Creating Your Own Training Program
It is very important to keep up-to-date with all the latest research and information in your field when you work from home, so you need to develop your own training program. However one of the problems of being self-employed is that you will now have to pay for any conferences, training courses and new software by yourself.
Even if you work at home for a company, you may not be offered all the latest training courses available to in-house staff. Make sure you stay in the loop by reading company email memos and applying for courses and conferences in time.
Of course one of the advantages of going freelance is that you can now take charge of your own career path. Be proactive and make sure you allocate time and money for training courses so that you can keep up with the industry standards used in your field. While many companies have clearly defined structures and career development, as a freelancer you can often take risks and try new things. By combining your skills with a hobby you may even develop a whole new side to your business.
Your local community college will offer various small business courses which are a great way to network and build up local contacts. You may also want to expand your skills by for example taking online courses. Keep aware of all the latest software and technology developments so that you can spend your limited budget wisely when you need to upgrade your computer or software.
If you know what direction you want to take, online courses are a great way to build up your skills portfolio and expand your horizons. There are a lot of courses available online, and some of it is free or available for a low cost.
Microsoft, for example, offers a lot of free online help for their software so take advantage. Spend some time learning the latest version of Word or Excel to help you remain competitive. If you are using Word 2003 when everyone else is using Word 2010 you may not get the work next time.
Some software companies allow you to try the latest or beta version of their software, and doing this will help give you an edge. You can also specialize by becoming an expert in a certain aspect of your work, and perhaps end up employing other people to do the tasks that you don't like as much.
Many universities also offer online BA's, MBA's and other advanced degrees so that you can upgrade your qualifications. Career development courses and language courses with online teachers will also enable you to offer your services to a wider market.
The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) and similar organizations in other countries offer a wide variety of short online courses to enable you to develop business strategies and entrepreneurial skills.
You may be entitled to small business support from local, state or national government institutions in certain circumstances. Some of your clients may even help you with the costs of training if it can be of benefit to them, or may offer training on their software packaging.
Remember if you work for yourself the only person who can give you a training program is you!
So plan ahead and take the sort of courses you need so that you can have the kind of career that you really want.
After all that's one of the reasons you went freelance -isn't it?