Today, most entrepreneurs rely on the internet as a primary source of information. The popularization of digital education has opened up a previously non-existent market gap. In turn, the number of coaches and consultants offering free services has tripled.
The debate on whether free online courses are worth it can go on for hours without coming to a conclusion. The answer can be either yes or no, depending on multiple factors.
Why You Should Enroll For a Free Online Course
- More Information
‘It is better to have useless knowledge than to know nothing,’ Seneca. Too much knowledge isn’t poisonous. As a good entrepreneur, it is vital to garner extra information in any way possible.
Business ownership is centered around identifying a problem and fixing it. Therefore, being knowledgeable expands your thinking horizon, thus excelling in your venture.
- It’s Free
As the name suggests, you don’t have to pay a dime to take these courses. Hence, no monetary charges will be incurred. All you are required to do is invest a little of your time.
You can opt to take the courses during your free time or even on weekends to avoid unnecessary inconvenience in your business schedule. This means that you’ll be able to build and sharpen your skill set without wasting resources.
- Gain Expert Opinions
Good free online courses are taught by experts who have vast experience. Years of specialization and expertise translate to additional insight. You can use their opinions and personal stories as motivational tools.
Additionally, you can ask for advice. Consulting with an expert is always ten times more beneficial than conducting personal brainstorming sessions.
- You Avoid Mistakes
Learning from business pioneers helps you familiarize yourself with possible common mistakes made when running a business. For instance, you’ll learn how to avoid investing your money the wrong way, spending more than the required minimum, etc.
Also, it is difficult for a startup entrepreneur to foresee some shortcomings. Through interaction with experts, you’ll be able to know what to expect and prepare yourself accordingly.
- Networking Opportunities
Your network is your net worth. Interacting with more people opens doors to business opportunities. Most online courses offer free platforms for you to mingle with fellow entrepreneurs and exchange ideas.
Enrolling to a single course may grant you exclusive access to a closed membership group. These online social conventions are packed with thousands of like-minded individuals. You never know where you’ll meet your next business partner or investor.
Pros and Cons of Free Online Courses
Online education has both advantages and disadvantages to an entrepreneur:
Everything learned online can be successfully stored on a cloud database. Whenever you need clarification on something, the information can easily be retrieved.
Also, online storage reduces the risk of losing or misplacing relevant resources. In addition, you can quickly access previously documented data from anywhere using any device. All you need is a stable internet connection.
Entrepreneurs have non-traditional schedules. One minute you may be free; the next, your business is under a crisis. Being able to study flexibly at any given time allows business owners to balance between running their venture and learning.
- Variety of Courses
There are hundreds of diversified online courses available on different platforms. These courses touch on multiple business fields, i.e., marketing, customer relations, employee motivation, etc. An entrepreneur can, therefore, gain knowledge suitable for all entities in the business.
- Improve Self-discipline
Discipline is a vital attribute every business owner should possess. Most free online courses are not monitored. You plan your classes and attend at your convenient time. This will test an entrepreneur’s ability to remain consistent and focused.
- Unreliable Sources
Some free online courses may be run by unqualified quack tutors. An entrepreneur is at risk of being misled and putting their whole business future in jeopardy.
To avoid all this, ensure you enroll in well-known online courses to get quality information.
- Ulterior Motives
Most free courses are used as lead magnets to other paid courses. Therefore, the information offered can be very shallow and non-beneficial. You may end up wasting so much time blindly pursuing one course after another.
How To Find The Right Online Course
In 2015, Udemy, an online learning company, was criticized for selling pirated content. One of the courses was on a series of business ethics.
Therefore, it is important to enroll for the right course from a good platform to avoid any inconveniences or misinformation.
The following 3 steps will guide you through the process of landing a good free online course:
Step 1: Define Your Goals
Your goals keep you focused. Before enrolling for any business course, you should clearly define the objectives you want to achieve by the end of the classes. For instance, what skills would you like to gain? How will the information help you grow your business and so on?
Step 2: Choose a Reputable Site
There are hundreds of sites all over the internet offering free online courses. This makes it difficult to tell whether a site is reputable or not.
It is safer to opt for well-known sites. This doesn’t mean that startup websites are misleading. But instead, entrepreneurs should choose professional sites with experienced tutors.
Step 3: Conduct Thorough Research
In today’s internet dominated society, collecting data about a company is easy. You can read reviews from other entrepreneurs, solicit feedback from social media groups, consult experts, and so much more.
Even though a course is free, you’ll still invest your time. Time is money. Hence it’s in your best interest to enroll in a reputable, trusted site such as Udacity, ShopifyCompass, Coursera etc.
Free online courses are highly beneficial. They help entrepreneurs equip themselves with the necessary information for smooth business operations. Therefore not all free courses are shallow and misleading. With a little extra effort and extra research, you can change your entire business career free of charge.