Advertising
Advertising

7 Career-Advancing Courses That You Can Take (And Actually Finish)

7 Career-Advancing Courses That You Can Take (And Actually Finish)

Have you ever thought that you would like to have a better career? Have you thought about taking courses, but figured that you don’t have time to go back to school? Well, whether you are an entrepreneur who is busy running a small business, a stay-at-home mom who is busy with kids, or a business person who wants to learn new skills and advance in your career, there are courses that you have plenty of time for. Here are seven great options to get you started.

1. Search Engine Optimization Training

seo training

    This is a great course for small business owners. It will teach you how to do SEO through courses that are tailored specifically for you and your needs. It doesn’t matter if you are already an expert with SEO or if you are just getting started, this training is going to benefit you and your small business. Your new knowledge will mean your marketing will be much more effective and you will get more visitors to your website.

    Advertising

    2. Communicating Strategically

    communication

      If you are a professional who has trouble communicating with those who are not well-versed in your line of work, this is the course for you. You will learn how to communicate effectively with non-professionals who may not understand business or scientific terms as well as you do. You can take the class for free, and if you want a PurdueX Verified Certificate, it is just $50.

      3. Speechwriting 101

      Advertising

      speech

        Have you been asked to write a speech but you have no idea how to do it? If so, here is a great course with 10 lessons that have been created for beginners to help them write great speeches. Lessons include “How to Write for the Ear (Not the Eye)” and “One Speech Structure to Rule them All.” The course is 10 weeks in total, with one lesson per week.

        4. Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager

        law

          Here is a course that will help you to understand the basics of legal issues that surround businesses. This intermediate-level course starts with the basics of business law and then moves into the second half, which includes various issues, including intellectual property, business disputes, bankruptcy law, reorganization, international trade, and more. There are 21 lessons for a total of 32 hours of study.

          Advertising

          5. Learn Java

          java

            This is a free, comprehensive guide to Java, which is one of the most popular programming languages today. These lessons are fast and easy, and you will be able to complete your work in under three hours — with no need for previous experience in programming. Upon completion of the course, you will be able to write code quickly and easily. You will be guided step-by-step, and you can even compete with peers from other parts of the world.

            6. Public Speaking

            Advertising

            public

              A lot of people know their stuff inside and out. But, if questioned about it, they freeze up and can’t speak. Or, they are not able to effectively relay the information. If this sounds like you, you need this course. Through lectures and the textbook, you will learn about every aspect of public speaking and what it takes to be an effective public speaker. There are also videos that show the various aspects of public speaking.

              7. The Fundamentals of Adobe Illustrator

              illustrator

                In order to take your designs to the next level, you need to be using Adobe Illustrator. If you have never worked with vectors, anchors, brushes, symbols, etc., this may seem a bit scary. However, once you take this course, which only takes a month to complete, you will be an expert. You will learn how to take a project from concept to completion, even if you are just a beginner.

                Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

                More by this author

                Jane Hurst

                Writer, editor

                Stay Productive On The Go – The Top 20 Tools For Digital Nomads 10 Great Books to Help You Find the Meaning of Life 30 Makeup Hacks That Will Change Every Girl’s Life 15 Best Brainstorming And Mind-Mapping Tech Tools For Every Creative Mind The Best 8 Project Management Apps

                Trending in Career Advice

                1 10 Job Search Tools Every Jobseekers Need To Know About 2 10 Websites To Learn Something New In 30 Minutes A Day 3 50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry 4 If You Have This Key Behavior, You’ll Be More Successful Than 90% Of People 5 How To Climb Up Your Career Ladder Faster Than Others In A Big Corporate.

                Read Next

                Advertising
                Advertising

                Published on December 13, 2018

                How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

                How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

                If you’ve ever thought about starting and running your own business, you’re not alone. Being your own boss, having flexibility with your schedule and keeping more of the financial rewards that come with business ownership are all good reasons to own your own company.

                But as you might expect, it’s not all vacations and fat bank accounts. According to the SBA, 2/3 of businesses survive at least 2 years and approximately 50% survive 5 years.[1] So why is the failure rate so high? At least for the businesses that fail early on, lack of, or poor planning can be a major factor.

                So how to start a company?

                Starting a business from scratch doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, but it does take planning and work. Here are the first and most important 9 steps to take when your are starting a company from scratch.

                1. Do an Honest Evaluation of Yourself

                Do you work better in a structured or unstructured environment? Does a daily routine reduce your anxiety? What kinds of things are you good at? Does public speaking or making presentations make you nervous? Are you good at accounting and numbers? Can you handle the rejections you’re bound to get when selling or cold calling?

