Self Employment Born From Covid19: 2 Years Later

Redundancy is the beginning

The Monday morning call had a tinge of trepidation about it. I already knew that the large multi divisional organisation I had been L&D Consultant for for 4 and a half years had made some changes, so I was already considering what I would do if my job went.

It was March the 20th 2020 and a serious virus was spreading into the UK. Our very close and hard working L&D team joined the call and were told that our jobs were going. I asked how much notice I had and how much redundancy pay I would get, quickly figuring out that L&D was going to suffer wherever I went. I knew that if I could cut back on everything I could set up on my own - burn my boats and take the island.

Leaving work on the 20th of April 2020 I had the bare bones of what would be Rebellious Learning and Development, my own little business. 2 years later, these are some of the things I can reflect back on.


This part was fairly easy given the times we were all living in. We were all forced into a situation where we couldn't go and enjoy our basic freedoms outside of the house. With cutting out all unnecessary spending and going on a mortgage holiday for as long as they would let me I could theoretically ride out this pandemic and have some clients to work with. We just about made it! I started getting some income after about 9 months of very little and I could've quit at any point. So glad I didn't, I had to be.....


The months were slipping past and I had to tell myself that my work will lead to something if I kept going. My inner monologue would often tell me that I should just go and get a job, even just to tide me over until the pandemic breaks. The other problem was that I had quite serious asthma as a kid and every chest infection I got knocked me for six. I had to shield.

I had to rebel against this inner monologue and take control of my daily actions, knowing that I would eventually get some work in as long as I keep showing up. Most people were great, some actually inspired by what I was doing, but occasionally I would get the cynical people saying "starting up during a global pandemic? You must be crazy!". I would say "yeah, a little bit" and I believe true rebels must harness a little bit of crazy (or whatever you want to call it) to make change happen.


I took every invitation to have a zoom, every invitation to do a webinar or a podcast, every suggestion to network. The name 'Rebellious' seemed to interest people and it was great hearing how people could relate to what it means. I found that most of my time in the early months was exploring who to connect with, learning from them, sharing ideas and offering/receiving help.

Through connections I was able to form some foundation relationships with people who wanted me to deliver training on their behalf. This was absolutely what I needed and has continued ever since. I had connected with people who already had established L&D names and they bought into my brand of design and delivery. For me, starting out on my own has relied on connections and opening doors through conversations. I would recommend to anyone that you have to say yes to as much opportunity to connect with people as possible, it opens doors.

Follow through

It's not all snapped into place! One thing I punish myself for is my occasional lack of follow-through. Sometimes I will have had a really good conversation with a prospective client, send a quote or some options based on their needs and then take my foot off the gas and leave it all to be forgotten about. What I have learned is to stop trying to push a sale and instead ask better questions to establish just how serious someone is about L&D solutions. We can be an expensive resource if applied without a strategy and I've started to get to grips with who will and will not be prepared to spend money on training programmes.

Follow through is also about getting an idea and allocating time to do something about it. Being self employed means that I have to protect my time and consider the long term a lot more than before. It can be easy to get wrapped up in quick wins and let ideas slip past. My first online course is now partially created and will be finished very soon because I have protected the time to do the work on it.

Self develop

In order to do anything on your own I believe you have to continually do the work on yourself. What this has meant for me is to honestly deal with the anxiety of failure and the depression of lack of progress.

Training in martials arts has been a habit for me for over 5 years. This training is great for my physical and mental conditioning and has lead me to learn some life enhancing philosophies. Being rebellious means that if it's right for you, just do it, it really doesn't matter what people say about your choices. I went vegan because it's good for me. I've been practicing the Wim Hof Method for 2 years because I feel the benefits.

You have to trust the things that make you feel good and you have to trust that consistently turning up and doing good work will bring results. These have been invaluable lessons for me.


This 2 year journey of self employment has been life changing for me and my family. On one hand I've got the freedom to work on what I want when I want. On the other hand I still have to be totally accountable for making sure the bills get paid.

The exciting news is that because of making the move to self employment I'm able to pursue a lifelong dream of mine. Not being one to tell everyone what I want to do, rather to show everyone what I've done, I can't share more right now. I have worked on multiple additional projects outside of L&D and can't wait to share the end product, and I will as soon as they're ready.

Thank you for reading, I hope it has inspired you in some way and I want to thank you for being on this journey with me.


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