This is the transcript from the online Freelancers Forum held on Tuesday 31 October.
Jill Simpson I am interested in thew Freelancers Forum. I have been a freelance trainer for almost 5 years and am still very much learning myself. This way of learning is new to me, although I am no longer a technophobe - the potential for this kind of learning is tremendous. Any other good ideas?
Stephanie Phillips Hi all. We'll just wait for a few more minutes to see who else comes along.
Wyn Llewellyn Why don't we start anyway, and get a thread going on something? Customer expectations for example. Wyn
Stephanie Phillips Does anyone want to start introductions while we wait? Jill, I've seen your initial thoughts, but what about the others? If there's enough common ground we could build the discussion on that.
Wyn Llewellyn Not seen Jill's initial thoughts, so cannot comment.
Stephanie Phillips (Wyn - click on the transcript below to see what's already been written)
Don Williams Freelance IT Trainer. Have no preconceived ideas.... open minded on this topic..
Stephanie Phillips Hi Alison. Just getting started with introductions...
Wyn Llewellyn Many independent trainers and consultants have asked me recently whether it is possible to set up some kind of network group. What do you guys think? Wyn
Alison Bussell Hello all. I'm mostly employed as a Training Manager, but with 20 days a year to do a little freelance stuff. I started off six months ago, have done 3 days work so far, haven't been paid for any of it (invoices outstanding) and have posted off today a proposal for £10,000 worth of work. I'm struggling with holding a new job that is in the middle of turmoil at the moment as well as doing any marketing of myself etc. As a result all the freelance work so far has been with my ex-employer.
Jill Simpson I'm sure it could be of benefit for sharing ideas and even materials, etc. I suppose this is a starting point for such a thing. Choosing a topic, like Customer Expectations as you suggested earlier would be one way. Passing on information about good practice, good books and training materials, etc. too. I'm happy to share any information that doesn't breach confidentiality - we could have an online freelancers office Xmas party!
Alison Bussell Well, Wyn ... that's what AMED was originally set up for wasn't it? And it still seems to operate pretty well along those lines. For those that don't know -AMED = Association for Management Educators and Developers.
Don Williams With Freelancing being a "feast or famine" it would be nice to share..
Jill Simpson Alison- AMED sounds good. Is there a website?
Alison Bussell How do you get 'round any tricky issues about intellectual capital with sharing? Or would it mainly be stuff you'd come across but wasn't your 'own'?
Alison Bussell Yes, AMED's got a web-site. Hang on . I'll pop out of this virtual room along the corridor to my virtual filling cabinet (Favourites file) and get it for you!
Stephanie Phillips Jill - try www.amed.management.org.uk
Jill Simpson That's what I had in mind; intellectual property is a bit more tricky, but I guess you weight up the benefits of sharing it with what you would get in return.
Wyn Llewellyn The principle of 'reciprocity' seems to work quite well. If you are prepared to share stuff, then most others will share back.
Alison Bussell Jill ... it's http://www.amed.management.org.uk/
Alison Bussell I think someone else got there before me.
Alison Bussell WEIRD!! I'm in here as 'Alison Bussell' but I'm actually Alison Lewis, she of the unchanged watch earlier. How did that happen?
Don Williams Perhaps one thing we might share is graphics?
Jill Simpson Thanks for the website address. This kind of disjointed conversation is really quite fun! I expect we all specialise in different things. I have recently completed an SVQ in Business management and Development for Owner Managers and found it focused me very well on the business side of running my one woman business. I am earning more money and generally feel more in control of what's happening for example.
Wyn Llewellyn Got to go now, lunch is calling! If anyone would like to network with other independent consultants/trainers, give me a call on [email protected]. Bye!
Jill Simpson Don - what kind of graphics do you mean?
Janice Taylor Hi I've just joined, have I missed much?
Don Williams "Pictures" to use in presentation/documentation material...
Don Williams much of the material available is "Americanised"
Jill Simpson That sounds like a great idea, as I have exhausted my Clip Art. How easy would it be for techno-numpties like me?
Don Williams Yes Click Art (trying not to use technical term ha1)
Don Williams If you have access to a scanner, quite simple..
