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    Joycellyn Akuffo

21 May 2018

Motivation Mondays: I can and I will!

Oh yes you can….and you will. And if you feel the opposite, fake it till you make it, as they say!

If Monday is the start of your week and you need something to cheer you on, our new Motivation Mondays is just the pick me up you’ve been yearning for. Every Monday, you’ll get something to stimulate your inner can-do.

Here’s the start of a fantastic week for you – go on, you can do it!

I can and I ...will!

I can and I …will!

15 May 2018

How to Become More Charitable at Work

Giving to charity and promoting generosity are admirable endeavours which should be celebrated at all times. However, while it isn’t difficult to showcase your generosity at home and while out and about, it can be much trickier to do this when you are at work.

No matter whether you are a business owner or a member of management, an employee, freelance professional or someone just starting out in a new career, there are plenty of things that you can do in order to maximise your positive effect in the workplace. Read More

27 February 2018

What to do when your client won’t pay up

You’re waiting for your payment from a client, but it’s well overdue. What should you do to get your well-earned paycheck? The last thing you want to do is begin a feud that you can’t afford and quite frankly shouldn’t have to deal with. Instead of things getting messy and spiralling out of control, go through these steps and escalate the problem further if need be. Read More

27 February 2018

Need to knows about buying commercial property

 

Buying a commercial property can be very stressful as there are so many factors you need to take into consideration. Having a commercial property for your business can either be the first step towards even more success, or be the downfall of your company. Therefore, you need to make sure you find the right property for you and your business!

Why do you want a Commercial Property?

When you are looking for a commercial property, ask yourself why am I buying a commercial property? Are you looking to expand your business? Does my business warrant a commercial property? You need to ask yourself these types of questions to ensure owning a commercial property will benefit you.

Find the Perfect Location!

If you didn’t already know, London is the business capital of Europe, making a commercial property in London, well sought after. London is considered the best place to have a commercial property as it’s the most successful city in the world. If you’re lucky enough to find a commercial property in London within your budget, you’re on the right track to successfully expanding your business!

Have a Commercial Property Near Bus Stops and Train Stations

If you have a number of employees who use public transport when travelling to and from work, it’s essential you buy a commercial property which is easy for them to get to. Another thing you want to ensure is the commercial property has on-site parking or a car park close by. Therefore, the property is easy to access through multiple modes of transport. This factor is important for both employees and clients.

Have a Strict Budget

Having a strict budget for a commercial property is vital. You don’t want to buy a commercial property that’s a bit too expensive as it could stunt your businesses growth. Make sure you’re aware of all the costs of owning a commercial property and plan your cash flow. These costs include;

• Heating
• Lighting
• Electricity
• Cleaning services
• Insurance
• Mortgage (If you haven’t got sufficient funds to buy the property outright)

Make an offer for the Property

Once you’ve taken the steps above and are satisfied with the commercial property, it’s time to make an offer to the agent. This means informing the agent that you’re interested in the property they have, and want to buy it for a specific price. Once a price and been agreed, the building has passed its survey, etc. The property is yours!

Conclusion

Purchasing a commercial property is very exciting, yet stressful. Owning a commercial property does have its pros and cons, but can reap dividends, providing you invest in a well-located property. The price of the property could potentially rise, therefore, gaining a profit from your commercial property.

To find out more about buying a commercial property, please take a look at the infographic below:

 

18 January 2018

New year, new business for 2018

Are you excited about starting a new business in 2018? Here’s what the experts say you should do to make sure you get off to a successful start.

Many people concluded 2017 feeling wrung out by their jobs and with a vow in their heart to become self-employed in 2018. Well if you are serious about sticking with your New Year resolution of starting your own business, there’s no better time to get the ball rolling than now. Especially if you already have enough saved up to self-fund your entrepreneurial dreams.

But in the event you don’t have enough saved up to bankroll your business ideas, you need not fret because there are other financing options available. For instance, you can seek outside business financing from top lenders. Approval ratings for small business loan requests were significantly high in 2017 and this trend is still ongoing. This means now’s as good a time as any to apply for a business loan from your bank or shop around for a better deal from newer sources of funding (like institutional investors).

