13 Free Courses to Make You a Business Badass

November 9, 2015

12:30 pm

If you follow my writing at all (don’t worry, I don’t suspect that any of you do), you’d know that I’m a huge fan of MOOCs. The fact that people can take free, quality, courses online, in their own time, and learn valuable real life skills makes me practically giddy. It’s so easy now to learn how to do almost anything online, that there’s really no excuse for lacking a skill set (oh, except for time…these courses do take time and I know none of us have much of that).

While perusing my favorite MOOC sites, I came across a ton of courses that can help you round out your skills as an entrepreneur and business person. This list is only the tip of the iceberg.

1. An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 1), Coursera

Even if you have no intentions of being a technical founder, it’s always good to have a little bit of background in a programming language, for when you need to communicate with developers. This two-part course is designed to be a fun introduction to the basics of programming in Python. The main focus is on building simple interactive games such as Pong, Blackjack and Asteroids. So you can have fun learning and the end result is a fun product

2. Make a Website (Codecademy)

Say you’re a single founder and have no technical cofounder. You’re on your own when it comes to creating a functioning website. This course will take you through the basics of using HTML and CSS to build a website. More specifically, the course will take you through the steps of building a recent version of Airbnb’s home page and teach the fundamentals of web development in the process.

3. How to Get Started With Adobe Illustrator CS6—10 Things Beginners Want to Know How to Do (Adobe TV)

Now that you know how to develop a website, you might want to sharpen your chops in design. Or at least learn enough so you can at least use the right terminology when talking to designers. What Adobe TV offers is not so much a course, but more of a training video. The 41-minute video will run you through a a list of beginner tools and techniques for Adobe Illustrator. Adobe TV has a whole series of videos for every level from beginner to expert.

4. Online Advertising (OPEN2STUDY)

The right online marketing strategy is critical to any successful business. In this class you will learn the evolution of online advertising and how it has developed into a major sector of the multi-billion dollar advertising industry. It also covers the key players, as well as the multitude of different creative formats and executions and how those ads are delivered and tracked.

5. Google Analytics (ALISON)

Once you have a website and marketing plan in place, you need to know how to track them. In steps Google Analyticsone of the premier tools for analyzing web traffic data. You can see where your visitors are coming from, what content is popular and whether your website is working well for you. This course would be useful to anyone running a website and wishing to understand the dynamics of online marketing.

6. Diploma in E-Business (ALISON)

All new businesses today need some kind of online presence, but building an effective online presence can be challenging. This free diploma course will help all business owners increase their knowledge and understanding of what online marketing involves and how to go about implementing a successful online marketing strategy. You will learn how to set up a Google Analytics account, how to set up a Google AdWords account, how to write ads that attract customers, how to choose the right keywords, and budget for your online advertising.

7. Professional Communication Essentials (Udemy)

Okay, so this course description uses the term “Web 2.0”, but bear with me. The right communication skills are super important, especially for professional audiences in diverse disciplines. This course focuses on Web 2.0 communication such as email and web/URL searching, as well as analog communication such as letter-writing (for all your hipster clients). It particularly emphasizes thinking (somewhat important), writing, and information literacy in various electronic environments.

8. Business Communication—Developing Effective Business Presentation Skills (ALISON)

This course can be very useful for when it comes time to pitch to investors or present to potential clients. It offers tools for preparing more effectively for presentations, having more confidence speaking in front of people, and developing the skills to engage and persuade an audience. It will also teach you how to assess the expectations of your audience and engage with them effectively by understanding their demographics, listening style and presentation expectations.

9. Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator (Coursera)

Solid negotiation skills is something very few people possess but can be invaluable. This course starts with developing a framework for analyzing and shaping negotiations and then gives students opportunities to negotiate with other students using case studies.

10. Business Communication—Fundamentals of Business Writing (ALISON)

The courseintroduces you to the theory and practice of writing in the modern business environment. The course introduces students to the principles of written communication so that you will be able to express your thoughts and ideas through writing in a clear, concise, and efficient manner. You will see how preparation is key for successful writing and learn how to use a planning checklist when writing any type of business message. This kind of goes along with the “hey, effective communication is ridiculously important!” message.

11. Entrepreneurship 101: Who Is Your Customer? (EdX)

You can’t have a successful business without knowing your market. This course, taught by Bill Aulet, managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship at MIT. There have been 25,600 companies started by MIT alumni that have generated over $2 trillion in revenue. If MIT were a country, it would be the 11th largest economy in the world. So it’s safe to say they might know a thing or two about successful entrepreneurship. During this course students will learn how to go from idea or technology to the necessary understanding of who and why will want to buy your product.

12. Growth Strategies for Business (ALISON)

Businesses will quickly die if they don’t have a growth strategy. This course looks at the important factors when growing a business internationally. The course reviews growth strategies for companies, international marketing, adding products and services, and factors involved in international business.

13. Law and the Entrepreneur (Coursera)

There is a lot of legal work involved in starting a business, that many entrepreneurs either don’t think about or don’t have any knowledge in. This course will highlight the critical legal and business issues entrepreneurs face as they build and launch a new venture. It explores real world scenarios, and addresses the legal and business issues that entrepreneurs face, from the moment they conceive of the “million dollar idea” to all of the important junctures along the way.

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Kristin is an aspiring entrepreneur who is enthusiastically navigating her way through the DC startup space. She has an unending passion for learning and is never satisfied with the status quo. During the day she is an ops, biz dev, and marketing maven for Fission Strategy

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