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To start out as a freelancer, it is not mandatory to have completed a specific level of education, although a degree does increase your opportunities. Whether you have a first-class degree or years of experience, continuing to work on your skills is a must.
Freelancers can learn in a variety of ways, from attending classroom-based training sessions and webinars, to books and podcasts. Allow us to give you an overview.
Different ways to keep learning as a freelancer
While having an education or degree is always a good thing, there are no formal requirements to begin freelancing. What you should definitely focus on is lifelong learning and upskilling. Continuous learning, both on a professional and personal level, is the key to continued success as a freelancer.
After all, the world is changing at lightning speed. Not only do technological advancements follow each other in rapid succession, business practices also constantly evolve. Continuing with your education and training will keep you up-to-date with all the new developments, both in your own sector and beyond. It can also motivate you to discover and explore new aspects of yourself and new areas of interest. This will help to both grow your business and develop you as a person. The latter is very important: as a freelancer, you are your business and so it’s crucial that you also work on yourself.
The most obvious way to grow your skill set is to take a course at an educational institution. You attend in-person classes and will frequently take one or more tests or exams. At the end, you will often receive an official diploma or certificate. The advantage of a course like this is that you have a lot of "live" interaction with the instructor(s) and your fellow students. For many, this can be motivating.
The downside is that classroom training usually comes with a price tag and you have to invest quite a bit of time in it. Tip: as an entrepreneur, you can receive financial support from the SME portfolio for some training courses intended to improve the quality of your services.
Taking a webinar is a smart choice for honing your professional and personal skills. A webinar is short and sweet and usually very interactive. As a result, the threshold for responding is much lower than in a classroom setting. The recording will also often be made available afterwards, so you can refer back to it whenever you want and you can easily find time for it in your own schedule.
Webinars can also be a convenient way to learn without having to travel. Bright Plus regularly organizes free webinars on a variety of topics. A source of inspiration to boost your freelance career!
Reading and listening
I find reading to be an accessible, inexpensive and relaxing way of learning. I'm a real bookworm, so this is the perfect way for me to brush up on my knowledge! There are countless books available on a variety of topics that you can use to educate and train yourself. I also think another must-do activity as a freelancer is reading newspapers and news websites. That way you'll be right up there with the latest news and trends.
Podcasts are also a very valuable source of inspiration. Like news and information websites, there are simply too many of them to list them all here. I've already got lots of inspiration and tips from podcasts that help me as a freelancer, both related to my business and on a personal level.
Maintain and expand your network
Maintaining your network, surrounding yourself and 'connecting' with other people: this is perhaps a rather indirect way of learning, but one which is no less important. If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of your industry and the business world in general, you have to talk, listen, connect and inspire. By sharing your knowledge and experiences with other freelancers and entrepreneurs and listening to them, you will learn an awful lot. It can also prove to be a golden opportunity in helping your business grow and prosper.
There’s a very simply way to sum up all this – use every opportunity you get to learn. Continuing education is the key to sustainable success for a freelancer. Never stop learning – always keep growing!
Are you looking for a new challenge? Then take a look at our freelance assignments.
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