Let me guess.
Independence is one of your top values.
And you want the freedom to work whenever and wherever you choose.
You clicked on this Freelance University review because you want to become a freelancer. Or maybe you’re already a freelancer or a solopreneur looking for affordable education to expand your skills.
There’s plenty of free information out there. But between conflicting advice, sketchy “experts,” and hidden agendas to upsell you to expensive courses, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged.
What if you had one trusted source?
A place to learn what you need to finally get started.
Or a place to learn and explore new areas for your existing online business.
I signed up for Freelance University, intending to use the classes to rejuvenate my freelance writing business. But to my delight and surprise, I found so much more than I expected.
Read on if you’re looking for affordable educational resources to help you on your freelancer or solopreneurial journey.
Please note: I am an affiliate for the program, which means I get paid a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase using the links in this post. I wrote this Freelance University review because I’m impressed by the value you get for your investment.
What Is Freelance University?
Freelance University (formerly VAClassroom) is an online learning platform founded by Craig and Kelly Cannings in 2008. They have 20 years of experience in the freelancer space, so they know their stuff. They’ve taught thousands of students in 75 countries, so, yes, this organization is legitimate.
Freelance University has an extensive learning platform, with over 80 online courses and workshops. The best part is that as soon as you sign up, you get access to everything at once!
They call themselves the “Netflix” of education, and they aren’t kidding. There’s an amazing array of courses you can take. Plus, new courses are added regularly to keep up with in-demand service areas and the latest software.
What I love is that you get “one-stop shopping.” Instead of painful deliberations about whether a particular course is worth the money, it’s all included—you can take whichever courses you want to. You get to satisfy your curiosity around various online business subject areas.
This could either save you money if you decide an area is not for you or give you the confidence to invest in a more expensive course later.
For example, Freelance University has a certification course, “Online Course Creation and Management.” It teaches you all the steps to create an online course — from coming up with an idea to loading your course onto a learning platform.
Having this available saved me from buying an expensive course, most of which I wouldn’t have used anyway as a beginner. Instead, I learned what I needed, and now it’s up to me to create my first online course.
Freelance University is a learning platform that can save you both time and money.
Who would Benefit from Enrolling in Freelance University?
Anyone interested in building an online business as part of a financial freedom lifestyle would benefit from Freelance University. This includes people in all stages of financial independence, looking for meaningful, challenging, and flexible work.
- Coast FI or corporate escapees who want to replace their full-time income
- Stay-at-home parents searching for a flexible way to support their family
- Side hustlers who want additional income to hit their financial goals sooner
- Semi-retired or Barista FIRE people who want to bridge the financial gap between now and retirement
- “Retirees” looking for professional part-time or even full-time earnings
Here are three main categories of people who would benefit from enrolling:
If you’re new to freelancing, there’s a whole collection of courses (and other resources) to help you get started. These courses cover topics like the entrepreneurial mindset you’ll want to cultivate, how to choose a niche, branding, and how to set up a client intake system.
If you already have a freelance business, Freelance University provides ample opportunity to explore additional revenue sources. Besides expanding the freelance gigs you could qualify for, there are classes to improve your systems, like the Project Management Specialist course (which I loved).
This was an unexpected benefit of joining Freelance University. After I left my corporate job, the whole online business world was entirely new to me. I eagerly signed up for way too many courses from too many gurus, causing overwhelm and confusion.
Instead, here’s one place to learn the practical stuff you need to know so you can “wear all the hats.” I only wish I had found this resource earlier in my entrepreneurial journey!
If this sounds interesting and you’d like to learn more, check out Freelance University to get more details.
What Are the Courses Like at Freelance University?
A Freelance University review wouldn’t be complete without giving you an idea of what to expect!
Courses are in video format. You get a PDF handout of slides—great to get an overview of what’s covered before you begin. There are also downloadable guides, checklists, and templates (depending on the course). At the end of each lesson, there are action steps to help you implement what you’ve learned.
You’re given just enough theory to understand a topic, but the focus is on practical, useful strategies and ideas.
Craig Cannings, the Chief Learning Officer, teaches most of the classes (at least the ones I’ve taken). I personally love Craig’s logical, linear style of presenting information, with stories added in to illustrate concepts. He gives an overview of a topic, then drills down into “5 steps” or “7 ways,” often including acronyms to help you remember concepts.
What Courses Are Available at Freelance University?
Here’s an overview of the course sections.
In this section, you’ll find the course “Freelance 101” which provides a step-by-step process to launch your new business. After that, there are 8 other foundational courses to get you off to a strong start. However, these courses aren’t just for beginners as they include topics like developing an entrepreneurial mindset, something that’s an ongoing struggle for me!
Finding, onboarding, and managing clients is the heart of a freelance business. There are 8 courses here to help you out.
Freelance University’s learning platform is based on eight key tracks, and I provided a few examples of each.
