Lots of people have been struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Layoffs, reduced hours, and uncertainty are all taking their toll, in addition to spending more time at home.

If you’re looking for work or just have more time on your hands lately, then you might have started thinking about improving your skillset. But how can you learn online without spending a ton of money?

The good news is that there are tons of free and inexpensive resources out there. Depending on the skills you want to learn, you might have dozens of courses and guides to choose from. Here are some of the most affordable ways to increase your skills and become more competitive in the job market without leaving your house.

Utilize Free Resources That Cover New Skillsets

If you want to increase your skills, then you’ve probably already thought about improving the skills you already have. That can be a great place to start. But what about developing new, in-demand skillsets that could be a major plus for your career opportunities?

When seeking out courses and free resources, think about the skillsets that employers are looking for right now. Learning how to use Excel, WordPress, or even basic programming can help you stand out from the competition in the right way. It might feel daunting to build a whole new skillset from home, but there are many excellent free and inexpensive resources that will guide you, even if you’re a complete beginner.

Have You Considered Starting Your Own Side Business?

Lots of people think that they need a degree or experience to start an online business. While it’s very tempting to put off building a business until you’re an “expert” and feel totally ready, that’s not always the best idea. Theoretical knowledge is important, but there are some skills you’ll only learn by doing.

It takes confidence to start your own business, but it’s important to remember that you can learn as you go. You don’t have to be the absolute best at what you do to start taking clients.

As you grow your business, you will learn and make mistakes along the way, eventually graduating to more challenging projects and better clients. Start small, and start making money while you learn!

Have You Considered Online Course Platforms?

Thanks to the internet, we have more access than ever to the knowledge of experts. Online course platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare are great places to build real-world skills quickly. You can learn from experts cheaply, and at your own pace.

If you’re skeptical about the quality of these platforms, consider this: organizations that used Udemy got 869% return on investment from training their employees on the platform. As an individual, you can choose from thousands of instructors and find a course that works for your goals and learning style.

Best of all, these platforms have frequent sales, allowing you to nab that Photoshop course for a steal. It’s definitely worth giving eLearning platforms a try if you want to develop an existing skill or learn something new.  

Freelance Programming Training Can Be a Great Source of Knowledge

Self-paced courses are great for some people, but others need more mentorship, especially for challenging, in-demand skills like programming. Finding someone to teach you new coding languages might be a little bit pricier than an online course, but you’re likely to level up more quickly.

Try reaching out to mentors and freelance programmers to see if you can pay for training. It’s always worth asking, especially if you need accountability or you want to be able to ask questions as you learn.

Don’t Forget: You & A Bit of Motivation Form Your Strongest Asset

We often underestimate ourselves. Yes, you will need to ask for help from time to time, but it’s important to remember that you, plus a bit of motivation, form your strongest asset.

Learning new skills from others is a great way to diversify and level up quickly. But your ability to learn comes from within. Have the confidence to dive in, practice, and seek out new information. Persistence and willingness to learn will serve you well in your career and in life.

Now get online and start learning!