This is my longest article EVER so I won’t share one of my personal stories as I usually do.
Since you’re reading this, you already value education and are constantly finding ways to improve your skills.
But if you’re still not sure if missing precious TV and Facebook time is worth it, I really hope you consider this…
Automation is coming faster than we think. I believe most entry level and logic-based jobs (Accounting, Finance, Manufacturing, Retail, Fast Food, Transportation, etc.) will disappear.
Determine what skills you need to learn to reach your end goal. A person sitting in their cubicle that wants to be promoted to a management position would be wise to learn about leadership, operations, business finance, public speaking, improving their writing, as well as any job or industry specific skills that would be beneficial.
Don’t have time?
I call bullshit. Everyone has 24 hours in a day. We choose what is important and we always make time for our priorities. The average person spends 20+ hours watching television and another 6 hours browsing Facebook per week. No time?
Don’t have extra money?
No worries, technology has your back. There are literally dozens of online courses offered by major universities, for free. Yes, FREE! Even Harvard offers free online courses. HARVARD! I finished one recently, “Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies.” You can essentially receive an Ivy League education in any subject for free. Even if you can’t afford WiFi, go to your public library and use their computers for free. Did I mention all this is free? There’s no excuse.
If you stop learning, you will be left behind.
Now that we got that out the way, let’s get this learning party started.
The courses are categorized as follows:
- Sales and Marketing
- Computer Programming and Sciences
- Project Management
- Productivity and Time Management
- Finance and Accounting
- General Management and Business Skills
- Business Tools
Sales and Marketing
The following courses on sales and marketing can help you sharpen your skills in this field.
Introduction to Marketing (EdX.org)
You’ll learn the basics of marketing, including customer segmentation, consumer decision making, pricing, and the various marketing channels.
Sales Strategies: Mastering the Selling Process (SalesEngine.com)
If you’re new to sales, this is a great primer whether you’re focused on B2B or B2C. Upon completion of the course, you’ll understand sales fundamentals and learn to trust the sales process.
Marketing in a Digital World (Coursera.org)
This is a perfect introduction to digital marketing. You’ll get an overview of today’s most important digital marketing tools and how the digital marketing revolution came to be in the first place.
Inbound Sales (Hubspot.com)
Taking a modern salesperson’s perspective, you’ll learn how to identify and qualify prospects and take them through their own personal buyer’s journey.
This course is important because what it really teaches you is how to come up with content ideas that are interesting and relevant to your audience, which is useful for any marketing channel.
Getting Started with Email Marketing (Skillshare.com)
Looking to get started with email marketing? This course is your first step. Note that this is hosted by a Mailchimp Marketing Manager, so it does focus primarily on that platform.
Facebook Marketing for Small Businesses (Ryrob.com)
This course will show you how to build and maintain a company Facebook page that attracts an audience and keeps them engaged.
YouTube Marketing: Video Marketing Made Easy (Udemy.com)
Video is growing quicker than any other digital content channel, so it’s critical to the success of your business or professional career. This gives you a solid foundation for video marketing focused on YouTube’s platform.
Instagram Marketing for Small Businesses (Ryob.com)
Only using Facebook and Twitter? This course explains why Instagram provides great marketing opportunities and provides the tools necessary to take advantage of them.
This is for somebody who has a basic understanding of successful social media marketing tactics and is looking for some new tips and tricks. You’ll go over Reddit, Facebook, and YouTube.
This course gives you everything you need to understand exactly what SEO is and why it matters. By the end, you’ll have the tools you need to start optimizing websites yourself.
Retail Fundamentals (Edx.org)
If you’re managing a physical store, this is a must-have course. It’ll teach you how to forecast demand, manage inventory, plan and price effectively.
Customer Relationship Management (Edx.org)
CRM is all about finding ways to attract and retain your customers by building a mutually beneficial relationship with them. This course shows you how to outpace your competition at winning and keeping customers.
Gamification uses psychology to understand how you can drive your customers to make the decisions you want them to. The most commonly discussed application of this theory is in mobile games, such as how Candy Crush constantly encourages you to make in-app purchases.
Sales Prospecting and Lead Generation (Alison.com)
The most difficult part of the sales process for more people is simply finding qualified leads in the first place. This course provides the tools and techniques necessary to search for prospective customers.
