free 99

{This is the fourth post in the GOALdigging Academy series. To read the others, click here}

So you want to start a business, go back to school, learn a new trade, work with a personal trainer, or get your finances in order but there’s one huge thing standing in your way:

MONEY

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had more than a few moments where I’ve felt like I couldn’t quite realize my goals because my money was far too funny and my change was extremely strange.

But after teaching myself the ins and outs of breaking into freelance writing a few years ago (and several other things), I realized that through a fair amount of research, Googling, and thinking outside the box, you can learn many of the things you want to know…for free.

And we love free, right?

This month I’ve been sharing tips and tricks to help you improve both your business and your life. So far we’ve talking about increasing your income, kicking fear’s ass, and how to bounce back when things don’t quite go according to plan.

Now we’re taking it a step higher and diving headfirst into some of the most awesome free resources on the planet.

First a caveat: while you can learn tons of things on your own for free, when it comes to the things you are serious about and want to become an expert on, you’re going to need some people.

When necessary I’ve shelled out thousands of dollars for classes, books, and programs to help me take my life and business to the next level because I realize that being in the company of awesome people will help me become even more awesome. So while you can certainly get started and go very far for free, when you’re ready to stand out as a professional, you have to do professional things and invest in your own growth.

But until you’re ready to learn how to really take over the world, I’m sharing some of the best free resources I’ve found and used.

Learn A New Language

Want to parlez français or hablar español but can’t afford to shell out hundreds of dollars for Rosetta Stone? You’ve got options. While you can comb YouTube for language vids, there are also some dope sites that help you learn a second or third language for free.

Duo Lingo

Duo Lingo offers courses in Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian, and uses a combination of images, audio, and text to help users learn their language of choice. To make it more fun, Duo Lingo allows users to sign up via their social media accounts and compete against their friends (you can find me under BritniDanielle).

Live Mocha

Live Mocha offers courses in 38 languages including French, Spanish, Arabic, Greek, Hindi, Chinese, and a host of others. Unlike Duo Lingo, Live Mocha offers live classes and paid private tutoring. They also use a community-based model that let’s you chat with others in your language of choice.

Free College Courses

As our lives become increasingly digital, many universities have opened their virtual doors to the public. While you can’t get a free degree just yet (but I’m sure it’s coming), you can take valuable classes in business, tech, philosophy, literature and a host of other disciplines.

Venture Labs

Offered by Stanford University, Venture Labs offers free semester-long courses in technology. According to their site, Venture Labs’ mission “is to make online courses more fun and engaging by making them more experiential, interactive, and collaborative.” Venture Labs gives users access to lectures by Stanford professors and allows participants from around the world to collaborate on projects.

Coursera

Coursera, one of the biggest free online learning hubs, boasts over 3 million users from 339 countries. The site offers semester-long courses in over a dozen disciplines from universities across the country. Some course offerings include Sports and Society from Duke; An Introduction to Operations Management;  Introduction to Psychology from the University of Toronto; and The Science of Safety in Healthcare from Johns Hopkins.

FreeVideoLectures

FreeVideoLectures delivers over 1000+ free courses online by providing video straight from the lecture halls. Most courses are in the sciences, but you can also view lectures in economics, history, and law.

Open Culture

Open Culture allows you to wade through a host of college courses, ebooks, films, and even k-12 resources. It’s a bit busy, but spending a little time on the site may yield valuable results.

YouTube

Any article about free learning resources would be sorely lacking without a YouTube mention. While most of us turn to YouTube for beauty tips, music vids, or hilarious viral videos, the site also has a wealth of resources that will help you learn just about anything.

In the past few months I’ve used YouTube to listen to audiobooks, view motivational lectures and speeches, find information on trademarks, and learn how tweak my weekly newsletter.

After you Google for information, be sure to pop over to YouTube and see if you can find even more answers as well.

The Library

I know we’ve gone all digital and many things are found by letting our fingertips do the walking, but don’t sleep on the library. Although technology is great, sometimes you need a good ol’ fashioned book to help you sort through the issues. And when you’re on a budget, your library card is your friend. Where else can you read an unlimited supply of books FOR FREE?!

If ebooks are your thing, many libraries now offer digital books straight to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook…FOR FREE. So head down to your local branch and sign up!

Chat with people in your field

Even if you don’t want to be a writer, interviewing people in your perspective field can do wonders for your business and life. Despite what we may think, most people are open to sharing what they know with others (and will be flattered if you ask them), so reach out to people in your field (or perspective field), invite them out for coffee or lunch (on your dime), and politely ask if you can pick their brain.

Can’t meet them in person? Try to chat with them via email or social media.

Bloggers

Most of the biggest bloggers in the world offer a TON of information for free. While they certainly have paid products, a close reading of their sites will provide a wealth of information.

From Marie Forleo’s weekly videos and Think Traffic’s awesome posts on “writing epic shit,” to this very blog you’re reading and my tips on writing, goals, and life, you can learn a great deal just by reading and implementing the tips of some of your favorite bloggers.

Free Software

Buying software can be expensive. Big name brands like Adobe, Microsoft, and Apple charge hundreds of dollars for graphic, word processing, and presentation software, but there are alternatives. Open source software–which is totally free and legal–often offers alternatives to paid programs. Providers like Google Docs (now Google Drive) and Apache OpenOffice offer robust software options for free.

 

I’m a firm believer in making a way out of no way when you REALLY want something. Like fear, our families, or our hectic schedules, or a lack of resources is not an excuse to NOT pursue your goals.

If you want it, go and get it.  No excuses, no caveats, and certainly no expiations. Just do it.

#

In the comments section below share some of your favorite free resources from around the web, and let me know how you enjoyed the GOALdigging Academy series and what you’d like to see more of here at BritniDanielle.com.

p.s. Love this post? Please share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or email it to your friends using the share buttons below. Thanks!

Related Post