Breaking Through Mental Money Barriers as a Solopreneur

There’s a lot to learn when getting started as a solopreneur. But with so many great resources that can help you, step-by-step, to start and grow your business, it should all just be easy breezy, right?

Not so much. So often, when it comes to actually putting what we’ve learned into action, we just get stuck. For solopreneurs, money is often one of those places where we feel ourselves trudging through mud.

What’s keeping you from moving forward to earn what you deserve? You may think lack of time, or maybe lack of knowledge. But so often, it’s the mental money barriers we unintentionally put up. Yep, mental money barriers are real and they’re keeping you from becoming the awesome business person you’ve dreamt of becoming.

So what’s an ambitious business owner like you to do? Identify your mental money barriers and create a strategy to get past them. Read on to see how you can move past four common mental money barriers -- because earning money as a business owner is as much about mentally getting into the game as it is learning the skills to run your business.

Money barrier #1: Don’t like the idea of charging? Create an epic value proposition.

Do any of these quotes sound familiar?

  • “I struggle with the idea of charging my customers for this product/service.”
  • “I don’t want to seem like I’m selling all the time.”
  • “It’s okay to give a friend (or a friend of a friend of a friend) a discount.”

For most people, myself included, the actual act of selling products or services makes their skin crawl. We picture pushy salespeople and disappointed customers. The concept of selling is intimidating, often leaving entrepreneurs significantly undercharging for their services.

It’s time to bury that barrier by creating an epic value proposition: a statement that clearly lays out what value you are providing to your customer with your product or service.

While many people use their value proposition to attract their customers’ attention, another way to use this is to get over your money barrier. When you focus on the value you are delivering your customer, you are mentally taking the emphasis off charging people and replacing it with the value you are delivering.

There no one way to create a value proposition, but author Geoffrey Moore provides this easy template to start with:

For (target customer) who (statement of need) our (product/service name) is (product category) that (statement of benefit).

A nutritional coach might frame their value proposition as: for busy working mothers who don’t have time to eat a healthy breakfast, my product is a book of 3-minute breakfast recipes that make eating a nutritional breakfast easy to work into their morning routine, giving them the great start to their day that they deserve.

Writing a value proposition is not an exact science, but the key is to focus on the amazing value you are creating for your customer.

Money barrier #2: Struggle spending money to invest in yourself and your business? Adopt an abundance mindset.

As entrepreneurs, most of us know what it’s like to pinch pennies and debate spending money as we work to get our business off the ground. While that’s not a bad thing, it can lead to a scarcity mindset, creating a money barrier that stands between you and the leveling up you deserve.

In the scarcity mindset, we focus on short term results and only having a limited set of resources. In contrast, the abundance mindset is focused on long-term growth and endless opportunities to grow.

To move into an abundance mindset in your business, stop looking at money spent on your business solely as expenses, and consider them as investments.

To be clear, moving out of a scarcity mindset and into an abundance mindset isn’t about spending recklessly and viewing everything as an investment. It’s about carefully considering the expense and measuring whether it is a true investment that is going to grow you or your business.

The next time you are considering spending money on something and you begin looking at the cost, take a minute to think about what it could potentially bring you. Will an improved inventory system help you ship more products? Will that course or mastermind help you move past a business plateau? It’s these important distinctions that can help break the scarcity money barrier.

Money barrier #3: Feel uncomfortable with the idea of becoming wealthy? Define your goals with a purpose.

Money gets a bad rap. There are so many bad examples of wealth and greed, that many of us unconsciously put up money barriers to keep ourselves from becoming wealthy. You might think this barrier doesn’t apply to you, but before you dismiss it, fill in the blank below to reflect on what wealth means to you.

Being rich/wealthy looks like ______________.

If the image that you come up with is primarily negative, you might have a money barrier related to becoming wealthy.

To move past the negative image, work on defining goals with a purpose. While most of us will set goals for our business related to how much money we want to make, try adding a purpose to create a new image of wealth.

