13 Valuable Skills You Can Self-Learn For Free!
Have you always wanted to be professional in Excel? Or to learn how to negotiate effectively? What about programming, becoming a better writer or learning how to edit photos? It’s much easier now, thanks to the internet, all you need is will and this article.
There’s a lot you can self-learn these days, especially if you’re connected to the Internet. You don’t have to buy expensive equipment, or register in expensive courses to learn new skills which could be so valuable for you to help in your career and personal life.
The key is in available high quality educational materials that deserve your time. In this article, we listed 13 skills for you to self-learn free, in addition to sources that would help you obtaining these skills.
1- How to negotiate better.
Whether if you’re negotiating with your team to apply new ideas, or negotiating with your boss to have bonuses, negotiating skills certainly become important. These skills would help you become more confidant, Have competitive advantages, increase the differences and even maintain relationships through managing conflicts more effectively.
There are many reads that would help you become a better negotiator. So, if you’re looking for some reads that can be accomplished quickly, there are two good subjects for you: ‘’How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable: 7 Tips for Having More Productive Discussions’’ and ‘’The Introvert’s Guide to Successful Negotiating’’.
If you want to dig deeper, go to the library and look for these two books: ‘’Perfecting Your Pitch: How to Succeed in Business and in Life by Finding Words That Work’’ by Ronald Shapiro, who is looking at the art of decorating speech and the importance of language, and the book ‘’Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In’’ by William Ury, which is an effective guide to have a beneficial agreement in any dispute.
If you want to take courses about that, there are many free courses on the Internet you can choose from:
• ”Introducing the art of negotiating’’
• ‘‘Negotiation: Problems Solved, Not Battles Fought’’
You can also practice negotiating by using it in your daily life. So, start your training so that people wouldn’t feel that you don’t hear them by being an effective listener and understand them too. Practice on feeling what people feel by discussing with the right choice of words and suitable tone and style based on these emotions.
2- How to use Excel for more than simple tables.
Most of people have a good experience in Excel, both in collecting ideas or creating simple tables and equations. But if that’s all you can do, you are wasting a whole world of automating reports making which would save lots of your work time.
If you want to use Excel more effectively and avoid the manual sheet updating, there are lots of Excel things you can learn free on the Internet. Here are some of the best sources:
• ‘’HOW TO USE EXCEL: Essential Training for Data-Driven Marketing’’ (Free EBook).
• ‘’9 EXCEL MARKETING TEMPLATES’’ (free templates)
• ‘’How to Use Excel: 14 Simple Excel Shortcuts, Tips & Tricks’’
• ‘’40 Handy Excel Shortcuts You Can’t Live Without’’.
• ‘’How to Create a Pivot Table in Excel: A Step-by-Step Tutorial’’ (With Video).
• ‘’10 Design Tips to Create Beautiful Excel Charts and Graphs’’.
3- Learn how to invest your money.
Investing your money in a good way is a bit scary for some reasons. First, the totally new terms, like what is index funds? If you were not familiar with this vocabulary, it can be difficult. Secondly, the process is tiring and complex, plus being painfully boring!
But at the same time, most of us know that it is important to learn skills in the field of saving and investing as early as possible, especially if you have a regular income.
There are many sources to assist you in this matter. There is Investopedia which is one of the most useful sites, they have a lot of free resources including a free course on about stocks. There is also LearnVest’s Knowledge Center, which also helps. They have many topics about investment and many other topics about personal finances like budgeting, savings, loans, and so forth.
4- How to become a better writer
Each one of us can be a writer. This is totally true in the world we live in today, where we are all communicating in internet almost daily, from writing an email to the management of threads in blogs and writing short tweets. The fact that English is the language of the modern world requires you don’t ignore it.
If you want to avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes, and find your voice as a writer, or to edit an article in your blog, or even to improve your writing in short clips, whatever skills you need, there is a free source to learn them.
If you are looking to improve your typing skills in general, start watching this great video of an eighteen minutes submitted by Beth Dunn a couple of years ago about improving writing skills. Add it to your favourites list to return to it when you need some inspiration.
As Beth said in her speech, the best way to become a better writer is by training daily. You can certainly use a pencil and paper for training, but there are lots of writing softwares that will give you a starting point. Although there are some programs that might have to pay for it like Prompts and Writing Challenge (no more than $ 2), however, there are some free applications you can find. For example: Grid Diary is a good program for people who want to write something in the form of a diary, it asks questions like: What did I do to my family today? And how can I make tomorrow a better day? For more tools, visit this site.
