“Learning never exhausts the mind.” –Leonardo da Vinci
Smart man, that da Vinci. Those who continually learn reap the benefits and never pause to think, “I wish I wouldn’t have learned that.”
And for most small business owners, the learning process never ends. Whether it’s through trial and error or deliberate self-education, their ability to continually learn and expand their minds is sometimes the defining factor between those who succeed and those who fail.
So how can you keep learning? One of the easier ways is through self-paced online courses that fit in with your hectic business owner schedule.
But finding the perfect course can be hard work. That why we’ve gathered 6 fantastic online courses that can make you a better small business owner.
Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course
Mastermind Marketer Seth Godin teaches everything from discovering your niche brand to increasing demand in this three-hour Udemy course (with more than 87 lectures.) The simple, straightforward course curriculum includes topics like How to move up, Managing Clients, Storytelling, Pricing, Promotion, and more.
Learner review: “I thought this was a great course, as I have found most of Seth's work. I loved that the lessons were 1-4 mins. I could easily watch one or two for a work break. The exercises really made me think through my business in a way I hadn't before. There were calls to action throughout the course which was motivating.” –Tara Unverzagt
Paul Jarvis’s The Creative Class
The Creative Class is for freelancers who want to do what they’re already doing—but better. In nine lessons, Jarvis shares his years of experience and research and teaches participants how to streamline processes, how to get happier clients (who pay you more), and offers actionable strategies that will enable you to focus more on the parts of your work that you actually enjoy.
Learner review: “When I restarted my consulting business, finding leads and the process of getting hired was a complete slog. The Creative Class helped me learn how to keep booking projects without a hiccup in my work.” –Jarrod Drysdale
Copyblogger’s Internet Marketing for Smart People
Small business owners need to know how to be better marketers regardless of the industry they’re in—which is why this course is so versatile and valuable. In this 20-part (completely free!) course, you’ll learn about the four pillars of Internet marketing (relationships, direct response copywriting, content marketing, and having something worth selling) that they’ve gleaned from their day-to-day experience deep in the trenches of the topic for the past eight years.
Learner review: 'Brian and company is kind of like this hot girlfriend I keep coming back to. I keep filling my canteen each time I return to learn more. Seriously the most precise stuff on the Internet when it comes to Internet Marketing and copy.' -Cade Krueger
Nathan Barry’s Authority
This course is unique in that it’s focused around writing and teaching—and how entrepreneurs can package their expertise into marketable products for their businesses (that also build authority for their brands.) With this bundle, learners get Barry’s book, a 90-day launch plan, video tutorials and interviews, case studies, templates and more (all focused around helping you build your small business authority through authorship.)
Learner review: “Most people don't realize you can actually make a fortune from your technical writing. Authority will help teach you how.” –Michael Hartl
Brennan Dunn’s Double Your Freelancing Rate
Dunn started his business journey as a freelancer, and grew it into an agency with 11 employees and $2M+ in annual revenue. He then took his experience and knowledge and packaged it into an online course focused around how you can increase your freelancing income (with real, tried and tested tactics.) The course includes a 169 page book, 14 student interviews, a 60 day interactive follow-up course, access to the Freelancers Guild community, templates, and scripts.
Learner review: “I was stuck in the mindset of focusing on myself and my price. After going through DYFR, I focused in on the value I could provide to my clients, strategies and tactics that could add $10,000 or $100,000 in revenue to one of my clients' businesses.”-Kai D.
Shawn Blanc’s The Power of a Focused Life
For entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel bogged down with distractions, and stress, this course offers insight into a more focused and purpose-driven approach to business—and life in general. During 40 days and through five modules, you’ll learn about different themes like honesty and clarity that can bring new life to your business. The course includes 10 bonus videos, 8 video lessons, a members-only discussion forum, workbooks, and the 273-page course book.
Learner review: “Through The Focus Course, I began to see that focus is about more than just fancy software — it’s a mindset. Before this course I knew nothing about that mindset, but having gone through it I feel like I have the tools to continue working toward achieving the focus I want in every part of my life.” –Ben Brooks
MIT’s entrepreneur courses
Did you know that MIT (yes, that MIT) offers free, open courses to anyone interested in sharpening their skills? The entrepreneur courses are vast there and range from topics like Building and Leading Effective Teams to Entrepreneurial Marketing. Each course comes with a syllabus, calendar, scheduled readings, case questions and lecture notes—so it’s just like you’re in the classroom at MIT.
Short Online Courses, Big Impact
None of these online courses require a major time or financial commitment (in comparison to traditional secondary education), but they can make a large positive impact on your business. With these courses, you'll be learning from experts who have found success by being out in the field and figuring out what works.
Remember what da Vinci said — a little learning never hurt anyone.
What online courses have you loved?