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Since the writing of this article, Skillshare has changed its policy on its free classes and is no longer offering them. However, it does have the option of signing up to the premium plan that includes a 1-month free trial. The premium plan includes access to its full library of creative classes (35,000+).
So, what really are the best free Skillshare classes out there?
If creative courses are what you are looking for then Skillshare is definitely your answer. It currently offers more than 27,000+ classes and close to 2,000 of them are completely free. It covers creative topics like Animation, Film & Video, Music, Photography and more. Its free classes are for all, whether you are a complete beginner or have some experience.
When you first land on Skillshare.com you will be able to click the Get Started for Free button(see image above). This will lead you to the Sign Up page(see image below). Remember that signing up for Skillshare is completely free.
Enter your email or click on Facebook, Google or Apple account to add your details automatically.
Click on ‘Sign up’
Note: You will be lead here to add your card details if you want to try out the Premium paid membership with a free trial, but if you prefer not to at this stage you won’t need to and can continue to browse the free classes.
Note: If you do want to explore the Premium Skillshare plan you can try out the 14-day free trial here which gives you access to 27,000+ classes
Free Skillshare Classes
Now that you are all set up with your account you are ready to start learning. I wanted to share with you a handy tip for finding the free classes at Skillshare. All you need to do is scroll down to the footer and in the list under Community you will see Free Classes(see image below). Click there and you can start browsing the Free Classes.
Find Skillshare Free Classes
You will see the free online classes and if you do have a specific topic in mind you can choose from the left column or even use the filter feature to decide on the class length (see image below). Both are pretty helpful to help you find a specific class.
Free Skillshare Filters
Top 28 Free Skillshare Classes & Courses
Now I think it’s the time to highlight the top free Skillshare classes which are based on a variety of factors like popularity, learner engagement, reviews and positive instructor feedback. Let’s delve right in.
1. Going Freelance: Building and Branding Your Own Success
I am starting off with this class Going Freelance because as a freelancer myself I know what it takes to make that leap into becoming a freelancer. Now more than ever, we live in a freelance world and this class lays the foundation for going freelance. It will give you an insight into what you need to consider with the objective of empowering, enlightening and educating you on what it takes to go freelance.
The class is broken up into 9 videos lessons which share stories, examples and tips to spark your thinking and help to inspire you. The video lessons vary from just over a minute and some are nearly 10 minutes. In total the class is 51 minutes. The class is taught by Justin Gignac the co-founder of Working Not Working who work with creative businesses like Apple and Google to manage their nomadic workforce.
The class is broken up into 10 video lessons where you will learn how to set up your first canvas, how to select tools and bushes, how to organize layers and how to add colour, texture and effects. The video lessons are anywhere from 2 minutes up to over 12 minutes long and in total the class is 1 hour 7 minutes. The class is taught by Jarom Vogel a freelance illustrator who also dabbles in motion, design and development.
Why should I choose this course?
Very popular course over 100,000 students have enjoyed
3. Introduction to SEO: Tactics and Strategy for Entrepreneurs
Are you eager to learn more about SEO? Well, this class maybe what you are looking for as it’s designed to give you actionable insights and tactics for optimizing your content and organically raising the online presence of your business. This class is perfect for entrepreneurs, small business owners, startups, freelancers, junior marketers, web designers and copywriters and no prior experience is needed.
The class is broken up into 12 bite-sized video lessons where you will learn how to craft a SEO strategy, the fundamentals of content optimization and a walk through of auditing a full site and specific posts. The video lessons are anywhere from 2 minutes up to close to 13 minutes long and in total the class is 1 hour 30 minutes. By the end of this class, students are invited to work on a project where they can put all their learnings into action: sharing their own SEO strategy. The class is taught by Rand Fishkin the founder of SparkToro and previous cofounder of Moz and Inbound.org.
4. E-Commerce Essentials: How to Start a Successful Online Business
Are you thinking about starting your own online business? Well, this class will teach you all about e-commerce essentials. You will explore how to identity marketable products, create a store and build a successful marketing strategy to drive traffic and sales. This class is for everyone, if you have a side hustle and want to turn it into something full time or you are looking to break away from the 9-5, this is a perfect place to start.
