Are Online Courses Worth It? Do I Need To Make the Investment?

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Taking a break from my regularly scheduled chaos to bring you this fun topic: This question just came up in an online group:

There’s a course I want to take for my business… but I don’t know if I should make the investment. How do you decide if you should take the leap?

The quick and dirty answer is to listen to your gut. The problem is that the darn ego is great at tricking you into listening to it and actually thinking it is your gut leading you. So how do you answer the question of to buy or not to buy?

Beware of Slick Marketing and Countdown Timers for Online Courses

First off, let’s address the issue of marketing. These days, even the good guys, fall down the hole of putting all their focus on hypnotic copywriting and creating scarcity with the goal to sell, sell, sell. They don’t focus on the buyer, the benefits, or anything that matters to US. Sleazeters have done this for ages, but more and more I am seeing really well-meaning people fall into the trap of believing it is all about the marketing, the big launches, the numbers. Sigh.

So, let’s just be bold enough to say that if an offer makes you feel anxious, panicked, worried you will miss out, or just has your belly in knots– WALK AWAY. I promise you that you will get to where you need to be without that course. Or, if it really is a course for you, it will be available when things are better lined up.

Do You Buy Online Courses Out of Fear?

The other time I want you to walk away is if you are caught in the fear trap. What does that look like? You have a vision. You have started working toward it. Then, even if you aren’t aware, you start having doubts. Or, you simply get uncomfortable because things actually are working out. And that is not a feeling you are used to. Whatever the reason, you now see a new course and are convinced you must have it now. Your darn ego is pulling you away from your vision because it is scared. 

You’ll know if this is an issue for you because when I ask you to list all the courses you have purchased/started over the last 5 years, you will want to hide under a rock. Especially if I ask how many you’ve completed and how much action you’ve taken. 

No shame here, please. Just awareness. But be aware that even with awareness, that next course will come along and good ol’ ego will list off a thousand reasons why all of what I’m saying is bologna and that you really do need that course to change your life. You really, really need it! And the timer is ticking!

It’s ok. You do have enough awareness now to stop, take a deep breath, pat ego on the head and say “thanks for the input but I’m going to pass on this one.” With time, it will get easier.

Online Courses as a Form of Self Love???

Now, I’m going to toss something out that may seem contrary to all of the above. It’s something I heard from a course I’m currently taking. 

For me, online courses are a form of self-love.

Leonie Dawson

Ohhhhhhh! This hit me in all the right places. Years back, I was trapped in the above loop and seriously had purchased so many crap courses that it is cringe-worthy. But I have grown and shifted a LOT over the last two years. 

Yet, I noticed that I was feeling shame every time I purchased a new course and like I needed to keep it as my dirty little secret. Afraid that if others knew that I purchased x course, they would roll their eyes and say, “oh boy, there she goes again. Another course she won’t do anything with. ” Next thing I know, those imaginary voices turned into my own voice telling me, “I’m self-sabotaging” “This is another distraction from what I should be doing” blah blah blah. I was parroting what everyone says, yet inside I wasn’t feeling it to be true. So I continued to collect my courses. 

Some I finish, some I don’t. Most I start, then jump into another, then jump back. Yet all of them fill me up. 

I created a special folder in my email with all of my courses and there are a lot. But when I see them, I feel like I’m in a special place just for me. I get happy and love to know that they are all there. 

I don’t limit myself or try to figure out how each course is going it fit into my plans and goals. If something speaks to my soul and sets off those yummy sparks, I go for it. My folder is filled with such a wonderful variety of courses from raising my vibration to making cement furniture, using Pinterest for marketing, creating printables…. and on and on (and on).

Each one plays a part in what I’m doing, even if I’m not certain what that is. They really are a form of self-care for me. 

So, yes, on the flip side of why you should walk away from buying courses, is this. And only you can know if you should buy or walk away.

Take An Honest Look at Your Online Course History

Maybe today you could go through your inbox and move all of your courses (paid and free) into a folder. Tune into how that folder makes you feel. Are there a bunch of purchases you regret? Why? How can you use that moving forward? What courses make you take a deep breath of contentment? 

It’s absolutely fine if you have unfinished courses or ones that you haven’t even started– unless they are bringing up anxious feelings. It’s taken me years to understand and accept that some of us do not work well in straight lines. While many people are empowered by starting a course or project and following all the lines to go directly from point A to point Z, some of us just don’t work that way.

Once again, it comes down to self-awareness. If you can see a definite pattern of starting things and then jumping to the next and never finishing anything, you need to dig deep and find out what is going on.

Is It Ever OK To Jump From One Online Course to Another?

But what if, you start one course (or project), get super excited, start taking action, and then feel pulled to another course. What if you have five or ten or 100 balls (courses and projects) in the air and bounce back in forth between them all? I’ll tell you what. For many of us, we actually get a lot of shit DONE. Suddenly, each of those projects gets finished and people are like, “Woah! How did she get all of that done so quickly?” It’s because you had the groundwork for each one started but trusted yourself enough to not force a finish until you were pulled back to it. Meanwhile, you were gathering all kinds of beautiful new puzzle pieces (courses and programs) that, even though you didn’t know how they would fit together, you took action on those as well.

Now, if all of that exhausts you or you feel like that is the messiest, most unorganized way to get things done, no worries. You keep doing your point A to point Z and finding your sparks that way. But if you have spent your life feeling judged or shamed (probably by yourself as much as others) for always jumping around, take a close look. Does working like this actually light you up? Does it naturally lead you to inspired action? Do you actually move forward and get things completed in the end? If so, celebrate this! Celebrate that this is how you work and thrive and give yourself permission to keep jumping around.

Free Courses and The YouTube Rabbit Hole

So, to pay or not to pay? My last word on this is that if you do feel like you want to pursue something and you’ve checked with your guts, paying for a course is usually the best bet. Yes, there are a zillion and one free courses on YouTube. Some are quite good. But, boy oh boy, is it hard to weed out the garbage and even if you do, it’s hard to not fall down the YouTube rabbit holes.

I truly find that a well-chosen paid course, that you can have in one place, that is organized and distraction-free, and that typically has either a community or a help desk, is 100% worth the investment. It’s also much easier to keep track of your progress. And, if you are a jumper-arounder, it is super helpful to have paid for the course so that even if it is a year later, you can go back to it when it calls to you.

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