Beach at Gale, Portugal

ok so I’ve been at this whole freelance training thing for a whole month now and haven’t actually done any training yet, but I’ve had a pretty productive few weeks and have learnt a lot. I thought I see if I could draw up a list of things that I didn’t know before January…

(oh and the photo is a gratuitous beach shot, because it’s January and this is where I want to be)

  1. Network – I may have said this already but I’ve got some really valuable advice from the people I’ve met.
  2. Freelance trainers are incredibly generous with their time and advice.
  3. Get your website up as soon as you can – I’ve felt a little embarrassed when I tell people mine’s not up yet and wish I’d done mine sooner.
  4.  Get a domain name so that your website has a simple URL and it’s a good idea to create a business email account too. (, do you see what I did there 😉 ) My site is from wordpress and I thought their price for a domain name was pretty reasonable, I then created my email address for free with Google apps. Verification of me being owner of my domain name was slightly trickier than I anticipated but I got there in the end.
  5. Although it’s hard to think about the negative stuff in exciting times, you need to consider insurance – are you now a full time freelancer? Then you might want to look into some type of sickness/critical illness cover.
  6. You’ll also want to decide whether you need public liability insurance, in my case – I don’t want to be sued if someone trips in a training room that I’ve reorganised to get a better group discussion vibe going.
  7. I’m also looking into professional indemnity cover too, this covers you for the advice you might give as a trainer and the fact that people can/may then make decisions from it regarding their jobs or lives.  If you think that some freelancers train in FOI or data protection, or are accountants then it’s possible that their advice could result in someone facing a fine. Then professional indemnity cover is vital. (And these are things I’d barely heard about at Christmas, never mind thought about getting).
  8. You need to register yourself as self-employed with HMRC. However don’t try and ring them around now (End of Jan is the deadline for self-assessment) as they have a very ‘fingers in the ears, whistling attitude’ to anyone who doesn’t want to talk about self-assessment. Also when I registered online I got no acknowledgement that it had worked, so I think I’ve done it, but who knows really? Once I am registered, I’m assured that I’ll receive a Unique Tax Reference number or UTR. (Yes you thought libraries were great at acronyms, the tax man is too).
  9. Remember that the financial year ends on 5th April so if you start at the beginning of the year, remember you will have to fill out your tax returns – I had a completely blonde moment and thought I’d be doing all of mine next year. In my defence – I believe I have natural tendency to panic about tax and not think things through properly and so I thought I could just tack what will be a some total of 2 invoices on to next year’s bill. Yeah. Right.
  10. … and that’s all folks…

Well for now. The business side of this is a huge learning process for me, as I’ve always worked in the public sector and well, it all gets taken care of for you, doesn’t it? So I’m sure there will be lots more info to come. Hope it’s useful.

PS. The website is a work in progress so please don’t judge me yet – I’m on the look out for the perfect wordpress theme!