This course is all about learning how to most effectively target and develop marketing strategies by using analytics to determine exactly who your audience is. You’ll even learn how to anticipate what your competition is going to do before they do it!
Study everything you need to know about pricing and managing a marketing budget, whether you’re trying to maximize profits or rapidly build a customer base.
Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content (Coursera.org)
Do you wonder how content can go viral and reach millions of people so quickly? Are you interested in harnessing that power for your own marketing purposes? This course explains how to improve your chances.
The following courses on entrepreneurship can help you sharpen your skills in this field.
In order to succeed as an entrepreneur, you first must learn how to think like one. This course is the important first step to successfully owning and operating your own business.
Entrepreneurship: Launching Your Startup (Coursera.org)
This course helps you navigate the difficult task of turning an idea into an actual functioning organization. A focus is put on the lean approach, allowing you to start up with minimum risk and scale when it makes sense.
New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs (Coursera.org)
One of the most difficult tasks new businesses face is securing funding for their venture. This course breaks down complicated financial tasks and terms into something simple and provides a framework for securing startup funding.
How to Write a Business Plan (SBA.gov)
Writing a great business plan is often the key to securing funding. Take a look at the Small Business Administration’s interactive course on putting one together.
Small Business Management (Saylor.org)
This is a handy one-size-fits-all course that gives you an introduction to everything mentioned above – funding, business plans, and getting started. If you want a quick overview of what you’ll be in for, this is a good place to look.
Before you start launching your business, you need to understand exactly who your customer is. Everything else will stem from this decision – product feature, marketing messages, pricing, etc.
Entrepreneurial Marketing (MIT.edu)
Even if you have some marketing experience already, this course is useful since it provides a look at important marketing strategies and concepts as they pertain to brand-new and early-stage businesses.
Scaling Operations: Linking Strategy and Execution (Coursera.org)
Once your business is operating effectively, it’s important to know how to scale for success. This course gives you the tools to develop sustainable strategies and attack new opportunities as they arise.
Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies (Edx.org)
As an entrepreneur, emerging economies provide tremendous opportunities but require a thorough understanding and a strong cultural and moral appreciation of the issues they are facing.
The Entrepreneurial Mindset (Edx.org)
Even if you’re working for somebody else, learning to think like an entrepreneur is an extremely valuable skill. This course helps nurture and leverage your entrepreneurial side no matter what organization you work for.
Why Risk is Necessary for Business Growth (Alison.com)
Playing it safe is tempting, but if you want your business to succeed you’ll need to take some risks. You’ll learn when it makes sense to take risks and how to take something from risks that don’t necessarily pan out.
People Management for Entrepreneurs (Edx.org)
As your business grows, you’ll need to hire employees to work for you. This course is all about best practices for managing them and building an exceptional business culture.
A course that will be of interest to all professionals, this discusses the need for an ethical framework when developing new technologies, and the risk that comes with progress. Some examples include self-driving automobiles and nanorobots.
Inventions and Patents (MIT.edu)
If your business involves a unique product, it’s imperative that you understand how to register and protect your investment. Beyond that, it’s important to understand how to protect your intellectual property and brand’s reputation.
21 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs (Udemy.com)
Enjoy real-world insights from a successful entrepreneur on a wide variety of topics ranging from sales to execution to lean operations.
Computer Programming and Sciences
The following courses on computer programming and sciences can help you sharpen your skills in this field.
Introduction to Computer Science (Edx.org)
Hosted by Harvard University, this is the perfect primer to computer science, whether or not you have any previous professional or academic experience, or a programming background.
Learn HTML (Codeacademy.com)
HTML is one of the most basic programming languages, and will help you immensely as you work through building a website or just working with technical colleagues. You’ll learn the most common HTML tags and how to create tables to effectively present data.
Meet the Professional (Khanacademy.com)
Curious how programming and computer science professionals actually use their skills in real life? This is a perfect if you’re still trying to decide what niche to explore.
Web Development 101 (Theodinproject.com)
You’ll receive an overview of the various aspects of building a website, including Git, HTML, CSS and Java, plus Ruby on the backend.
Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) (Coursera.org)
Python is necessary if you want to learn how to program graphic user interfaces (GUIs) or video games. Upon completion of this course, you’ll be ready for in-depth study of Python.
Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals (Coursera.org)
Java skills are very much in-demand right now, and are fundamental to programming Android applications. You’ll learn the basics of java programming and receive fundamental critical problem-solving skills necessary to be a top-notch computer engineer.
Learn Ruby (Codeacademy.com)
Ruby is a basic programming language that is still commonly used. In fact, many popular apps and companies such as Goodreads, Twitter, and Kickstarter began their life in Ruby’s language.
This is How You Make iPhone Apps (Udemy.com)
Want to make an iPhone app? This course teaches you everything you need to know, from writing the code to submitting the app to Apple for approval.
Developing Android Apps by Google (Udacity.com)
This course focuses solely on building Android apps, but also gives plenty of best-practice advice that is applicable to mobile development as a whole.
Learn Responsive Design (Codeacademy.com)
If you have the basics of HTML and CSS down and are looking for something a little more advanced, this is a great course. In this course you’ll learn how to ensure that your website is accessible to any member of your audience, no matter what device or settings they’re using.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) (Edx.org)
This course discusses how people are building artificial intelligence to solve real-world problems. Hands-on experience will be gained by building your own AI – a basic search helper.
Software Testing: How to Make Software Fail (Udacity.com)
When you’re creating a piece of software, learning what makes it fail is just as important as getting it to work in the first place. This course shows you how to find bugs and how to catch bugs as you build software the first time.
The following courses on project management can help you sharpen your skills in this field.
Project Management (Saylor.org)
Project management is an important skill for all business people, no matter what discipline or organization they’re in. This course lays the foundation for taking a project from conception through completion.
Project Feasibility and Life Cycle (Alison.com)
This course breaks down a project into very simple pieces. What are the different roles people have in a project? What phases are there in the project life cycle? How should we decide if a project should even proceed beyond conception?
This is the perfect course for somebody who has professional or academic experience in project management and is looking for a quick refresher. This course explores how project management has grown rapidly thanks to technological and strategic advances.
Proper planning can set a project well on its way to success or doom it to fail from the start. This course looks at those critical first weeks.
Once a project is rolling, it’s important to constantly check for quality and know how to effectively close it out, topics explored in this class.
Evidence Based Project Management (Edx.org)
How do we know which project management strategies and tools work? Explore what thorough data analysis says about many common project management theories.
Project Risk Assessment (Edx.org)
Half finance and half project management, this class looks at how to model statistics and analyze data to determine risk versus potential value when evaluating a potential project.
Project Management Lifecycle (Edx.org)
For people managing multiple projects at once and desperately looking for help, this is exactly what you need. Learn how to leverage tools and strategies to effectively push projects through their natural lifecycle.
International Project Management (Edx.org)
In today’s global economy, international project management is a challenge for many organizations. Learn how to overcome the unique problems facing projects that include multiple countries, cultures, and languages.
Perfect for a quick refresher or introduction, explore some of the most common best practices for project managers, including Six Sigma and portfolio management.
Productivity and Time Management
The following courses on productivity and time management can help you sharpen your skills in this area.
Time and Stress Management (Saylor.com)
Being stressed makes it much harder to work and manage your time effectively. Learn how to recognize and eliminate stressors to improve your mental health and overall productivity.
Introduction to Time Management – Revised 2017 (Alison.com)
There are more distractions than ever before, and the right time management strategy needs to recognize those modern distractions. Here’s how to manage your workload effectively without succumbing to external demands.
Get Beyond Work-Life Balance (Edx.org)
Successful time management goes far beyond simply making you a more valuable employee. This course teaches you how to leverage time management to improve your work-life balance, allowing you to enjoy life the way you were meant to.
This course provides the framework for doing the impossible – making work easier while also improving your total output.
12 Simple Steps to Doubling Your Productivity (Skillshare.com)
By following this course, you’ll be able to identify your true goals and make better progress towards them than ever before.
How to Maximize Your Productivity With a Planner or Bullet Journal (Skillshare.com)
Sometimes being productive is as simple as writing your to-do list down. You’ll learn a simple process for tracking your tasks in a journal and making sure they get crossed off.
