When was the last time you took a class? Online, offline, an hour or many months, it doesn’t matter. I just want you to think about the last time you took a class, any class, to upgrade your skills and improve your opportunities.
For many people, it has been a while. For others, not long at all.
What I want you to think about now is how you benefited from that class. Did it help you in your professional life? Did it inspire you to try new things? Have you put what you learned into practice?
It’s often difficult to find the time to take a class, even a brief one. Most of us lead such busy lives that it’s hard to spare the time. I know I have that problem quite often.
Getting around the time issue is a matter of priorities. You have to give something else up for a time or reschedule things so that the class you want to take fits in. If you choose the right class, the time spent will be well worth it.
Self paced may sound like a good idea, but if you struggle with finding enough time for your classes, it may not be. Some people simply cannot cope with self paced classes – they let them slide too much. This is why many online courses are never completed by people who pay for them. I’m guilty of that one myself.
Can You Afford To Upgrade Your Skills?
Upgrading your skills usually takes money. It may not be easy to decide to spend that money, especially when things are tight. However, if you choose the right skill to improve, it will be money well spent.
Ideally, you want to improve a skill that will improve your income or your lifestyle. Nothing wrong with taking a class for your own personal pleasure, after all! My focus here will be on work at home and online business skills, but if you want to find a class that has to do with one of your hobbies, go for it and have fun! Downtime matters too.
Classes can cost anywhere from a few dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the kind of class you want to take. I have rather enjoyed some of the classes I’ve done through Udemy, even though I struggle with making time for them. They’re really affordable as a general rule, which I like.
Decide How You Want To Upgrade Your Skills
There are a lot of ways you can upgrade your skills. Online courses are very popular because they’re so flexible. In-person classes through local community colleges have the advantage of a set schedule, which can make it easier to finish the course.
If the class you want to take is self paced, set up a schedule you’re willing to commit to for yourself. It’s the best way to ensure that you actually go through with it. Pick an hour or two each day or week, and work on your class.
The more time you commit, the sooner you will finish your course. There’s no prize for finishing a course quickly – you want to learn your new skills thoroughly, and that can mean spending a lot of time on the parts that are more difficult for you.
I’m very fond of online courses. Community colleges and such can be great, but not all teachers will be up to date on things. You can find reviews on online courses and see how recently they’ve been updated to reflect changes in the industry. That can be a huge help.
You will also want to consider whether you prefer to learn through videos or text when you learn online. I’m not big on video, but many people adore it. I prefer text that I can go over at my own speed until I get it. Think about how you like to learn when considering a course.
You don’t have to spend money on improving your skills, of course. You can try figuring things out on your own. Trial and error doesn’t work for everything, but it can help with many things. The main disadvantage is the mistakes you will make along the way – you may lose out on income by doing it on your own. Learning from someone who has figured things out already should be faster.
Consider Upgrading These Skills
There are a lot of great skills you can upgrade that will improve your opportunities. Here are some suggestions to consider. It’s not a comprehensive list – if there’s something else you want to do, go for it. It’s all for you.
Work At Home Job Courses
These courses may help you to find more work at home jobs, whether as a freelancer or as a regular employee.
Medical Transcription Training through Career Step – I’ve recommended Career Step for years. They have a good program. You can read up on medical transcription as a career here and think about if it’s for you.
Medical Coding Training through Career Step – I’ve also heard that Career Step’s medical billing and coding course is good. I’ve written about medical coding as a career, and you may want to read it as you consider whether this is the right step for you.
Freelance Writing – Working as a freelance writer is a popular work at home job for very good reasons. It can be flexible, and if you know what you’re doing, the money can be pretty good. It can also be pretty awful if you don’t know how to value your work properly.
That’s where a course such as Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success course can help. It will help you learn how to start your freelance writing business the right way and get clients.
Virtual Assistant – Freelance virtual assistants can also do very well. Virtual assistants can do a wide range of services for the companies they help, which gives you room to specialize. Gina Horkey also has a course for that, 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. You could start helping clients with their social media, email marketing, customer service and more.
Online Business Courses
These courses are more about building your own business, although you could use them to improve your skills for a work at home job too.
I love the range of courses you can find on Udemy. You can find something good for just about any online skill you could use, as well as courses that are just for your personal benefit. It’s worth taking a good look around.
You could consider How to Start an Amazon FBA Store on a Tight Budget, for example. It can be tough to make a living selling physical products through Amazon, but it’s a great platform once you know what you’re doing.
There are also courses such as Etsy 101: Set Up a Shop and Promote It on Social Media for those who would rather make their own creations and sell them on Etsy.
For those who need to improve their social media marketing, there are all kinds of courses, from Social Media Marketing 2017 to courses specific to each platform you might use. If you just can’t quite get how to master a particular platform, you can get help there.
I could seek out good courses on Udemy all day and find plenty of great choices. It all depends on what you want to learn.
Commit To Using Your New Skills
Once you have a new skill, make sure you do everything in your power to use it. If it requires finding a new job, this may not be easy. If it’s something to help you improve your online business, on the other hand, you’d better get right on it.
Fit your new skill into your daily routine. If that means job hunting, work at it daily. If that means a change in how you handle your social media marketing, make that change right away.
You’ll never know what your new skill will do for you if you don’t use it. Learning something and not applying your knowledge means you wasted your time and your money. Do you have either to waste?
What Skills Do You Need To Upgrade?
Have you decided to upgrade your skills? What opportunities do you think this will open up for you? How will you fit the time it takes to learn something new into your current routine?
The best time to start improving your future is now. If you put it off, when will it happen? Whether you buy a new course, finish an old one or try to figure things out on your own, it’s time to get things moving.