How many online courses have you purchased since you’ve been in business? Have you ever totaled up your investment?
I did that earlier this week. *gulp*
Here’s the full accounting, including my investment and the current value of the course:
- Marie Forleo’s B-School – $2000
- Amy Porterfield's FB Ads Insider – $97 (now off the market)
- Karen Yankovich’s LinkedIn Stars – $97 (current price $197)
- Rebecca Tracey’s Hey, Nice Package – free as a beta-tester (current price $297)
- Jenny Shih’s Get Your First 1000 Subscribers – free as a client of Jenny’s (current price $299)
- Ramit Sethi’s Instant Network – $197
- Ash Ambridge’s The Six Appeal Process – $299
- David Siteman Garland’s Most Kick Ass Webinar Blueprint Ever – $197
- Kendrick Shope’s Sales School – free, I won a spot (current price $2500)
- Claire Pelletreau’s Absolute FB Ads – $97 (current price $997)
- Chris Brogan’s Owner's Path $597 (current price $997)
- Jessica Kupferman’s Podcasting School for Women – $397 (current price $697)
Total number of courses: 12
Amount invested: $3,978
(Total value: $8,074)
I knew the number was going to be big but I had no idea I’d enrolled in a DOZEN online courses in 2 years.
And here’s an even more honest truth: 6 (!) of these courses (FB Ads Insider, LinkedIn Stars, Instant Network, The Six Appeal Process, The Most Kickass Webinar Blueprint Ever and Podcasting School for Women) are still sitting virtually unopened in my inbox…
So why the heck am I’m sharing this (slightly embarrassing) information about my own course consumption?
The online course addiction is REAL as an online business owner — especially if you are new to business.
It’s really easy to read a sales page and think, “Ah finally *this* is what I need to make my business work!” and plunk down your money before you’ve really thought it through.
Or to get caught up in the buzz of a big launch and catch some serious FOMO (fear of missing out).
Or to convince yourself you “should” learn how to do such-and-such someday and buy the course just in case.
Um, been there!
And guess what? Those are the courses that, once purchased, just languish in the inbox…
But the right online course at the right time can be a game-changer and a very smart investment. Next to high-priced 1-on-1 coaching or even the cost of a University course, online learning is insanely reasonably priced.
The sum total of ALL the courses I’ve paid for (~$4000) is less than 1 year of full-time undergraduate study at my alma mater, McGill University (~$7000 for Canadian students).
It’s less than I paid to work with Jenny Shih as part of her amazing 3-month coaching program, Make it Work ($4700 including an in-person retreat).
And it’s less than 2 months of working with my current coach, Kendrick Shope, 1-on-1 ($2000/month).
So which online courses were the very BEST use my time & money?
I promised complete transparency here so I’m going to break it down for you but before I do that I want to say they are ALL good courses — but when I look at which ones were really worthwhile investments for me it comes down to a questions of timing: was it what I needed in my business when I needed it?
This was my first business investment of any kind and my first online course. There are lots of opinions out there about B-School (I shared mine here!) but this was definitely right content at the right time for me.
I committed a big chunk of time every week to going through ALL the module and playsheets. I engaged in the community. I attended all the office hours. And most importantly, I IMPLEMENTED.
- Clear understanding of online marketing strategies and the nuts and bolts of building an online business.
- Website written & online! Email list created.
- Connections with dozens of B-Schoolers as clients, friends and mentors.
- Bottom line: I doubt I’d have a business without B-School so it’s hard for me to even put a number on what my ROI (return on investment) was but I made the cost of the course back in the first few months easily.
Learning Facebook Ads was something that I knew I needed to do — and had been on my to-do list FOREVER. I’d even purchased Amy Porterfield’s Ads course many months before (and then never really opened it as “learn Facebook Ads” continued to sit on the backburner of my to-do list).
