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10 Free Online Courses That Can Benefit Every Entrepreneur

Enrolling in an online course is always a good way to improve your knowledge and has never been easier or more affordable.

Thomas Smale

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Every entrepreneur can benefit from continued education. Whether you are just starting out and handling multiple roles within your company or an experienced business owner – enrolling in an online course is always a good way to improve your knowledge and has never been easier or more affordable.

Long gone are the days of taking evening classes at local colleges and paying tuition. You can now take excellent courses in the comfort of your own home for free.

Related: 15 Free Online Courses That Are Actually Worth Your Time

Ebook-learningHere are ten free online courses that every entrepreneur can benefit from.

1. 21 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs

This two-hour video course by Docstoc CEO Jason Nazar takes his real-world experience and breaks it into several video lessons that discuss all the important steps of running a successful business, from vetting an idea and raising money from investors to scaling and growth strategies.

There are a lot of coaching and training programs online that are put together by individuals that don’t have real business experience. They make their money by teaching and not by doing. Nazar’s insight is truly valuable because he has been there. He has used the information he is sharing to grow Docstoc into a successful business.

More information about this course can be found here.

2. New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs

Some entrepreneurs prefer not to seek outside funding, opting to bootstrap – but the majority of startups would welcome funding with open arms if they knew how to secure it.

This is what this online course from the University of Maryland covers, as professor Michael R. Pratt explains what you need to do in the early stages of your business to prepare for funding, where to source funding, how to pitch investors and venture capitalists, as well as how to close funding.

There is a lot more to the process than putting together a business plan and a pitch deck and firing it off to any investors or VC that you can find. Part of being successful is being prepared – and this course helps entrepreneurs be prepared before going after funding.

More information about this course can be found here.

3. Introduction to Web Development: HTML

Every business has an online presence these days, meaning every business has a website. Some tech startup founders are very computer savvy and can write code in their sleep.

Other business owners, such as a restaurateurs or retailers, might not have the same knowledge and experience. So what do entrepreneurs do that don’t have a coding or programming expert on their team? They pay ridiculously high rates to companies to make simple website changes.

A lot of the small changes and tasks can be completed in-house with just a little HTML knowledge – exactly what this course delivers. You aren’t going to become a world-class developer after taking this, but you will have a thorough understanding of how to create HTML web pages and make changes and edits to existing pages.

More information about this course can be found here.

4. Scaling Operations: Linking Strategy and Execution

This course from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is a five-week lesson that shows you how to correctly build an operation that is both stable and scalable. There isn’t a single entrepreneur that starts a business hoping to stay small.smart-ideas-for-entrepreneurs

The two professors, Gad Allon and Jan Van Mieghem, cover everything from the correct framework, marketing, outsourcing and strategy required to scale efficiently and successfully.

More information about this course can be found here.

5. How to Make Money Online: The Passive Income Business Plan

My company brokers the sale of online businesses, so I understand firsthand how lucrative online-based businesses can be. This course lays out a simple, yet effective, way to make money online.

The goal of the 12-hour video course is to explain how to execute a plan to make $5,000 in monthly passive income by creating 10 websites that each produce $500 in monthly revenue.

While this is a basic introduction to online business, it does provide helpful information for entrepreneurs that have contemplated starting an online business but weren’t sure how to start. It’s a good first step for those interested in making money online – as are these online business models.

More information about this course can be found here.

Related: An MBA for Free?

6. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills

Being able to negotiate is a skill that every entrepreneur should master. Business contracts, vendor contracts, lease agreements and employee contracts all require negotiation.

George Siedel and the University of Michigan have put together a video course that consists of more than eight hours of practical education that breaks down the negotiation process into four parts.international-research

This is also a great course to have your sales team complete – there isn’t a single sales professional that cannot benefit from additional negotiation education. The fundamentals taught in this course can be applied to virtually any sales scenario.

More information about this course can be found here.

7. Foundations of Business Strategy

Think you would gain a competitive advantage if you understood how to position your company to maximize your value creation? Professor Michael Lenox, from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, has created a seven-hour video course designed to help entrepreneurs understand competitive markets, analyse structure and capabilities, as well as how to determine competitive positioning.

More information about this course can be found here.

8. Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

Look back at the last project you completed – did it go as smoothly as you would have liked? You could have the best plan but if it isn’t executed properly you could potentially miss a deadline or fail entirely.