                These are all important questions to ask yourself, in fact it’s a good idea to get other peoples opinion about their perception of you in each of these situations.

                Whatever the answers you come up with for your evaluation, remember that’s all it is, an evaluation of where you are now. Think of it as a way to identify both your areas of strength and weaknesses.

                You maybe good at public speaking which can help when raising money, but bad at accounting which just means that you’ll need to find some kind of help with that area of the business.

                2. Evaluate Your Idea

                If your business idea involves a new product or service (or even an enhancement to an existing product or service), it needs to be evaluated. This is technically called market research.

                There are firms that specialize in doing market research for new products, but if you are on a tight budget, you can do this yourself.

                First, if you can build a prototype for people to use, touch and look at that’s the best option. If a prototype is not possible or it’s a service business, then offer a highly descriptive presentation of the business plan complete with it’s unique benefits and how it’s different from the competition.

                Then listen! Remember that this is not about others liking your product, this is not your baby that they are talking about. You want honest market research that gives you the best chance for a successful business. Take notes, when someone tells you that they didn’t like a feature or some aspect of your idea tell them ‘Thank you”.

                After several rounds of market research with different groups of people, you should see patterns emerging about things that they both liked and didn’t like. Use this information to tweak your product or service and do another round of market research.

                Keep in mind that you’ll never come up with a universally loved product, your job is to produce a product or service that appeals to the broadest range of your target market.

                Advertising

                3. Make a Business Plan

                I know, I know this isn’t the “fun” part of starting your own business, but it is an very important step in creating a successful business!

                Basically, you can think of a business plan as an outline or blueprint of your business. A good business plan should have the following elements:

                • Executive Summary – This should lay out the businesses product or service and the problem that it solves for the consumer.
                • Market Evaluation – This should talk about the market you are serving. Is it an expanding market, and how does your product better fulfill the consumers in that market.
                • Market Strategies – How are you going to penetrate the market and sell your product.
                • Operational Plan – How will the company run from day to day? Who are the key employees and what are their specific rolls. Do your key players have specific goals set for them in advance?

                A final word on making a business plan: while lying is never acceptable especially when you are using the business plan to raise money, it is acceptable to “put your best foot forward”.

                Playing up the positives while minimizing the negatives is almost expected in a business plan.

                Besides, banks as well as professional investors will both do a more in-depth analysis before investing any money into your idea.

                4. Decide on a Business Structure

                You have many options here, and discussing them with your accountant or financial adviser is really the only way to know what’s right for you. But just to give you a quick rundown of the types of business entities and their pros and cons we will briefly go through them:

                Sole Proprietorship

                This is a common way for small businesses to get started.

                The pros being:

                Relatively low costs to set up (usually a business license and sales tax license).Owners normally do not have to set up a special bank account, they are allowed to use their personal one. Any income earned can be offset by other losses (check with your state!). You as the sole proprietor have complete control over all decision making. 

                Finally, sole proprietorship’s are relative easy to dissolve.

                The cons of using a sole proprietorship include:

                You as the sole proprietor can be held personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the company. Some benefits, such as health insurance premiums, are not directly deductible from business income.

                If you need to raise money, you are not allowed to sell an equity stake in the company. In that same vein, hiring key people maybe more difficult because you cannot offer them an equity stake in the company.

                Partnership

                A partnership is formed when two or more people decide to start a business. Although there is no legal requirement for any documentation to form a partnership, it is my advice that you never enter into a partnership without having a partnership agreement. (Remember, spending $1500 now can save you $150,000 in legal fees later!).

                The pros of a partnership include:

                Being relatively easy and inexpensive to start. Hiring key employees can be easier as you are allowed to give equity ownership to as many partners as you want.

                For tax purposes, partnerships are relative simple as any income is treated as “pass through” meaning that each partner pays tax on their individual portion of the partnerships income (As of this writing, always check with your tax adviser).

                Advertising

                As far as the cons go:

                It can be difficult for some general partnerships to raise capitol. Because it is a partnership, the actions of one of the partners can obligate the entire organisation. All profits must be shared according to the partnership agreement regardless of the amount of work done by any single partner.

                Some employee benefits may not be able to be deducted on income tax returns.

                Limited Liability Company (LLC)

                This is a very popular business entity for small to medium sized businesses. The reason for this is the cost of set up is not prohibitive and there is a separation between the owners and the company.

                The pros of an LLC include:

                Limited liability for the partners, unlike sole proprietorship’s and partnerships where the owners are held responsible for all of the companies debts and liabilities, an LLC provides some protection against certain debts and liabilities that are solely the companies.

                Simple taxation, just like the sole proprietorship and partnerships, income is considered “pass through” and is only taxed once on an individual level.

