As the start of a new year dawned, you may have been thinking about learning a new skill, hobby or just considering a new interest. Taking a course can be quite expensive, especially if you’re on a budget. However, there are several free courses on the web. I’ve found a few which may help you to learn something new, develop a skill or may just act as a starting point for further investigation into a paid course.
Alison provides a range of online courses free of charge. You can claim certificates once you’ve completed a course, however these require a fee. Some courses do have PDF certificates that you can download free of charge.
All courses are free to learn in your own time – there’s no time limit for completion and you can pick from a variety of topics. If you’re a blogger or freelance writer, you may be interested in the following;
Web page development
English writing skills
Social media marketing
Building an online business
Another portal for free online learning is Future Learn whose courses are in partnership with several universities in the UK. These courses have a start and end date and tend to rotate so different courses are on offer at varying times. Some upcoming courses to look out for are;
Preparing for uni
The secret power of brands
How to succeed at writing job applications
How to succeed at interviews
Community journalism: digital and social media
Vision to learn is a British online learning site with a range of free courses. You need to apply to these courses and a certificate/qualification may be offered at the end of the course. Courses include;
Essential IT skills
Business and administration
Equality and diversity
OpenLearn is The Open University’s free online course portal. Here there are a wide range of free materials from OU courses to give you a taster of a subject. A few topics include;
Start writing fiction
Writing what you know
Managing my money
Using voluntary work to get ahead in the job market
Free courses are a great way to boost your CV/resume. Even if you don’t receive a qualification at the end, its still worth mentioning as it shows motivation, a willingness to learn and determination – all good aspects that employer’s look for.
Being your own boss has some amazing benefits – you can decide on your own schedule, pick the projects you want to work on and choose the times you work. However, as with everything in life, being your own boss isn’t all plain sailing. A few challenges that you might come across are;
*Not taking a break
*You are the manager/employee/administrator – everything relies on you
*No holiday pay/sick pay
*Taking on too much work
*Not getting enough work
*Sorting out your finances
*Having no one to talk to during the day
*Pressure to constantly push yourself
*Lack of support
However, despite these downsides self employment can be incredibly fulfilling and being your own boss means you get to do exactly what you want. If you’re just starting out in the freelance world then stay tuned for lots of advice and information on what to expect.
Making the jump into freelance work and the world of the unknown can be very daunting. Becoming self-employed and being your own boss when you’ve never had that experience before is bound to make you slightly apprehensive. In the past few months, I’ve learnt a lot and I’m learning new things every day. If you’re thinking about going into freelance work or you’ve just taken the first steps to becoming a freelancer then these tips may help.
* Take a look at your finances – can you afford to make the leap into freelance work? Check your outgoings every month so you know how much you need to realistically earn…which leads me nicely onto my next point.
* How much are you going to charge for your services? The best way to work out your hourly rate is to work out how much work you can complete (to a high quality standard) within one hour. For instance, if you’re a writer you could work out how many words you can write within an hour (to a good standard with research, if needed). So, if you can write 500 words an hour, you can work out how much you’re going to charge and use this as a guide. A job for 1000 words would then be based on your two hour rate.
* Dont under value yourself. There are many jobs out there that are very low paid for freelancers. In some parts of the world this may be good value but for the UK its likely to be very low. Keep in mind that the current minimum wage is £6.50 for adults.
*Dont price yourself out. Yes, you want to be charging a good rate for your work but you dont want to overcharge either as you may struggle to get work.
*Know where to look for opportunities (post coming soon on this very topic!).
*Make a space at home for working – create some desk space for your new venture. It doesnt have to be an expensive project. Ikea, ebay and even car boots are good places to look for cheap desks and accessories.
* Keep organised. Keep notebooks, diaries and planners, It will help you so much to keep track of your time, your projects and your finances.