Free vs. Paid Online Courses For Freelancers: Which is Better?

Freelancing can be overwhelming for newbies who want to venture into this industry. Unlike working in an office where you’re expected to clock in and clock out to get paid, your income as a freelancer depends on the value that you bring to an organization. In freelancing, you need to be 100% committed to helping your clients grow their business.

Many career shifters find it hard to land an online job because their corporate experiences don’t count that much. But the good news is, with preparation and right mindset, it isn’t impossible to thrive as a freelancer. Here are some tips on how to start freelancing today:

MacBook Pro on table beside white iMac and Magic Mouse

Focus on one skill.

There are a lot of lucrative skills to offer as a freelancer. But, you should not pursue all the trending skills and instead, stick with one skill that you enjoy the most.

Use your unique talent and hone your skills so you can be efficient in your chosen field. For instance, if you love art and you enjoy designing things, you can hone your skills in graphic design.

I am also an aspiring freelancer and I can attest that online freelancing exists. But like you, I also get confused at times about what skills to offer to clients. Since I have more than 10 years of experience in admin and back-office settings, I decided to make use of that experience to get my foot to the door. I started looking for clients that need admin help.

Know your skill level.

I have also found that as a freelancer, you should be able to categorize your efficiency and skill level. You should know if your skills are at a beginner, intermediate, or expert level.

Knowing your skill level will allow you to appropriately charge for your services. If you have basic knowledge of SEO, for instance, you can charge between $5 to $10 per hour. For virtual assistants, you can charge between $10 to $15 if you’re at the immediate level.

Seo, Search Engine, Gears, Optimization, Browser

Be willing to invest.

Becoming a freelancer is not an easy feat. The best course of action to start your goal of working from home is to make investments. You can invest your time -which means you will sacrifice other activities so you can learn new skills. You should allot a few hours of your day to research and apply to job posts through different freelancing platforms.

You can also invest money and take freelancing courses. There are mentors out there who can teach you and guide you until you find your first client. I, too, have availed both free and paid courses from LinkedIn Learning,, and Udemy so let me share my insights.

Free courses are a few clicks away and you can access it anytime, anywhere. It works for those who are in a tight budget and those saving money so they can buy a laptop and pay for their internet connection. There is no timeframe for you to study and you can learn at your own pace and convenience.

You can go to YouTube or Google “freelancing courses” and you will be presented with videos to watch. When taking free courses, you need to be focused and find the right mentor(s) to follow. There are a lot of personalities out there who can help you based on the skills you are trying to hone.

Youtube, Media, Screen, Mac, Apple, Computer

Many successful freelancers started with simple skills they acquired from watching video tutorials and reading blogs. However, the reality is that not everyone can get the same result. Your success depends on how well you are applying what you are learning. When taking free courses, it is common to feel overwhelmed with information because you will learn from different people with different ways of doing things.

On the other hand, paid courses are outlined based on the mentor’s expertise and what process worked for them. The topics are broken down into modules with well-defined and detailed content.

After finishing one module, you’d be asked to take a short quiz to verify what you have learned or you will be given an assignment to complete.  The advantage of paid courses is that you can have a co-mentees who can be your accountability buddy. You will also be able to track your progress and compare results.

When taking paid courses, you will be able to interact with mentors and directly ask them questions. You will also get a certificate of participation that you can attach to your online portfolio.

Just a reminder: choose your mentors wisely. The truth is, there are mentors out there who are only after money. Like I said, taking a paid course is not a guarantee that you will land a job effortlessly. There is tough competition out there and you have to be resilient to cope in the real world.

Whatever you’re choices are, use your best judgment. Your discernment is valuable and it’s only you who can decide whether to go for free or paid courses. After all, clients look at skills but your attitude is what will determine your success.

Happy freelancing!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *