Earlier in the year, QA sponsored the IPSE-QA Freelancer Awards. Lauren Razavi won the Freelancer of the Year award, which recognises excellence in freelancing. Part of her prize was £5000 worth of QA training. We caught up with Lauren to find out how she got on with her training experience.
Hi Lauren. Please tell us a few words about yourself, what job you do, how long you have been in your profession, and anything else you think would be worth mentioning.
"I'm managing director of Flibl, a communications consultancy based in Norwich. Before starting the company in early 2016, I worked as a freelance journalist and content strategist for a range of traditional media titles and leading global companies."
As a result of my freelance work, I won the Young Freelancer of the Year prize at this year's IPSE-QA Freelancer Awards. The competitive process - which included a Dragon's Den-style presentation in London - was a brilliant experience, equal parts challenging and enriching.
Part of the prize was £5,000's worth of training from QA. This was a real highlight as it offered a chance to enhance my business skills in certain areas quickly and extremely effectively."
What course did you attend and why did you choose it?
"I attended two courses: "Influencing and Persuading" and "Present with Impact". I chose these courses as I felt they'd be the most immediately useful in the direction my career and business were going, and this definitely turned out to be true."
How did you find the course? What did you like or not like? Was there anything that stood out in particular?
"The training I received was exceptional. The impressive knowledge of the QA tutors is what set the experience apart from courses I've taken in the past. Not only were both my tutors experts in their field - with plenty of practical, hands-on experience to draw from - but they were also passionate about sharing their knowledge, and willing to go above and beyond to ensure everyone in the room was gaining maximum value from being there."
How has the course benefited you professionally?
"My confidence as a businessperson has skyrocketed over the past six months, and much of this is down to a combination of winning the award and then receiving guidance and support at the QA training courses. Flibl is going from strength to strength and I feel that having the opportunity to learn from QA tutors so early in my business journey has moved things along faster than would have been possible otherwise.
The QA training has given me the persuasive tools I needed to push back with clients when I believed they were making the wrong decisions, and to be heard -- which is really important, given that I'm hired for my expertise. The experience of meeting young women from other sectors through the training was also important for my own confidence, as we found we faced a lot of the same concerns and challenges that come from being young, female and successful. The knowledge-sharing that happened on the courses dispelled a lot of my fears over offending or insulting others if I was firmer in making my views known. This came largely from the trainer's excellent insights into the psychology behind decision-making, and methods of influencing and persuading.
These practical skills and the stronger sense of my own value I gained from pursuing this business training have aided me in building a consultancy from the ground up, be classified as a high-growth startup by UKTI and Innovate UK after operating just six months and receive further business development support worth over £10K."