For example, if you want to grow your business to have profit of $150,000 per year, what does that amount mean to you? Does it mean that your partner is able to quit their job? Or perhaps it’s that you’ll be able to spend more time with your family or contribute to a cause you love.

Spend time defining that purpose to create your new image of wealth. Write it down and keep it somewhere you’ll be able to see regularly.

Money barrier #4: Avoid mundane (but necessary) money tasks? Create a powerful habit.

When I started my first business, I was a pro at avoiding the mundane money tasks like invoicing, logging expenses, and just keeping things generally organized. I would procrastinate for as long as possible, making up excuses that it wasn’t as important as other things on my list, or that I wasn’t in the mood to do it.

And the longer I put it off, the larger these mundane tasks became. I had created a horrible mental money barrier with all of my excuses, which ended losing me quite a bit of money.

To break this, I created a weekly money habit. I know that a weakness of mine is logging receipts and sitting down regularly to go through my books. I also know that Friday afternoons I’m not up for anything requiring much brainpower. So I decided to create a money checklist and go through it for 20 minutes every Friday after lunch. The first few weeks of sitting down to do it were tough, but after a month these actions clicked and I began automatically doing them right after lunch every Friday -- no excuses.

To stop avoiding your necessary money tasks, create a checklist of the items you want to complete weekly and set a time do it. I recommend creating a list of items that will take 15-30 minutes to complete to start. To create an actual habit, tie it to something specific that you do every week. When you do that first action (for me, Friday lunch) it triggers my habit of completing my money checklist.

Break past the mental money barriers to grow your business

There may be other money barriers that are standing in your way (shout them out in the comments!), but the key to not letting them hold you back is to recognize that they exist and create a plan to move past them.

One Woman Shop Chats with…Live: The EventChic + All Things Event Planning

one woman shop chats with liveThough we run our business almost solely online, we think that live events -- conferences, networking events, workshops, etc -- have a place in the lives of solo business owners. So when we got a pitch from sisters Pauline + Clara that read "...just started a new programme called EventChic for female business owners who are looking to learn how to organise their own events (both virtual and live) to build their brands and connect with their customers," we knew we had to chat with them. (It didn't hurt that their website catered to our love of all things sleek and feminine.)

In this 45-minute video, we chat about:

  • Why in-person events are important to running an online business
  • What types of events you can considering hosting as a solopreneur
  • Kicking assumptions to the side when planning an event
  • The hurdles of creating an e-course
  • The beauty of living by design, not default (yes!)

After you’ve listened, tell us one event that you'd like to host in the near future — and then hop on over to check out The EventChic and the Bliss Lifestyle Collection.

The Prior to the Hire Ebook is Here!

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For more than two years now, we've been talking to industry professionals from photographers to social media managers, virtual assistants to graphic designers, lawyers to accountants, and other specialists that you might one day need in your corner. Here's what they shared: expert knowledge of what you need to know and do before hiring them. Because, fellow solopreneur, as we always preach: going it alone shouldn't feel lonely, and you simply cannot do it all (as much as we might try!).

When you're ready to get a specialist on your side, Prior to the Hire will give you what you need to build a successful working relationship.

Fun facts about the ebook:

  • 51 professionals featured
  • 11 categories: photographers, virtual assistants, copywriters, SEO experts, lawyers, accountants, designers, developers, event planners, social media managers, business coaches
  • 34 pages

And, of course, one easy way to download!

PS -- When it comes time to hire, might we suggest any one of the pros in our One Woman Shop Directory?

By downloading this ebook, you understand that you will be added to the One Woman Shop email list.You can unsubscribe at any time.

How + Why to Repurpose Your Content

Here at One Woman Shop, we pride ourselves on being as efficient and effective as possible, so we’re always thinking of ways to reuse what we’ve already done. We also believe that business isn’t one-size-fits-all, which means that the way you absorb information might be very different than the way another solo business owner takes it in. Combine these two facts with the idea that “marketing is 20% creation and 80% promotion” and you’ve got a perfect argument for the value of maximizing your creation time through repurposing your content into other forms.