Jill Simpson Hmmm. I'd have to borrow one
Alison Lewis Welcome, Janice. If you want to see what we've been 'talking' about, click on the little blue 'transcript..' bit below.
Janice Taylor Thanks Alison
Don Williams Perhaps TrainingZONE could create a site to store them?
Alison Lewis Mm. Graphics. I'm always a little worried about that. I've saved loads of lovely piccies off the internet, but don't use them because I'm scared of copyright issues. My biggest fear is to have one in a poster or handout, and a participants pipes up that it's their brother-in-law's or something, and they're going to sue me. So, I stay safe with clip art that everyone now knows. Any suggestions or guidelines folks?
Jill Simpson There is potential for a site with graphics and materials that everyone can input and share. Would people do that, do you think?
Michiel Erasmus Hi all. Has anyone used a search engine to find additional graphics. If it is available then usually in the public domain. Should also then overcome possible copyright issues.
Don Williams I was thinking of mat4eerial items, not people...
Stephanie Phillips We're currently creating a PowerPoint area and would be happy to look at an area for graphics.
Janice Taylor I think that this may already exist, but I cannot remember the address
Jill Simpson I thought if it was on the Internet, it was in the public domain and therefore not subject to copyright, or am I being too naive? I'm married to a lawyer, but he is a technophobe, so no advice there.
Stephanie Phillips I guess there probably is already a site that does this sort of thing, so we'll see what we can find!
Michiel Erasmus The 2 search engines that springs to mind are www.askjeeves.com and www.google.com
Alison Lewis I guess I've been (and still am in my employed capacity) protected by the 'Brand' images that my previous and present employer make available for us to use.
Jill Simpson Thanks Michiel, I'll investigate
Stephanie Phillips Jill - there are definitely copyright issues involved with the web - in theory people should not copy materials straight off as with print publishing, but of course it's more difficult to check.
Jill Simpson I knew I was being naive!
Michiel Erasmus Need to be careful when downloading from Internet site. Rather watch the disclaimers and copyrights as specified per that website or website page.
Michiel Erasmus Apologies. Typo...i meant web site page.
Stephanie Phillips Suggestions from a graphic designer I know: www.msm.co.uk, stockmarketphoto.com, eyewire.co.uk - all picture libraries, some pictures may cost though.
Alison Lewis I just know that I've been to some lovely virtual galleries of photos, and there are very clear copyright clauses there saying that I can only use the images for personal use. Only last night I was at Hewlett Packard's site and registered to use their gallery. I could use the images safely for a card for my Auntie's birthday, but could be in trouble if I used it for my business purposes.
Don Williams I was thinking of material we had generated to share amongst ourselves, not the general public...
Michiel Erasmus Stephanie, is there a mechanism available by which we can email (the web sites) all the participants today if we do come across such websites
Janice Taylor That would be very helpful
Stephanie Phillips Michiel - the best thing to do is to record the other participant's e-mails by hovering over their names in the right hand screen.
Jill Simpson Don, Yes, that would be a good idea. We all specialise in different areas so would need some kind of profile of what we do?
Stephanie Phillips You can then contact them afterwards. (good to have you at a session again, by the way!)
Alison Lewis Don, I think your focus on self-generated material is a lot more useful to pursue, without the tangle we seem to be getting into around copyright (just Intellectual Property then).
Stephanie Phillips I think the Toolkit area of TrainingZONE is definitely worth a look - some people have put materials in there on a free-to-access basis.
Janice Taylor I haven't looked at the toolkit yet, have others found it helpful?
Stephanie Phillips You can do the same - visit www.trainingzone.co.uk/toolkit .
Stephanie Phillips Does anyone have anything else to add? We've around 5 minutes left.
Jill Simpson I have already gained a lot of useful information from this session. I much prefer to be directed to addresses than to "surf" which I seem to be particularly bad at!
Jill Simpson Thanks everyone.
Stephanie Phillips Jill - hopefully sessions like this will help then - also worth a try is the webwatch area for information about specific sites we find useful.
Janice Taylor bye
Don Williams bye
Stephanie Phillips Happy to wind things up if people have nothing more to add...
Jill Simpson Off to lunch. Bye
Stephanie Phillips Bye all, and thanks for taking part. Hope to see you at another session soon.