The class is broken up into 9 video lessons where you will learn how to choose the right product, ensure you can sell it, understand your competition, determine the right products and make your business profitable. The video lessons are anywhere from over 1 minute long and up to over 13 minutes long and in total the class is 1 hour 3 minutes. After watching this class, you’ll have the foundation you need to set yourself up for long-lasting success in your online business. The class is taught by Tracey Wallace the Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce who works with retail experts and influencers to educate business owners.
5. Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design
What are the basics of Graphic Design?Well, this class is designed to give you a solid foundation of the core principles of graphic design. The video lessons include both examples and demonstration giving you a foundation to be inspired. This is class is ideal for a beginner or an already established graphic designer looking for a refresher of the core principles.
The class is broken up into 9 short video lessons where you will learn about the 5 basic principles (symmetry, scale, framing, hierarchy and grids) and then everything is brought together in a demo in InDesign. The video lessons range from just over 30 seconds to just over 11 minutes and the class is 36 minutes in total. The class is taught by Ellen Lupton a director of Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).
Its 11 video lessons are easy to follow and are packed with actionable tips, printable reference guides and endless inspiration you can return to again and again. By the end, you’ll have the tools you need to identify your personal style, unleash your creativity and transform your space into a home you never want to leave. The class is taught by Lauren Cox an interior designer based in Denver and works as a Design Program Manager for Havenly.
7. Building an Etsy Shop that Sells: Strategies for E-Commerce Success
Are you looking to sell online?This class is brought to you by Parker Gard from Etsy and he will talk you through the ins and outs of creating a successful e-commerce business. You will learn how to take your business from dream to reality by designing a winning product and carefully crafting your brand.
It’s 6 bite-sized video lessons include finding the target customer for your product, creating a memorable brand that stands out from the crowd, ensuring the right people are discovering your shop and succeeding in an online marketplace with a built-in customer base. The 6 video lessons make up 41 minutes in total and you will leave this class with a toolbox of tips and tricks to draw from as you build your online business.
8. Typography That Works: Typographic Composition and Fonts
Wanting to find out how Typography works? This class brought to you by Ellen Lupton a curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt will teach you to recognize great typeface and create intriguing compositions. You’ll learn Sans + Structure, Serif + Details and Slab + Customization.
This class is broken into 10 video lessons and each one is short and to the point. You will create a business card using the typography elements covered in each lesson. The video lessons total up to 41 minutes and this class appeals to complete beginners or is a quick refresher for an already working designer.
9. Building a Career in illustration: Explore Print-On-Demand I Learn with Society6
Curious about building a career in illustration?Artist Cat Coquill explains how she works with a print-on-demand company Society6 to sell her illustrative work. This class will walk you through how to create art that sells consistently, optimize your work for print-on-demand products and use promotion effectively to sustain bestsellers.
The class is made up of 7 short video lessons which focus on creating art to sell, how to sell with print-on-demand, prepping your work to sell, uploading to Society6 and Marketing your work. The class is 24 minutes in total and you will leave with a variety of strategies for maximizing your success through print-on-demamd giving you the flexiibilty to build a creative career.
10. Productivity Habits That Stick: Using Time Theming
Looking to create a more productive way of working?This class brought to you by Mike Vary founder of Productivityist shares how to create a simple, flexible, durable productivity system that will transform the way you work. This class is great for freelancers balancing multiple gigs or a 9-5er with an agenda full of meetings.
This class is made up of 8 video lessons that focus on creating a framework, establishing habits that stick, use tools to support your habits and put it into action. The 8 lessons make up 45 minutes in total and after taking this class, you’ll have an arsenal of strategies to personalize your productivity and ensure you’re getting the right things done, freeing time and energy so you can focus on things that matter.
11. Visual Thinking: Drawing Data to Communicate Ideas
How can drawing help our visual thinking? This class, brought to you by Catherine Madden, is about how drawing can help communicate ideas clearer, faster and stronger. In this class you will learn how drawing everyday data into friendly stories and charts can help organize your ideas, extend your brainstorming and communicate complex concepts.