Let’s Organize! Organization and Productivity Hacks for Busy People (Skillshare.com)
It’s near-impossible to be productive if you aren’t organized. This course provides the tools and methods for getting organized and making it easy to stay productive.
Finance & Accounting
The following courses on finance and accounting can help you sharpen your skills in this field.
Principles of Finance (Saylor.org)
Finance is an extremely broad field, so this course gives a bird’s-eye view of various subfields, including financial statements, the value of money, budgeting, the cost of capital and much more.
Personal and Family Financial Planning (Coursera.org)
Learning to better yourself and make a lot of money as a valuable employee or entrepreneur won’t help unless you know how to manage your own finances. Learn how to budget, track your finances, and ensure you’re ready to retire comfortably.
An Introduction to Financial Accounting (Coursera.org)
This technical course shows you how to read and analyze the three most commonly used financial statements: income statements, statements of cash flow, and balance sheets.
Introduction to Balance Sheets (Alison.com)
Take a deep dive into the world of balance sheets. After completing this course, you’ll know how to prepare balance sheets to show cash on hand, assets, and liabilities for your personal or business accounts.
Introduction to Cash Accounting (Alison.com)
By tracking revenue as it comes in and expenses as they leave the account, a business will have an idea of exactly how much cash they can expect to have at hand at all times. You’ll spend time with income statements and cash flow statements in this useful course.
Financial Analysis for Decision Making (Edx.org)
How do you use financial data to make business decisions? This course will tell you how to do things like evaluate whether a stock or business opportunity is worthwhile, understand how to secure funding, and how to properly value a business.
Financial Institutions and Markets (Edx.org)
You’ll learn everything you need to know about how global finance works in this introductory course. Among the topics discussed include the different kinds of financial securities (equity, debt, stocks), and the role of financial institutions such as banks and investors.
Corporate Financial Policy (Edx.org)
This course specifically discussed the various ways a company can raise money for projects and operations. If you have completed the previous course titled Financial Institutions and Markets, this is your next natural progression.
Principles of Microeconomics (Saylor.org)
Microeconomics discusses financial decisions made by individuals. With that in mind, you’ll study how consumer decisions impact the marketplace via concepts such as supply and demand.
Principles of Macroeconomics (Saylor.org)
Macroeconomics looks at the big picture instead of individuals. Here, you’ll learn how to understand and analyze aggregate measures like GDP, unemployment rates, inflation and cyclical business trends.
Investment Risk (Open.edu)
In business terms, an investment is any uncertain exchange you make for a tangible asset (i.e. your time or your money). This course allows you to critically analyze the cost and value by providing a framework to analyze risk.
Free Online Tax Course (Thetaxcollege.com)
Have you thought about preparing taxes professionally or for a side income? This course gives you the foundation necessary to become a tax professional, no matter what level of experience you currently have.
The following courses on communications can help you sharpen your skills in this field.
Business Communication (Edx.org)
Strong communications are key to building relationships throughout your professional career. Here you’ll learn how to use verbal and nonverbal communications and effectively articulate your ideas.
Principles of Human Communication (Saylor.org)
Take a step back and understand the basic theories and principles about how we as humans communicate. This will help you to understand and communicate with colleagues on all levels.
Fundamentals of Business Writing (Alison.com)
In today’s digital world, written communications are often how you’ll build the majority of your business relationships. Taking this course ensures your skills are as sharp as they should be.
Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills (Coursera.org)
Whether you’re negotiating salaries, contracts, sales or just a division of work duties, knowing how to negotiate effectively will make you a much more valuable (and better paid) employee.
How to Avoid Fallacies (Coursera.org)
Convincing people to do something they don’t want to do is quite difficult. This course examines how to break-down and analyze an argument then construct an effective counter.
Public Speaking (Saylor.org)
One of the world’s most common fears, public speaking is critical for any executive or business owner. Study the techniques of some master public speakers, with plenty of examples for your viewing pleasure.
Successful Presentation (Coursera.org)
Presentations are a very specific type of business communication meant to educate and convince an audience. Learn how to do just that with a special emphasis on the public speaking aspect of effective presentations.