In addition to maximizing your time, what else can you achieve by repurposing content?

  • Serve your current audience in the ways that work best for them
  • Reach new audiences through other platforms
  • Bring back older, evergreen content

How, exactly? Let’s take a look at the different content you might create -- and how you can then repurpose it.

You’ve written an epic blog post.

  • Pull out key facts and figures and turn them into an infographic (here’s a helpful tutorial)
  • Make a YouTube video where you go over the same content (you'll see more of this from us on our YouTube channel)

You’ve recorded a video with an expert.

  • Provide a transcript of the chat on your blog (for those who prefer to read)
  • Strip the audio and release it as a podcast

You created a super helpful list.

You’ve created an interview series.

Keep in mind that this is a perfect time to update outdated information and maximize the original content (another thing we talk about at-length in our Building Your Online Community e-course).

Ready to free up a few extra hours and serve your audience better? Repurposing that content you poured your expertise into is your next step.

Choosing Your Solopreneur Workspace: Cafe vs. Coworking Space vs. Home Office

Since 2013, I have been a digital nomad, traveling full-time while building a location-independent digital marketing business and blog.

Because I’ve built my business from the road and haven’t slowed down since, I’ve worked from countless homes, cafes and coworking spaces. They have all had an impact on my productivity and motivation in different ways.

I want to share those experiences with you, fellow solopreneur -- so you can decide what might work best for you. Here’s what I like (and dislike) about each of these options.

Workspace Option 1: Home Office

Working from home is the default option for most solopreneurs. Some of us have designated home offices while others hang out on the couch, work from the bed or even camp out at the dining table. It’s the most flexible and private workspace you could ever ask for.

The Pros

  • It’s cheaper to work from home as you have no office rent to pay.
  • There’s no commute involved, saving you time, energy and expensive fuel money.
  • You are free to set up and customize your workspace however you like.
  • It’s completely private. (And as a bonus, you can turn up to work in PJs.)

The Cons

  • It can get lonely when you’re not working or interacting with people on a day-to-day basis.
  • It’s easy to get distracted by household chores. Kids, pets and TV also challenge your concentration.
  • The lines between home and work become blurry. Your home ceases to be a place for relaxation and you find yourself in work mode, 24/7.
  • There is a tendency to overwork and burn yourself out.

My Experience
While living in Vietnam, my primary workspace was at home as we had solid internet and a great desk. However, I did get antsy after a few days of working from home and realized I liked the energy of having other people around me. To combat isolation and burn out, I would mix it up by going to coffee shops a few days a week and this was a welcome break from home.

Workspace Option 2: Coffee Shop

Working from cafes is a great way to get out of the house and stimulate yourself in a different environment. With the growth of WiFi-enabled cafes around the world - the ‘coffice’ is a trend that solopreneurs have embraced with open arms.

The Pros

  • The coffee, naturally.
  • Free WiFi. Especially great if you’re on the go and need to clock in a few hours of work or check a few things.
  • The background noise in coffee shops is known to enhance productivity and concentration. I’m not making that up.
  • You can rotate and go to a new coffee shop each time. Changing up your work environment can often boost creativity.

The Cons

  • WiFi can be unreliable in cafes. Plus, if you’re sharing it with a lot of other people, it can be slow, too.
  • Sharing WiFi also comes with some digital security concerns.
  • At some cafes, you can’t just stay all day. Sooner or later they’re going to want you to leave. Even if they don’t mind that you hang around all day, what about when you need to go to the bathroom? Who is going to keep an eye on your stuff?
  • Being able to find a spot near an electrical socket isn’t always easy.

My Experience

Cafes are great for short bursts of work. However, I can’t imagine myself hanging out in a coffee for a full 6 to 8 hours of work. While living in Chiang Mai, I would work out of cafes about three times a week. I got a lot of writing done as I found myself very stimulated by other people’s energy around me (or maybe it’s just the caffeine?).

