Training is an important part of any career – but finding the time and funds when you’re working as a freelancer can be hard.
As a freelancer you tend to be in one of two states – broke but with plenty of free time; or flush but constantly busy.
Neither of these situations are particularly helpful if you’re looking to train and expand your skills base. But with a bit of planning, you can make sure you don’t fall behind the pack.
What to choose
As your training opportunities could be limited by time or budget, then it’s vital you pick the right courses for you. You’ve got to ask yourself a few questions before you choose:
• Are you filling a skills gap? Just because you haven’t used a skill so far in your career, doesn’t mean you never will. Knowing your weaknesses and improving them is a vital part of career development
• Are you looking to move your career in another direction? We’re not talking a complete career change but maybe a sideways step. Knowing the skills you need to make this step is important
• Is it for a specific project? You might bid for a project or see an opportunity and have 90% of the skills required. Now is a good time to get the other 10%
• Have you spotted a gap in the market? If you’re the only freelancer offering a certain set of skills, it could help you to win business
Freelancers don’t tend to stick to the standard 9 to 5 – and no one is going to pay if you need to work overtime or take time off. This means finding the hours to fit in training can be tough.
The best idea is to plan ahead. If you’re working on a big project and are busy, plan the training for a week after the deadline.
For those that have been working freelancer for some time, you’ll probably start to see patterns in your workload. Certain days or even times of the year will be quieter than others – use these downtimes for training.
If you find yourself constantly busy (lucky you) then look for courses that can be done at your own pace. Online training often allows you to dip in and out, completing sections during your lunch break or when you’ve got a quiet couple of hours while waiting for something else.
Training should always be seen as an investment. So don’t be afraid to spend a bit of your hard earned cash on it.
But if you’re really struggling to free up any funds for training, look online for free courses. There are plenty of them.
Another option is to look for a training bursary, grant or other funding option. The government website lists some opportunities to apply.
Posted by The Secret Businessman