Being underestimated is one of the biggest competitive advantages you can have. Embrace it.

If you’re a freelance trainer, you may feel like a tiny minnow in a pond full of hungry trout. How can you compete against the bigger training companies? Will your size go against you? Will businesses still want to hire you when they realise you’re working solo?

A common worry for small businesses is that they simply can’t compete with bigger companies in the same industry.

Make your size your ally against bigger training companies

The challenge when you work as a freelance trainer is to establish your business’s identity and figure out how to stand apart from your competitors. A larger company may see their size as a strength but, like David facing Goliath, you can turn your small size to your advantage and turn the larger size of your competitors into a weakness.


Well, when a business hires an individual as opposed to an organisation, there are many benefits. To identify them, think about what your competitors may have lost as they’ve grown.

Big companies may be juggling lots of clients and services so they may struggle to give one-to-one attention to the level that you can. Big companies often take a more black and white approach to customer service or to packaging their offering in order to make it manageable. In addition, big organisations can feel a bit faceless, whereas you can be the face and personality of your brand.

As a freelance trainer working alone, you provide:

  • Consistency
  • Agility
  • Flexibility
  • A single point of contact
  • One-to-one support
  • Less red tape
  • Quick and simple decisions
  • Personalised service and relationship

When people hire you as an expert in your niche, it’s you that they get. You bring your unique skills and knowledge to the table, alongside your individual insights and experience, and your training style.

You also have the potential to be more flexible than a larger business; freelance trainers are arguably better placed to put together a bespoke service than a larger business, which may offer a choice of fixed packages, or to respond quickly to a new opportunity without having to get approval from other departments. This lack of red tape can be very attractive to businesses that want to move forwards as soon as possible.

Your personal brand can be a HUGE selling point

Because she competes with no-one, no-one can compete with her.Think about what makes you unique.

When you work as a freelance trainer or, indeed, in any self-employed capacity, many people would argue that it’s essential to understand and commit to your personal brand. After all, people buy from other people – they want to know about the face behind the logo and tend to engage the services of companies that align with their personal values. If you can connect with your potential customers, either by having a clear voice on social media or by being available at the end of the phone or on Zoom, you can begin to create a relationship with them.

And, ultimately, it is your customer relationships that are your secret weapon as a freelance trainer competing against bigger training companies. Each time you email a client, call them, drop them a handwritten thank you note, or interact with them in any way, it’s an opportunity to deepen your working relationship and show them how passionate you are about meeting their needs, whether that’s to solve a pain point or improve life for their team.

A good sign when competing against bigger training organisations

Finally, I truly believe that if a bigger organisation is aware of and responding to your presence in the marketplace, it’s a great sign that you’re making waves and providing a service that’s being noticed. Take confidence from that and then look at how you can use your small but perfectly formed size to your advantage.

Are you aware of big competitors pitching for the same training contracts as you? Have you found ways to connect with your big competitors? If you are a freelance trainer, do you feel that working alone is an advantage or disadvantage?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


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