If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard this!
But seriously, if you are thinking of becoming a trainer, what advice would I give?
- Are you structured enough to have a plan (it’s very unforgiving if you turn up late or with the wrong materials!) but also free-wheeling enough to cope with different numbers of people, venue problems, timing changes, groups who are more or less chatty, etc? This mix of organised but improviser is quite unusual in a person, and if you are very organised or very disorganised then forget training as a career!
- Are you social but solitary? The ideal trainer would be completely comfortable with walking into a room full of people they don’t know, and becoming their friend during the day – but then walking away and never seeing them again. No sense of belonging anywhere, never part of anything, and yet meeting vast number of people on quite a shallow basis.
- Do you have the ability to remember a day’s worth of material, but also have a memory like a goldfish? If I’m doing Project Management five days in a row I need to be able to forget the previous day every morning, or else it’ll interfere with my flow: “Have I already said that?” Each day needs to feel fresh, every time, hundreds of times.
- Master of depth AND width – you need to know enough to answer questions from 20 people at once, but also to know about more than one subject. If y ou only teach one thing, every day over and over, even with (3) above you will surely go mad!
- Can you Do and Sell? Being self employed means doing your own selling, and if you get your work from an agency they’ll take a huge cut and never guarantee you work, so you have to be happy and able to sell as well as do.
- Can you sleep well in a different bed every night of the week? Are you happy to be able to be away from home an everage of 2 or 3 nights a week? Are you happy to travel on Sunday nights, prepare at weekends, and do emails in the evenings?
- Do you have the evergy to drive – present – drive – present – drive – present – drive endlessly, putting in maximum energy every day? The adrenalin of presenting tends to give you the energy at the time, but afterwards boy, how tired you feel! I usually sleep all of saturday morning!
- Do you have the staying power to build up a pipeline of repeats from happy customers – this takes a minimum of five years. No customer should be more than 20% of your work either, so you proabably need 10-20 regular customers.
If you can cope with the above, then welcome to my world! It’s really fun, I can’t think of a job I’d rather do, it’s quite well paid, you’re meeting new people every day, helping them, having a laugh while making a difference, there are hardly any costs, it’s a clean environment with very little physical work, you don’t have a boss, and you get to be the star of the show.
But making it look easy is not as easy as it looks ….