But if you want your loan application to be well received, experts strongly advise that you draw up a winning business plan that showcases the sort of business you intend on starting, products that’ll be offered, who’ll run your company, targeted market, level of competition within the targeted niche, and the Unique Selling Point of your proposed business.

Below is a more detailed description of what your business plan should contain if you want to succeed in getting needed funding to start up your business this year:
1. Executive summary: This should be a compelling one page explanation that effectively and concisely describes the proposed business as well as its short and long-term goals. It will also contain details of marketing plan, revenue projections, and operations.
2. Business description: This will detail the specific market you are targeting and what products you’ll be offering said target market.
3. Competitive landscape: This will detail how many businesses in your locality are currently into the business you have in mind and how you intend on competing successfully with them.
4. Product or service: Discuss your offered product(s) and detail its unique advantages.
5. Marketing: Share with the lender how you intend on promoting your proposed business and draw attention to your product to generate sales. This can be through social media marketing, ads, or any other viable means.
6. Management: This can be a one-paragraph bio of all the key individuals that will be involved in running your business and making it a success.
7. Financial data: This will state the probable cash flow and profit-and-loss projections for your business.
8. Investment: This will indicate how much you and your partners intend on personally committing to the business. Most lenders are unwilling to commit money to business ideas that business owners are unwilling to personally financially commit to.
9. Appendices: Insert your letters of reference, company logo, and any other necessary supporting documents.
Asides from being a tool for securing funding for your business, creating a business plan with the aforementioned details will guide you towards researching your business idea and let you know exactly what you are getting into as well as your chances for success. It is quite simply a great initial step for preparing to launch your new business in 2018.

11 December 2017

Every mum should read or listen to this book…it will change your life!

So, if you’re a regular Mothers Who Work reader, you’ll be accustomed with some of the self-help book reviews that we often share. It’s done with no commercial reasons behind it. Self-help is the way forward and without the time (and sometimes the money) to go to a life coach, counsellor or any empowerment expert, books and audiobooks are definitely the way forward.

One such book is the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I personally love this book because it’s so different. It covers offence, why we get offended, why other people offend us, and why it even exists in the world. It covers how to make sure you never take offence again and how to make sure you don’t. This may seem a little airy fairy when you read about it, but just think about it: how many people grate on us on an average day. Whether it’s that slow driver who just won’t go up a couple of miles an hour so you can get to your child’s school in the nick of time, or that irritating colleague who is always rubbing you up the wrong way…or your spouse, or your teenager, or the delivery guy, or… The truth is there are so many instances for someone to try to steal our joy. Read More

20 November 2017

No, you can’t shorten my name! Or try to tell me how to pronounce it!

Is it just me or does anyone else want to scratch something when someone tries to change their name? So, ny name is Joycellyn. It’s pronounced in two syllables: ‘Joyce’ ‘Llyn’. My experience is that many people hear me introduce my name and stop me part way because they think they know what it is: ‘Joyce’. No! ‘Jocelyn’ (pronounced, ‘Jo’ ‘Sir’ ‘Lin’. That’s not my name! Read More

3 November 2017

Weekendvy and the lies told about the weekend

It’s not often we get a survey sent to Mother Who Work Towers that make me chuckle. In this case, my fit of giggles was in the knowing that some of the results must be true!

The years of working in the media and cringing whenever someone asks what my weekend was like, and the truth is that is was filled with child or baby-related activities I knew would bore most people to hear about, but was a special moment for me and my hubby. Read More

1 November 2017

That time I was harassed at work

Every other news story this past month seems to be about the inappropriate behaviour of men in sectors from film (aka the alleged Harvey Weinstein) to politics. Industry big wigs seem to have, for years, got away with treating women any way they wish.

Some critics have blamed women for dressing inappropriately, not standing up for themselves and even for putting themselves in a vulnerable situation themselves. Read More

14 September 2017

Cheap home office supplies to bring a pop of colour and happiness to your workspace

Your office workspace can make a huge difference in whether you want to work or not. The more comfortable and inviting it looks, the better mood you’ll be in and the more productive you’ll be.

We’ve found some gorgeous home office and work office items for you to ponder to buy or just dream about! Enjoy! Read More

13 September 2017

How to love your work when you can’t change your job

Despite common belief, it’s not always easy to move jobs when you fall out of love with it. Whether it’s because there just isn’t anything else available in a small town, or because you need to upskill or get more qualifications (that you’re either working on or can’t afford to pay for) there are a number of reasons why a job change may not easily be on the cards.

