Freelancer Dilemma: Free or Paid Courses?

Many people who want to become virtual assistants or online freelancers don’t know how or where to start. You often find them on forums, communities, or Facebook groups asking for help or direction. Most scour the web for free resources and get overwhelmed or lost. Others take paid courses but question their effectiveness relative to the cost.

We’ve all been there. Whether you’re a beginner VA or a seasoned freelancer wanting to upskill, one of the dilemmas we face is whether to take the free or paid route. This short article tackles a bit of both.

Is it possible to learn from free resources?

Definitely! That’s how I started learning HTML as a college student trying to make our class website in 2002. That is still how I do things today. I consume free courses and tutorials. I use free or open-source tools and software.

But because there are too many of these resources online, it’s getting harder to find helpful ones without wasting time.

This Knowledge Base seeks to sort that out — we aim to collate the BEST FREE RESOURCES for virtual assistants and online freelancers and put them ALL IN ONE PLACE.

In addition to these free tutorials and courses, look for mentors, join communities about freelancing or your chosen service, and most importantly, PRACTICE. Whether you work pro bono, start a personal project, apply for an internship, or find a client directly is up to you as long as you gain some experience.

Freelance Communities for Filipinos

For general freelancing matters, here are two Facebook groups that you might want to check out:

Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with the owners of these Facebook groups. We have been members before and found the communities supportive and accommodating.

How to tell if a paid course is worth taking

Four factors make a good course:

  1. Complete information and materials. A good course will provide you with everything that you need. It will spoon-feed you. All you have to do is apply it and customize the materials according to your requirements.
  2. An experienced and effective teacher. Skilled instructors have gone through enough mistakes before reaching where they are now. They will guide you so you won’t have to undergo those same mistakes. They have also developed their systems, tips, and tricks for work and will likely share and demonstrate them.
  3. Practice and Evaluation. Opportunities for exercise should be a non-negotiable part of a course. Giving the course takers assignments or projects to apply what has been taught is still the best way to learn a skill.
  4. An active and helpful community. Communities are a welcome bonus. The instructor usually maintains a group on Facebook or other platforms and offers continuous help and support to students.

Consider those four things to weed out the poor courses. Take the time to learn more about the coach/es. Then search for testimonials or reviews from previous enrollees.

And remember that you will still need to make an effort. The best course in the world won’t matter if you will only sleep on it.

What resources are included in Digitalaan?

The categories on this Knowledge Base are patterned after the skill groups of, a freelancing marketplace specially made for Filipinos.

As a starting point, we will cover selected topics from the following classifications:

Then for every category or skill, we will share the corresponding free tools or apps, tutorials, courses, and whatever else is available.

Please bear in mind that this is a work in progress. So be sure to check this page periodically for new content, or you can subscribe to our newsletter to have updates delivered to your inbox.

We would like to hear from you

If you have any questions, recommendations, corrections, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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