The best career decision I’ve ever made was to start a freelance consulting business. That business opened my eyes to the freedom that can be had by working for yourself. Freelancing is also the ultimate way to flex your career in these rapidly changing times. Once you learn to freelance, that skill is always there to return to. I’ve pursued other jobs and businesses only to return to freelancing in between as a way to make ends meet.
When I started freelancing in 2012, I had no idea what I was doing. Now, thankfully there are tons of ways to learn. My favorite way to get up to speed on something new is to invest in my own learning, usually through courses. To help you pick through the many freelance courses available, we’ve compiled a list of online classes to help you learn what you need to know to succeed as a freelancer.
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Why Take A Course On Freelancing?
Taking a course is always a great way to level up on any skill. Freelancing can be especially complex since there are often legal aspects to learn that you may not have thought of. Learning the basics before you jump in can increase your chance of success since you’ll be less likely to make common mistakes. You should consider taking a course if you have the time to study and the room in your budget to pay for it.
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If you’re not totally ready to pull the trigger on any of these options, you can always subscribe to my free newsletter called The Break where I discuss tactics to redesign your career and optimize for more control. We discuss freelancing at length since it is so near and dear to my heart.
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The Best Freelancing Courses That Are Free
If money is a little tight, check out these titles to start learning without spending a dime:
Available on Udemy, this course dives into how to start and manage a freelance business. It covers choosing a business structure, setting prices, creating contracts, sending invoices, and bookkeeping. You’ll also discover how to market yourself and determine if your services are in demand.
This course is taught by freelance web designer and online marketer Nathan Allotey. The course features about 75 minutes of video content and a 31-page guide to supplement your learning.
As a freelancer, you’ll juggle multiple clients, projects, and deadlines all at once. That means you need to be a time management master. This 11-module course through Alison will help you avoid getting overwhelmed while you get more done than you thought possible. In under three hours, you’ll learn how to get organized, prioritize your work, shift your mindset, and implement other time management techniques.
Pro Tip: Not a freelancer? This class can also help you be more productive in any remote job.
A collaboration between Copyblogger and the University of California, Davis, this Coursera course teaches you how content marketing can help you get and keep freelance clients. You’ll learn how to create a content marketing strategy that establishes your personal brand, build a website for your freelance business, write content that resonates with your ideal clients, and more. This 19-hour class spans five weeks and includes video lessons, readings, and quizzes.
The third course in the Building Your Freelancing Career specialization on Coursera covers topics such as setting boundaries with projects, building a public-facing portfolio, and presenting one's work. Through this 8-hour, on-demand course, learners will learn how to launch their freelancing business and present their unique brand promise to the world. The course also covers the stages of the customer journey, identifying opportunities to create a more streamlined business, and how to continuously improve as a freelancer.
Learn proven SEO strategy from the founder of Backlinko, Brian Dean. This on-demand course features 28 short videos that break down the SEO process that you can utilize to get higher rankings and more traffic for your or your client’s websites.
In this 3-4 hour, on-demand course, you will learn how to monetize your web development skills through freelancing. This course covers business planning, niche selection, pricing, marketing, and client acquisition.
Alison.com has over 20 freelancing courses for free, dedicated to helping you excel as an independent freelancer. Many of the courses are specifically designed for a niche such as bridal makeup, how to set up a dropshipping business, selling on eBay, and more.
The Best Paid Freelancing Courses
If you’re able to make a financial investment in your freelance career (and yourself!), these courses could be a great fit:
I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin. In this course, well-known entrepreneur, Seth Godin, shows you how to stand out in a crowded market, price your services, land clients, and become a highly sought-after freelancer. As you watch the 4.5 hours of video lectures and go through the included exercises, you’ll learn what it takes to excel at freelancing. Beware, this course is more art than science of freelancing. You won’t necessarily learn how to set up your own business, how to bill, or other tactical skills around executing a freelance business. Hosted on Udemy, the course comes with lifetime access and a certificate of completion.