This is a project-based course that teaches you how to write and present persuasively. No previous experience in policy writing is required, but you must be open to an academic approach.
Introduction to Public Relations (Alison.com)
This free business course offers a look at historical and modern PR models, and the strategic role of PR in today’s modern organizations.
General Management and Business Skills
The following courses on general management and business can help you sharpen your skills in this field.
Introduction to Management: Analysis and Strategies (Alison.com)
Need to start at the very beginning? You’ll be introduced to many of the most popular management strategies and what an effective leader looks like in 2017 and beyond.
Business Law and Ethics (Saylor.org)
You only need to look at cases like Enron to understand why business law and ethics are important. This crash course teaches you what you must know to make decisions that are ethical and legal.
Human Resource Management (Saylor.org)
People are the most valuable resources for any organization. If you have any direct reports, it’s vital that you understand this and have the tools you need to help them thrive and grow.
Teamwork and Collaboration (Edx.org)
Nobody works alone in today’s business world. Even sole proprietors have vendors, partners, and even clients. This course provides the framework to work together effectively and efficiently.
The only constant in today’s world is change. This course examines how to manage and support your employees throughout a major change in your company.
Design and Manufacturing (MIT.edu)
Modern manufacturing is quite complex, and this course describes both the engineering and management processes necessary to keep your manufacturing operations running efficiently.
Management of Information Systems (Saylor.org)
MIS is unique as it bridges the gap between highly technical computer sciences and traditional business functions such as marketing, accounting, or human resources. As such, this course teaches you how to deploy, use, and manage modern business technologies.
Business Statistics (Saylor.org)
Statistics are frightening for many professionals and entrepreneurs, but knowing how to analyze and use them is a highly valuable skill. This course goes through many of the most common business statistics, such as probability, hypothesis testing, and regression.
Professional Etiquette (Saylor.org)
Not sure how to dress or act professionally? This course will explain everything you could ever want to know about being a professional.
People Analytics (Coursera.org)
A fascinating glimpse into how you can use data to analyze hard and soft skills, allowing you to find and hire only the very best candidates.
The following courses on business tools can help you sharpen your skills in this area.
Touch Typing Training (Alison.com)
If you’re having problems working effectively because you can’t type as fast as you’d like to, this course helps you improve typing speed and accurately within hours.
Word Processing Using Microsoft Word (Saylor.org)
Designed for somebody who has no (or very limited) experience with Microsoft Word, this class helps you navigate and use it for the first time. The concepts learned will translate to the word processor of your choice, such as Google Docs or Open Office.
Excel Easy (Excel-Easy.com)
If you haven’t ever opened Microsoft Excel before, it probably seems incredibly complicated. This course takes beginners through Excel with a focus on simplicity. With the seemingly unlimited power of Excel, it’s well-worth the time and effort.
Tutorial: PowerPoint 2016 (GClearnfree.org)
Microsoft PowerPoint is the most effective presentation tool around today. This course walks you through putting together and updating presentations.
Google Applications for Business (Alison.com)
This course explores a variety of extremely useful tools Google provides specifically for businesses, including AdSense, Google Analytics and the Google Docs suite.
QuickBooks Online Tutorial (Freebookkeepingaccounting.com)
This collection of videos explores everything you need to know about using QuickBooks to simplify your business’ accounting processes and help it run smoother.
Dropbox Made Easy (Udemy.com)
If you aren’t using Dropbox to collaborate, you should be. This course introduces you to Dropbox and shows you how to use it to easily share files and collaborate.
There you have it!
100 free online courses that will help take your skills to the next level. Now go on and learn something. Better yet, after you learn something, actually apply it in your business, career, or life. Education without action is entertainment.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Shit, you’re still reading?! It probably took 15-20 minutes to make it down this far. That means your head is in the right place. Good for you!
Learn, take action, and learn some more.
Want to read more of my stuff? Here are some of my faves:
- Slow Your Roll [5 Tips to Starting the Right Way]
- 6 Life Changing Benefits to Having a Side Hustle
- 10 Important Skills They Don’t Teach in School
- I Threw Out Everything I Owned [Minimalism]
- 9 Surprising Benefits to Being a Minimalist
- Do This Today to Become a More Courageous Person