I must confess I love learning but I don’t love paying lots of money for the privilege of adding more information into my already overloaded brain.

In the last year since I’ve left the workplace I’ve been eager to learn all I can about running a business, email marketing, monetising blogs, winning over the Google gods, writing better and being more organised.

In fact I’ve undertaken more courses in the last 12 months than I did in the previous 5 years combined.

It seems I do love learning.

I wanted to share some of the best courses I’ve undertaken and the best bit is, most of them are free.

So here are my picks across a number of specialisations – I hope you can get as much out of them as I have!

I love learning and have relished the chance to improve my skills over the last year working from home. Now I'm putting what I learned into practice!

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

You can’t go past Kate Toon’s FREE 10 Day SEO Challenge. I completed this last year and it taught me so much about SEO. I’ve been blogging for over 5 years now and (mistakenly) thought I knew a fair bit about it. Turns out I didn’t. Kate’s course is practical, easy to follow and not time consuming at all. Plus there’s the benefit of a dedicated facebook group which is regularly updated. Great value for those wanting a little more help with SEO.

Blog Monetisation

Kate McKibbin has developed a fabulous All the Way to 5K program which has been one of the most practical and inspiring blogging courses I have done. In a series of 5 short videos (I think the longest one is 8 mins in length) Kate gets you to think about why you blog, identify what sort of blogger you are, find monetisation strategies that best suit your blogging style and develop products to help your readers right away.

Kate also co-presented 3 live webinars on working with brands, organisation and better understanding the technical parts of your blog with experts Nikki Parkinson, Carly Jacobs & Christina Butcher and Madeleine Burke. These were fab free workshops where I learned a lot about taking my blog to the next level. I recommend getting on Kate’s email list for your chance to take advantage of her next webinar or course offerings.

Business Writing & Copywriting

Last year I also completed a face-to-face and an online writing course through the Australian Writers Centre. While these courses weren’t free (sadly!) they were well worth the investment. The Professional Business Writing course was a full day course presented by Kate Hennessy while the Copywriting Essentials course was a 5 week online course mentored by Bernadette Schwerdt. Both presenters are experts in their field and were able to answer all questions thrown at them as well as impart sometimes dry information in fun and engaging ways. My writing has definitely improved after completing these intensive courses.

Marketing

I recently attended a half-day marketing blast off workshop with Basic Bananas. Led by founders Christo Hall and Franziska Iseli, this group work with small business owners to improve their marketing strategies and help them cut through noisy and crowded markets. I loved the opportunity to meet other business owners in real life (imagine that?) and I also came away with a better idea of how to target the different audiences on each of my websites. For $27 this was a fab investment of both time and money – I even came away with a new business buddy! If Franziska or Christo happen to run a workshop near you, I highly recommend attending.

Webinars

I’ve also signed up for quite a few webinars over the last year or so which have all given me different skills across the spectrum of business writing, blogging and entrepreneurship. Some of the ones I’ve attended are below:

7 Step Sales Funnel Webinar – with facebook advertising & lead generation expert Ashleigh Ryan

Making Facebook Profitable for your Business – with social media expert Loren Bartley from Impactiv8

SBB Webinars (Working w brands/Organisation & Fitting it all in/How to be a tech ninja) – Kate McKibbin from Secret Bloggers Business.

How to earn $1000 in the next 45 days – with Melyssa Griffin from The Nectar Collective.

Business Success Seminar – Business School for Mums

Business Planning workshop – Start Up Mum Australia

Free 7 Day Google Analytics – from tech guru Madeleine Burke from Blogger Boss

Some of the above webinars/courses are no longer being offered but if you are interested in finding out more, sign up to the applicable email list and get ready to be flooded with practical strategies to improve your blog or your business.

Putting my learning to good use

So I’ve done all these courses and invested in my learning.

What now?

Well I’m concentrating on creating some e-Products which is a strategy covered by quite a lot of these courses.

e-Products can be used as an email opt-in freebie, to encourage more subscribers to your email list. So I am putting together a package of free printable routines for my readers at My Home Truths and will be offering a quick guide to surviving redundancy here at Smarter Happier. I’m hoping these products will help launch my email lists and attract the readers that I want to help.

e-Products can also be sold directly on your site, through affiliate arrangements with other sites, and on e-commerce sites such as Amazon. I am currently working on the second draft of a 25,000 word e-Book on family travel and autism for My Home Truths. I will also be putting together all my A to Z family travel posts in an e-Book, together with extra hints and tips for all families wanting to travel. I plan to sell both these products for a modest sum and will add more products as I develop them.

I would love to do the same here on Smarter Happier. I plan to create products that will help people acclimatise more quickly to working from home and find their own path to living a smarter and happier life. Stay posted for more details on that!

Have you been investing in yourself? What have you taken away from your learnings? And do you have any e-Products in development?