Workspace Option 3: Coworking Space

Thanks to the growing number of freelancers, solopreneurs and remote workers, coworking spaces are popping up all over the world. These office-but-not-really spaces usually aim to capture the flexibility of working from home, minus the isolation.

The Pros

  • They are designed for work. You will have access to quality WiFi, desk space, wall sockets and, if you’re lucky, they’re ergonomically designed for comfort.
  • It’s a welcome solution to beating isolation as you meet and interact with other entrepreneurs and freelancers. In fact, you could even meet potential collaborators for your business as solopreneurs are often looking to partner with other solopreneurs.
  • Seeing other people around you working hard often motivates you to kick into high gear on goals, too.
  • Because they’re designed for work, they’re usually less distracting and quieter than a coffee shop (no eavesdropping on other people’s juicy social lives) or even your home office, where household tasks and other errands can often be a concentration-killer.

The Cons

  • Most will require a membership. Depending on where you’re located, some can cost a pretty penny.
  • Sometimes it can start to feel like you’re going to an office (with a commute). You probably became a solopreneur for the freedom, and a rigid office-going schedule can seem like the antithesis of this freedom lifestyle.
  • While some spaces have the option to reserve conference spaces, for the most part, you never have complete privacy as you’re working with several other people in the room.

My Experience

I’m currently living in Mexico and I work from a coworking space almost every day. I have a lot going on with my business so I find the need to be in an environment that forces me to be productive -- so this is perfect. I love this spot but I occasionally get over having to come to the “office” and on those days, I recharge by working from home.

So, what is a solopreneur’s ideal workspace?

The simple answer: the one where YOU feel most productive and get the most out of your working day. That being said, we all have different styles of working, and respond differently to various environments. It’s important to experiment with workspaces to see what works best for you. Here are some ideas of how to do just that:

  • Build an office space -- yes, with a desk! -- in your home to inspire productivity if working from the dining room table or your bed doesn’t always cut it.
  • If staying home every day is slowly sending you crazy, try mixing it up a with a coffee shop visit every few days.
  • If the coffee shop environment is entirely distracting but you enjoy the hum of people, consider using an app like Coffitivity that creates the ambient noises of a coffee shop but allows you to work from the comfort of your home office, instead.
  • Perhaps you enjoy the discipline of having to be somewhere every day to get your work done: invest in a coworking space to ramp up your productivity and meet other solopreneurs, too. Most spaces will offer “open house” days or a discounted day pass so you can give it a go before committing.
  • Or, if you’re like me and like being stimulated by different workspaces, you could just leave it open and change it up every few weeks/months depending on where you’re at in your business. The change in environment often boosts creativity and prevents you from becoming bored with your space.

Fortunately you have the freedom to choose and customize your workspace according to your needs. It’s just another perk of this awesome solopreneur life.

Where do you like to work from and why? Tell us about it in the comments.

Business Myth: Always Be Pitching to Grow Your List + Business

One Woman Shop business myths

One Woman Shop Business Myths

Welcome to Business Myths. Here’s the deal: we often hear business “truths” and accept them as true without stopping to question them. We’re chatting with solopreneurs and freelancers who have learned the hard way that these commonly accepted facts may not, in fact, always be true. In this case, Amanda Berlin shares her (expert) take on why "always be pitching" isn’t exactly the right advice -- and how to effectively pitch yourself for the most impact, instead.

You’ve got the training. You’ve developed the programs. You’ve got a great website with excellent content. And you’re working with clients. You just need more of them. Now what?

Get your name out there. Start pitching yourself for interviews and guest blog opportunities. You’ve heard it before, and that’s why we’re here.

Here’s your myth:

You need to constantly be pitching yourself for guest blogs and interviews to grow your list, get your name out there and convert like-minded audiences into fans and clients.

Here’s the truth:

You need to be pitching. But instead of constantly pitching willy-nilly and saying yes to every opportunity, you need to be courting the right kinds of outlets, describing yourself in the right way, delivering the right kind of content, and following up in the right manner so it reflects positively on you and your business.

