Knowledge Is Free (You Just Have to Know Where to Look)
If we’ve said it once we’ve said it one thousand times. Never stop learning. Not only does continually learning and experiencing new things keep your brain healthy and young (it can literally prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia) it is imperative to the life of a freelancer. The more you know the better you can adapt to the changes that seem to come faster and faster every year. Unfortunately, despite the incredibly easy access to knowledge we have these days compared with just a few decades ago, a lot of it isn’t free. What’s nice though, is if you have the knowledge, you know how to get some essential learnings online, totally free. Psst, we’re giving you that knowledge right now.
It may not be the most practical, but academics creates a foundation for all of us to learn better. As the world changes and the needs of workers evolve, that foundation could use some rebuilding.
Basic business and entrepreneurial knowledge is essential for anyone today, especially people like freelancers who own their businesses. In this free class from Udacity, you will focus on the logistics of how to build a start-up, but really how to build any company. What’s most interesting is this class focuses on the consumer feedback process and how to hone your idea into something truly valuable.
The field of psychology has made massive strides in recent decades following the rise of positive psychology and the teachings of Abraham Maslow. The science of human behavior is information one should stay abreast with no matter their role or industry, but even more beneficial is the effect this knowledge could have on your personal life. The Science of Wellbeing, a free class from Yale University, promises to leave you with practices to improve your mental health.
Some academia can be straight up fun. This free course taught through edX and created by the Smithsonian Institute is very much that, but none the less informative about an incredibly prescient topic: our obsession with superheroes. This course takes you through the history of comics, the current blockbuster superhero film, and how comic books are a modern iteration of an ancient practice.
Freelancers exist in a wide variety of industries, but there are a few valuable skills everyone could do well to become better at. Whether for their current job, or one they may have in the future.
It’s become annoying now, but as tired as you are of hearing it, it’s probably a good thing to learn how to code. This free course from MIT teaches you just that, teaching you the basics of computation, programming, testing and debugging, and data structures. This course goes into the specifics of one of the most popular languages, Python, but is a good foundation to learn more.
Statistically speaking, the fear of public speaking is one of the most common fears or phobias in the world. Though the fear of public speaking is overblown, it certainly isn’t an easy thing to do, hold the attention of dozens, scores, hundreds, or even thousands in some cases. If one wants to become proficient at public speaking they first need to overcome their fear. That’s the purpose of this free course from Udemy.
You don’t have to be a graphic designer, or even work in a visual medium, to learn the basics of graphic design. This free course from Hubspot will teach you the fundamentals of color theory and composition, how to create a brand style guide, and steps to create simple graphics. All of these skills are incredibly beneficial to building one’s personal brand and visualizing projects. Plus, drawing and visual design have been proven to improve mental health.
Online learning doesn’t only provide academic or work-based courses. There are tons of practical skills one can learn through videos, many of which are woefully absent from the toolbox of the modern individual.
It’s already a crime that basic first aid isn’t taught in schools, but instead of being a criminal, you can be a hero by being the one guy in the room who knows how to save a life. A free and quick class taught by the University of Glasgow teaches you modern first aid techniques and how to recognize when someone needs aid. Thousands of lives a year could be saved if more people knew first-aid.
Home Depot teaches tons of free courses on everything from building garden beds to fixing ceiling fans to installing kitchen tiles. Save some money and tackle home improvement jobs yourself, although these courses teach you something else essential: knowing when you actually need an expert.
So this course does cost money, but it’s worth $15 now to save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars down the line on your car. The amount that dealers and mechanics charge for changing tires, changing oil, or even just checking to see if something is wrong is ludicrous. In this course you’ll learn how to do all those things and hopefully how to get yourself out of a jam if your car breaks down.
Why are you still reading this? Go learn something.