Freelancing isn’t free, but education can be.
This is important to keep in mind, especially as you’re exploring different niches. Making use of free resources to build your understanding of various industries and subjects is probably the most low-risk way to grow in your specialization.
You’ll find a lot of expensive coaching and education options out there, but don’t think you can’t learn just as much for a few dollars, or even free. I set aside one day a week for my education, and keep coming back to the resources below as powerful sources of low-cost freelance learning.
If you’ve got any of your own ideas (or input) leave them in the comments!
Udemy: This is a massive online learning community with classes in web development, business, marketing, health, education, traditional academics, IT, design, and WAY more. It houses some of the biggest minds/instructors out there, but has also been critiqued for its treatment of instructors and earning structure. Sign up for their mailing list to be notified of sales.
SkillShare: This site is more focused on creative topics, but it’s got a nice mix of subjects. You’ll find courses in the culinary arts, design, DIY, film, music, photography, tech, writing, business, and more. Premium memberships run $9.95 a month.
Khan Academy: This site is free with a wide range of subjects ranging from basic math to biochemistry and capital markets. If you ever considered specializing as a writer, this could be a good place to learn the basics.
Lynda: This LinkedIn-owned platform offers a free trial which then moves to packages that start at $19.99 a month. It naturally focuses more on business and technical skills.
The Great Courses: This place has a lot of sales and is great for accessing more traditional audio/video courses. Topics run the gamut from science, to math, history, fine arts, music, and business and are highly useful for becoming knowledgeable on a general topic that you’d like to specialize in.
Google Alerts: Never discount the power of just getting online and reading news and blogs. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn and being up on industry news is always impressive to clients.
Copyblogger: This is the place to learn content marketing and strategy. The site offers a great mix of resources including e-books and articles for free. Every freelancer (yes, every) should understand content marketing and this is probably the best place to start.
MIT OpenCourseware: MIT was one of the pioneers of open courseware, and since, the concept has exploded. They give you access to the majority of the school’s materials for free. You don’t get the guidance of an instructor, but that might be a bonus for you.