Since I know myself, I always wanted to be a freelancer. I did not like the idea to work in a place where someone was constantly telling me what to do, not to mention that I like to make my own schedule and not have to wake up in the morning. Like most of the people, however, I had to get regular jobs for many years before I could go on my own.
I did everything a young professional could do: I was an intern, I made projects for others, I worked in international companies and took a second job with a publishing company, I even tried to be a salesman before I realized that this was not going to work for me. I had to become my own boss, and I had to do this fast.
As you probably know, working as a freelancer is pretty easy nowadays when everyone has access to the Internet. Big companies prefer hiring online over regular employees to avoid complications, and people like me prefer to work from home instead of going outside every day. I was young, with great knowledge in my profession and ready to work as much as I should to make a name in the industry. The only natural step was to build a profile online and start searching for work, which I did in the best way I could. The result? A disaster. A few weeks later, no company contacted me and no one seemed interested to become my client. I thought that there is something wrong with my online profile, so I changed it quite often; my luck was a potential client who was kind enough to tell me what my problem was: my portfolio.
To be a reputable freelancer on the Internet, you need to have a great portfolio to show to potential clients. This has to include not only samples of your work, but also certificates and proof that you are actually good in your work. As you can guess, I did not have any kind of certificates, as no one asked me for this when I was working regular jobs. The solution seemed to be to go and attend various schools that would offer me certified courses, but this was too expensive and I did not have enough time.
With complete discouragement, I started searching online for websites that could offer me certificates and professional courses. Udemy seemed like the most popular learning platform that would offer what I needed, so I made an account and looked for certificates that were relevant in my field. This was the best idea I ever had, and I am happy to say this almost one year later.
There are thousands and thousands of courses on Udemy, so I did not have any problem choosing something that would seem interesting for my clients. From the basics like working on the computer to more advanced ones like online marketing and analytics, I found everything on Udemy. The courses were so diverse that I actually had to spend a few days only to figure out which ones I should buy. As you can imagine, in the beginning I was only looking for the online certificate, but soon enough I realized that these resources can help me more than my certificates. For only a few dollars I had access to an immense volume of information that was put there by specialists that I admired. I took a break from searching online jobs, and I focused on getting my online certificates.
After a few weeks, my portfolio was filled with certificates that any client would take into consideration. Even more than this, my clients could see for how long my certificates were available, so they knew that I just took the course and the information is fresh in my mind. For the first time I felt that I was one of the professionals of the Internet and that I had something to show. Did this make a difference in my career? Of course!
I got contacted by many clients that noticed my online Udemy certificates and were curious about the courses I took. After a brief discussion about what I know, they were ready to hire me and they were offering a way better payment than I could hope for. Many of them took Udemy courses too and they knew that my online certificates were trustworthy and recognized all over the world.
Does this mean that I stopped taking the courses? Of course not. As a matter of fact, now I understand better than ever how much it means to have the proof of your knowledge. Potential clients will not take your word for granted and they will not put their project in the hands of someone who does not have any certified online course. Since there are new courses on Udemy every day, I find it easy to take small ones before going to bed in the evening. In this way, I don’t have to dedicate too much time for this and I always have fresh information to work with.
Are they time consuming or expensive? No, not if you compare it with all the advantages that you get from taking them. To take certified courses in real life it would probably take you a lot of money, not to mention that you would have to go somewhere and actually attend the course every day. Since most of the certificates are available for a certain period of time, doing this every few years or months is really a struggle, and there is no reason to do it when platforms like Udemy are available.
As for me, I am proudly showing my certificates to anyone who wants to know how good I am in what I do. Thanks to Udemy, I have the proof that I can handle any difficult task and I have all the knowledge required to do so.