11 online courses to help you grow your side hustle in 2021

These e learning courses will help you launch your side hustle in 2021 4x3
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If you dream of being your own boss and leaving your creative mark on the world, a side-hustle is a great way to dip your toes into the world of entrepreneurship.

That being said, you also want to go in with as much knowledge as you can. "Unless you have the funds to live the life you want and you have serious financial backing to launch your business, the best way to launch is to take it slow at first," said Anthony Gaenzle, an advisor who has coached small business owners in topics like marketing, SEO, and startup strategy. "By maintaining your day job, you ensure that you have a steady income, and if your business takes a few years for the revenue to really start flowing in, you will avoid struggling and putting yourself at risk."

Most side hustles don't require a massive upfront investment, but you will need some money, time, and persistence. Apart from that, "the two things that will be critical to your success are understanding your finances, and knowing how to market yourself and your business," added Gaenzle.

Additionally, "Most entrepreneurs should have foundational knowledge of consulting, sales, and digital marketing to attract ideal users," said Lupe Colangelo, a career coach at General Assembly. 

Lastly, while a side-hustle is a great way to boost your monthly income, don't fall into the trap of picking something purely based on its money-making potential. "If you truly want to succeed in launching a new business or side hustle, you need to choose something about which you are passionate," said Gaenzle, and think about what skills and expertise you have. That way, when things get tough, you'll be less likely to give up if you love and feel invested in what you do.

If you've decided that this is the year you'll launch a side hustle, these courses on creative ideation, marketing, finance, and business strategy will set you up for success from the start.

11 courses will help you launch your side hustle in 2021:



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43 Ideas for Starting a Side Business (LinkedIn Learning)

If you know what you're passionate about, but not 100% sure how to spin it into a money-making business, this is the course for you. Serial entrepreneur Dana Robinson will talk you through 43 of his favorite side-hustle ideas in this LinkedIn Learning course, providing guidelines to making even the most niche options a reality. Best of all, these don't require a big time or money investment to launch, and can help inspire you to take the leap if you err on the side of caution. 

Free with a 1-month trial to LinkedIn Learning, $19.99 or $29.99 per month after trial ends.

Idea Validation: From Idea to Paying Customer in 2 Hours (Udemy)

Weed out the good ideas from the bad ones before you get started in this highly rated Udemy class. Over eight hours of practical sessions, you will learn how to validate your idea through customer feedback sessions and trials — and even generate your first sale using Google and Facebook ad campaigns. 

$59.99 for the course.

Make Creativity Your Career: Six Exercises to Create a Successful Side Project (Skillshare)

Whether you're an artist, musician, seamstress, or graphic designer, there's a market out there for you to turn your passion into a career. This Skillshare course will teach you how to turn your creative spark into a lucrative business. Multi-creative Andy J. Pizza will walk you through goal-setting; taking first steps; marketing and promotion strategies; and reviewing your progress. 

Free with a 7-day trial, $13.99 or $32 per month after trial ends.



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Free Intro to Digital Marketing (General Assembly)

Hone your digital marketing skills in General Assembly's regularly recurring Free Intro to Digital Marketing class, which explores digital content, email, social media, paid advertising channels, and more. Once you have a basic understanding, keep an eye out for their live virtual small business workshops such as Launch a Side Hustle & Entrepreneur Mastermind

Free to attend; Schedule of upcoming classes here.

Create a Social Media Marketing Campaign (FutureLearn)

Such is its pervasiveness, it's virtually impossible to launch a side hustle without using social media. To understand how to make the switch from personal to business social accounts, this two-week FutureLearn course will walk you through selecting the right channel, finding an audience, and measuring results. By the end, you'll have your own social media strategy that can be implemented right away. 

Use WordPress to Create a Blog for Your Business (Coursera)

This practical step-by-step guided project course guides you from being an absolute WordPress beginner to launching your own WordPress business website. The split-screen video makes it easy to follow along and create your site as you go. Upon completion, you'll have a business blog with the look and feel of a website, with options for e-commerce plugins to enable you to sell online.

$9.99 through the Coursera Project Network

Learning to Write Marketing Copy (LinkedIn Learning)

If you don't have the funds to pay for a copywriter, learning how to write in a way that sells is essential when it comes to marketing your business. This short LinkedIn Learning course lets you practice copywriting on a single product. Whether it's writing great website headlines, social media captions, or blogs, having a strong brand voice will help you connect with your audience and stand out in a crowded market. 

Free with a 1-month trial to LinkedIn Learning, $19.99 or $29.99 per month after trial ends.



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Finance Essentials for Small Business (LinkedIn Learning)

Cash flow is king! This mantra holds true for so many small businesses who rely on cash flow to continue growing. Run by two accounting professors, this quick, hour-long course breaks down the key strategies you need to know to manage your finances such as forecasting cash flow, accounting, record-keeping and product pricing. 

Free with a 1-month trial to LinkedIn Learning, $19.99 or $29.99 per month after trial ends.

Financing Your Business (US Small Business Association)

This free course offered by the US Small Business Association covers every aspect of launching a business, including funding, pricing, and product life cycles. Not only is the content extremely practical, but it's also regularly updated, so you can be sure you're getting the most relevant information. Plus, the dedicated Ascent learning pathway focuses purely on helping female entrepreneurs launch and grow.



Business strategy

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Digital Products Masterclass: Start Your Own Online Business (Udemy)

If you're looking for a passive income stream, launching an online course, webinar series, or e-book is a popular route. Not only is it an extremely low-cost venture to get started, but it'll also provide you with a recurring income so you can sit back and watch your bank balance grow. In this bestselling Udemy course, digital products experts Phil Ebiner and Diego Davila will show you how to start selling digital products or convert your traditional business model into an online business.

$59.99 for the course.

Entrepreneurial Operations: Launching a Startup (edX)

Understanding potential risks will ensure that you're better prepared to tackle any hurdles you encounter during the launch phase. Join over 25,000 students who've already taken this free edX course on operating challenges and risks before you launch your startup. Over four weeks, you'll dissect case studies to understand the important role of business operations when launching a new venture.

Free; $149 for verified certificate of completion