation; it is a cross between PMA, the self-fulfilling prophesy, realism and accepting that no one wants to employ a failure!

I hope this helps
(yes....let them eat cake!)

spectrain's picture

Hello Ria,

in addition to the advice from Rus, perhaps you could take a look at the competencies for a sales person, and identify the critical skills, knowledge, behaviours that are required for outstanding performance and then develop a portfolio of solutions around those competencies.


autoexpo's picture

Hi Ria,

Firstly feel good about yourself for taking the brave steps to being a freelance!

Train what you are good at! From your experience you will probably be able to break down the elements of your role and skills into subjects you can train:-

Sales Management
Motivating your team
Presentation Skills

Would be amongst the things I would guess you could do.

Put some outlines together on what you would cover on the subjects you come up with and you're well on your way!

Some organisations that use freelancers will have their own content others will want you to provide it. I would say have your own anyway! Then you are training on what is true to you and won;t get thrown by unexpected questions.

Good luck and keep going!


Ria2009's picture

Hi Rus- thanks for breaking that down for me. It was probably a silly question but I'm in a position where I want to make sure I understand absolutely everything. If I was to go either independent or do associate work, then would I need to advertise this? i.e. on my website and business cards?
Colin- you are absolutely spot on! These are exactly what I will be good at but when you list it like that I don't think I would have been able to come up with so many ideas so thank you. Could I brand myself as someone who has a list of these courses but also someone who can train other content? I guess by doing that it gives me the best of both worlds right?


Ria2009's picture

Hi Joy, thanks for the idea. This sounds like a good place to start- I'm thinking that by doing this I will hopefully end up with quite a bulky course? How long are sales courses meant to last? I mean is there a certain rule in the world of freelancing? At the moment if I was to write a sales course it would probably last about a day.


russlater's picture

Hi Ria
You are welcome!

You suggest that your question was "silly"; one thing I always tell delegates when I'm training;
If you have a question and you are reluctant to ask it because you think it is a "silly question" remember this; the person who asks a stupid question remains ignorant for five seconds, the person who doesn't ask the stupid question remains ignorant for the rest of their life. In addition to this you can almost guarantee that at least 50% of the other delegates will love you for asking a stupid question...because they were thinking the same thing but hadn't the guts to ask!

With regard to your business cards, my advice is "Less is More"; name contact details and a very brief "title";
Ria Bloggs BSc CMCIPD
Learning and Development Specialist
0101 234 5678

is probably all you need; it gives you flexibility

I hope this helps
www.forheavenscake.co.uk for all those who like cake

f1girl's picture


Just another thought - you might find it useful to register with websites like www.trainerbase.co.uk who are a sort of dating agency for trainers and people wanting to hire trainers, and www.thetrainerstrainingcompany.co.uk who support people as they set up their training businesses. I'm sure that one and probably both will be helpful to you.

Good luck,

Sheridan Webb

CompleteTrainer's picture

Hi Ria

I know an author who's book 'Launch your Own Training Business' may be helpful to you. Look up Sharon Gaskin, the Trainer's Training Company - her book and courses are designed for people just like you and getting it right when you start could make a big difference.

I get no commercial gain from recommending her (unless you bought her book via my site) but I have had some excellent recommendations for Sharon and her programmes, so hopefully I won't get booted off for mentioning it to you.

Good luck - and do cruise by my site and download all the free stuff - you'll find lots there to help you start building your portfolio. Oh - is that allowed? :-)


peterm.trainerbase's picture


According to research we at the Learning Practitioners' Association (incorporating TrainerBase) have conducted, the majority of freelance/independent trainers (regardless of business model) have come into training from an operational role (Sales manage asked to do training). So you are not alone there.

As to the business model. There are 3 as we define: Direct, Associate and Super Associate.

The Direct business model is that you do all your own marketing, branding, selling, administration etc, etc and deal with clients 'direct'. Much of the support functions of running a business (because that is what you are doing) will take time and the level of activity in this model can be quite substantial. This reduces the number of days that you can 'work' (at fee paying delivery) and consequently your day rate will reflect that.

The Associate model is where you work for (on a freelance basis) a number of larger (though not necessarily) training companies and deliver training courses to their clients. This type of model reduces the amount of non fee paying work (marketing, meeting with clients, sales, etc) and potentially increases the number of days you can 'work'. The rates for this type of model are often half of direct work.

The Super Associate model is a when you as an associate for another training company actually get involved in the pre contract negotiations, course preparation, evaluations etc but are paid or at least should be for doing this. The rate is likely the same as for associate work but not all of your 'engagement' with the client is delivery.

Again our research suggests that the significant majority of freelance or independent (I use the term interchangeably) trainers do both. Around 6% only do Associate work and around 4% only do Direct; the remaining 90% ish do both 90/10 to 10/90.

It appears that many starting out use the Associate model as a way into the market with many moving towards more direct work as their confidence and networks grow. Interestingly I was talking with a colleague who does about 50/50 and she suggested that the profit margin for both was about the same. Granted it is nice to be earning £1,000 per day, but there is a lot of 'business' to do to get this. Sometimes you get just as much out (disposable income) from a £500 per day associate job.

Oh and one last thing; the response from purchasers is that they prefer specialists over generalists and price if I recall was third on the list of influencers.

Hope this helps

Chief Executive
The Learning Practitioners' Association
incorporating TrainerBase (which as Sheridan comments is seen by many I suspect as a bit of a dating agency:)).

Hi Ria,

I jumped from retail manager to trainer although didn't have the nerve to go freelance! If you would like to get in touch I'm more than happy to talk to you about the transition.

Best of luck!


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