This class is made up of 13 videos lessons that focus on mind mapping, charts that tell a story, visual possibilities and more. The 13 lessons make up 1 hour 5 minutes of material and the class is ideal for a designer, a writer, an artist, a creative team or an entrepreneur. You will leave this class with functional drawing techniques and the power of visual thinking.
12. Introduction to Social Media Advertising I Learn with Buffer
Want to know the best ways to advertise on social media? This class is brought to you by Brian Peters a social media specialist from Buffer who will teach you the essentials of social media advertising and give you the confidence to make decisions to set you up for success. It is an introductory class that is perfect for marketers, brands, small business and freelancers.
This class is made up of 10 videos lessons that include demystifying key terms and vocabulary, setting campaign goals, targeting audience segments, developing compelling copy and visuals and iterating and optimizing campaigns for long-term success. The class is 53 minutes in total and by the end you will be ready to run your first social media ad campaign.
13. From Plant to Cup: Brew an Amazing Cup of Coffee
Always wanted to know how to brew the perfect cup of coffee?This class will take you behind-the-scenes with Michael Phillips from Blue Bottle. The class is designed to be enjoyable and to deepen your knowledge about coffee giving you options for making a simple cup or going the distance with pro equipment.
This class is made up of 11 video lessons and totals 59 minutes. The video lessons are broken up into different topics like the Coffee Theory, Brewing Tools to Grinding Your Beans and more. The class is filmed on location at Blue Bottle’s original roastery and cupping room.
Interested in making your own film poster? This class is brought to you by Ellen Lupton and you will learn all about how posters are visual stories or used to announce events or bring ideas to life. As well as making your own poster you will explore the collection from Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York.
The class consists of 12 video lessons and focus on telling a story, simplifying, Overlapping and more. The 1 hour 5 minute long class is perfect for graphic designers, illustrators and enthusiasts. All you need is a passion for design, a curious eye and a love for a visual story.
Fancy trying out hand-lettering?This class is brought to you by Jessica Hische a letterer and illustrator who is teaching Olivia Wilde how to do hand lettering. Jessica shows Olivia the basics of layout, design and lettering to create a poster that inspires awareness and action.
The class is made up of 2 video lessons and only 15 minutes long. All you will need to work along with this class is some paper, something to draw with and a passion for discovering your own hidden talents.
16. Getting Started with Email Marketing I Learn with Mailchimp
Want to know how to craft an email marketing strategy?This class by Allyson Van Houten from Mailchimp which teach you how to craft and email marketing strategy to help you accomplish your business goals. This class is suited to business owners, freelancers and startup teams.
These 14 videos lessons are 1 hour 11 minutes in total where you will learn: What content do I include?, What types of email should I send?, How often should I send? and much more. This class is ideal for anyone kicking off a new campaign or someone looking to revamp your strategy – what you will learn is universal.
Why should I choose this course?
Popular class taken by close to 50,000 students
Excellent tips on how to market your brand with email
17. Productivity with Evernote: Use One Tool for Everything
Looking to be more productive with Evernote?This class brought to you by Evernote expert Lindsey Holmes who teaches you a whole new approach to productivity which focuses on simplicity and longevity. This class gives you tools and techniques to manage every aspect of your work and personal productivity.
The 7 videos lessons make up the 25-minute class which by the end you’ll be ready to create a custom productivity system, allowing you to spend less time managing your work and more time getting work done.
Why should I choose this course?
Informative and straight to the point class
Great teacher who is easy to understand
Ideal for a freelancer as well as someone working in a large corporation
This class consists of 6 video lessons which focus on: Knife Safety, Knife Cuts: Slice and Julienne, Knife Cuts: Dice and Mince, Knife Care and Closing and Hungry for More. You will come away from this class with confidence in using a chef’s knife and the skills to cut your vegetables quickly and beautifully.
Why should I choose this course?