Not only does this course put together by the University of Virginia explain how to properly plan a project, but it also explains what to do when things don’t go as planned.

Understanding how to react when things go wrong is equally as important as understanding how to execute a project that is going to plan. Have your project manager or department heads take this course with you and really increase your company’s effectiveness.

More information about this course can be found here.

9. Entrepreneurship – From Idea to Launch

If you are just starting a business or are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, this course is for you. With nearly 40,000 individuals already completing this course, Dr. Jeff Cornwall explains practical steps to take an idea and turn it into a successful business.video-tutorials-online

Currently a professor of entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., Cornwall walks the talk. He took a nine-year break from the education world to co-found Atlantic Behavioral Health Systems.

This course is a great introduction to the world of entrepreneurship that is taught by someone who has actually launched a company.

More information about this course can be found here.

10. Marketing in a Digital World

Every single business needs to have a digital footprint these days – there are no exceptions. While you can always just hire a digital marketing firm to handle everything it is a good idea to have a full understanding of what a digital marketing campaign consists of.

Along with discussing digital promotion, this course also dives into the creation of digital products. Many businesses – the publishing industry for example – are converting to digital products.

This is a four-week course by Aric Rindfleisch of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that is a must for new entrepreneurs as well as seasoned business owners that haven’t quite grasped digital promotion.

More information about this course can be found here.

Bonus: Guide to Buying an Online Business

Buying a business can be a shortcut to success online. Why start something from scratch when someone else has done all of the hard work for you?

This short guide by my company walks through the whole process of buying an online business from initial identification all the way through to successfully closing a sale. You can get free access to it here.online-book-shopping

Have you taken any free online courses that you found to be highly valuable and might be of interest to other entrepreneurs? Share your favourites in the comments section below.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Thomas Smale co-founded FE International in 2010, growing the business with zero funds from scratch to a seven-figure-a-year business. Specializing in advising and brokering the sale of established websites and online businesses, FE International has completed over 210 transactions. Smale has been interviewed on podcasts, blogs and also spoken at a number of industry events on online businesses, exit strategy and selling businesses.

Self Development

Fear As Foe And Friend: How To Master This Important Relationship

Our beliefs direct our behaviour and decision making. To conquer you fears, face them.

Erik Kruger

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There is a story that I love. It goes something like this: A long time ago a man was sitting in a bar in Damascus having a beer. As he finished his last sip he looked over to the corner and staring back at him was Death. The man froze. It was widely known that the day you see death is the day you die.

A few seconds later the man regained composure and ran out of the bar. Without looking back he jumped on a horse and rode as quickly and as far away as he could. Later that day he arrived in a town called Samarra.

The man checked into a motel, rushed up to his room, locked the door, and as he turned around, sitting in the corner was Death. Noting the man’s surprise, Death said to him, “You think that you’re surprised? Just imagine how surprised I was this morning when I saw you in the bar in Damascus knowing that I had an appointment with you here, tonight, in Samarra.”

This is a story about the inevitability of death. No matter how hard we try, it’s the fate that we cannot escape. However, that’s not the focus of this article.

Facing your fears

Instead, consider the way the man reacted to death. More specifically, how he reacted to fear. That’s something I’m sure you can relate to.

The life of an entrepreneur is filled with fear. The fear of failure, the fear of losing it all, the fear of judgement, the fear of rejection, the list goes on. We can never eliminate these fears. Trust me, I’ve worked with the best and they still struggle with many of these fears. The thing about entrepreneurs at the top of their game is that they are better at dealing with fear.

Related: 8 TED Talks To Help You Overcome Your Fear Of Failure

Imagine if instead of running away, the man in our story decided to embrace his fear. Imagine he calmly (while shaking inside) walked over to death and asked him why he was staring at him. Death might have told him about their inevitable appointment. The man could have left the bar to get his affairs in order. He could have had a final meal with family and friends. He could have gone for a last swim in the ocean. And then, when the time was right, met death as an old friend.

Does that not sound like a much better approach than to run away and hide? But how you can embrace fear? The answer to that is simple but by no means easy. Dealing with fear is all about the context and meaning we assign to it.

Unpacking context

When you’re working in your office, how scared are you of being bitten by a shark? Fear is very much dependent on the context. In many instances we have (some) control over context.

