13 Legit Money-Making Skills You Can Learn Online For Free

learn-skills-onlineSee what making money online did for me and read about how I increased my net worth by $400,000 in just 4 years!

I lost my job once during the economic downturn, so I know what it’s like looking for work. So if you are struggling to find a job and have some free time on your hands then listen up. These aren’t the usual suggestions of filling out endless surveys at Opinion Outpost, they are real ways to increase your earnings each month.  Two of my suggestions are to take a class and work on improving other skills. Here’s a list of exactly what I’m talking about – courses and skills you can learn online that will help you make money at a job or on your own.  I’ve included just the good stuff – you can put these skills on a resume or even base a freelance career on them.  I didn’t include things like “learn how to get organized” or “learn how to network.” I think we already know those things are floating around on the internet anyway.

The Skills

Business development – Courses for Success is a great way to develop your financial and business acumen online. Check out their offers here Financial Management Online Bundle, Includes 10 Courses. There are more than just finance courses too, so give it a look around. Another company offering online and reputable career development courses is Great Courses, check out Course Sets – Save More When You Buy 2 or More Courses Together!

Programming – This is an area I’ve been interested in improving my knowledge lately.  I came across this free course on learning Python for beginners to coding.  It comes with a lengthy guide and various lessons and drills to test out.  Since there are various programming languages that are open-source, there are tons of other free resources out there, too.

Web Development – Despite the fact I own 30 of my own sites in various niches, web development is a skill that long eluded me. I find sharpening my skills in this area to be more important than ever. Fortunately, there is a Peachpit – Learn By Video Series that offers informational tutorials for any level developer…novice to expert…but especially novice!

Graphic Design – Fortunately Peachpit is also a great source of information for graphic design as well. Visit Peachpit.com to see the resources available to sharpen your Photoshop and Adobe skills.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Given that its almost exclusively online, there are a ton of resources to learn search engine optimization.  The best guide I’ve found for beginners is SEO Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO. This will take you through all the basic methodology as well as important concepts and terms to know.  Other great free online guides include SEO 101 from Search Engine Guide and Webconfs SEO Tutorial. I learned all of this, and more, from Sean Ogle’s 48 hour guide to becoming an SEO freelancer.

Languages – One of the best places to learn a language online is through downloadable Podcasts from the iTunes store.  There were at least 24 Podcasts in iTunes for the purpose of learning Spanish (not even counting Podcasts simply spoken in Spanish).  Each of these has hours of content, so it’s safe to say you could never run out of content to listen to. There were other podcasts in French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and more, too.

Aside from Podcasts, there are a lot of inexpensive websites and content out there to help learn a language.  There’s a reason why RosettaStone.com is still the most prominent language learning software out there. They have the largest selection of languages, online tutorials, and effective courses on the market.

Economics – UC Berkley offers courses in both Micro and Macroeconomics as podcasts through iTunesU, as well as an introduction course.  These aren’t simply some short, introductory material.  Each course offers over 30 hours of classroom content!  If you prefer to read over a course,  MIT again offers a long list of economics courses available for free.

PR/Social Networking – Social networking is everywhere now. Long gone are the days of Myspace versus Facebook. We now have Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, Vine, and even a resurgence of YouTube. Getting a package of Custom Social Analytics with Hootsuite Pro is vital if you want to make side money managing other peoples social media, or even the social media accounts for your own online endeavors. 

Law – Stanford offers podcasts that you can listen to through the iTunes store.  You can also take a Law and Society course from MIT or read selected lectures from the Supreme Court, Civil Liberties, and Civil Right course.

Mathematics – If you need to improve your math background, there’s resources out there for that, too.  One of the most useful subjects in mathematics, as it relates to jobs, is statistics.  Carnegie Mellon provides a couple statistics courses that are a great start to improving your knowledge of means, standard deviations, and confidence intervals.

Fine Arts – There are courses in fine arts out there, too.  You can find the Art of Color at MIT to take a look at the use of color in visual arts.  You can also learn about Masterpieces of Western Art in a Columbia University podcast or take in a Yale course on Roman Architecture.

Writing – Writing and blogging essentially go hand-in-hand. If you can’t create fresh original (Don’t Forget Interesting) content, then your site will struggle to attract and retain a loyal audience. If you want others to hire you to write for their sites the same rules apply. For the best tips and lessons on how to write great content in any niche or topic, then visit The Easy Way To Write.

Other Essential Software – This would be a giant list if I wanted to name all the software you can potentially learn online for free.  Microsoft Office, which is essential for just about any office job, is one that you should know.  Luckily, due to its popularity, there’s tons of free information on the web that will show you how to use any application of Microsoft Office for free. As an example, I’ll use Microsoft Access, since it’s something I’ve been wanting to learn.  I found this About.com guide to Access, which offers a start to finish guide to to build an Access database.  Microsoft offers its own Access guide, too.  The beauty of learning software (or, well, lots of things for that matter) is that Google will often answer any question that you may have about anything! Just from typing in “build a database with Access” on Google yields 243 million results.

Try this with just about any type of software you can imagine, and I’m certain you’ll get results.  Even if you don’t have the license for the software, there are many programs that offer a free trial version that you can get your hands on.

Free isn’t always best

Now if you really want to put all those skills to use above, then just start your own wordpress blog using this simple 4 step tutorial. Spend a few dollars registering a domain and buying 1 year of hosting, and you will be amazed at the money you could be making after just 12 short months. Heck, you might even monetize a lot quicker than that…that’s the beauty of blogging, everyone’s results are different!


  1. I learned SEO online for free, it just took me several years to actually learn it.

  2. SEO is great if you can figure out how to learn it! I wish I knew it well enough to boost my blog. It would be an excellent side job too, one that would definitely allow you to create your own hours.

  3. Great links. I know I will be checking out a few of them to help me out in some of my own endeavors. Thanks for posting.

  4. This is an awesome resource. I want to do at least 6 of these right now! Thank you very much, Hunter.

  5. Chris Ciolli says

    Thanks for this useful resource. I read your piece on the Dollar Stretcher and decided to check out your site, and I’m glad I did, because while I already know how to manage baggage on airlines, you have some great tips here for a freelancer like myself.

  6. Free Education Aid has been providing helpful information on colleges in usa, universities in usa, community colleges in usa, career schools, scholarships, master degrees, bachelors degrees, online certificates programs and free education help.


  7. This are all great suggestions and it should be very helpful. With our technology now podcasts, ebooks and just a click away to be ours if we wanted to know more about it. Also for moeny making online let me share to you what I am currently on Over the last four months I have been learning from an Aussie guy named Timothy Marc on how to build a business that allows you to live a freedom lifestyle. Without a doubt, I have learned some amazing skills in business from this guy, and I am currently seeing some great profits from my own business. I know this post may raise scepticism with some of you, but if this does sound interesting to you, here is a link to my success story on is blog: http://www.freedombusinessblog.com/freedom-business-success-story-tim# and be sure check out his free audio if you like his vibe. Ask a question on the blog too and I will help you any way I can. 
    Cheers, Tim. 

  8. Hello,

    Thanks for this great article, something I will definitely dig into. I wanted to mention that http://www.coursera.org is also a great place for free courses on a myriad of subjects. You can also pay a small fee and get certified if you wish, but do not have to. They do individual courses as well as specializations. The courses are taught by professors from universities around the world.

  9. Older article but most of the links are still good. I found a lot of interesting sites to explore from this post. Thanks

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