Julia Emelogu runs Maximum Impact Solutions providing bespoke training, consultancy, design and implementation solutions in the area of Business Intelligence. A three time winner of the Institute of IT Training Freelance Trainer of The Year Award, Julia is highly respected in her field as both a trainer and businesswoman.
1. What did you do before you became a freelance trainer?
I was studying for my PhD, while working full timefor Parity Training
2. How long have you been in business?
14 years within the training industry, with the last 8 years as a freelance IT trainer
3. Why did you decide to set up on your own?
I really enjoy training and passionate about unlocking peoples’ potential. There is nothing better than the buzz you get when you see the nervous unconfident delegate at the beginning in the course metamorphosis into an excited confident person, who cannot wait to get back to the office to try their new skills at their desk.
What I did not like was the quality of the courses being delivered and the service provided by the training company to their customers. For them it was a “bums on seats” exercise, and invariably delegates were getting shoe horned into the nearest fit courses that suited the company and not the customer.
As a trainer I felt undervalued and exploited by the company, and when my line manager threatened to physically attack me, and it was seen by the company that he was joking, I then realised that it was time to make a very quick exit!!!
And so I wanted to be able to provide my clients a better services that was customer focussed, to meet their needs, rather than the needs of the sales person.
4. How did you feel when you first started out?
I was excited, scared and relieved. I remember driving home on the day I gave in my notice, with my eyes full of tears of joy and relief.
I knew I was a great trainer, and I had a really good reputation within the company as well as within the IT training industry, as a trainer, I already had some training lined up with another training company.
I also knew that with my wide portfolio of courses, and that most training companies did not have in-house trainers delivering these courses that it would make it easy for me to get ad-hoc training work.
5. How did your first year go? Did it turn out as you expected or were there any surprises?
The first year went well, I had more money to live on, less travel, and a better quality of life as I was in control of my life and my destiny.
The hardest for me was the uncertainty of work, as someone who goes from a salaried job getting a regular income, to a situation where my income varies month to month, but I like the fact the harder I work the more I earn.
There were two main hurdles for me, the first of which was getting companies to trust and use Julia Emelogu as a freelance trainer, rather than the employee of the Parity training.
The other hurdle was the loneliness and isolation I initially felt, but I used networking as a way of getting out there and meeting new people.
6. If you could have your time over again is there anything you would do differently?
Taken on more courses before I left my previous employers before becoming a freelance trainer.
7. What has been your biggest challenge as a freelance trainer?
Initially it was to keeping up to date with the large portfolio of courses I delivered, I resolved this by becoming more niche.
8. You have a successful training business. To what do you attribute that success?
I am passionate about training and as such I set the quality of service delivery really high. I am always looking at ways of improving the service delivery, adding quality and value to the service where possible, this has lead to my really good reputation.
9. In your opinion, what’s the 1 thing that all new freelance trainers should definitely do to give themselves the biggest chance of success?
Make sure they keep up to date with the versions of software they deliver training in, and make sure their clients are aware of their course portfolio.
10. And is there anything they should NOT do?
Do not under sell your services
Ensure that you can train the software beyond advance level and
Do not make it up as you go along!!!!!
Recently a freelance trainer who claims to train MS Access to advanced level for the last 4 years, asked me to explain relationships and how they worked. I was initially shocked that she did not know this fundamental feature of MS Access, and this has lead me to question how good she is as a IT trainer, and as a result I cannot recommend her for work I cannot deliver.
11. And finally, how do you see the future for freelance trainers?
I personally think that the future of freelance trainer is really positive. There are a number of ways that they can exploit the opportunities out there. More and more companies are looking for alternative to the traditional training companies proposal, especially with the current economic crisis.
Training companies are finding it really hard to maintain their overheads and are either becoming more and more reliant on freelance trainers or are just going out of business, either way this provides more opportunities for freelancers.
Maximum Impact Solutions