If you are looking for more depth in the field of writing, download this free book from Hubspot site for free tips on how to improve your writing skills. You will also have a look at Academic Lectures about writing well from the Macalester College.
If you’re interested in avoiding spelling and grammatical mistakes, try Hemingway web application. Once you type something, paste it into the application to assess the extent of the readability of the text you entered, with suggestions to improve it and make it easier.
Here are some of grammar and diction sources that you can also find useful:
• ‘’Grammar Police: 25 of the Most Common Grammatical Errors We All Need to Stop Making’’.
• ‘’How to Spell Words You Don’t Know: Techniques From Grammar Experts’’ [Infographic].
5- How to read fast!
Thanks to our modern world based on content mainly, we find ourselves in front of a list of books we want to read, exercises we would like to complete and news we need to stay updated with every day. For slow readers, wading in the midst of all these information and keeping them can be difficult. So how can you become better in browsing?
It turns out that if you want to read faster, you should change the way you read. The way most of us read is pronouncing every word we see, with that way you won’t be able to read faster ever.
Fortunately, there are many sites on the Internet that teaches us how read better and practice it regularly. Spreeder, for example, is a free program on the Web that could train people to increase their speed in reading by two, three, or even four times quicker. Simply just paste the text you wish to read in the right box, choose the settings that suit you (such as the speed of appearance and disappearance of the words, and the number of words that appear and disappear in a specific time), and then by clicking start button, the website will present images one by one on the screen as fast as you specify.
Once you get used to the website, you’ll want to experience a high speed reading on a larger scale, which of course you can exercise free thanks to all of the content provided by the world we live in. (And remember that improving the speed of reading would take fare time from you). So, start with easy topics such as blogs and articles. If you’re reading from a paper copy, use a pen or your finger to determine your speed.
6- Learning to type faster on the computer.
If you do not know how to write without looking at the keyboard, trust what I’m telling you and start learning this skill, It definitely worth your time. Think about how much typing you do daily on computer, then think how much time you’re going to save when you prove your speed. Eventually, you’ll find yourself significantly more productive with this skill.
There are many games on the Internet from which you can learn to write on the computer. The easiest one is called Sense-Lang’s Balloon Typing Game. In this game, balloons containing characters will float on the screen in front of you and your job is to blow them by pressing the right key before they reach the bottom of the screen. If you’re looking for something more challenging, take a look at Cars Race Game.
7- How to take beautiful pictures
You do not have to attend expensive photographing training sessions to learn how to take beautiful pictures. In fact, you don’t even need an expensive camera; all you need is a smartphone camera and patience to be able to learn some distinctive skills in photographing.
For example, learning how to put things or people who want to photograph in a certain positions in your photo could significantly help in making your photos better.
There is Rule Of Thirds, which stipulates the division of the image into three thirds, both horizontally and vertically (so that you have 9 parts), then place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines.
To make it even easier and clearer, run the grid lines on your phone by following these steps:
For iPhone devices: Go to Settings and select “images and camera” and then run the “Grid” option.
For Android devices: Go to the camera application and then go to Settings, and turn grid lines on.
Also read articles which contain lots of tips on how to improve photos you take with your smartphone, like finding interesting perspectives, using patterns, basic guidelines and more useful things. And then use those skills in your habit of taking pictures periodically to practice it.
8- How to edit images
Once you take good pictures, don’t say: this is enough; you must learn how to edit those images to move them from good to excellent level, you don’t need costly editing softwares. There are many free applications for image editing. VSCO Cam program is available free on Android and iOS systems. It’s a wonderful choice for fast photo editing, especially if all you want is the using a filter. It provides smoother filters that seem original like the movies if you compare it with any other filter. Plus the famous Instagram app.
Snapseed is also available on Android and iOS, which is a good choice to apply basic improvements on images, like cutting and correcting colours.
You can do these wonders by editing photos you want on Instagram app, which is a free one ofcourse. (For more deepens take a look at How to Edit Instagram Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Instagram Filters & More).
But if you want to edit your photos using Adobe Photoshop, and if you don’t know anything about it, you can give it a try for free before you start, and you can learn how to use it for free as well:
Here’s this wonderful introduction from Adobe’s support website about how to edit your first photos using Photoshop.
This is a library of a 45 Photoshop lessons, there is everything from how to create a “fog light” to how to create a view of a fading film.
Here ‘s also How to Use Photoshop: The Ultimate Photoshop Tutorial for Beginners from Hubspot website.