Let’s back up. First, what do we even mean by pitching in this context?

The best pitches sell an idea for a story or interview that’s really valuable to the reading, listening, or viewing audience. Great pitches also incorporate your expertise to showcase the value you can bring to people you work with and to the ongoing conversation on a particular topic in your industry.

Mini-Myth: Cast a wide net.

Quantity over quality. Pitching is a numbers game, right? False. You don’t need to cast a wide net when you’re pitching. You need to find outlets that are strategically aligned and offer the biggest bang for your pitching buck.

Sites that syndicate their content will enable your article to have the biggest impact and offer you the greatest return on your time investment. To figure out if a site syndicates its content, look for bylines that indicate the content came from a different site. For example, if you’re on The Muse, you’ll see there are pieces that offer the author’s name and a different site that he’d written this piece for, often Inc. or Mashable. You can even see an examples of a syndicated One Woman Shop article, here on Levo. When you see this telltale sign, this means the site you’re on has a content sharing relationship with the site mentioned in the byline.

When you place an article on a site that syndicates its content, your article has the potential for expanded reach to more like-minded audiences.

Other sites that will have a big impact for you are sites with very specific demographics that you can uniquely speak to.

To find outlets that serve very specific demographics, look within yourself to where you’ve been, what you’ve done in the past, professionally or personally, where you are now in your life, your interests and passion, and figure out to which of these audiences you might be able to tailor your message. Then go after them. For example, if you teach people about how to better organize their closets, and you have a passion for fitness, you could take your expertise to a website that speaks to health and wellness and talk about keeping all your workout wear organized and in good condition. Your content will resonate because it’s been developed specifically to serve this very precise audience.

Mini-Myth: You need to sell yourself.

It actually doesn’t matter to your pitch how awesome you are. Your idea is really what you need to sell. And then you need to sell yourself in the context of that idea. Answer the question: Why are you perfect to be delivering this information? This will help you dive into your past personal and professional expertise and pull out only the details that are relevant to explaining why you’re a valuable resource for this information.

Mini-Myth: Once you’ve delivered great content, you’re done. Watch the results pour in.

Great exposure can do great things for the size of your list. Hit a well-trafficked site with excellent content and, BAM!, you’ll have them streaming in and signing up for the list. Sure -- it can work that way.

But, you can make it even more attractive for people to sign up by offering a free giveaway or something unique and useful to that particular reading, viewing or listening audience.

For example, I did a training for jewelry designers on how to develop their brand voice and implement it on their websites and social media. To make the most of my opportunity in front of that audience, I created a free giveaway on how to write product descriptions (in their new-found voice). I knew from my partnership with the team leading the training that product descriptions were something their audience has been requesting. With that insider information, I could easily fulfill their need and provide something useful. As a result, I received about 60 new sign-ups for my list.

Deliver great content, but figure out a way to engage the audience to the point where they want to come back to your site and see what else you’ve got, either in the way of more informational articles or in the way of giveaways that are perfectly relevant to their unique challenges.

The more “pro” you become at pitching, the more you realize it’s about more than just coming up with ideas and selling yourself. Pitching successfully is about finding outlets that will maximize your efforts and connect you with the right people who will truly appreciate what you are putting down.

So tell me in the comments below: What’s your biggest challenge in putting yourself out there?

PS (from the editor) -- Want more on pitching yourself with the greatest impact? Check out our One Woman Shop Chats With... Live episode with Amanda!

Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds for the SolopreneurWelcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds - where we scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we think will help your solopreneur business — and maybe even your life!

Stories from "12 Gutsy Women to Watch": we're psyched to have been featured (individually, on separate occasions!) in Jessica Lawlor's Get Gutsy Interview series -- and we're loving the round up she just released on the one year anniversary of its start! Get ready to be inspired.

If you're thinking it's tough to stand out in a noisy online world, you're not alone. Tiff Silverberg wants to help you establish your brand story -- and take it to the media. She shows you how through her (entirely free) DIY PR series.

