by Jenna Kutcher
There are a ton of educators out there, am I right? Your Facebook and Instagram are inundated with free webinars, downloads, and guides to help you accomplish the next big thing. If you’re anything like me, you’ve signed up for things left and right but only leave feeling defeated, behind, and unsure of what the next steps really are — what will actually move the needle for you?
Having been an educator for over 5 years, I’ve watched a ton of trends come and go, I’ve seen people rise and fall, and today I want to break down how you can choose the right educator for you and how to sift through the fluff that’s put out there simply by people who just want to make a buck. I’m peeling back the curtain and I’m sharing what I really think about the rise of online education and how you can make the right choice for you and where you are headed.
Why Online Education?
I believe experience is our best teacher, but I also believe that by surrounding yourself with mentors and information from experts who have been where you want to go will help you gain the knowledge you need to run you business. In this online entrepreneurial world, you’ll go faster or at least have a few less bumps when you get the right help.
The way we train and educate people and impact the world is changing and online education is the future (and certainly not a fad). As more and more people turn online for shopping, dating and learning, we need to be thinking about ways we can contribute but also benefit from the ever-changing online world.
As we start to explore and seek out mentors and we lean in to online learning, it’s important that we are able to decipher who we are letting into our lives and allowing to influence us… Just by hitting play on this episode or any other podcast, you’re giving the person with the mic authority in your life and that shouldn’t be something you enter into lightly. The people who you’re letting influence you, teach you, and sell to you… They might be a human being struggling to make ends meet and hoping to make a quick buck off you to do so. While there are some incredible educators out there, there are also people who enter into educating just for financial gain without learning how to get people true results. I want you to be able to know how to choose the right mentors for you!
I have six questions you need to explore before trusting someone to mentor you, whether it’s through an online program, a mastermind, a coaching session, even a free podcast episode or something else. I don’t want you to invest in people who are only talking the talk; I want you to make investments confidently knowing that you’re moving in the direction of your dreams and not wasting your precious, hard-earned dollars! Let’s dive on in, are you ready?
Can you trust that what they are saying is true?
I can’t tell you how many “successful people” I’ve seen share that when it looked like they are killing it online, they were actually really struggling behind closed doors. Every time I hear this, I cringe, because it reminds me that we never really know what people’s back end of their businesses or the behind the scenes of their lives look like. Are they truly sharing the steps that made them successful or advice that will provide results or are they packaging up a few things they learned in hopes of being able to pay their electric bill for the month?
A few things that will help you to determine if this is a person who is truthful would be to investigate how they show up online: Are they authentic, do they sugarcoat things trying to appear perfect, do they have actual content that they are freely sharing, or is it a lot of fluff disguised as inspiration? Are they imitating others and regurgitating content you’ve heard before or are they truly sharing something revolutionary or new?
Do you know them personally or have any mutual connections that can work through the B-S meter? I think that it’s important to tune into what your gut says about someone and to ask yourself, “Can I trust that what they are saying is true, not just for them, but that it can be true for me as well?”
Did they give you results without asking for anything in return?
Are they open and sharing the things that move the needle for them? Are they respected in the way that they show up and help others? Are they freely giving without constantly selling or pitching to you? Are they delivering on their promises without making you feel like you’ve been baited and switched? These questions are questions I challenge MYSELF with because my goal in all of this was to create the best free content out there, the stuff I wish I had when I was starting.
I don’t care if you ever spend a dollar on my business. I sincerely hope that someday you will to help support this show, to grow your knowledge, and to support my bigger mission of helping entrepreneurs build profitable businesses that let them live their life with freedom. But at the same point, I wouldn’t expect you to invest in me if you didn’t feel invested. The best way I can do that for you is to get you real results without ever asking for a penny. So if you’ve ever wondered what my goal of Goal Digger, it’s that: get you results for FREE, so there’s that.
When I look at the way educators are selling big, lofty promises, they show up trying to convince you that something really, crazy big is possible for you, yet they never even peel back the curtain a tiny bit to help you test to see if their methods would even work for you or if their way of doing business is aligned with your bigger goals. Be wary of people who share the big promises but won’t share any methods or give you access to anything that will help you to make sure that their way fits you and the way you want to show up in the world.
Do they show you they’ve gotten themselves and others real results?
The key to being a great educator lands in results. A lot of times educators just starting out might be teaching the methods that have gotten THEM results, and I think it’s a great place to start. However, I also think it’s important to show that your methods don’t just work for you but that they are able to be implemented into other people’s businesses to create tangible results as well. What worked for them might not actually work for other people and so the results are kind of like the proof that I think is necessary in making a purchasing decision. How open are they about the results, how aligned are you with the “before” photo they are painting and is the “after” the result you’re hoping to find for yourself?
Have they helped others like you or in a similar place that you are get results? One thing that I think is super important is to make sure that the testimonials they are sharing can relate to either where you are currently at, someone who is in a similar industry or situation as you, and that it’s not a major outlier result (AKA one in a million). The testimonials should be more of a reflection that their tactics and techniques work for people like you. Don’t be afraid to ask for specifics. It’s important to really know the kinds of results they could get you and how successful their strategies have been when implemented in others businesses.
