15 Skillshare Courses to Help You Start and Grow Your Creative Business on a Budget

If you’d like to start or grow your creative business, one of the best ways to make progress is to take courses to help you learn and refine your skills.

Fortunately, these courses don’t have to be hundreds of dollars or take you six months to complete!

In fact, one alternative to the private course model offered by many bloggers and experts is to join a course marketplace, such as Skillshare.

Why Skillshare Courses?

Instead of paying for each course separately, you’ll pay one small yearly fee for complete access to thousands of courses, designed specifically for people who want a creative education.

What’s especially great about Skillshare is that you can sign up for a free, 2-month trial, so you can see if it’s right for you.

And to help you get the most out of your free trial, I’ve put together a list of courses that I’ve personally watched and can recommend, especially for creative business owners who are just starting out.

Don’t know where to start with your business? Watch these…

Discovering Success: 7 Exercises to Uncover Your Purpose, Passion & Path by Emma Gannon

Emma is an author and podcaster who, in this hour-long course, will take you through several reflection exercises that will help you identify what kind of life you’d really like.

This course is perfect for creatives who aren’t sure what kind of business they’d like to start or for those who are looking to make any kind of large or small pivot in their business or life.

Entrepreneurship: Online Business Planning 101 by Dana Malstaff

This concise beginner course is brought to you by Dana Malstaff, the Boss Mom herself.

Even though this was clearly a beginner course for Dana, this 45-minute introductory business exploration will get you thinking big about your dreams and goals.

Make a Living as an Artist: Strategies for Crafting Your Creative Business by Brooke Glaser

This course is targeted specifically toward artists, but it can be applied to any creative who hasn’t yet tried to monetize their skills.

Brooke Glaser’s optimistic personality will have you motivated and selling your work before the course is over.

Get your messaging and your photos right with these courses…

Branding Your Creative Business: Define Your Brand by Faye Brown

This is the first in a 3-part series of courses by Faye Brown that will walk you, step-by-step, through the branding process for your business.

If you’re just starting your creative business, this Skillshare course will help you define the fundamentals of your brand (think ideal customer, business name, and your message.)

Product Photography Basics for Your Handmade Business by Kristina Turner

If you want to take some product photos on a clean white background, this course is for you. Kristina will show you the exact setup she uses to get the framing and lighting right for product photos.

She will then take you through basic Photoshop edits to get your photos Etsy-ready.

Product Photography: Style and Edit for Stronger Images by Tabitha Park

Tabitha Park is a breath of fresh air on Skillshare. She’s been teaching exclusively on the platform for years, and her classes are exactly the right length to teach you what you want to know.

In this course, Tabitha will show you how to shoot and edit stylized product photos, mainly on your phone, though she also edits in Lightroom as well.

It’s an excellent course to help you get started taking conversion-ready product photos that you can use on Instagram or Etsy!

Mastering Mockups by Teela Cunningham

I really enjoy learning from Teela Cunningham. Every time I watch her tutorials, I get a serious case of shiny object syndrome, and I decide I want to design fonts or make beautiful lettering, or something else that is most definitely not in my long-term business strategy.

In this course, she’s going to teach you how to create both simple and more complex mockups in Photoshop. This is especially useful for sellers who would like to use a print-on-demand model for their business.

Business Basics Made Easy

Beginning Etsy Sellers…. Start With Stupendous Shipping! by Tara Jacobsen

If you’ve never watched Tara Jacobsen (Marketing Artfully) before, you’re in for a treat. She’s like a quirky, fun-loving aunt who teaches you how to do nerdy art projects…or something like that.

In this Skillshare course, she breaks down Etsy shipping- what services to use, the equipment you need and the best materials for your packaging, so can make sure that your products arrive at their destination safely and efficiently.

It’s a great basic course that I would recommend for new Etsy sellers who don’t know where to start when it comes to shipping their own products.

Etsy SEO: Better Keyword Research in 4 Easy Steps by Elissa Carden

If you’d like step-by-step help with your Etsy SEO, pick a listing, download your keyword workbook (included in the course!), and optimize your Etsy shop with me! 

Fundamentals of Google Analytics  by Jeff Sauer

Jeff Sauer is a huge data nerd (in the best way possible), and in this course, he breaks it all down so you can get started using Google Analytics to make goals and decisions about your business.

Copywriting Basics for Successful Sales: Time-Tested Tactics that Prompt Action by Jack Zerby

You’d think that the best copywriting class on Skillshare would be taught by a copywriter… Nope.

Jack Zerby is a designer, but his Skillshare course on writing copy that converts is a must-watch if you want to sell anything online.

Use the skills learned in this course to write product descriptions, and you’ll be selling in no time!

Pricing Your Work: How to Value Your Work as a Freelancer by Peggy Dean 

Peggy Dean is one of my absolute favorite Skillshare teachers. I typically watch her courses when I get the urge to learn how to draw or do lettering, but in this course, she discusses how to price your creative work.

While a good bit of the course is focused on freelancers, she addresses product sellers as well. All in all, it’s a thought-provoking lecture-style course that will get you really thinking about how your prices affect your business.

Ready to tell the world about your business? Watch these…

Social Media Marketing: Top Tips for Growing Your Followers & Going Viral by Cat Coquillette

If you want to start leveraging social media for your business, Cat Coquillette’s course on social media marketing will give you a solid foundation for success on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

This Skillshare course is well-worth an hour of your time!

Promoting Your Online Business on Pinterest (Especially for artists, makers, and creatives!) by Jules Tillman

Jules Tillman is a long-time teacher of creatives, and in this 45-minute course, she’ll give you a step-by-step, informal tour of how you can use Pinterest for your creative business, including how to pin from Etsy.

Before paying big money for a privately published Pinterest course, check out this Skillshare course instead. It will get you up and running so you can start driving more traffic to your products immediately!

Learn A Skill

Intro to Surface Pattern Design: Learn Adobe Illustrator by Bonnie Christine

I first encountered, and promptly fell in love with Bonnie Christine, by paying for almost the exact same class on Creative Live. (So why not watch it for free by getting yourself a free 2-month trial of Skillshare instead?)

Let me just say that when I purchased Bonnie’s course, I had zero, and I mean zero, interest in ever becoming a surface pattern designer.

What I did have an interest in, however, was learning how to use Adobe Illustrator so I could design my own wood signs, tshirts, mugs, and notebook covers.

Bonnie taught me more about Illustrator than anyone else, and I use these skills daily.

Go Beyond Etsy

WordPress WooCommerce 2019 – Build a World Class Online Store by Alexander Oni

If you’re an Etsy seller who wants to start driving traffic to your own website, you have a couple of options.

While most bloggers and experts recommend Shopify, I happen to think that a combination of a self-hosted WordPress site using the ecommerce plugin, WooCommerce, is just as easy (and more flexible and affordable.)

In this Skillshare course, Alexander Oni will teach you how to install WooCommerce on your WordPress site.

So, which Skillshare courses did you watch? What do you recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links, and I may get a commission if you click on them.

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Well, Hey There!

Are you ready to build a happy and fulfilling  creative business (that doesn’t add more stress to your life?) 

You’re in the right place.

I’m Elissa Carden, and my goal is to inspire you to start an online creative business that you can love and to provide you with the tools you need to make it a success.