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Career Story: Independent Corporate Training Consultant

Independent Corporate Training Consultant

Job Title: Education Consultant (Independent)

Type of Company: I provide adult training in General Business Skills, Supervision, Management and Leadership for employees of large corporations.

Education: BS, Business Administration, University of Connecticut

Previous Experience: I was a career Army officer, but joined an insurance company after my discharge from the military and worked in marketing and training before switching to consumer affairs. I spent the last decade of my career in insurance as a facilitator and manager of facilitators for The Hartford.

Job Tasks: As a one-person company I perform all of the administrative, support and operational functions that are required in a large company.

A typical day might include checking my calendar to see what I have to do and calling existing and prospective clients to market my training programs.

I schedule programs with existing clients and may have to modify them to meet specific needs. I often have to do a needs analysis to determine the appropriate training to apply to a particular organizational problem.

With prospective clients, I discuss their training needs and the services I can offer them and usually send them a catalog. Frequent follow-up is often required and I sometimes have to submit written proposals before they contract for training.

When I do win a contract, I have to order vendor and training materials, make travel arrangements and see that supplies get shipped to the client. On average, I travel to out-of-state about five days a month. Once I've arrived at the client's, I have to oversee the set up of the training facility. A typical program runs from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. each day, but preparation for the next day's presentation is required every evening.

When I return to my office, I have to invoice the client and review my findings to determine if any changes are needed in the program. All my programs have to be updated periodically.

Finally, the IRS wants a contribution from me once every quarter.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my work is twofold. First, I make all of my own business decisions and second, for the most part, I determine when and if I want to work. I set the schedule. However, there are no set patterns as to when clients will want training and I have to be flexible if I want to work.

The worst part of my work is not knowing if clients will contract for training in the future and waiting for those who have to pay their invoices. These are facts of life for every consultant and require me to maintain a cash reserve for both business and living expenses.

Job Tips: I would recommend getting a strong background in doing presentations, sales, consulting, networking and training program development skills. This is most easily accomplished by getting a position in a corporate training department supplemented by outside seminars and courses.

Once you decide to go out on your own, realize it will probably take 2-4 years to begin making a profit unless you have developed some clients prior to leaving your employer. So you will need to have a means of support during this period. A part-time or flexible work hour job can be the answer.

Additional Thoughts: The keys to success in this type of career are persistence in everything and enthusiasm. You must be excited about what you are doing and genuinely interested in improving the skills of others. Good time management skills, self-discipline, organization and attention to detail are also required.

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