So, besides throwing the towel in or sinking into panic mode every time you walk into your workplace, what can you do about it? Read More

13 August 2017

Pregnant? How to start earning extra money before your maternity leave

Firstly, congratulations are in order! If it’s your first child you’ll know doubt have a mix of excitement and a ting of nervousness every so often – life is about to change, for the better! If this is not your first child, you know what to expect during the pregnancy and the mix with work, but you’ll no doubt be wondering how to make the room in your life (and purse!) for the addition to the family. Read More

2 June 2017

Seven secrets of unflappable the working mother

We’ve all seen her at the school gates: immaculate makeup, hair glossy and chic, pristine Shellac nails and not a crease in sight (forehead and clothes, that is). Somehow, while other working mums at the school gate seem to have their off days, this one particular working mother doesn’t ever seem to drop a ball – and she doesn’t even look like she’s trying.
So, what’s her secret? Well, the truth is, no one is perfect. What is presented at the school gate may be one thing, but if you could be a fly on her wall you’d soon see that there isn’t a whole lot to idolise. But the unflappable working mother knows how to pick her battles, and here are just some of them.

1. Become central to your home

It’s commonly suggested that when you work from home, as so many of us do full-time or one day a week, you have to hide yourself into a home office (if you’re blessed enough to afford one), or a tiny little corner where you roar at your child if he or she dares to even look in your direction while you take another important phone call.

However, in these secluded areas, we lose our purpose a little; which is that we are a force to be reckoned with at home. There’s something comforting about knowing that you’re making money, progressing through that to-do list, but still have some oversight of what your family is doing. You really don’t have to be completed secluded to make it work – how do you cope in the workplace with all the distractions? Scream blue murder? I don’t think so.

2. Keep your home life at home and your work at work

Years ago, I was asked by one of my team members why I didn’t have pictures of my children and husband on my desk. I could tell it had taken her a long time to get the courage to ask me – I also knew that it was peculiar to her to see how bare my desk was compared to other people’s pictures of their family, pets, favourite celebs (scantily cold if you walked over to the art designer’s desk). But I intentionally didn’t bring those pictures in – the same way I kept talking about my children to an absolute minimum. In the grand scheme of things, no one really cares about you outside the office – sorry if that sounds crass. Mostly, it’s just small talk, unless you form a lasting and genuine bond with a colleague or two who you keep in touch with when you leave, socialise with and have crossed the lines of colleague friendship to something that’s genuinely more lasting.

3. Create a haven at home where you can really relax and unwind

If you feel on edge at work and then go home to a place of chaos, then rinse and repeat it as many days as you work, it’s a no-brainer that you’ll be stressed after a while. Creating a haven at home can be as simple a way to mentally connect to that room or place as a signal of peace and harmony.

I love these cushions from Arthouse – cushions are cosy and with these designs, you can jazz up even the most clinical of places to help you create that haven of peace and calm. I teamed up the Meili Gunmetal Cushion with the Satoni Silver Metal Cushion to create a cosy thinking Haven on a simple armchair. You could try something more contemporary like the Girls Life Cushion – there’s something for all tastes and the quality means that the cushions are very hardwearing, so you don’t have to worry about little ones staining them. 

It really doesn’t seem like much, but a Cushion or two in these bold prints do go a long way in helping to create that place of warmth and enjoyment.
4. Stop obsessing over every minute detail

It’s amazing the things humans can feel bad about, and obsess about, feeling that they are the centre of it all, when other people are not even moved by it. Unless it’s life-changing, take a breath and move one, everyone else has. And that goes for the mummy guilt – you going back to work won’t scar your child unless you put him or her into the hands of the worst childcare provider, which you won’t if you’re this obsessive. You not changing the colour scheme of your PowerPoint slides to match the office furniture won’t lose your department an important sale, unless they are your brand colours – go to bed, don’t lose anymore sleep over it. Really!

5. Use your gut instinct

There are so many ‘so-called’ experts telling us working mums that children who go to nursery are cognitively slow one minute, or social butterflies who are much more grounded the next. Or that working full-time stresses us out, but then being a stay-at-home mum leaves us feeling isolated. As a journalist, I can tell you that most of this research is carried out on a small pool of people – usually around the 100 mark and they are usually based on surveys, not long and detailed clinical research. Don’t lose sleep over it. So long as you’re doing your absolute best for your family, that’s really what counts.