Popular class taken by over 50,000 students
Excellent take-away skills to use everyday in the kitchen
Want to start a blog?This class will provide you with all the information to start blogging in the right way. It’s a crash course for beginner bloggers who want to learn more before diving into the blogging world. This class is for anyone who wants to make their blog a business, advertise their services or just want to share their life with the world.
The 7 video lessons make up the 23-minute class which covers 5 topics: Platforms available to set up your blog, Blog design, The pages you should set up for your site, Social media and Creating amazing content. So, all you need to get started is either a pen and paper or open a new document on your computer.
Curious to know more about user experience? This class is brought to you by UserTesting’s Marieke McCloskey giving you an insight into usability and what it means and ways you can optimize your product, service or business. This class is ideal for designers, marketers, product managers and developers.
The 1 hour 21 minute class consists of 10 video lessons that give you the framework, tools and tactics to create a stand out user experience. You will leave this class with a richer understanding of usability which will empower you to design, evaluate and iterate on the user experience.
21. Instagram for Business: Build an Engaged Community I Learn with Iconosquare
Want to know how to make Instagram work for your business?This class may be your answer. It is taught by Tyler McCall an Instagram marketing strategist from Iconosquare talks you through a fresh authentic approach to build a vibrant community who are truly engaged. This class is ideal for an entrepreneur, a blogger, a maker or a member of a marketing team.
The 1 hour 31 minute class made up of 13 lessons takes you through from Establishing your audience, crafting your voice, finding your voice, creating visuals and more. The class includes downloadable worksheets and countless tips and tricks that you will walk away with a concrete strategy to create the right content and connect with your follows.
22. How to Make a Podcast: Plan, Record, and Launch with Success
Ever thought about starting your own podcast? This step by step class by John Lagomarsino from Anchor will teach you how to write, record and launch your very own podcast. This class will give you a behind-the-scenes look into the tried and tested techniques from your favourite podcasters.
The 12 digestible video lessons make up the 1 hour 4 minute class which focus on: Planning your pilot episode, choosing your gear, recording tips & tricks and more. By the end of this class you’ll have everything you need to outline your content, record and edit your audio and launch your podcast for success.
23. SEO Today: Strategies to Earn Trust, Rank High, and Stand Out
Want your content to rank higher through SEO? This class by SEO expert Rand Fishkin will teach you how to earn trust, rank high, drive traffic and make your site stand out from the rest. This class is ideal for those who have basic SEO familiarity, whether you are working at a startup or just interested in growing your digital marketing toolkit.
The 11 engaging video lessons will be taught in Rand’s signature whiteboard teaching style and will focus on link sharing strategies, On-page SEO optimizations, latest in search engine results pages (SERP) and much more. You will leave this class understanding what’s now effective with SEO to help you reach your ranking goals.
Want to know more about Art Fundamentals?This class is brought to you by Hardy Fowler a Digital Artist who teaches a series of fun, engaging and succinct lessons about the core principles and terminology that you’ll need to start understand and creating art like a professional.
The class is 1 hour 5 minutes and made up of 9 video lessons that cover the building blocks of art fundamentals from basic sketching, basic color, design principles and much more. If you have a passion for art, but may not know about all the technical terminology or concepts, then this is the class for you.
Why should I choose this course?
Perfect introduction to sketching and blending colours
25. How to Get a Job: A Step-by-Step Guide I Learn with Glassdoor
Want to know the secrets of a successful job search? Well, it may be worth joining Scott Dobroski from Glassdoor for a step-by-step guide to your next job hunt. If you are looking to make a big change or just considering your next step, this class will help you manage every aspect of your search.
This 1 hour 5 minute class that is made up of 10 video lessons will cover key points like writing a solid resume, advice for online applications, interview tips & advice and navigating the offer. You will leave this class with a 30-page workbook and lessons to help you jumpstart your career.
Why should I choose this course?
Very informative and something for everyone
Downloadable workbook full of guides, worksheets and a checklist
26. Visual Storytelling: Creating More Persuasive Presentations
Want to know how to make a compelling presentation?This class by Prezi’s Susannach Shattuck may be your answer, as she explains why visual storytelling can create compelling presentations. This class is ideal for entrepreneurs, professional, marketers and content strategies.