So, how can you control your context or environment? What can you do to actively decrease the fear becoming manifested? Fear of public speaking? Control the context by preparing well, getting coaching, dressing well, being ready. Fear of rejection? Control the context by understanding your prospect well, being prepared, showing up early so that you aren’t rushed, being friendly and welcoming.

Finding meaning

This is always one of my favourite areas to play in as coach. It has to do with the meaning we assign to situations in our lives. More simply put, the beliefs that we have and how they direct our behaviour and decision-making.

Back to our shark example, and this time you find yourself in the ocean. How worried are you now about a shark attack? Much more. However, next to you is a shark expert frolicking around. Happy as can be. How worried is he about the shark attack? Not at all. Why? Because he understands shark behaviour, he knows the statistics and miniscule chances of a shark attack occurring. Same context, different beliefs, resulting in different levels of fear.

This means that another way of dealing with fear is to examine the belief you have that creates the fear. Perhaps it’s an outdated or untested belief. The only way you will know is by looking at it.

Through the fear

Fear is a dark passenger. Ready to tell you stories of doom and gloom. Ready to make you forget about the big dreams that you have. But it does not have to be. You journey. Your rules.

Learn to master your feelings and the approach that you take towards the challenges and risks in your life, and you will not only feel lighter, but able to embrace fear as an old friend without becoming consumed by it.

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Self Development

Peak Performance: Multiply Personal And Team Business Performance

Anyone can be a ‘Peak Performer’ and that includes you!

Dirk Coetsee

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‘Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection‘ – Mark Twain

As a Peak Performance coach my purpose is to make others successful, fulfilled and happy

The universal Principles of Peak Performance applies to Entrepreneurs, career orientated individuals, business teams, sports teams and individual performers such as public speakers and musicians.

Do you want to learn how to multiply your performance as an entrepreneur, career orientated individual, musician, public speaker, or sportsperson and reach the peak of your industry or sport? If you answered yes to the aforementioned question, then this article is meant for you.

The outputs of ‘Peak Performance’ coaching varies due to its universal application but includes multiplying profits and productivity, drastically increase team performance in business or in sport , and dramatically improve your performance as an artist, musician, or individual sports person.

A Peak Performance is described by psychologydictionary.org as:

“A performance at the best level of a person’s physical and cognitive abilities’

  • Which leads me to the ancient Chinese philosophical concept of ‘wu-wei’ meaning ‘effortless-effort’. It is truly awe inspiring to bare witness to an entrepreneur or athlete delivering a supreme performance with joy emanating from their being as proof of them being in a ‘peak mental state’.

‘Peak performance is not only about achieving a wonderful result it is also about experiencing the joy bubbling from your heart as you let go of all your fears , doubts and procrastination and just enjoy the moment as a soulful experience’.

Related: Peak Performance: How Do I Build A Culture Of Sustainable Growth?

Those entrepreneurs or performers that have not released the peer pressure, doubts and fears that circumvent their thinking and feelings place limitations on the fulfilment , happiness and joy that they could have experienced should they have let go of all ‘mental baggage’ that they carry. One of the keys to unlock your potential is to leave your past baggage behind as you go through the door of positive change and development.

This article will highlight three prominent barriers to your ultimate ‘Peak Performance’ yet will reveal three key principles that when consistently applied will empower you towards unleashing your potential and become a ‘Peak Performer’ in any area of your life.

1. Barrier to Peak Performance: Limiting beliefs

When you entertain such limiting beliefs as ‘I am not worthy’, ‘I do not possess the resources to succeed’, ‘I am not intelligent enough’, it will limit your performance within any area of your life within which you entertain those beliefs.

Some top sport performers believe that only the seriously talented can be at the top and that talent means you do not have to work hard. For sure it is possible to reach the top based on superior talent alone but you will not be a sustainable success. Those with the potent combination of talent, mental strength and the willing ness to work hard will eventually catch up and dramatically outperform those with the limiting belief that my talent alone is enough.

2. Barrier to Peak Performance: Procrastination

If you are a serial procrastinator as an entrepreneur by the time you have actually executed a decision the ‘Peak Performer’ has already executed, failed and corrected his/her mistakes several times and is outperforming you.