6. Set your own boundaries

Working for yourself means you can decide when you work, but when you are employed by someone else, they’ll expect some flexibility – at least some of the time.
That said, thanks to technology, many employers don’t reprimand their staff for taking work home with them and so many sectors have a culture where you’re expected to at least answer emails like a 24-hour call centre, be contactable when you’re on annual leave and stay on during long-drawn out meetings that should have ended after the first ten minutes.

It can be so easy to feel like you don’t have a choice – but you do. So long as you get your work done – and to a high standard – you don’t need to follow the crowd like a sheep, just learn to work smart and efficiently. Go beyond the call of duty, over-deliver for your line manager, yes, that’s what you’re being paid to do, but don’t spend every single evening on your mobile and lose out on quality family time every day of the week (and sneakily at weekends) all the time. that is a sign of poor time management. If you need to leave at 5.30pm to make it home at a decent hour because you’ve been working since 8am then do it. Learn to speak up for yourself. In her book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook fame discusses the reasons why so many women are overlooked in the workplace: they simply don’t ask. That no asking means they are bypassed on promotions, pay rises and so many other things. Don’t be a statistical doormat – if you know your worth, ask!

7. Comparison is a disease

While the opener for this article was about the elusive working mum who turned up to the school gate looking like some sort of superhero, it doesn’t mean you should compare yourself to her or try to become her. You are the best version of yourself – fine tuning your schedule and routine to suit you and your family’s needs is a positive thing, trying to become another human being is not!
One sure way to knock your confidence is by comparing yourself to someone else – be confident in your own skin and be happy being you. After all, if we were all all meant to be the same, think the same, look the same etc, we would be clones.

2 May 2017

10 Great Startups We Will Hear About in 2017

Great ideas always have the potential to succeed, even when the economic conditions are not exactly favourable.

2016 has led to the emergence of some already well-established start-ups on the market and has seen the emergence of innovative businesses that range in every field: from cancer research to solutions to deliver faster and more powerful connections to the fierce competition. Let’s see which of these start-ups, launched in recent years, will develop rapidly in 2017 thanks to all the potential of their great ideas. Read More

21 April 2017

Choose 5 things to do a day – you won’t regret it

I was listening to a podcast recently and the topic of envy came up. The presenter spoke about receiving a message from a subscriber who was envious of someone who lived in her neighbourhood and seemed to have it all: great social life, gorgeous home, loving spouse and she also works for non other than Google.

If you suffer from envy sometimes, you’re human, and it tells you that there are things in your life you probably aren’t completely happy about. So change it! It’s that simple. The energy you’ll put into making small steps to reaching your goals in life will be better spent (and make you feel better) than looking on social media and wishing you had the life someone else is protecting.

If you’re a curtain or blind twitcher who snoops on other people’s’ lives so much that you even know the sound of the engine for your respective neighbours, stop! Choose to do five things a day to make strides in your own life.
Learn to delegate

If your to-do list reads like the Magna Carla, you need to get a handle on it – today! From your spouse to your children to even co-workers, start sharing that love – and tasks.

Older children can make great interns if you show them the ropes and give them age-appropriate things to do. IT teaches them responsibility, and can be a great way for them to get to know more about what it is you actually do for a living, and what’s entailed.

Schedule home tasks like work tasks

This is one I’m working on, too. The premise is that you add these tasks to your calendar the way you would important work meetings and deadlines. It’s a great way to stop overwhelm, because everything will be planned out for you. 

If you have a smartphone (please, ditch the brick if you don’t!) use Google Calendar (it’s free) or one of my other favourites – Moleskine Timepage to your advantage. Timepage does everything a standard calendar app does, but goes a little further. So, your contacts, events, maps and even weather are combined. I love the fact that I can see what the weather will be like on the day of an event, early enough for me to change my mind about an outfit. Everything I need to make life happen is in one place, and it is so uncluttered and customisable. If I’m feeling like having a yellow colour scheme one day, I can change it with just a few swipes to the left. Try it!

Be productive when multitasking

Juggling ten things at the same time and getting nothing done is not what multitasking is about. If anything, it creates confusion. 

