Five Free Resources Available Online

There are literally millions of things to be done each time we access the internet. While I’m definitely guilty of hanging around facebook to chat with old friends or cruising wikipedia for interesting articles, of late I’ve focused more on finding websites that offer helpful free services. If you’re interested in making some positive change in your life and spend a lot of time online, some of these may prove useful. Enjoy; my top five free online resources.

5. Youtube – this may seem like an odd choice since everyone knows about youtube… but did you know how useful it can be? I’ve learned many things on youtube over the years, from Parkour and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to linux installation and zombie survival skills. These days there are also a wide range of inspirational/life skills based videos, for those seeking a little guidance. On the other side of the coin, many youtubers earn a living off the new advertising system, so if you have a useful skill, a camera, and a little charisma, you could turn a tidy profit just by filming yourself and uploading to youtube.

4. MapMyRun – I’ve been using this site for years due to its one unique application; it provides road (and sometimes trail) maps along with a tool for plotting (and measuring) your route. Modern MapMyRun is connected with a larger site (MapMyFitness) and now includes a plethora of fitness related tools including one of the best calorie counters I’ve ever seen. If you walk or run for exercise and would like to improve, tracking your progress on MapMyRun is a great bet. Likewise, if you’re trying to count calories or macronutrients its worth making an account.

3. Elance – I recently signed up as a Freelancer after a couple years of putting it off. While Elance connects freelancers to employers in a range of practices including programming, design, marketing, administration and consulting, the bulk of the work they process revolves around my most marketable skill: writing. I applied for about a dozen jobs over the course of two days, and hear back from one shortly thereafter. I earned my first $25 in a week doing a simple, fun story writing assignment that reminded me of highschool English class. The client was so happy with the result, he offered me a 5,000 word job which we’re currently discussing the fee for.

If you have skills that are applicable in an online context, Elance is a great place to pick up some extra cash. Many ‘lancers use this site to supplement their income, or keep themselves in the green while traveling in foreign countries. If you live in a nation with particularly low rent and cost-of-living and work well independently, it shouldn’t be too difficult to support yourself off Elance.

2. Fitocracy – I found this site off a reference from my Business Gamification class on coursera. Simply put, Fitocracy is a facebook-like fitness based community that includes an elaborate workout logging application and a fairly arbitrary points system. You log a workout, you get points, and then people give you props (similar to “likes” on facebook) for being so badass. If you’re lacking motivation or communal support for your fitness regimen, Fitocracy is worth some investigation. Aside from the fun of its main functions, there are also an endless supply of “Quests” which encourage you to try new kinds of exercise, as well as social groups surrounding different sports, eating habits, and interests. Fitocracy is especially great for anyone new to the idea of working out/exercising. It provides a super-positive, supportive community that can and will answer most of your questions for free within a few minutes.

1. – Legitimate University level courses. Online. Free. I’m not sure I should have to say more. Covering a wide range of topics, coming from Universities and educators all across America, this is simply an open sourced educational tool providing accreditation you can actually put on your resume. The site offers an option for a “verified degree” on most courses that includes a small fee, but even the completely free classes can be connected to and displayed on a LinkedIN profile. So far I have passed two nutritional courses with honors, and am halfway through the aforementioned business gamification course. Seriously, check out coursera.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. Hopefully soon I’ll write something a little more… fictional. Thanks for reading, and be well!