There’s a dark side to the online education industry. It can leave us perpetually feeling like someone else has all the answers, like there’s a magic rulebook for success that other people have access to and we don’t.
Even if we don’t consciously buy into this, constantly being bombarded with FB ads that tout the perfect “six step system” can seep into our subconscious and cause us to feel like the only way to reach our business goals is to spend more money. It can be easy to see all the amazing opportunities available, and to begin to feel pressure to consume more, learn more, uplevel more.
I value business education and mentorship so much. I have made investments (sometimes big ones!) that I can genuinely say were life changing. Seriously, one of my top Strengthsfinder strengths is “learner.” So trust me when I say that I love investing in new knowledge and tools that help me move my business forward, save more time, and make more money.
That being said, we’ve all been burned by an expensive course we never used, or a service that didn’t deliver, or a product that just didn’t help us in the way we thought it would.
So how can we make sure that we won’t regret spending money on that new workshop, course, service, or tool?
The key factor for me is to know exactly what I’m trying to learn or accomplish beforehand if I spend this money, rather than some vague concept of “successful” that I’m trying to reach.
Here are three questions I ask myself when I’m considering my next investment.
Was this a topic you were interested in before you saw this “sweet deal” or opportunity? It’s easy to be swept up in fancy sales pages or convincing workshops.
But if the product or service being advertised is supposed to help you with a pain point that you weren’t aware of before, or help you with a topic that was nowhere near your radar earlier, it’s probably not something you really need to invest your time and money into right now.
On the other hand, if what you’re considering directly addresses a pain point or a struggle that you’re experiencing on a regular basis, it’s probably worth taking another look.
In other words, can you clearly see how this will increase the profitability of your business? It seems like such an obvious question, and yet I’ve found myself pulled into a fancy new tool or course simply because it looks fun or interesting, or I got caught up in the marketing.
A lot of sales tactics tend to be very emotional, pulling on your heartstrings and painting big pictures of the success you can achieve with their business or service. But how exactly will it lead to your success? What does “success” even look like for you if you make this investment? You should be able to draw a straight line between what they are offering and how this will help you with the goals you are hoping to meet.
No matter how cheap the offer is, time is your most valuable resource. You don’t really have to make sure you “learn all the things” right now. In that same vein, time is money and if investing in something will save you a good amount of time in the immediate future, it might very well be worth spending your money.
Is this something you can use or give your attention to right now, or are there other
Too many times I’ve bought something so that I would be “ready when I needed it,” or because the deal was too good to pass up, only to find that either: a) That need never actually comes up or b) By the time I really do need something to address that particular issue, I’ve become more knowledgeable on the subject and have decided to go in a different direction.
Be honest with yourself. You probably already know the problem areas of your business or next steps that need your attention. If you can’t use it right away, you probably don’t really need it.
Don’t be afraid to invest in your business! Sometimes even the most carefully considered investments simply don’t pan out. But taking the time to ask yourself these questions and evaluate whether something is worth your hard earned cash is a good way to avoid being burned.
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