I prefer to use my time more wisely – I focus on one task at a time, but I line things up so I can get more done. So, for me, after the school run, I come home and load the washing machine. Based on the wash I use, I have about an hour to do something constructive, so I will run through the tasks I need to complete that day and look at what I can comfortably do in that one hour. If it’s blitzing through emails, then that’s what I do. If it’s writing a blog post (which does not take an hour,m but you get the gist of it!), then I do that.

The cog in the works comes when the phone rings, ad becaus eI run a business, I don’t switch my mobile phone off during work hours. I can tell quite easily when it’s new business coming in – and I answer it! If it sets up an important meeting, then that was worth the interruption. If the call is coming in from someone I know, I can choose to ignore it and call them back when it’s convenient for me.

Exercise with a friend

Last summer, I signed up for a meditation class with a dear friend, and it meant that we could ditch the guilt at not making time to catch up because we knew we would see each other every Tuesday. It made life a whole lot easier, and there was no excuse for not going to the class because we had both committed our time and finances to it.

Cook with children

My son always complains about not doing this enough, but small steps go a long way! Between him and his younger sister wanting to. Make cupcaChkes when I’ve just finished working and just want to catch my breath, the pressure is on, but I’m always pleased that they still want to do that and spend time together!

We are foodies at home, and what great way to bond and have a chat than to be preparing food in the kitchen together as a family. It slows things down, but on a weekend, there is no need to rush!

19 April 2017

Fancy a change? Four short-term and online courses you can take without ditching the day job!

Managing both a successful career and a happy family can be tricky for parents. In a recent article, Forbes refers to “mommy wars”, this intense divide between stay-at-home mums and working mothers. It may sound rather unimportant, but it’s actually a complicated societal issue with gender inequality at work, guilt brought on by motherhood at its core.  Read More

3 April 2017

Mums: why we shouldn’t give up work

We’re so over the working mums vs stay at home mums debate – if that’s what you were expecting to read, you’ll be disappointed. At Mothers Who Work, we really aren’t advocates of pitching working mums against stay-at-home mums. But we do believe in showing mums how they can stay financially viable in which ever form they want to parent – as one who is at home with the children, or one who goes out of the home to work.

So, why should mums keep working? Is not as if raising a family isn’t work enough. According to a survey of more than 6,000 mothers by Salary.com, the average non-working mother spends 94 hours a week juggling tasks that would earn a total salary of $113,568, that just over £91,000 a year.

Yes, that’s in the ideal world, and while many working mums earn a lot more than that, most don’t. Many families go into poverty when mum doesn’t work, which can have a huge impact on the life outcomes of the children. So, why do we think you should keep working if you’re a working mum? Find out below, and get tips on what to do to stay financially viable.

1. Keep your skills up to date

If you think that taking five years out of the workplace won’t have an impact on you trying to get back into your field at the same level after your little one(s) starts school you’re mistaken.

If you think about how much technology has changed in the past five years alone, and the impact it’s had on the way we live and work and imagine how you’d feel if you’d lived in a cave for five years and came back to life now that’s a good example of how far behind you’d be left if you stop working…not good.

While you’re on maternity leave, the last thing you may want to do is get into work mode – and we are not suggesting that you should. But, spend about half an hour or so a week reading up the developments in your industry to stay abreast of what’s going on.

2. Keep in touch with people in your industry

Networking is great when you’re working or in business but it doesn’t stop when you have a baby.

The odd email, LinkedIn snoop or coffee won’t hurt – it will keep you in the loop and you never know when an opportunity may come up because of a preexisting contact.

If it’s really difficult for you to get out and about to to reach out, then use social media. These days, many companies update their company profiles on LinkedIn, on their company websites and across other coal media platforms, so it really isn’t that difficult to stay abreast with what’s going on. Set up a feed on an app like Flippboard and let the news come to you.

3. Keep a level head

While no one gets married to divorce, it’s a sad reality for thousands of couples. The same can be said for losing the one and only income in a household when the man of the house (who is traditionally the breadwinner) loses his job. These days, there is no such thing as a job for life so it’s always good to have some form of a back up – or just stay financially viable yourself.

