There’s an online course for just about everything under the sun these days – which is good and bad.
Good because it makes learning more accessible than ever before – and oh, the options!
But OH. The options.
The wiiide selection of courses out there can be great, but if you’re not armed with crystal clear selection criteria, it can quickly lead to overwhelm or less-than-thoughtful buying decisions.
When you’re looking to improve your skills in business, you’re looking to save time, make money, or both.
So let’s talk about how to make SURE your online learning investments do just that.
In this video, we’ll cover:
- examples from my own less-than-thoughtful spending
- how to avoid the shiny object trap
- how to calculate (guarantee!) your own return on investment BEFORE you buy
- a little extra reassurance that you DO know what’s best for your business
Click below to watch (or take a listen):
IN A (COCO)NUT SHELL
Ask yourself the following Qs:
Q1: IS IT A LEGIT NEED, A SHINY OBJECT (OR BOTH)?
Legit need: A skill you need (+ will make time to work on) now. Or within the next quarter at most.
Shiny object: Looks great, but it’s honestly not something you’re willing to make time to learn + implement right now.
Both: Looks great AND it’s a skill you need now. (Ahem…A Course About Copy..ahem.)
Exception: It’s a legit need you know you will use this YEAR, it’s a great deal that won’t be available beyond this timeframe, AND you have the money to invest.
Q2: WHAT’S YOUR PLAN FOR MAKING A RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT?
And hey, CEO: This can’t be a guess – it needs to be a decision.
DECIDE to get your money’s worth, and you will.
With online learning, you can lead a student to water, but you can’t make her (watch + implement the material). You’re the boss, and the boss is responsible for taking ACTION.
Remember that for the purposes of this post, I’m talking about courses you use for your business – which should tie back (directly or even a bit indirectly) to the bottom line: revenue.
So crunch the numbers + read about real results from real students.
How many clients do you need to serve to make this (often tax-deductible) investment back?
How many products do you need to sell?
How much time (money) will this solution save you?
How much in hiring costs (copywriter, developer, etc.) will you save by learning this skill?
Make it REAL by giving yourself deadlines along the way.
What’s your timeline for getting a return on this investment?
Schedule it ALL – time to use the resources, time to put them to use, and time to see that return.
When you feel confident + challenged (but not desperate or panicked) about the potential here, that’s a sign of a smart investment.
Q3: HOW’S THE FREE STUFF WORKIN’ FOR YOU?
Call me Captain Obvious, but if you’re not really connecting with the course creator’s teaching style (even if the content IS an immediate need), it’s probably a no-go.
On the other hand, if you’ve already had a great experience with this course creator’s free content, it’s safe to predict the same will happen with the paid content.
If s/he offers freebies (blog posts, free videos, cheat sheets, webinars), check ’em out.
Put the tips to good use.
Do you get results from the free stuff?
Do you LIKE hearing this person’s voice, seeing this person’s digi-face?
Do you connect with other folks who are clearly this person’s dream student?
All good signs.
BOTTOM LINE: TRUST YOUR GUT.
If you’ve gone down this list and you feel like it’s a good fit – GO for it.
If you’ve gone down this list and you’re just not sure – ask the customer support team about any lingering Qs, take another gut check, and TRUST YOURSELF.
I gotta say: I’m not a fan of trying to “convince” people that my course is right for them. Doesn’t feel good to me.
I’ve laid out every detail I can imagine on the sales page – so if s/he’s read it all and still doesn’t seem to feel confident – I’m going to encourage her to trust her gut. (And I’ll do the same.)
It’s all about the RIGHT fit. Dream students, dream results.
That’s what makes the (effective) online course world go ’round!
When you’re out there deciding whether or not to invest in another course, ask yourself these Qs first. That’s your most important homework.
For bonus points, in the comments below, share:
What are some of your best tips for making smart biz investments?
To investing with your smarty pants on,
P.P.S. If you liked this post + want to help me spread the word by using the links below to share it with your buddies, I would greatly appreciate it! You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel if you’d like to see new videos before I’ve had time to turn them into blog posts ;)