The freelance lifestyle is an attractive one. But with all of the flexibility comes the reality that work might not always be as regular as we
As a solopreneur, you need to have a lot of skills—from managing your own business to marketing it, as well as delivering a high-quality service or product for which your clients are willing to pay top dollar. Another key thing solopreneurs shouldn’t neglect: your own development and ongoing education as a professional.
As technology changes, so does the nature of any type of work—whether you’re a freelance blogger or a web designer, you need to stay ahead of trends and make sure you are innovative, responsive, and well-equipped to carry your solopreneur business into the future.
Fortunately, there are learning resources available to anyone with an internet connection. Some of our favorites are below.
Lynda has hundreds of courses available regarding almost any subject you can think of, from business and software development to video and music editing, and much more. The average monthly cost of a basic membership is $19.99, and premium is $29.99, but they also offer a free 10-day trial.
Some public libraries also provide access to Lynda.com, which means all you need is a valid library card to access the classes.
Some of the most popular courses—and ones that solopreneurs should check out—include iOS 8 App Development with Swift 1 Essential Training, and Foundations of Programming: Web Services.
New York City-based General Assembly offers a diverse array of classes both in-person and online. Classes are taught by experts in their respective fields, and courses range from a few hours to totally immersive, full-time, 13-week classes. Prices also vary—the 13-week online immersive class for web development costs $13,950, but some one-day workshops are free.
Smartly is one of the first fully free online MBA programs. Though not yet formally accredited, if you’re accepted, it’s 100 percent free and provides several weeks of immersive training designed to simulate other MBA programs.
The program is highly selective, with only 7 percent of applicants receiving admission to the program, but, if you don’t get in to the free MBA, you can apply for the Executive MBA, which charges, as of 2017, $9,500 in fees.
Coursera is perhaps the best known online resource for classes on anything under the sun. Coursera partners with world-renowned institutions from all over the world—including elite institutions like Stanford and Penn—so you can experience top-notch educational resources without formally enrolling in their programs.
If you check out the top business courses listed on their homepage, you can find anything from Introduction to Product Management to Leading People and Teams. Whether looking to brush up on some solopreneur skills, or to work on your approach to life and work through a course like Buddhism and Modern Psychology, there’s a ton for solopreneurs to dig into here, and many courses are free.
edX works not only with universities like MIT, but also with corporations like Microsoft to develop and offer tons of free courses. For example, you can take Becoming an Entrepreneur from MIT for free, or choose to pay $69 for a verified certificate of completion.
Whether learning a language (computer or human), or wanting to know more about classical music for the book you are ghostwriting for a client, there’s an endless amount of educational opportunity to be found for solopreneurs here.
With more than 500 courses, Universal Class includes self-directed lessons, exams, assignments, and more interactive features like discussion boards and feedback from instructors. You can earn certificates in everything from Wedding Planning to Bookkeeping. Similar to Lynda.com, you may be able to access Universal Class through your public library, so be sure to check if yours subscribes before signing up.
HBX (Harvard Business School)
Who hasn’t dreamt of going to Harvard?
Well, now you don’t have to physically be in Cambridge to experience Harvard. With HBX, you can take Harvard Business School courses online—but admissions are selective and classes cost around $1,500. The classes on finance and negotiation can be especially useful for a solopreneur.
Udacity offers “Nanodegrees” in many topics that are booming for solopreneurs, from digital marketing to front-end web development. Prices vary depending on how in-depth the courses are, and the courses are in part developed by major corporations like Google, IBM, and Facebook.
With free classes like 21 Days to Building a Web Business, Alison is a great place for solopreneurs who are just starting off or for seasoned vets looking to brush up on skills or explore new ideas. Classes are free and Alison has more than 750 offerings.