The best free and cheap e-courses for self-employed people

Recent events have meant that many self-employed people are suddenly finding they have much more time on their hands—whether that’s due to being at home 24/7 or a lightened workload. Using this time wisely is invaluable for your business and luckily, there are plenty of e-courses that are either low cost or completely free of charge to help make this time productive. Here are some of our favourites...

young woman working at home on laptop

Skillshare is an online space packed with thousands of video courses that cover everything from setting your fees to building client relationships. It’s usually £15 a month to access all of these courses but new members can sign up for a two months free trial to see if it’s for them (a word of warning: card details are required to register so make sure you set a reminder to cancel if you don’t want to carry on after the trial period). Each course consists of short video units-making it easy to fit them into your daily routine- and worksheets which you can then fill out and upload to share your progress with your fellow students. Some of our top picks are Discovering Success: 7 Exercises to Uncover Your Purpose, Passion & Path by Emma Ganon, Introduction to SEO by Moz and Personal Branding: Crafting Your Social Media Presence by Kate Arends.

Open University

The Open University is home to thousands of practical and academic online courses and luckily there’s plenty of free short courses that are perfect for learning the basics of business. The content is a mixture of videos and text and whilst these courses aren’t as slick and modern as Skillshare they’re quite rigorous; with courses grouped by difficulty level and some offering up to 24 hours worth of learning. What’s more, they’re all completely free with no strings attached. There’s a huge number of money and business courses at your disposal, with highlights including Managing My Investments, Entrepreneurship-from ideas to reality and Fundamentals of accounting


At Udemy you’ll find 100,000 low-cost online courses. Unlike Skillshare, you pay for each individual course but they are usually much more in-depth too. Udemy courses can be expensive but, if you’re savvy, there are often flash sales; allowing you to grab really comprehensive courses at a low price. At time of writing, we found an Adobe Photoshop course consisting of 163 lectures at 85% off (reduced to £26.99) and an 11 hour video course entitled  ‘MBA in a box’ at 88% off (reduced to just £26.99).

Google Digital Garage

Google Digital Garage offers a range of courses to help enhance your digital knowledge; covering topics such as coding, building your confidence, understanding online behaviour and navigating online advertising. Some of the courses are super short (with a few minutes worth of video content and a few multiple choice questions) but others are really in-depth (for example, The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing consists of 26 modules and even includes certification). The platform is incredibly easy to navigate: it’s quick to sign-in with your google account and all courses can be filtered by topic, length, certification (if offered) and difficulty.

Free and Low-Cost Courses from Fellow Freelancers

As well as the huge online learning platforms we’ve mentioned above, there are also a whole host of amazing courses on offer from your fellow freelancers who have been there, done that and made a course all about it! In these testing times, many freelancers are offering their courses for free or at a fraction of their usual price.

Creating Passive Income by The Freelance Lifestyle

Now is an excellent time to think about diversifying your income and one way to do this is through passive income. In other words, the income you earn through things like courses, ebooks and affiliate marketing.

Once these products are created, you can keep earning passively from them day after day so looking into this area is a great strategy for any freelancer. This free course by The Freelancer Lifestyle covers the main aspect of passive income and how to make them work for you. The Freelance Lifestyle is also home to a range of excellent, cost-effective courses about all aspects of freelance life: from Four Weeks of Freelance Habits (a steal at £5) to Goal Setting for Freelancers (£9)

Ruth Makes Money Writing Course

Ruth’s course is usually priced at almost £100 but she’s offering it completely free for the time being to support freelancers. This course specifically focuses on the art of crafting a sales page that will catch potential new clients’ eyes and convert effectively into sales; making it perfect for those looking to launch a paid-for product or service. Freelance copywriters will also find this course really useful.

Discover Your Perfect Pricing by Independent Girls Collective

The Independent Girls Collective is a freelance community specifically aimed at women in business. It’s £19.99 a month to join their membership club (which gives you access to a plethora of video courses, downloadable resources and an online community) but they’re also currently offering a free course for freelancers to help tackle that age old question: what on earth should you charge? This six video course covers the importance of getting your pricing right, why it’s important to look at the competition and different pricing techniques. It also comes with a downloadable workbook and a fill-in finance spreadsheet to help you get to grips with your cash flow.

In a world where learning can be accessed at the click of a button, we hope the above gives you some inspiration to start your e-learning journey and help grow your business.

Below is a list of some other free or cheap courses that have recently been shared with IPSE by some of our followers on social media.

Social media webinars from Luan Wise on YouTube

LinkedIn Learning: New to Working Remotely? These Resources Can Help

PR Unlocked: How to use Twitter for PR and media relations

SEO Nibbles course

Freelance in 50 Lessons

And don't forget, IPSE members get access to discounted training through our IPSE Academy.

Meet the author

Jenna Farmer

Jenna Farmer is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about health, gluten-free living and running your own business. She also runs a blog all about freelancing and can be find on twitter @jennafarmeruk