Free Online Courses for Entrepreneurs and Freelancers

As any entrepreneur or freelancer knows, money can be tight — especially in those first few years of running a business. Luckily, you don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars on courses and conferences to grow your business.

Here are 8 free online courses that’ll help you expand your skill set, and tackle the common challenges of entrepreneurship head on:

1. Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace – University of Maryland

New to the world of entrepreneurship or looking to launch a new venture? Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace, offered by the University of Maryland, is the course for you. This online learning module will teach you how to assess your business ideas, understand your place in the marketplace, and make your ideas reality.

2. Law and the Entrepreneur – Northwestern University

One of the most difficult and stressful tasks for the new entrepreneur is navigating the complicated legalities surrounding business ownership. What are your tax responsibilities? How can you protect your intellectual property? What kind of legal entity should your business be registered as? Law and the Entrepreneur, a course offered by Northwestern University and delivered by Coursera, answers all these questions and more.

3. Finance for Non-Financial Professionals – University of California, Irvine

Finances are another facet of business ownership many freelancers and entrepreneurs struggle with. But, since a balanced budget can make or break your business, it would serve you well to get a good grasp on financial strategy, budgeting, and forecasting. Try the Finance for Non-Financial Professionals course from the University of California, Irvine.

4. Marketing in a Digital World – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Digital natives and the less-than-tech savvy alike will benefit from a greater understanding of the Web’s importance for modern marketing. Marketing in a Digital World will teach you all about promoting, pricing, and distributing products on the Internet.

5. High-Impact Business Writing – University of California, Irvine

Whether writing is your trade and you’re looking to brush up on your skills, or you’re a non-writer who needs to be able to effectively communicate with clients and draft proposals that’ll get you noticed, High-Impact Business Writing can help you take your business to the next level.

6. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills – University of Michigan

If there’s one thing freelancers and entrepreneurs of all stripes need to do a lot of, it’s negotiating. Whether you’re discussing prices with a supplier or presenting a proposal to a client, a knack for the art of negotiating will serve you well. Learn about the four steps for successful negotiating in Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills, offered by the University of Michigan.

7. Grow to Greatness: Growth for Private Businesses, Part 1 – University of Virginia

How do you know when it’s time to take the leap and expand your business — whether that means hiring employees or simply taking on more clients? In Grow to Greatness: Growth for Private Businesses, you’ll learn about the four P’s of growing a business, how to create a plan for sustainable growth, and how to ultimately decide when it’s right to grow.

8. Google AdWords Help Center

Any entrepreneur knows ads are an effective way to put their business in front of potential customers — and anyone familiar with the Web knows that Google AdWords is king of the online advertisement space. Less of a course and more of a knowledge base, the Google AdWords Help Center has answers to any question a web entrepreneur could possibly have about setting up an AdWords account, creating campaigns, and measuring their success.

If you’ve taken any of these courses, or know of some others, we’d love to hear all about it in the comments below.

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