Business & Freelancing for Creatives (Free Courses!)
I love the products reviewed in this article and recommend them to you with my affiliate links. If you purchase from one of these links I will receive a commission that helps me keep you updated with new and creative content. Links marked with * are affiliate links. For full disclosure, please visit my Affiliate page.
I've been enjoying two months free of Skillshare Premium (get yours here), and found heaps of courses teaching creatives how to launch, build and brand successful freelance careers.
Learning how to make something is one thing, but learning how to sell it and turn it into an income is the hard part. Suddenly you have to juggle your craft with business, accounting, marketing, talking to clients and you have no idea where to start. Sound relatable?
I have picked a handful of courses that cover business, branding, marketing and accountancy - everything you need to get your work off the ground. I have personally tried all of these courses and hope you can also use them to cultivate your creative business.
Join graphic designer Margot Harrington as she discusses how she took her first step into freelancing and how you can best prepare yourself for the journey ahead. Some of the information is target towards freelancers, but the subjects covered are important for anyone in any kind of business, whether you are selling products or services. She covers time management, finance, working with customers and clients, and transitioning from full-time to self employment. Margot is really relatable and gives a down to Earth look at freelancing that is simple and easy to follow. The lessons are quite short (I think the longest is about 8 minutes), but she packs in lots of short bursts of detailed information, which is good for it you are busy or have a short attention span like me! Out of 380 reviews, 367 students recommended this class. It overview of many different areas of freelance life make it a great starting point.
This course is very much aimed at freelancers, but as with the previous one, there's a lot of information that you can take and apply to any business. Justin Gignac and Claire Wasserman teach how to define your mission statement, how to make a great portfolio (or product showcase), marketing yourself, your branding and image, and how you can use networking to your best advantage. Justin is the co-founder of Working not Working, a curated network of the best freelance talent, helping them work with companies like Apple and The New York Times. You can tell that both these professionals know what they are talking about, and they just ooze with experience and enthusiasm. This course was recommended by 1,862 out of 1,862 students, a huge 100% approval rate. I definitely wish I had seen this once back when I was just stepping in to freelancing.
We've dipped our toes in and seen a couple of nice overviews of freelancing and business; now to get into the nitty gritty. This one takes a little bit of thought - it requires you dig into why you do what you do, how you can communicate what you do with your audience, and how to position your brand and design your brand strategy, and the art of colours, logos and photography. A whole lot is covered in this professional course by art director and branding consultant Nour Boustani. Considering how in-depth this course and the scope that it covers, I am very surprised that it hasn't had more students and recommendations. Of the few recommendations that it does have, it was recommended by 6 out of 6 students. I suggest snatching up this course and jumping ahead of the crowd before it becomes more popular.
If you want to dive a deeper into some of the subjects covered in this course, I recommend the following:
- For learning more about design: The Creative Process of Brand Building: Connecting Consumers & Companies through Stories*
- Defining your values, with a real world example: Find Your Brand Focus: A Brand First Workshop*.
This is a really important topic, not only because of how huge a role social media plays in modern marketing, but because this is an area where a lot of freelancers seem to trip up. There's often a desire to be seen as humble - it can be hard to put your work out there on social media, and to do it in a way that is professional and targeted towards the right audience. This course is absolutely amazing and I learnt tons. It covers how you can build trust and connection through your social media, how to create connection-worthy content, how to write a bio that sells, and how to attract, converse and tag. I really can't think of much that could be added to this course, it really is great and is wonderfully presented by chief brand strategist Everett Bowes. 120 out of 123 students recommended this class.
- This one is great if you would like real life case studies of how you should be using Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter: Context is Key: Social Media Strategy in a Noisy Online World.*
A not so fun topic but maybe the most important one of the five, and definitely the one I have most trouble with. It includes monthly budgeting, emergency funds, investing,
- Look for a quick burst of information on managing your monthly cash flow? Check out Mackenzie's course Entrepreneurial Accounting in 20 Minutes*.
If you do take a look at these courses, you're probably going to be busy to quite a while! I wish you all the luck in the world and all the success you deserve for your business and creative work. If you see any courses that you think should be added to this list, let me know in the comments.