There are so many opportunities available and so many different ways to work; even if you only work part time and just about break even when you’ve paid for your transport and childcare costs it’s worth it in other ways. If the unthinkable happens and you need to go back to work full-time, you won’t have to go several rungs down the career ladder you’ve worked so hard to climb, or work a menial job you hate.

4. Keep the wage gap smaller

Every year, we hear about the ever increasing wage gap between men and women. Women practically stop getting paid in the month of October because of the salary gap between their male equivalents. So, we basically work for free for two months.

If you stop working all together, your salary will be a lot less when you return to work because of the years experience you have lost staying at home. This isn’t a feminist movement – working makes the pay gap less for you.

If you’re not keen on going back to the workplace, there are a number of ways you can make money online, working around your family’s needs. Our Spare Time Business Course is worth considering for detailed video tutorials and insight into how to start, what opportunitiess make the most money and how to make that money online!

23 February 2017

Win a bundle of baby and toddler tools from OXO Tot’s NEW greys range, worth £80


To celebrate their latest collection, OXO Tot is giving away a bundle from their new Greys range, worth £80.

The Perch Booster Seat with Straps is designed to keep children comfortable and secure at mealtimes. Allowing little ones to join the family at the dinner table, the Perch Booster seat gives children aged 15 months upwards (70lb capacity) a boost to the ideal table height.

The cleverly designed Roll Up Bib offers a wide, soft silicone pocket which provides ample coverage and effectively catches even the smallest of crumbs, whilst the soft fabric around the neck makes the bib as comfortable as possible.

Keep changing bags neat and organised with OXO Tot’s On–the-Go Wipe Dispenser with Nappy Pouch. The 2-in-1 case features a hard dispenser for wipes as well as a handy fabric pouch for storing up to five nappies.

Available from OXO UK www.oxouk.com.

To enter for your chance to win this fantastic giveaway, complete the form below – competition closes on Friday 3rd Match 2017!

 

Enter the giveaway now! Complete the form below.

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15 February 2017

STOP the time wasting: Which social media platforms are right for your career or business?

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As enticising as it may be to spend every waking hour spying on your colleagues’ LinkedIn profile to see how you can trump them on a job promotion, or looking at your competitor’s Facebook page to see how many comments they’re getting for posts, when it comes down to it, it’s just unfeasible to spend your every minute of the day doing it. Read More

6 February 2017

Short-term and online courses: new career opportunities without giving up work-life balance

Managing both a successful career and a happy family can be tricky for all parents out there, and even more pressure is put on mothers especially.
In a recent article, Forbes refers to “mommy wars”, this intense divide between stay-at-home mums and working mothers. It may sound rather unimportant, but it’s actually a complicated societal issue with gender inequality at work, guilt brought on by motherhood at its core.

Luckily thanks to the wide choice of online and short term courses available these days, mothers don’t have to give up on all their career-related dreams even when they feel short on time and caught-up in the family routine. Online moocs especially have been enjoying an increasing popularity over the past years. The diversity of free courses available is a big advantage for many students: “Studying long distance like this is flexible and you do get the required support. It might develop you in ways you never dreamed possible.”

More flexible and to the point, these courses can truly boost your career faster than ever before so you don’t have to sacrifice family time. Here we take a look at some of the most in-demand and profitable short-term training courses to give you that edge in the workplace so you can achieve the perfect work-life balance.

1. Entrepreneurship

 If you’re looking for a better work-life balance, becoming an entrepreneur might be the ideal solution so you’re able to manage your own schedule around your family. Udacity offers an interesting “How to build a Startup” course that can be an excellent introduction to starting a business. At only $40, it’s well worth a try if you’re thinking about it.

2. Programming 

Programmers are in high-demand at the moment and this is a skill that could give your career a high boost or even be an opportunity to start your own business. What’s more, women are considered better at coding so this shouldn’t scare you off. Courses also widely available online, like on Udemy.

3. Health and beauty specialities

Health and beauty is a sector that’s engrossing billions each passing year and the demand is still growing. If you’re already working in the medical sector and looking for a career change, training in non-invasive beauty treatments such as botox and dermal fillers can be very gratifying.

4. Finance

Free finance moocs are all over the web these days and they can really help you master the financial side of your business or give you the opportunity you earn new responsibilities in your current career. Two of the best courses on the subject are offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as the University of Pennsylvania.