Social Media Marketing
- Social Media Management Success
- Online Community Management
- Digital Marketing Specialist
- Product Launch Manager
Writing & Editing
- Become a Proofreader
- Online Copywriting Fundamentals
- CRM Systems and Support
- Virtual Bookkeeping
Online Business Management
- Online Business Manager
- Project Management Specialist
- Kajabi Specialist
- CRM Systems and Support
Digital Media & Content Production
- Digital Content Manager Certification
- Online Course Creation & Management
Website & Graphic Design
- Web Design Bootcamp
- WordPress Maintenance
There are also monthly, live, skill-building workshops around 90 minutes each on a variety of topics. If you can’t make it live, they’re recorded and archived. An example is “The Freelancer’s Toolbox,” a workshop to help you overcome shiny object syndrome and get your technology organized and streamlined.
The App Lab section provides short tutorials on the latest technology tools for around a half-hour or so.
Facebook Friday Live Sessions cover various freelancing topics.
What Other Benefits do you get from Freelance University?
The certificate programs, courses, and workshops are the core of the university. However, there are additional benefits to help you on your business journey.
After all, the most challenging part of entrepreneurship is overcoming the internal challenges, like mindset issues, self-doubt, and the fear of failure.
The whole action part, or implementing what you’ve learned, is tricky. As a professional procrastinator, I know this all too well.
This is why a supportive community of your peers, mentors, and instructors is so powerful, and here are three ways Freelance University helps with this:
- A private Facebook Group provides you with a community of other learners, plus access to 8 experienced business mentors. The mentors post around once a week, offering tips or tricks in their area of expertise. When you post a question, the response time and depth of the answers is impressive.
- Live Q&As. During these Zoom calls, Craig discusses current events in the freelancing world, provides a mini-lesson on a topic, and gives you ample opportunity to ask questions. You can type questions in chat or request the microphone.
- Small group mastermind sessions. Here you’re paired up with up to four other students, along with a business mentor. You get a chance in a “hot seat” to ask a burning question, discuss a challenge, and share your successes. My introverted self was nervous, but it ended up being enjoyable, and I got some great ideas.
Some additional benefits:
- Practice using online software tools and apps in the Student Software Sandbox.
- Score a Student Discount on software like Honeybook, Freshbooks, and Adobe software.
- Post your Professional Profile in the freelancer directory.
- Access the Freelance University job board.
So now that we covered the pros, what are the cons of Freelance University?
The biggest con is—learning is only the first step, and nothing will happen until you put in the work.
But you already knew that, right?
Three Potential Cons (with ways to overcome them)
1. Binge-Watching Without Action
Ok, maybe this one is just me. I love to learn, but I do have a terrible tendency to take a course and tell myself I’ll do the work…later. But the real learning only takes place when you practice the skills and techniques you’ve learned.
Practice what you’re learning, or implement as you take the course to avoid the mistake of binge-watching without action. Action steps are provided at the end of each lesson—make sure you do them!
Because of the impressive number of educational resources available at Freelance University, overwhelm is a concern.
The best way to avoid it is to develop a plan for the courses you need to take first and focus only on those.
When you sign up, go to your Dashboard, scroll down to the Start Here section, and begin with the University Orientation course.
This includes a tour, a quick start guide, a semester planner, and the current year’s course catalog. I found the semester planner helpful in setting goals for the quarter.
The best way to prevent being overwhelmed is to go through those resources and pick only a handful of courses to begin. Take those first courses and implement what you’ve learned before looking at other options.
3. Learning from pre-recorded courses
Most of the courses are self-paced. This means you can watch the on-demand courses on your own schedule. But if you want live interaction with an instructor while you learn, this may not be ideal for you.
You can attend new workshops live, but no one is going to hold your hand or remind you to do your “homework.”
However, if you have questions, there are many opportunities to get them answered.
And for the price, it’s a reasonable tradeoff. Courses with live, personalized instruction, especially cohort-based ones with handholding, are far more expensive, often starting at $1,000 and increasing from there!
How Much Does Freelance University Cost?
There are two affordable tuition plans for January 2022.
The first is a monthly plan for $59/month. Or you can sign up for the annual plan for $597/year.
For the resources you get, this is an absolute bargain, frugality at its finest.
For up-to-date details, visit this page to get all the information you need to make a decision.
In Conclusion: Is Freelance University Worth It?
Absolutely yes, Freelance University is worth it.
I’ve spent thousands on courses, ranging from inexpensive to gut-punch level expensive, and I’m impressed with the quantity and quality of education on this platform. With the emphasis on practical knowledge, you get what you need to practice your skills right away.
There’s a 15-day refund period, so when you sign up, set time aside to take a few courses in your area of interest to make sure it’s a fit for you.
The next intake of Freelance University is March 2022, so if you’re interested, check it out here.