When does it make sense to invest in an online course vs. hiring a professional?
This week, I had the amazing privilege of speaking to Laura Willson, an online Course Designer who helps growing businesses strategically build courses that get real results for your clients, instead of course remorse (we’ll get into this later on). Today, we’re exploring when it makes sense to invest in an online course, versus hiring a professional or trading services. As you read through each tip, look out for my own additions and financial spin. Let’s get started!
Have you had that experience where you buy a big-ticket course to help you DIY some aspect of your business, but you didn’t finish the course or didn’t get what you needed? Basically, you ended up with course remorse. I’ve done it. I’ve spent close to $10K on courses so that I could save money by doing it myself. [facepalm] From trial and error, I’ve learned what I would do differently, and today I share a few tips with you.
Here are a few questions I’d ask to know when to pay a professional versus when to take a course:
1. Do you need to master this content/skill?
When it's a one-and-done project that's well outside your skill set, I’d try to pay someone else to do it. This is as opposed to an ongoing skill you will need to have and use regularly. A website could be a one-and-done. If you’ll need to do this thing over and over, like copywriting skills, then a course may be a good investment.
In addition to the examples Laura provided us with, I actually have always said there are a couple of services that, as a business owner, you should never try to DIY. A financial consultant, like myself, an accountant (CPA), and a lawyer would be the 3 services I wouldn't recommend business owners to invest in a course to learn how to DIY. Instead, you should invest in the time, knowledge, experience, and expertise these professionals bring to the table. This is a much wiser investment.
2. Will it take longer to take the course and DIY?
Take a course if it's worth delaying your business while you complete the course. Time is money. Figure out what your time is worth. If you have a business that's already making money, you may be better off having someone else just do it. We ALWAYS underestimate the amount of time and money it takes to build a business.
It was Henry David Thoreau that said, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” This was the very first thought that came to mind regarding this tip. It’s important to not only look at the benefits and ROI (return on investment) you will experience after completing the DIY course, but also look at how it would affect your business entire financial health while you’re taking the course. How will it affect your bottom line?
3. Do you have the skill set you need to successfully execute on the course?
When you know you have a track record of not finishing courses, don’t get sucked in by marketing copy that assures you that THIS time will be different, UNLESS something really is different. Most courses require you to master 4 things in order to execute on what you learn; course content, planning skills, project skills, and mindset. If you find that you have a history of not finishing, you know you don't plan well, seldom schedule around priorities, etc. then you might consider working on those things with a coach before you jump into DIY courses, because it will be hard to execute on the course activities until you have those skills. (P.S. be nice to yourself; it’s no failing if you need to work on some skills or mindset.)
This last part is very important, believe it or not. I say this because many times we invest in a DIY course “to save money” and don’t realize that unless we invest in working with a coach first, we actually end up throwing money away as the ROI (return on investment) comes out to $0.
** Bonus TIP: Do you really dislike doing this content/skill? When you know you hate to do this thing and/or it’s out of your zone of genius, see if you can outsource this as soon as you can instead of investing in a course. If you hate it, you know you won’t want to do it.
I agree 100%. Don’t invest in a DIY course that you are not going to enjoy, you won’t feel the full effect of your monetary investment. This may be another reason for you to consider investing in a professional instead, your monetary investment will go much further.
The basic point is this: Have your internal agenda and know your limitations. This will keep you in proactive mode, looking for the resources you really need, rather than reactive mode, where you get sold by sophisticated marketing. Just to be clear, I love online courses. I design them, I believe in them, and I’ve taken a couple that changed my life. But I’ve also learned what I need from an online course in order to be successful, versus when I’m setting myself up for course remorse. Take hold of these tips, as I truly hope they help you too!
To learn more about Laura Willson, you can log on to www.laurawillson.com and take advantage of a highly discounted 1 hour session to help you uncover a digital product/mini-course that will add a passive revenue stream to your business. Simply mention this blog post!
Want to learn more financial tips & strategies you can implement in your own business? Book a free Financial Strategy Session to learn more! Also, don’t forget to download your FREE Financial Checklist, your step-by-step guide to starting your business or just making sure everything’s in check!