In the world of freelancing, the reality is that more knowledge equals more money. With that in mind, we’ve put together this round-up of some of the best online freelance courses out there.
All sorts of different skills can help you move your freelance career forward. For instance, if you know how to streamline your invoicing and accounting, that’s fewer unpaid hours spent on administrative tasks. If you learn about marketing yourself as a freelancer, you can bring in more clients and more money. And if you learn specialised skills – like how to master the latest social networking sites – you could even find clients who will pay for that specialisation.
Thankfully, you needn’t sign up to a huge (and expensive) degree program. Thanks to online freelance courses, you can learn only the skills you need to boost your income. Here are some particularly appealing options.
The Best Online Freelance Courses
Freelancing Foundations (LinkedIn Learning)
If you’re just starting out, the world of freelancing can seem very overwhelming.
From finding freelance gigs to invoicing to organising work, it’s a complicated world that many of us first navigate via random internet searches and trial and error. By taking a freelancing foundations course like this one, you can eliminate the headaches and learn freelancing step by step.
This is a short course running to just a little over two hours. Topics covered include refining your portfolio, estimating costs, creating invoices, managing taxes, and growing your business through marketing. Even if you’re a seasoned freelancer, you might just learn a way to streamline some of your daily tasks.
This course is included with a LinkedIn Learning subscription, and there’s currently a month’s free trial that you can access here.
Essential Software Tools for Freelancers (LinkedIn Learning)
Although this course is called “Essential Software Tools,” it’s one of those freelance courses that also covers so much more. In addition to learning about tools that help you save time and money, you will also learn about topics like creating a budget, designing content, and even when to bring in a partner.
The course itself is organised into several two-minute components within five distinct sections. These sections cover business fundamentals, software fundamentals, client fundamentals, selling fundamentals and marketing fundamentals. If you want a course that will help you save time and boost your business, this is it!
Introduction to Search Engine Optimisation (Coursera)
Every freelancer should know something about search engine optimization (SEO). In the digital age, it’s really not optional to have some sort of web presence for your business. Imagine being able to set up a website with perfect SEO so that you pop up on search engines and clients come to you? A basic level of SEO knowledge can also come in very useful in other types of work, particularly freelance writing.
This course outlines the basics of search engine optimisation. It is actually part one of a three part SEO Specialisation offered via Coursera in association with the University of California. The course itself runs for four weeks, with several hours of study each week.
Excel Skills for Business: Essentials (Coursera)
Knowing how to use Excel properly will save you a lot of time. Whether you’re organising a business contact database, tracking your cashflow, or using Excel to create invoices, knowing the basics of Excel is something that comes in useful time after time.
This course will help you do basic calculations, produce professionally formatted spreadsheets, and even create charts and graphs. The course runs for about six weeks. It may not be the most glamorous of the online freelance courses here, but it’s certainly a practical one to take.
Upwork is a nexus around which many people find their freelancing jobs. But just looking at the site as a beginner can feel intimidating. It can feel like a battleground of bids just to snag one client.
The cornerstone of being successful on Upwork is writing great proposals. This course helps you do just that. Imagine being able to up your client responses on Upwork after just one course!
After completing this course, you’ll be able to write Upwork proposals that get more responses, and target the jobs you want using psychological tactics. This course is sold through Udemy. You get access to three hours of on-demand video, four articles and 19 downloadable resources. (We also have some Upwork tips of our own here).
Solid marketing is the backbone of any successful freelance career. After this course, you’ll be able to attract more clients using solid marketing fundamentals.
This course covers how to develop a personal brand, stand out as a professional, and strengthen your network. It focuses on how to promote yourself in a way that feels comfortable. It also branches out a bit by helping you align your money-making goals with doing what you love.
This Udemy course includes access to one and a half hours of on-demand video, and four downloadable resources. Udemy offers lifetime access to these resources.
Digital Skills: Social Media (FutureLearn)
Social media has become a huge part of how businesses interface with their clients and customers. You’ll probably want to give the subject some attention as you learn to freelance. A key point is that you can’t just jump on a social media site and start spamming people with ads. There are certain skills you need to know so that you connect with the right demographics and don’t alienate potential clients . This course helps you navigate social media marketing with ease.
The course runs for two weeks. In that time, you’ll learn how to set campaign objectives, find the right target audience, understand the correct channels to use, create the content itself, and get your online presence just right. It’s a complete package to help you effectively engage with people on social media.
Pinterest Traffic Avalanche (Create and Go)
Pinterest Traffic Avalanche is a popular online course that shows people how to drive traffic to their business by growing an audience on Pinterest. Unsurprisingly for something that’s a little more expensive, this is a detailed course with lots of units. Case studies on the course site refer to people seeing a three-time increase in their website site traffic after taking the course.
If you’d like to see our full review of this course, you can read it here.
For many people, establishing a stream of “passive income” is the big dream. One way to do this is by setting up one or more blogs and getting into affiliate marketing (essentially promoting certain products in exchange for commissions). Freelancing typically involves income coming in peaks and troughs, and some passive income on top can even these out.
While Wealthy Affiliate is a subscription-based software system, it does offer a considerable amount of training. That’s why we’ve included it on our list of the best online freelancing courses. The system is all rather controversial, which you can read about in our full review. Overall, however, it’s well worth a look for the novice affiliate marketer, and you can grab a free trial to check it out.
Since freelancing has so many integral parts, taking freelance courses gives you the structure you need to begin to master them all. If you worked for a professional company you’d expect them to invest in your training – so don’t neglect doing the same for yourself!
We have separate detailed reviews of some of the training platforms referred to here. You may wish to have a look before diving in. Why not check out:
Founder of HomeWorkingClub.com – Ben is a long-established freelancer with a passion for helping other people take control of their destiny and break away from “working for the man.” Prone to outbursts of bluntness and realism.