Are you struggling to gain clients as a solopreneur? Look no further than The Solopreneur Playbook, a self-paced online course that will guide you through the 6 critical steps to start your own successful solopreneur consulting practice. You're an expert in what you do, but not in branding, marketing, and selling yourself. Avoid costly mistakes and shave years off your path to success by learning from the creator of Zero In. Define your niche, build credibility, refine your offer, learn to sell, build an audience, and create extra income streams with the strategies, tips, and real-life examples shared in this course. You'll receive a workbook full of templates to apply to your business, and by the end of the course, you'll have a roadmap for success as a solopreneur.
This nine-lesson, 50-minute, Skillshare course teaches you about portfolio building, networking, and marketing your services. Plus, it also covers some essential business concepts, such as budgeting, saving, and paying taxes. Specifically created for new and aspiring freelancers, the course features personal stories, lessons, and tips from freelance artist and entrepreneur Justin Gignac.
Price: $168 (Skillshare annual membership fee, which lets you take unlimited courses)
During this nearly six-hour Skillshare masterclass, you’ll learn how to navigate your entire journey as a freelancer. Topics covered include goal setting, branding, pricing, getting and dealing with clients, building a portfolio, managing your finances, and more. While the class focuses on freelance creatives like designers, illustrators, and photographers, any current or prospective freelancer can benefit from it. You’ll also receive more than 100 pages of written content to enhance your learning and access to a Facebook group for support.
Price: $168 (Skillshare annual membership fee, which lets you take unlimited courses
Taught by the creator of Freelancing School, Jay Clouse, this LinkedIn Learning course covers the basics of building a freelance business. You’ll learn about setting goals, creating proposals and contracts, branding, content marketing, selling your services, and more. The instructor also shares some tools you can use to make running your business easier. Designed especially for the new freelancer, this course spans seven modules and features approximately 100 minutes of video content.
Price: $29.99 per month (LinkedIn Learning membership fee, which gives you unlimited access to the course library
This course teaches you how to become a freelance writer in 60 days. If you want to learn how to get started as a freelance writer, how to create a writing portfolio, how to get hired with no writing experience, how to pitch to clients and get hired, what mistakes to avoid and more - this course is for you!
This course is taught by Aisha Preece. Aisha personally used the method that she teaches to transition to a career as a freelance writer.
The Udemy “Complete Guide to Freelancing” course is a comprehensive program that provides all the guidance needed to start a successful freelance career. Taught by a top performer on Upwork, this course covers everything from connecting with clients and managing your own business, to positioning yourself above the competition. You will learn how to improve your productivity, manage your time, and strengthen your network, as well as how to improve your profile on popular freelancing platforms like Upwork to boost your chances of attracting clients. Through 11.5 hours of on-demand video content, downloadable resources, and articles, you will discover how to create winning proposals, build relationships with clients, manage and scale your freelance business, and choose the right freelancing strategy based on your skills.
Additional Freelance Resources
Are you looking for more freelancing resources? Check out these helpful guides:
- How To Become A Freelancer
- Highest Paying Freelance Jobs
- Best Freelance Sites
- What To Include On A Freelance Resume
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I learn freelancing online?
Yes, you can learn about freelancing online. There are many online courses, forums, and groups that can help you get the foundational knowledge you need.
What freelance jobs are in demand?
The freelance jobs that are in demand now include but aren’t limited to writing, editing, web development, social media management, graphic design, virtual assistance, and tutoring.
How can a beginner learn freelancing?
A beginner can learn about freelancing by speaking with other freelancers, reading a book, researching on the internet, or taking an online course. For more tips, check out our guide on how to become a freelancer.
What skills should I learn for freelancing?
You should learn several skills for freelancing. You’ll need expertise in the service you offer, a strong business acumen, and mastery of soft skills, such as communication and time management.
The Bottom Line
Launching a freelance business can be both thrilling and overwhelming. Fortunately, there are many resources on the internet that can help you get the foundational knowledge you need to be successful. We’ve given your research a good head start by providing this list of the best freelancing courses. Happy studying!
When you're ready to start freelancing, check out ZipRecruiter to find your first freelance opportunity!