If you’re a freelancer, you’re probably an expert in your field. But while you may be an expert writer, programmer, designer, translator, or whatever–you probably don’t know much about running a business.
Yet, successful freelancing is all about running a business. If you want to succeed, you’re going to have to acquire some business skills.
Now of course, you could go back to school and get a business degree. That would cost you thousands of dollars and take up several years of your life.
Fortunately, getting a degree is not the only way to acquire business skills. There are plenty of free training resources online. In this post, I’ll share ten of them.
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Free Business Training Resources
Whether you need to learn about running a business for the first time or just brush up on your skills, there are online training resources available for you.
Here are ten resources:
- SBA.Gov’s Small Business Learning Center. If you live in the United States, you should bookmark the web address for the Small Business Administration. It is home to a lot of valuable resources for new business owners, including free training. There is free online training on a wide variety of topics.
- IRS Video Portal. This resource contains a wealth of very specific and very thorough information for small business owners and the self-employed. If taxes are a mystery to you, you’ll want to browse through the topics covered here.
- MITOpenCourseWare. You can study the same materials as an MIT student would study through the OpenCourseWare project. A wide variety of business topics are available online at both the undergraduate and graduate level. See the syllabus, the reading assignments, the lecture notes, and even the exam questions.
- About U. The popular information site, About.com offers many free business courses including such topics as Advertising and Marketing Psychology, Organize Your Small or Home Office, and Guide to Types of Business. You’ll want to check out the full listing to find the best courses for your needs.
- edX. EdX allows you to study a wide variety of courses from a growing number of well-known colleges and universities. The classes are open to everyone. Current possible business topics include courses on globalization, statistics, copyright, and more. Check back often, because courses offered change frequently.
- ALISON. This is another source of free online courses (although you may need to pay for a certificate). The company is able to offer free courses because there is advertising on the site. ALISON offers 55 free courses in business and enterprise skills. Several of the courses are geared specifically to entrepreneurs.
- Coursera. Coursera is another source for free university courses. The courses vary in length with most ranging from six to ten weeks. Students build a portfolio of completed classes. I actually found more business topics available here than at some of the other sites.
- Khan Academy. While Khan Academy courses are mostly geared towards school age students, there are some courses here that could be useful to business owners. If you missed or don’t remember your finance or economics courses from high school, this is a great place to brush up your knowledge.
- University of REDDIT. I thought REDDIT was only a social media site, so imagine my surprise to find out that it is also a source of free training. While most of the topics covered are of general interest, freelancers may want to look at the courses under Social Sciences, which are mostly related to social media.
- UDACITY. This is another portal for free online training. The site seeks to provide relevant training for the real world. There is no cost to register and start taking courses. At the time of the review, there was only one business course, How to Build a Startup.
- Bonus training: TED. TED talks are well known for providing vital and up-to-date information from a variety of thought leaders. If you want to learn the latest thinking on a particular topic, this is the place to go. I’ve never been sorry that I listened to a TED talk. Be warned, though. There are over a thousand talks and it can be hard to find what you are looking for.
If you’re a freelance writer, you’ll find ten more courses in this post, 10 Amazing Free Online Writing Courses.
Have you taken any free online business courses? Did I miss sharing your favorite free training resource?
Share your answers in the comments.