9- Learn programming
Learning the basics of programming these days is important and gives you an advantage, especially if you are a marketer, business leader, or whatever your career is in the business world. Even if you don’t intend to do a lot of complex programming work yourself, learning the basics will help you to do some quick fixes, and will help you communicate more effectively with developers when you need to help with a problem.
Although there are many courses that teach programming and camps that help in this matter but costs hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, there are many free resources that you can use to learn programming yourself. The website Codecademy is a favourite one for beginners because it teaches you how to do programming interactively wonderful, and takes your hand in your fun journey in programming world.
Coursera website has many introductory courses for programming from different universities like The University of Washington, Stanford, Toronto, and Vanderbilt.
Udemy also provides some programming courses introduced by Infographics, like “programming for Entrepreneurs, HTML & CSS languages” or “Introduction to python Programming”
10- Learning inbound marketing
Accessing a real, in-depth marketing knowledge never requires registration on costly marketing courses. There are plenty of free resources that teach you everything from basics of developing strategy focused on the consumer, to the detailed instructions on how to build a home page.
Start to go to the HubSpot website’s academy, which provides lots of free sources. The FREE INBOUND MARKETING CERTIFICATION, for example, is a free training course in the field of marketing that contains how to combine between developing for the search engine SEO, blogging, home pages, attracting and maintaining customers, meta-analysis, and reporting by modern inbound marketing strategy.
There are many helpful training videos in several topics such as: buyer psychology, content creation, and more.
And you can also get a free analysis certificate from Google with Google’s free online course by passing the analysis individual qualification exam.
To keep in touch with the latest news in the world of marketing, you can sign up in a number of marketing blogs, here are some of them: Content Marketing Institute , Unbounce, CrazyEgg, KISSMetrics, CopyBlogger and Search Engine Land.
11- Learn how to read and speak a foreign language.
Although it can take many years to be able to master a foreign language, you can become very good simply by teaching yourself regularly over a long period of time. And you can do it free.
If you are interested in learning by the old traditional way, you can go to your local library to find books to learn the languages you want. You can borrow and read them without buying them.
But if you prefer apps, try the available DuoLingo app on both Android and iOS system, which makes the process of learning a new language very fun. The lesson are short, easy and visualizes. Add to that the audio component which makes word learning easier and faster.
Here’s another easy way to keep the new language in your mind: simply change the interface language in your computer or mobile phone to the language of the foreign language you learn. (Just make sure you know how to reach the language settings if necessary!).
But, keep in mind that just learning a language skills will not take you to an advanced level, so you have to practice the language with other people, consider (if you live in the city) joining a special meeting of a specific language in Meetup.com, which is a website that depends on volunteers and that’s why it’s completely free.
12- How to become a better speaker
Did you know that public speaking is the biggest fear in America that it overcomes the fear of heights, fear of insects, and even fear of snakes? Whether you have this fear or you want to become a better speaker, we have good news for you: there are plenty of things you can do to develop your skills and for free, without even books or talking and rhetoric courses. Here are some starters:
• ‘’A Helpful Guide of Public Speaking Tips’’ [Infographic]
• ‘’The Uneasy Speaker’s Guide to Confident Public Speaking’’
Do you want to know how you look like when you do a presentation? Knovio is an excellent and free program that allows you to determine your targets and then record a video of yourself presenting through your laptop or smartphone’s camera. You can watch the video or share it with your colleagues or friends to have their reviews by uploading it on video sharing websites like Youtube or Vimeo or even by sending it via E-mail.
Just like learning a new language, learning to speak infront of audiences will lead you to a point, buy you have to resume by joining conversation groups on the website Meetup.com to practice on it with others.
13- Learn how to meditate
You tell yourself now: meditation is not an important skill in the business world! But it turns out that by starting your day with a quick meditation session, you can be more productive through that day. According to a study published in 2012, people who were meditating were able to keep and survive their daily tasks better and longer, in addition to saying that they have received less negative reactions after the completion of the tasks.
You not know how to meditate? Do not worry; there are some available resources on the Internet that will teach you how to meditate. Free, just like every skill in this article. The Headspace app is our favourite; it offers you 10 educational meditation sessions. If you don’t want to pay a monthly subscription fee after that, try the meditation training sessions provided by UCLA Health, which range between 3 or 20 minutes. Here is more free meditation training sessions from Fragrant Heart If you like!
In this article, we have tried to highlight the most important skills you can learn by yourself and will help you build your character and develop your job to push you forward; the more you learn the more you become able to work creatively. Do not stop after you read this article, and start one of the skills you need and make sure to commit learning it in order to benefit as required.