We read a lot about self-care, quieting the inner naysayer, and building our own confidence as One Woman Shops (so important). But we can't help but love this post from OWS member Kerstin Auer over on HuffPo offering a recipe for some "Humble Pie" -- another thing we can all use from time to time.

Next time you're stalled on a task that you're absolutely dreading, ask yourself one question: "Why?" Then, get back into action. Cristina shares how in our guest post over on the Freelance to Freedom Project blog.

LeadPages is great for content upgrades, list building, webinar registrations, and more -- but it's not always within a solopreneur's budget. We're loving this workaround from Anjelica Dezel on how she "fakes it" with SquareSpace and MailChimp, and gets great results. Check the comments for tips on how to use WordPress to do the same!

Etsy sellers: been thinking about building a store on your own website, but just not sure? Amber Kristine shares the pros + cons of selling on Etsy and why you might want to considering owning your own shop.

Podcast alert: we're always on the hunt for new (+ great) podcasts to listen to, so needless to say, we were psyched when Paul Jarvis released his newest, The Freelancer, in September. In his words, it's "a short, weekly podcast for designers, writers & developers looking to up their business game." And did we mention? It's Paul Jarvis. Let us know what you think!

One Woman Shop Chats With… Live: Amanda Berlin + All Things Pitching

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It's something we talk a lot about in Building Your Online Community: pitching yourself. It also happens to be what Amanda Berlin, a communications consultant "for coaches and mindful entrepreneurs" is an expert at. She even put it to the test as she pitched us to be a guest on our One Woman Shop Chats With... Live series, and we're so glad she did!

If you've been wondering how to put yourself out there, make more connections, and land more guest posting opportunities, this one's for you. Get a preview of what we cover below, and dive right in!

In this 45-minute video, we chat about:

  • how to become more comfortable pitching yourself
  • what makes for a great pitch
  • finding niches specific to who you are + what you do
  • what to pitch when you're afraid of being "boring"
  • how to write your article as you write your pitch

Amanda's even created a bonus exclusively for One Woman Shop members: a step-by-step guide to telling your story and writing your about page. Get it here!

Pop in those headphones and listen and/or watch at your own leisure!

After you’ve listened, tell us in the comments: where are you going to pitch yourself next?

 

Member Spotlight: Kerstin Auer

Member Spotlight Kerstin AuerWelcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what's going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today's Spotlight is on Kerstin Auer, a freelancer writer, coach, and creator of the coach-yourself workbooks, tools for better.

Tell us about yourself and your business - what do you do + who do you serve?

My name is Kerstin Auer, I’m a freelance writer and coach, and I create coach-yourself workbooks called tools for better. I believe that being a life coach is not about telling others how to live their life, but rather providing the tools so they can make their life better.

The workbooks I create are for people who are willing to do the work to get to better -- and it’s hard work! -- and who want to opt into their best self.

What's your favorite social media platform and why?

I love Instagram, because pictures tell a story -- and storytelling is one of my favourite things. A close second is Twitter, because it provides a wealth of information and a chance to connect -- and seems to be a lot less filled with trolls than Facebook.

If you had to describe yourself or your business in one word, what would it be?

Badass. No doubt about it! For me, badass means to live a life that’s true to yourself and your values, and to be “all in.”

What is the #1 lesson you've learned since being in business on your own?

It’s great to be able to access many different opinions and pieces of advice -- but in the end, you have to be the biggest cheerleader for your business, and be comfortable with that. It does not matter if other people “get” it, but it really matters that you are wholeheartedly on board with your business.

What's your one piece of advice for new solo business owners?

Be prepared and have a solid business plan. There are always unexpected expenses when starting up, and operating costs tend to add up, as well. It always costs more than you think! You might, for example, subscribe to an app that saves you time, or an awesome community like One Woman Shop, and while I think those expenses are essential to grow your business, they are often not budgeted for. Investing in yourself and your business starts on Day 1!

How has running a business changed you?

