There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. They are there to help you consider whether or not you are cut out for the work. Use them to make you think about whether you should take the next step.
Do I have enough capital / other income to live off for the next six months?
Unless you are starting off with a Contract that pays up front you will need Capital to buy Training equipment, Marketing material and insurance, then time to build up your client base. Not making any net profit for the first six months (if not longer) is a definite possibility. I didn’t turn a profit until year 2 – and that was followed by a chunky loss in year 3, after which – despite COVID – I have turned a decent profit.
Do I have the resources to teach?
You will need as a minimum:
- Suitable qualifications
- Resuscitation Annies (3 adults minimum – the same again for child and baby if you wish to teach Paediatric courses)
- Training defibrillators – 1 per Annie
- Training bandages, dressings, props etc.
- A Projector, screen and laptop
- Public Liability insurance, car insurance upgraded for Business use
- Marketing material, Business cards
All of this will need to be bought before you earn a single penny. See our chapter on equipment costs for a fuller breakdown.
Do I have the right Qualifications?
As a minimum, you need a Teaching qualification, an Assessing qualification and a Competency qualification in the subject. For example, to teach First Aid at Work you have to have a Teaching and Assessing qualification such as the Level 3 Award in Education and Training (AET – a combined Teaching and Assessing qualification) and a 3-day First Aid at Work qualification.
That is the bare minimum. If you are planning to offer more than just First Aid at Work courses, you will need additional qualifications – 12 hour Paediatric to teach Paediatric, (Advanced) Outdoor to teach Outdoor and so on. Factor in the cost of these qualifications (although often you only need to obtain the Certificate once to gain a Lifetime ability to teach the subject).
Do I have the experience?
The above qualifications are the bare minimum that you need. Generally speaking, the better trainers are those that also have medical experience – e.g. Military medic, ex frontline Ambulance, ex Voluntary Aid Society. It’s not essential but experience will give you and your students confidence that you know your subject (it’s also good to have a few stories up your sleeve to add into the courses to liven them up).
Can I Market myself to others?
Unless you strike it lucky with natural listings on Google Search or have a very deep pot to pay for those adverts that you see on Google, you are going to have to put yourself out there – people are not coming to you by chance. Are you able to walk into a shop or office and start selling your services to some random person behind the desk/counter? Are you self-confident enough to attend a Networking Meeting and start talking to strangers? Are you creative enough to design marketing material (fliers, Business cards etc.) or are you going to have to pay someone to do any of that?
Am I prepared to put in the hours?
If you are self-employed, then you have to do absolutely everything – as well as delivering a course, you have to be the Marketing Guru, the IT Nerd, the Office Admin, Cleaner and Accountant. And, of course, whilst you are delivering a course you cannot be doing any of those, so those tasks can only start once you have got in from delivering a course.
Am I happy in my own company?
When you no longer have the security of an Office and colleagues to chat around the water cooler with. When things get tough and you cannot bounce ideas off your colleagues. When it’s 6 a.m, raining and you are loading up to drive 50 miles for your fifth course that week (and it’s only Wednesday), will you throw in the towel?
You do not need all those skills at once. It took me a long time to build up the confidence to walk into a Networking meeting and start to chat to strangers, however you will need to be self-motivated and willing to learn those skills over time.
Screw it, let’s do itRichard Branson
There comes a point where you can’t put it off any longer. You have to just say “Let’s give this a go and see what happens”.
What have you got to lose? No, what have you really got to lose?
- Money? Possibly, but then again you may gain far more than your potential losses.
- Time? A bit if you need to get qualified. You can’t really classify it as wasted time as the skills are transferable.
- Reputation? If you fail, you fail. No-one can mock you for trying. What have they achieved?
If it works, you will no longer be tied to the 9-5 grind. You will be able to pick and choose when you work and for whom. Want to take July off to explore Cambodia or Cumbria or Cleethorpes – why not? Want to work 7 days a week to bring forward your retirement – your choice.
The next sections cover:-
- Getting qualified
- Getting kitted up
- Getting your name out there
- The Business of First Aid Training
Read on to make the first step in your new career.