3. Barrier to Peak Performance: Perfectionism

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection” – Mark Twain

Perfectionists often suffer from a fixed mind-set which is revealed thoroughly when the face glaring imperfections. This fixed mind-set dictates that perfectionists will rather walk away from the situation than aim to continuously improve which is a key driver to Peak performance. It is perfectly ok to fail as long as you apply the learnings of the failure and grow.

Be open to the fact that more often than not you are going to face imperfect conditions and timing in business, bad weather and facility conditions in sport, and ups and downs in any career.  The discipline and willingness to continuously work hard even for small improvements removes the focus on perfectionism to learning and growing continuously.

The above three barriers to ‘Peak Performance’ are very prominent ones but not the only ones that you will have to break through on your journey towards being a ‘Peak Performer’.

When you google who was the mentor of Nelson Mandela Oliver Tambo’s’ name will pop up. Tony Robbins had a mentor. Ray Dalio has been coached by Tony Robbins in return. And that brings the good news – you can be coached or mentored to break through the barriers that limits your performance.

Related: The Anatomy Of Peak Performance

The key questions here are:

“Are you coachable?” and “Do you want success and happiness badly enough?”

1. Empowering belief towards Peak Performance: Purpose

Clarity of purpose is a key driver towards ‘Peak Performance’. Purpose is ‘your why’, that very good reason why you do what you do. Two entrepreneurs of equal intelligence, resources, talent and skill start a venture within the same industry, whom will outperform the other?

The one does not really love the industry and is not truly inspired by what he is doing, the other has a real sense of Purpose and truly loves the industry. Logic dictates that the one with the real sense of purpose will more easily overcome obstacles and will truly be inspired towards Peak Performance.

The fine print to Purpose is that Purpose is a powerful belief but yet is just a belief. Underpinning purpose you must consistently do what is required to actualise your purpose and do so with patience and discipline.

2. Empowering belief towards Peak Performance: Peak mental state

We all know from personal experience that when you are de-motivated and negative thoughts dominate your mind that a very good performance is unlikely to result from that state.

You can train yourself or be trained to almost always be in a peak mental state where you are anchored in positive beliefs and in strong positive emotions about those beliefs. From this state a Peak performance is much more likely.

3. Empowering belief: Take immediate, consistent and disciplined action

When we feel overwhelmed we either do nothing or very little in general. We also tend to procrastinate when we are unsure of the course of action we should be taking or when we doubt our abilities. When we know exactly what our purpose is we do know what our priorities are and once we are sure of our priorities when know how to allocate the right amount of time to our activities that serves our purpose.

We all feel overwhelmed and or fearful at some point. The key here is to still take action in the face of being overwhelmed and fearful. When overwhelmed and fearful a critical question to ask yourself is: What is the smallest and easiest thing I can do right now to start improving the situation? Once you have taken action it creates momentum and it gives you confidence to take the next action required.

Use your fears and doubts as triggers to take action. Small actions at first to train yourself and to give you more confidence to gradually take bolder steps. The Navy seals in general are not fearless human beings they were just trained to use their fears as ‘triggers’ to take action and this is possible for everyone.

Here is an empowering belief for you:

Anyone can be a ‘Peak Performer’ and that includes you!

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Self Development

Research: The Power Of Meditation That Will Blow Your Mind

How transcendental meditation can improve your life and help you achieve the highest levels of success. Don’t believe us? Keep reading and find out

Nicole Crampton

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the-power-of-meditation-that-will-blow-your-mind

If I told you a group of meditators could stop a war, eradicate violence, reduce infant mortality and increase primary school attendance rates – would you believe me?

This exact scenario happened in our neighbouring country Mozambique. In 1992, the civil war that lasted 15 years came to an end. Joachim Chissano the leader of the winning forces took control of the country, instead of enacting revenge on the rebel forces, he promised there would be no prosecution or punishment.

He even went so far as to offer them half of the positions in the Mozambican army, and he gave them a chance to gain power through political means. Two years later, Mozambique’s had her first ever multiparty election, Chissano and the former rebel leader were up against each other in the polls.

After winning, he focused on reducing poverty to establish lasting peace. Between 1997 and 2003, 3 million people, out of a population of 20 million, were rescued from extreme poverty. This led to a 35% decrease in infant mortality and a 65% increase in the number of children attending primary school.

The following sections will help you on your journey to find your personal “woosah”:

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