These 9 digestible video lessons make up the 60-minute class that cover topics like; define visual story telling, show why it’s essential for a compelling presentation, 4 real-world examples and more. You will leave this course ready with your professional toolkit to create compelling presentations with Prezi or another presentation software.
Looking to bring beauty into your own work? This class by Ellen Lupton and Andrea Lipps will help to answer just that by exploring 5 themes through dozens of examples of contemporary art and design. This class is perfect for a graphic designer, creative and enthusiast alike. All you need is a passion for design and curiosity to understand beauty.
This 37 minute class broken up into 10 video lessons focusing on What is Beauty?, Natural Patterns of Growth, Chance Encounters and more. You will have the opportunity to create a beautiful pattern of your own which will help you to engage with your own notions of beauty.
Looking to understand Financial Statements? This class is brought to you by Skillshare’s CEO Matt Cooper who will talk you through the basics of business accounting through straightforward financial spreadsheets: Income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements. They class really is for everyone.
The 46-minute straight talking class is broken up into 10 video lessons. The key lesson include Cash accounting, calculating topline revenue, how to balance your statements and more. This introduction to the world of accounting is for everyone and you will walk away with the ability to understand essential financial information.
Why should I choose this course?
A life skill for everyone to learn about
Basic accounting explained in a clear and concise way
After trying out some of Skillshare’s free course you may be curious about its paid premium memberships which will give you full access to its library of 27,000+ classes plus the ability to watch them offline.
Skillshare Monthly: You’ll pay month by month a subscription of $19. You can cancel it at any time
Skillshare Yearly: Pay $99 a year for your annual Skillshare membership, this comes out at $8.25 per month, a big discount compared to the monthly deal.
If you aren’t sure yet about financially committing to one of the subscription plans, then you can try out the 14-day free trial just by clicking here.
Alternative Free courses
Still haven’t found what you are looking for with Skillshare’s free classes?
Then no worries as there are many other elearning platforms who offer free courses to choose from. I have highlighted some of my other favourite platforms with free courses below.
Udemy offers close to 7,000 free courses on a wide range of subjects from categories like “Finance & Accounting” to “Lifestyle”. What makes its free courses even more appealing is the fact you get lifetime access meaning you can retake or review the course countless times.
All of Udemy’s courses are self-paced so you can learn anytime and anywhere. If you are looking to earn a certificate when you complete a course, then you would need to pay for the course and 30-day money back is guaranteed for any paid courses.
Coursera works with top universities and businesses to create its courses. It will allow you to learn for free on the majority of its courses when you choose the audit the course option. The only difference is you won’t receive an accredited certificate on completion.
Coursera offers free courses
After you have chosen the free audit course, you will have the option to upgrade to a paid Certificate at any time during the audit period. Beware there are some degrees and specializations that don’t offer the free audit option.
Like Coursera, edX offers a free course Audit option. Its courses are partnered with prestigious universities and companies like Harvard and Berkeley. With the free audit option, you will be granted access to all course materials except graded assignments and you won’t be awarded a certificate.
edX offers free courses
Once you have completed the edX free course material you will no longer have access to the course. If you do decide to upgrade to a verified certificate you will have the option to upgrade.
I hope this detailed article has given you the guidance you need to pick one of Skillshare’s free classes. If you are a beginner, entrepreneur or a creative or looking for a creative class then Skillshare is definitely the platform for you.
Its free classes are well put together and there is enough variety for you to choose from that you won’t get bored. And let’s face it when you are getting something for free it’s hard to complain.
I would add here that the majority of Skillshare’s free classes are for beginners, so if you are looking for something more advanced or in depth it is worth trying out Skillshare’s Premium free trial.
Please, leave a comment below if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help you out.
Hey. I am Catherine and I have been working as a freelancer for many years now. In 2005, I graduated from a BA honours in Art & Design from BCU and then went onto complete a Master’s Degree in Teaching from UEL. The skills I gained from learning and teaching have led me to create Upskillwise, a place for learners like myself to find the best possible resources and courses to train and upskill themselves, either personally or professionally. If you have a question, please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.