Boost your career: 10 online courses every entrepreneur should take

Amidst the global outbreak of Coronavirus, many of us are staying at home with some extra time on our agendas. To support those forced to join the office exodus, many online platforms, universities and distance learning organizations are offering free access to their courses.

Maybe this is the perfect time to boost your career! These 10 online courses can take your mind off the quarantine life and boost your career at the same time for free, or for a small fee.

  1. Y Combinator’s Startup School 

Startup School is a free 8-week online course organized by Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s most famous, and most successful, startup accelerator. It’s composed of weekly group mentorship sessions, a forum for mutual support and accountability, goal tracking and video lectures on various topics useful to startups (how to come up with ideas, how to measure the right KPIs, how to build products, how to get use cases, how to find product-market fit, etc). If you are new to the startup world, this could be your starting point. 

  1. Harvard Business School – Online Lessons 

Consistently ranked among the top business schools in the world, Harvard Business School is now offering free, interactive business lessons you can complete fully online. The lessons are open for everyone who wants to advance their careers with core business concepts, from leaders to students. Entrepreneurship essentials and leadership principles are just two of the courses offered, but there is plenty for everyone. A great way to stay engaged and sharpen your skills by learning from the best. Keep an eye out for the next deadline. 

  1. How to Build a Startup by Steve Blank

Steve Blank is the so-called ‘grandfather’ of the Lean Startup method, whose methodology of Customer Development is the building block on Eric Ries’ Lean Startup movement. In this month-long course, Blank teaches how to rapidly develop and test ideas by gathering massive amounts of customer and marketplace feedback. Just a hint: The secret lies in the unmet needs of customers. If you are going to dig deeper, look for his books Four Steps to the Epiphany and The Startup Owner’s Manual, used as teaching materials at world renowned universities. 

  1. Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business Specialization

This Coursera specialization course offered by University of Maryland offers 4 sub-courses taking you into the world of business modeling, customer relationship, revenue streams and cost structures. They start with critical steps to bring innovations to the marketplace, and innovation strategies to establish and maintain a competitive advantage going through venture financing and finishing up with creating a business plan and an investor pitch. Estimated time to finish the course is 5 months, with hands-on projects and some real hard homework.  

  1. The Essential Guide to Entrepreneurship by Guy Kawasaki

An Apple-alumni and Canva evangelist Guy Kawasaki is sharing his experience as an investor and entrepreneur in this class. It tackles the A to Z process of starting a business, covering launching, pitching, fundraising, building a team, using social media, and evangelizing in over 56 lectures and 4 hours of content. Described as highly informative and entertaining, Guy uses real-world examples to show you the do’s and don’ts of being an entrepreneur. You will definitely be inspired to get your startup off the ground. 

  1. The Complete Product Management Course

Ever wonder how organizations like Apple, NASA, and Ticketmaster design their products? Now you can find out. The course is designed to give entrepreneurs a deeper understanding of what it takes to bring a product from idea to launch, how to develop strategies and concepts for products, coordinate their development, analyze and validate ideas and help them grow. Featuring case studies from NASA, Google, Zappos, and more, this course also teaches you the fundamentals of Agile Development and industry-standard tools like Pivotal Tracker, Axure, and Popplet.

  1. Context is Key: Social Media Strategy in a Noisy Online World by Gary Vaynerchuk

Wine entrepreneur turned social media star Gary Vaynerchuk is quite popular in the startup world. Being a chairman of a media and communications company, he sure knows a thing or two about communications and lately, he has become a master at producing highly engaging and inspirational content on social media. This specific course will teach you how to develop a results-driven social media strategy with high quality content perfectly adapted to each major social media platform – a strategy that guarantees your brand is telling the right story in the right context. 

  1. Private Equity and Venture Capital from Bocconi

Bocconi, a well-known private university in Italy is known for its economic focus and now through Coursera you can get a small, but worthy glimpse into their teachings. This course is a dive into entrepreneurial finance. For everyone who wants to learn how private equity investors finance through equity companies at different stages of growth, and how they deal with activities including scouting, valuation, and financing, this is the course. Reviews describe it as ‘Excellent’ content delivered by masterful Professor Stefano Caselli. 

  1. Leadership, Management & Entrepreneurship in the 21 Century

What does it mean to be a leader in the 21st Century?  Find out through 21 lectures on the key principles you need to succeed, packed with practical examples, tips, quizzes, self-assessment, links and summaries. Today’s complex business environment calls for a new approach to leadership and this course will help you shape your vision for the company, create an effective management strategy and build a strong, talented team. Take your leadership role to the next level.

  1. First pitch checklist to present your startup idea

Pitching a business idea is often the most important moment in an entrepreneur’s professional life and for that reason, mastering the art of pitch is essential. Although the more you do it, the more you will master it, there are few tips you need to know on how to prepare it and rehearse it before delivering the idea pitch. This short 40-min course can help you set the basics and from there on, the show is yours. You never know, a quick chat at the coffee shop could turn out to be a big deal investor.