How to Become a Freelance Trainer
While larger companies have a training and development department, they often outsource to training companies or consultants. If you ever wanted to become a freelance trainer, here is what you need to know to get started on your career.
1 – Determine your credentials. Are credentials required to train in your particular field? This may not be necessary if you are training in soft-skills such as customer service. If you are training on computers, you may need to obtain credentials certifying that you are qualified to teach the material. If you are not sure whether or not a special certification is required, check out the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).
2 – Determine your experience. Do you currently teach or have any teaching experience? As a freelance trainer, you will work with a variety of companies. Experience standing in front of an unfamiliar crowd is important. The ability to always be “on” is essential. If you don’t have the experience you may need to seek alternatives. Consider volunteering as a guest instructor at a nonprofit agency that offers classes. If you do a great job, the contacts that you make with the nonprofit directors and staff will provide references for you in the future.
3 – Go back to school. Some may suggest that you should get a degree, but it's not always necessary once you have built a following. For example, Walt Disney never graduated college, but look at his success. Remember, however, that to be a trainer you need to keep up on the latest industry information. The need to go back to school will also be determined by your subject matter.
4 – Can you afford it? Unless you are going to work for a large training company, you need to consider whether or not a freelance training career will cover your basic needs. Do you need health insurance, food or other living expenses? You also need to take into consideration your own training costs, especially if you have to go back to school. Until you have made a name for yourself as a freelance consultant, you need to have a plan on basic living expenses.
5 – Are you good at marketing? That question is followed up quickly with – can you write? Potential clients will need to find your services. This requires marketing yourself. Besides the word of mouth marketing that you will generate, you also need to market yourself over the Internet. This may require writing articles on your subject so that people will start to view you as an expert in your field and want to engage you as a trainer.
Freelance training is an exciting field. Traveling and speaking to groups large or small are enticing perks to the profession. Take a moment to consider the requirements of the job. Talk to other freelance trainers to get a feel for what they do. Once you have all of the information and determine if the profession is a fit, get ready to embark upon a satisfying career.
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