                There is no limit on the number of shareholders in an LLC. An LLC requires fewer fillings and administrative requirements than a corporation.

                Corporation

                A corporation is much more complex and expensive to set up. And a corporation is legally considered an independent entity that is separate from its owners.

                The pros of a corporation include:

                Complete separation between the owners and the company. Because the corporation is considered its own legal entity, owners can not be held personally responsible for any debts or liabilities of the company.

                A corporation can raise capital much easier just by selling more shares in the company.

                Cons of corporations include:

                Much higher administrative costs than any other business entity. Corporations generally have a higher tax rate. Dividends are not tax deductible for corporations. Income paid in dividends is taxed twice, once by the corporation and again by the shareholder.

                Again, this is just a short summary of the pros and cons, always check with your tax adviser about what will work best in your situation.

                5. Address Finances

                Again, not one of the “Sexier” parts of starting your business from scratch, but very important nonetheless.

                So, you’ve done your business plan and an estimate of your start up funding should be included. It should include the amount of funding you’ll need to get you through your first full year of operations.

                Now, how do you get that money?

                Advertising

                Self Funding

                If possible, self funding is the easiest. You won’t have to go to banks and investors with hat in hand, or give up ownership or control of your company. But as we know, this is not a reality for most people. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of options available.

                Friends and Family

                They can be a good source of funding your business if they can see and understand your vision.

                Remember that business plan? Pass them out to everyone you know. Then follow up, be prepared to tell them the total amount of money you expect to raise, the minimum investment you are looking for and what you will give in return for the investment.

                For example, you give a friend your business plan and follow up with him/her a few days later. You can explain that you have secured funding for $80,000 of the $100,000 you need. You are selling a 2% share in the company for every $2,000 investment. How many shares would he like?

                And when he/she tells you no, thank him/her and ask if he/she can think of anyone off the top of his head who might be interested? Tell him/her you really appreciate his/her time and if he/she does come across someone who might be interested to let you know.

                Banks

                These guys are happy to lend you money when you don’t need it, but all of the sudden they get stingy when you actually need a loan! This is where preparation comes in.

                It’s a good idea to go over your business plan with an expert and maybe even have it rewritten by an expert before you approach either a bank or professional investor. Both will want to go over your business plan with a fine tooth comb, verifying all the numbers and data you provide.

                You should also brush up on everything in the plan so that you can answer any questions they have with authority.

                Crowdfunding

                Finally, there is crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Crowdfunding helps to build interest, community spirit, and a customer base. It’s also an efficient way to raise funds. You can take a look at these tips to find out more:

                6 Crowdfunding Tips To Get Your Project 100 Percent Funded

                6. Register with the Government

                As stated earlier, different types of business entities have different filling and administrative requirements. At the very least, you’ll probably need a business license as well as a state sales tax license.

                Unless you are forming a corporation, there are many good resources on the web that will do everything for you at a minimal cost.

                7. Assemble Your Team

                Remember when we evaluated your strengths and weaknesses? Here is where we fill in the gaps!

                Do you hate sales and cold calling? Great! There are people who love selling and wouldn’t want to do anything else.

                Advertising

                Bored to death with accounting? There are a ton of small accounting firms out there that will take care of that for you.

                What about marketing? You can hire someone in-house or out-source that too.

                Your job is to keep on top of all the different aspects of the business to make sure they are all running smoothly and getting the results you need. If not, it’s your job to figure out the problem and implement a solution.

                Check out this guide and learn how to delegate effectively:

                How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

                8. Buy Insurance

                No matter what kind of business you start, you need insurance! Yes, I know, no one likes to buy insurance, but it can literally be the difference between having a minor inconvenience and declaring bankruptcy.

                We live in a very litigious time, even a minor slip and fall at your place of business could bankrupt you without insurance. If you need help finding a good agent, check with your local trade organizations or fellow business owners.

                9. Start Branding Yourself

                Has anyone ever ask you for a Kleenex or a QTip? We all know what they are because of branding, Kleenex is just a brand of tissue and QTip is just a brand of cotton swab. It doesn’t have to be as widely known as Kleenex or QTip, but you can make your brand a common name within your niche.

                I once owned a manufacturing company that developed a product that was so popular that my competitors started co-opting my brand name for their products.

                If you aren’t sure how to kickstart branding yourself, check out these ways:

                5 Ways to Build your Personal Brand & Make More Money

                The Bottom Line

                Starting a business from scratch can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have.

                But do you know what’s even more rewarding? Having a business that succeeds, is profitable and provides a good source of income for you, your employees and their family’s.

                More Resources About Entrepreneurship

                Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

                Reference

                Read Next