Since I launched my own business as a virtual assistant I have had to develop a whole range of new skills, from how to set-up a business, to learning how to use clients systems, to networking skills and how to market and build my own business. Surprisingly, I have found that you don’t necessarily have to sign up for expensive training courses to learn. As long as you have an internet connection, I have found plenty of good ‘free options’ for professional and personal development. So if you want to develop yourself and learn new skills that could be invaluable to your business, I have recommended some courses that might give you a head start in your personal and business development…and the best thing is they are all free!
Learn how to market and grow your business
There is a range of courses online that can help you learn how to market your business. Google’s digital garage has a wide range of courses which include, how to build your digital marketing strategy, as well as free live webinars, such as writing for social media through to a course on how to be more productive whilst remote working.
And when your marketing is driving people to your website, you need to know how to measure and learn from how your website visitors behave. Google Analytics is Google’s free web analytics service that allows you to gain insights into the visitors to your website. The Google Analytics Academy has free courses for beginners, teaching you everything from how to set-up an account to how to analyse audience and behaviour reports. The more insights you have on your website audience the more you can make the changes needed to improve the visitor journey and turn those visitors into customers.
Or maybe you need some help with business communication. The Business Communication course from Pearson is designed to develop your writing skills for business. It provides a step by step guide to a SWOT analysis, from how to select key information, to making concise notes and using language effectively.
The How to Frame A Business Case course from Pearson, looks at reading strategies to help you frame a business case and teaches you how to use key business concepts to analyse a business situation.
There are plenty more, so go and have a look and see what might help you.
“Once you stop learning, you start dying” Albert Einstein
Learn how to motivate yourself and others
It’s also worth thinking about putting some time aside to develop your management skills. Alison.com is another great platform that offers a wealth of free learning opportunities. Working remotely can be hard for most of us, and even harder when you are trying to motivate a team. This motivational course from Alison.com helps you gain the skills you need to motivate both yourself and others, through building a motivational mindset.
And most importantly we shouldn’t forget ourselves. Reed offer a variety of free personal development courses that we could all benefit from at the moment, such as mindfulness techniques to improve our wellbeing or Overcoming Imposter Syndrome to build your confidence. Or you could even challenge yourself to learn a new language
Volunteering can also be a good way to develop and learn new skills. Could you be a trustee or volunteer for another organisation? Is there a cause that interests you? Why not investigate possible opportunities that could utilise your skills and in turn you gain knowledge and experience from another organisation.
But Remember – you can also learn about yourself from others.
Find out how others (whose opinions you value) view your work. These might be peers or managers within your organisation. The Stop-Start Continue model is a great way to gain valuable feedback. Ask others what they think you should Stop – things that are less good and should be stopped. Start – things that you are not currently doing but would be good to start doing. And Continue – the things that are good and should be continued. Once you have the feedback look at what you can learn and what actions you might need to take as a result.
Sometimes with so many courses available it’s hard to know where to start. So, think about what your development priorities are, what gaps do you have, what is most urgent? Then why not put a regular slot in your diary to spend time developing you, which in turn will develop your business! If you need to outsource some of your admin to free up some valuable time, just get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you can recommend any free courses please do let me know.