I have simultaneously become more and less willing to compromise: more willing to compromise on the things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things (and that may be caused by the fear of missing out), and a lot less willing to compromise on the things that matter, like my core values.

What is the #1 lesson you've learned since being in business on your own?

Cheesy as it may sound - I can do anything I put my mind to… if I want it badly enough! 😉

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I recently opened my online shop, and I’m adding a new tools for better workbook each month. You can sign up to be notified when a new workbook is available, and receive a sweet freebie!

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Kerstin!

solopreneur membership

Get Schooled: 4 Free & Affordable Ways to Learn More

OWS goes back to school

Get Schooled: 4 Free & Affordable Ways to Learn More

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Whether you have just begun your solopreneur business or are a seasoned professional, there is always room to grow professionally and personally. One of my favorite ways to do this is through online learning. That’s because there are a plethora of online learning resources available that are free or affordable, can be done independently at your own pace, and are packed with information from business management to personal development. That’s a win-win for any One Woman Shop!

Ready to get your study on? Try out these free and affordable ways to learn more:

1. Coursera

The beauty of Coursera is that it has a catalog of scheduled sessions in various areas of study. Each course comes with lots of structure, including a syllabus, audio and visual lectures, quizzes and tests, along with an online instructor from a qualified institution.

Before you join a course, Coursera provides you with: available sessions (current and future), the length of the course (in weeks), hours of study suggested per week, and a brief overview. Taking classes through Coursera gives you the opportunity to earn a course certificate with valuable credentials from the best universities. In addition, they also offer a Specialization program which includes select courses in a given topic, a capstone project and a specialization certificate.

Personally, Coursera is one of my favorite online learning resources because it marries lectures, self-study and resource reading in a way that best suits me. I like to be at a desk with my Coursera class on my laptop and a notebook to take notes.

Cost: Free to Variable

2. iTunes U

I was overwhelmed (in a good way) when I was first introduced to iTunes U a few years ago. Available via the iTunes Store, iTunes U allows you to subscribe to classes and curriculum from some of the top universities. Primarily used as an extension for instructors to bring their curriculum together on iPad, the app is complete with an index of areas to learn from, lectures, notes, quizzes, tests, webinars, documents, books and resources. When you see the structure of the courses and the subjects available, you will certainly understand why much of the younger generation is provided with iPads over traditional textbooks.

Because the iTunes U App is from Apple, the design is similar to the iTunes Store App and Podcasts App, making it easy to use for any one familiar. Many of the iTunes U classes I have taken are provided as lecture videos while others emulate a condensed ebook with assignments. Due to this format of online learning through the app, it is much easier to take the course(s) while on an iPad.

Cost: Free

3. Khan Academy

Khan Academy has self-paced videos to learn, interact and assess your knowledge in different areas. The site has over 4,300 videos to learn from and skills to practice for students, parents, teachers and the lifelong learner. Topics they tackle range from math and science to history, and the Academy's resources are being translated into more than 36 languages. A fun feature Khan Academy provides is a way to track your progress on what and how you have been learning.

One of the best things about Khan Academy is they have no ads and no subscriptions because they believe in a free forever world-class education for everyone!

Cost: Free

4. TED

TED began as a Technology, Entertainment and Design conference. The purpose of a TED Talk? To share ideas worth spreading. TED Talks are driven, concise and inspiring from the most renowned leaders, movers, and shakers in the world. Today, TED covers almost all topics in powerful talks of 18 minutes or less. Topics range from consumerism to activism and productivity. These talks will instantly inspire you to engage in conversation or take action.

TED provides TED Talks and Playlists for free. You can also attend TED Conferences, TEDx Events or TED Live at additional costs.

Because of the length of time given to do a Talk, it breeds more passion and intensity from the speaker and in turn, has the listener more engaged and in tune with what is said.

Cost: Free to Variable

What are some of your favorite ways to engage in lifelong learning, fellow solopreneur?

PS: Looking for more great sites to learn from? Check out past posts here and here.