Since I never really dug into Amy’s program, I can’t compare it to Claire’s but the truth is Absolute FB Ads just showed up at the right time. I was finally READY to commit the time to learning Facebook Ads and I’d been following Claire for a few months — her blog posts and free guide were solid and I liked her no-nonsense, analytical style — so when she offered a work-along bootcamp with the course, I jumped in and finally not only learned how to run ads but IMPLEMENTED it and starting running ads that were generating lots of great leads for my business.
- Clear understanding of how to run Facebook Ads using the Power Editor (and how to perform the necessary experimentation to get good results).
- Hundreds of new leads for my business. And the ability to add FB Ads support for my VIP clients also allowed me to charge more for that service.
- Hundreds of new leads — and thousands of dollars in sales — for my clients.
- I made my investment back on this course in no time and continue to get great value from the Facebook group as I run ads for myself and my clients so it was definitely a solid purchase.
>> Sales School
I first met Kendrick Shope through Jenny Shih’s Make it Work program in early 2014. I took furious notes as Kendrick shared the 5 Fundamentals of Authentic Selling. Selling was kind of a dirty word before I learned about Authentic Selling and I was constantly worried I was being either too pushy or like I’d missed the opportunity to help a dream client see just how much I could help them.
But the truth is without SALES you don’t have a business. So when I won spot in Kendrick’s Sales School, I was pumped. I knew selling was a real weak point in my business and I blocked out time to attend the classes every week and complete my homework on time (Kendrick gives EVERYONE who does this feedback — it’s unbelievable and incredibly valuable so I wasn’t going to miss out!).
I practiced consults & follow-ups with the other Sales School students, I launched a new offer using the sales copy techniques and tweaks Kendrick supplied and I started seeing results in my business even while I was still in the course!
- Right after finishing Sales School I had the very best quarter ever in my business at that point (it was responsible for HALF of my 2014 income).
- A consult & follow-up process I can rely on (and whenever I need money in my business, I know exactly what I need to do to sign new clients).
- Sales conversations became FUN instead of awkward and stressful — so no surprise more and more prospective clients began saying YES to my offers (and this continued to be the case even when I doubled my prices)
- I’m much more confident writing ALL sales copy and have a clear idea of how to communicate the value of what I have to offer to my ideal clients.
- It’s really hard to put a number on the ROI of Sales School but learning Kendrick’s Authentic Selling Strategies has helped me double my income, no question — and I know they will continue to work for me as I grow my business.
So clearly you CAN get great results from an online course but how do you figure out when pressing “BUY” is the right decision for you?
An Online Course “do I need this?” Self-Evaluation
1 – What does this course promise?
What do they promise you’ll learn/be able to do by the end of the course? What happens if you aren’t satisfied? (If you have questions, reach out to the course creator! They should be happy to help you get the answers you need.)
2 – Who is offering it?
What makes this person qualified to teach this material? Has their free content been helpful? What is their reputation? (Ask around if you don’t know!)
3 – What do people I trust say about the course?
The testimonials on the sales page are great but dig deeper and reach out to anyone you know has taken the course for personal feedback. Post in online forums asking graduates for their thoughts. Ask what was their favourite & LEAST favourite parts of the course.
4 – Does this fill a definite skills gap I have in my business?
This one is probably the toughest but look back at your answers to #1 and be honest with yourself! Do you want the outcomes the course is promising? Do you know the steps you need to get those outcomes? (Because if it’s just a matter of DOING it, a course may not be the answer.) If you don’t know what your next steps would be to get those outcomes, then a course may be just what you need to plug those gaps and get you where you want to go.
5 – Is this what I need right now in my business?
Are you ready to commit the time to learning & IMPLEMENTING the course material right now? Is the skills gap you’ve identified in #4 something you need to fix now or is it a “someday” thing? The urgency of your need is a big key in whether or not you’ll actually spend the time to do the work — and that’s the only way the investment will be worth it.
I’d love to hear from you
Do you suffer from the online course addiction affliction? What’s the best course you’ve ever purchased for your business?