The best resources to keep your skills sharp.
Surveys of freelancers, independent contractors, and consultants have found that over 40% do more training and education than when they were in a traditional full-time job. As a freelancer, what are the best resources for keeping your skills sharp? We’ve highlighted the top five favorites that independent consultants at FlexTeam, our sister company, rely on most frequently to keep expanding their skill sets.
edX offers thousands of free courses from leading universities, including founders MIT and Harvard, across a diverse range of subjects – computer science, data science, business management, and more. edX also offers about 100 professional certificate programs, plus micro-programs, degree-based programs, and professional education programs. edX offers these additional programs on a per-program fee basis.
Coursera offers a wide variety of free and paid courses for professional development, taught by universities and businesses. There are hundreds of free courses, plus a myriad of paid options, to develop new skills like business analytics, AI and machine learning, and blockchain. Coursera also offers professional certificates and degree programs.
Previously known as Lynda.com, LinkedIn Learning offers a plethora of online courses across learning paths – including digital marketing, business management, project management, communications, design, coding, and more. Through a monthly subscription, you have access to over 15,000 courses. LinkedIn Learning offers a one-month free trial so you can determine if this is the right training resource for your needs. You can also find classes specifically for helping you advance your freelancing and consulting business, including project management, marketing, accounting, and more.
Skillshare’s online learning community has over 25,000 courses for creative skills, such as animation, design, illustration, and writing. Skillshare is membership-based, with monthly memberships including unlimited classes. You can try Skillshare Premium for free to evaluate the courses and fit them with your professional development needs.
Udemy offers over 100,000 online courses, in categories like business, development, marketing, and IT. Prices vary by course and include lifetime access to the purchased content. You can also become an instructor on Udemy and teach others the skills you have developed as an independent consultant.
More Options for Professional Development
Other recommended options to keep expanding and sharpening your professional
skills include Alison (great for free and low-cost courses and certificates across a variety of disciplines), Udacity (great for technical skills), and Class Central (great for searching for the right course).
As a freelancer and solo entrepreneur, you’ll also want to keep developing your business management skills to grow your freelance business. Business skills to develop include project management, financial management, digital media and marketing, negotiation, and communication.