After a recent post on market research in our series for Demand Media writers, a reader mentioned that many (though not all) of these freelancers don't have the basic business skills needed to take them from content mill work to targeting new specialty markets and landing new clients.
For those writers, I promised to post links to basic business resources to help them develop those skills or more easily plan and run their growing freelance businesses. Here are those free business resources -- from free templates and worksheets to free online courses.
Business - General
- Owner's Checklist for Starting a New Business (from SmartBiz.com)
- Business Selection Checklist (from SmartBiz.com)
- Small Business Success Course (free email course from About.com - Small Business: Canada)
- Improve Your Personal Networking Skills (free online course from the HP Learning Center)
- Building Your First Web Page (free online course from the HP Learning Center)
- Principles of Entrepreneurship (free online textbook from America.gov)
- Business Fundamentals (free online textbook from cnx.org)
- Business Communication for Success (free online textbook from FlatWorldKnowledge.com)
- How to Write a Business Plan (a free online course from the U.S. Small Business Administration)
- Business Plan Outline (from Bplans.com)
- Sample Business Plans (from Bplans.com)
- One Page Business Plan Template
- Conduct a Marketing Analysis (a free online course from Kutztown University)
- SWOT Analysis Worksheet
- Advertising and Marketing Psychology (free email course from About.com - Women in Business)
- One Page Marketing Plan Template
- Marketing Plan Outlines (from Mplans.com)
- Sample Marketing Plans (from Mplans.com)
Marketing / PR - Other
- Marketing 101 (free online course from the U.S. Small Business Administration)
- Principles of Marketing (free online textbook from FlatWorldKnowledge.com)
- eMarketing Textbook (from Quirk.biz)
- Core Concepts of Marketing (from OERcommons.org)
- Press Releases Made Easy (free e-book)
- Social Marketing (free online course from The Open University)
- Introduction to Accounting (a free online course from the U.S. Small Business Administration)
- Accounting I (free online textbook from peoi.org)
- Sample Business Balance Sheet (from FindLaw.com)
- Sample Profit and Loss Statement (from Findlaw.com)
If you have other favorite free online resources to help freelancers build basic business skills, please share them in the comments below.
Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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