Is their offer extremely clear and the promise prominent?
What will you get out of it? Is their offer extremely clear with a promise prominent? Is that end result painted for you so that you have a tangible ruler to say: Yes, this was worth it or no, it was not? When choosing where to invest, ask yourself: could I defend this purchase with a promise? Am I certain that the end result they are sharing is what I am looking to learn or gain? Are they clear with what I will get out of it if I choose to invest or is the promise wishy-washy? When I am able to tie an investment to a tangible result that I know can move the needle for me, then I feel more confident in making that investment.
Of course, your commitment to the material is a big piece of the end result. A lot of coaching, masterminds, and courses can make certain promises but the outcome on achieving those results likely rests on your ability to take action and make it happen. For me? I am 110% positive that my courses get people results, but the results will only come if the students are invested and taking action inside of the program. Ask yourself if their offer is very clear, can you clearly communicate exactly what tools and support you’ll get in order to achieve the end result that is promised? And are you committed to following through in order to make sure your investment isn’t going to waste?
Are they offering a money back guarantee?
Are they offering some sort of guarantee whether it’s a free trial, a money back guarantee or a results guarantee? As someone who has 30 day money-back guarantees for all of my programs, this is a huge part of knowing and believing in programs enough to say: I will get you results if you do the work.
For me, we have a less than 1% return rates because of the way I teach and educate. I love offering the guarantee to let people know I believe in what I teach so much so that I am willing to give you your money back if you try it out and it doesn’t work for you. We’ve even let people in for free to poke around and check out the course and take the first week of content as a chance to try before they buy. Seek out someone that is transparent in that process.
Make sure you read through terms and conditions or contracts before signing things over and ensure that you’re ready to do the work that is required for you to get the results that are promised. I always say: Those who pay, pay attention. I love that I charge for my programs because I want my students to have “skin in the game” and I want them to put money down to invest in themselves and commit to results.
Are they ahead of you or aligned with where you want to go?
Look at the overall business or success of the person you’re about to pay. Are they ahead of where you are? Is their vision of “success” aligned with yours? Do the strategies they teach fit with where you’re hoping to go next? Do you truly believe they can help shortcut things for you and give you the steps you need to take to get results? These questions are huge when it comes to investing in a leader.
There are SO many educators out there, with so many promises and shiny titles and ads that can make you feel like you need all of the things. Take your time to do a little research to make sure that the person you’re sending your money to is someone who truly can help you out. I think the biggest benefit of taking courses or hiring a coach or mentor is the fact that you can trade dollars (a renewable resource) for time. When I look at investing, I want to make sure that the way they lay things out will shorten my learning curve or eliminate a lot of wasted hours trying to figure things out for myself. For me, time is my currency, so if I can trade money knowing that I will be able to save myself time, it’s worth it.
Ensure that the person leading you is in a place that is truly ahead of where you’re at and aligned with where you want to go. You don’t just want one piece of the puzzle but the overall picture to be aligned with your mission and your vision. Bonus points if you like the person, because you’re more likely to implement and be passionate about getting yourself results if you actually enjoy the person and the way they teach!
Are they up front with how much it costs or is it a big secret?
I’ve been stumbling upon a lot of coaching programs, masterminds, and even courses where it feels like the investment or how much it costs is a total secret. It’s driving me absolutely crazy. People are making these giant promises and then they don’t tell you how much it costs! I don’t understand how people put out these offers and then make people fill out applications without even knowing how much the thing costs. I know as a consumer I wouldn’t fill out a single thing without pre-qualifying myself and I’m guessing the same goes for you.
I don’t think investments should be a secret. I don’t think you should have to search high and low to see how much something costs you. I don’t think the seller should apologize about what they are charging but they should be able to back up the price with a promise that monetarily makes sense. I don’t think that you as a consumer should have to enter a guessing game, or be left wondering what it’s going to look like for you to take part in something that you might be interested in.
If you’re considering hiring someone, you want to make sure that they aren’t beating around the bush and that they can confidently share how much something costs and the benefits you’ll receive if you join. Be wary of any offers that make you take multiple steps before you even find out what the cost is. Others might not agree with me on this point, but I feel like being able to confidently share the level of investment without hiding it or apologizing is imperative for a good educator. Price isn’t what I am charging you or taking from you, I see it as your investment in getting the results.
The Big Picture
There they are, the tools and questions I use to help make wise decisions when it comes to investing in leaders, courses, masterminds, and coaching. I’ve made different levels of investment over the years and these questions have guided my decisions and ensured that I am tied to the educator, the promised result, AND that I am willing to do the work it will take to make it a worthy investment. At the end of the day, there are very few programs out there that do the work for you and so be sure that before you put down the money, you, yourself, are committed to getting results. Every single investment I’ve made in my business when it’s come to learning has always paid off, but I believe that’s because I have taken the time to do the research, understand the offer, ensure that the person teaching is the right fit, and that the material will get me results that will earn back that initial investment AND ensure that I can continue to reap the rewards for months and years to come.