How to train and upskill yourself – for free
Unhooked Communications MD Claire previously explained how and why she’s focusing on her training and development. Although some of the training has required a financial investment, there are loads of ways you can train and upskill yourself as a small business owner or freelancer without spending any cash. Here Claire shares some of her favourites.
Free business, PR and marketing training resources
There are podcasts on pretty much any topic you can think of. There are a few business podcasts I’ve been listening to that offer great tips and inspiration, including:
- Hashtag Authentic: Hosted by Instagram superstar Sara Tasker, this podcast gives tips for growing your business online, as well as some killer girl power advice and motivation for women in business.
- Hot Copy: A Copywriting Podcast for Copywriters: Unsurprisingly, a podcast about copywriting! There’s also some great advice about being a freelancer and running your own business. I wish I’d listened to this when I first started out on my own.
- The Recipe for SEO Success Show: Lots of useful information about the various elements of SEO and what you can do to improve the SEO of your own website.
- Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield: Loads of great online marketing advice, with a strong focus on helping you increase traffic, grow your database and increase sales.
- PNR: This Old Marketing: A bit of a longer listen than some of the podcasts above, but interesting for news, updates and thoughts around content marketing.
I’ve listened to most of the episodes of my favourite podcasts and am always looking out for decent ones to get into – tweet me any recommendations you might have.
There are loads of talented and clever people out there sharing their knowledge and experiences on their blogs. As well as reading the blogs of some of the podcasters I’ve mentioned above, I also find the following online resources useful:
- The Guardian Small Business Network for current news and information about running a business
- Creative Boom has some great articles about freelancing and working in the marketing and creative industries
- Copyblogger is a must-read for anyone who does any sort of content marketing
- Canva’s Design School has some great articles on design, social media and online business
- The Freelance Jungle is a Sydney-based freelance support and networking group, and while I’m all the way on the other side of the world, I find the website covers a broad range of interesting topics from managing clients to health and wellbeing
- Yoast is a brilliant SEO tool for WordPress websites, and the company also runs a blog full of SEO and content advice
- I work in PR tumblr is probably not funny if you don’t work in PR, but this collection of memes and GIFs makes me chuckle
These are just a small number of the blogs I regularly check out, but there are loads more out there. I’ll start compiling an ultimate list of blogs for freelancers, small business owners and marketers soon – tweet me any suggestions you think should be included.
I’m a member of a few closed Facebook groups for freelance PRs and copywriters, and some of them are hugely helpful. Being a freelancer or a small business owner can be lonely and it’s tough when you don’t have people to ask questions, bounce ideas off or simply have a bit of a moan. From asking my own questions and reading the responses to other people’s questions, I’ve picked up lots of tips. It’s also great to be able to share some of my own experiences and advice to the other members. If you work in marketing or the creative industries, join The Northern Creative Collective Facebook group for inspiration, ideas, information and events.
I’ve been following The Guilty Mothers Club on Instagram and noticed recently the founder, Helen, met up with someone she’d met online to do a skills swap. Such a simple, but brilliant idea! And it makes perfect sense. If you were working as an employee in a company, chances are you’d get the opportunity to learn from others on your team, as well as be able to teach others what you know. Next year, I’m going to set a goal to write down a new list of skills I want to learn and then see who in my network I could set up a skills swap with.
A few years ago, I taught myself how to crochet using YouTube tutorials – and while making a scarf may not help me in my working life, it made me realise you can learn pretty much anything from YouTube! My husband learnt how to use a DSLR camera for filming and taking photos, and I’ve since used it for working out how to do a few IT and technical tasks.
Like with any online channels and platforms, there is some rubbish on there – but there are some really useful gems too. If you want to know how to use software or online tools – e.g. Photoshop, Adobe Audition, Canva, Google Analytics – YouTube can be a really good place to start for step-by-step tutorials.
I’ve been watching a few webinars from SEO and copywriting expert Kate Toon, as well as online marketer Amy Porterfield. More and more influencers seem to be using webinars and Facebook Live as a way of delivering useful information and advice. You’ll no doubt have your own go-to experts for certain topics, so check out if they produce and share any useful video content.
Online challenges and e-courses:
As with webinars, there are some experts and influencers who have developed online or email challenges. For example, Sara Tasker of Me & Orla offers a free 7 Day Virtual Instagram Retreat, and Jen Stanbrook of Love Chic Living offers a free 5 Day Power Pinning Challenge.
Often these free online challenges and e-courses are an introduction or teaser to a more in-depth, paid for e-course – but all the ones I’ve completed have included genuinely useful advice and tips so are a great starting point if you want to find out more about a certain topic or tool.
I’d love to know how you prioritise your own training and development if you’re a freelancer or self-employed. Do you dedicate a certain amount of time and budget each year to learning new skills, or do you have any useful free resources you refer to? Leave a comment or tweet me.