If you thought you would be through with education when you finished college, being a mamapreneur is probably a huge shock to you. Everywhere you turn there is a new e-course coming out that promises to solve your problems and provide the secret formula for success that you can’t get anywhere else. But how do you decide which e-course you should buy?
I would recommend an in person conference over an e-course any day. However, the time and money that is required to attend a conference is often prohibitive for those juggling being a mama and a businesswoman. E-courses also have the luxury of focusing on a very small speciality to allow you to become an expert in the topic whereas a conference will not give you the same depth of knowledge.
Here are the questions I ask myself before I purchase an e-course.
Have I already purchased a course on this topic that I haven’t completed?
Regardless of what this course promises, if you already have an e-course that you’ve purchased but not completed on this topic you shouldn’t purchase another one on the same topic. If you’re not sure, search your computer for some keywords that are likely to be in the course information and see if anything comes up or search your email in the same way. You should always complete a course that you’ve already purchased before deciding if there is more information that you can learn about a topic.
Is this something that I NEED to have for my business?
Just like I have to ask my kids if the toy they see is a need or a want, so also do I have to ask myself that about courses. Does the course address an area that I am not proficient in but becoming proficient in it would expand my offerings or make me more efficient? Can the course directly help me with my product or service offerings or some other area of my business (i.e. marketing, copywriting, etc)? Will taking this course allow me to charge more for my services due to my increase in knowledge? Will taking this course allow me entrance into an alumnae group that has benefits far beyond the reaches of the information learned in the course? If you can’t answer yes to at least one, but preferably more than one, of these then you shouldn’t buy the course.
Do I have the funds to purchase it outright?
Nothing in life is a guarantee and the results that you’ll see from taking a course are no different. Not only might it take you months or a year or more to implement what you learn in the course, but the knowledge that you learn my end up being not as applicable to your niche as you hoped it would be. This is why I recommend only purchasing a course if you can pay for it in cash. I learned this lesson the hard way from purchasing a course or two that I didn’t have immediate time to dedicate to it but it was a limited time offer and I just had to go ahead and purchase it so I bought it on credit. By the time I started looking into the course I found it similar to other information I already knew, the refund period was over, and I now had a purchase on my company credit card with no direct income to immediately cover it. Don’t make my mistake! If you can’t purchase the course with cash, then don’t purchase it. There is no time that information will never be available again in some form or another.
What would I need to do to recoup this cost either in the future or right now?
If you don’t have the funds in the bank to pay cash for the course right now, calculate what you could do to immediately earn that money or what it will take in the future to earn it. Can you have a flash sale to raise immediate funds? Will it only take the sale of ten products one month to cover the cost and you typically have sales of that or more going to profit each month? Or will it take you multiple months of above average sales to recoup the cost? Determine if you can either raise the money now or if it’s realistic to think that you can make that money back before your credit card bill would be due before you purchase.
Can I allocate the time needed to finish this course from my daily schedule?
This item is typically thought of last but it really should be one of the first things we consider. Do you have the bandwidth in your schedule to actually complete the course. Some courses can be completed with as little as 30 minutes a day or a few hours a week, while some courses require hours a day to go through the material and significant dedication over a number of weeks in order to finish them. Find out how much time you will need to dedicate to the course and whether you can rearrange your schedule to set aside time to the course immediately. If you can’t complete the course immediately, your chances of actually going back and taking the course are much smaller. Either make time to take the course immediately or make a plan with a specific date when you will do the work required with the course. If you don’t set a hard and fast deadline for yourself — and have someone hold you accountable for it — the course will simply sit on your computer accruing artificial dust while the money could have been in your account collecting interest.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve purchased my fair share of e-courses online. Some have been extremely beneficial and some have been a bust. Tomorrow I’m going to share some ways that you can maximize your learning from e-courses and webinars. And then the next day I’ll share the courses that I’ve purchased that have been worth the investment for me. We’re also discussing e-courses and continuing education in business all week in the Mastermind Mamapreneur group on Facebook so come join the discussion there as well.