by Jenna Kutcher
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So you took a leap and you handed over a chunk of money and now you’re all signed up for a course that promises XY and Z to improve your business or systems or lifestyle. Or maybe your finger is hovering over an online course that you’ve been eyeing up for a while and you’re not sure what happens after you confirm your purchase… You buy it, then what? How do you stay interested and follow through to implement, especially as life happens fast and furiously on the side?
People always join courses with the purest and most hopeful intentions, but a lot of times we’re over zealous and then we don’t follow through like we promised ourselves we would. It’s kinda like when your eyes are bigger than your stomach when you sit down for a meal and you’re starving and haven’t eaten all day, and you fill your plate with all this food but only manage to eat maybe half of it.
That same experience happens with courses often. We bite off more than we can chew, and then we lose excitement after a week or two and our commitment to our once-dedicated goal dwindles. What breaks my heart is when we chalk it up that online courses just don’t work, even though it was likely the fact that the content was amazing, we just didn’t do the work.
Let’s talk about how to make your money spent on a course a worthy investment, from how to know if a course’s expense actually makes sense for your business or life, to the steps it takes to truly follow through on taking all the lessons and implementing them in a way that will make your investment worth it. I’m also going to share MY exact process for getting courses done and taking advantage of the materials, because you know the course queen herself has a few secrets up my sleeve to make this whole thing efficient AND actionable, my two favorite words.
How to determine if a course is a worthy investment
If you’ve been eyeing an online course or some sort of digital education tool — or really, any kind of investment meant to improve your business or life! — there are a few steps to work through before deciding if it’s the right move. You want to be able to have a way to determine if it’s too costly for you right now OR if you’re the spontaneous type, just not thinking about it and entering your credit card info without a thought.
Anytime you’re making an investment, you want to think about it like this: if you could make more than the cost of the course by implementing the smarter business model or using the tools the course teaches, then it’s a worthy investment!
Here’s how it helps me to think it through the decision for all business investments: I always cost it out and weigh how much an unclear business strategy and plan is costing me vs. getting strategic and specific with my processes and systems through the investment at hand. If a tool or process you learn can somehow make your work faster or save hours of your time, if it can allow you to make passive income, launch a new product or service, empower you to reach the next level of your business or expand your reach… Then you will likely also increase your income with those improvements. And you likely won’t just increase your income ONE but for years to come, over and over again.
A lot of times, we make decisions emotionally, especially when it comes to investing, but I’ve found that when I have an equation, it grounds me in my decision making. The numbers won’t lie, and often if it’s a good course with a sound process and trustworthy educator then it WILL streamline your business in some kind of major way and hopefully lead to increased profits. But it can do all of that only if you put in the work to make it happen. A good course is only as good as the implementation that the student performs.
How to Follow Through and Commit to the Course
You may need to sacrifice some time and practice some discipline in staying focused and committed on the course. Keeping this big picture vision is literally going to save you as you work through any course. Keep your eye on the prize, baby!
Before hopping in, I always make myself sit down and create a plan, a learning and implementing schedule, if you will. Taking an hour to set up an actual learning schedule and prepping yourself for success, you are THAT much more likely to follow through and get it done, even when life gets crazy. Even when it’s tempting to quit.
In fact, I think jumping into the materials without a plan, no matter how eager and motivated you are when you hit play on module 1, is the biggest determiner of whether you’ll make it through the whole enchilada. Print out an actual calendar. I try to complete programs on the schedule the educator sets, so most are completed within 30-60 days.
I login to the course and write down modules on days that will work for you to set aside time, so that you can see exactly how much time you need to devote and how long it will take for you to complete it. I open the module, see how long it is, write that down and then give myself some cushion time to do the workbook or complete the assignment. You can also do this scheduling right inside your planner if you have a pretty full calendar on a regular basis, that way you can plan it out so that your lessons can fall on lighter days schedule-wise.
You can think about it like training for a race, and you can even give yourself a deadline for when you would like to finish going through the course and implementing the info into your business.
It all builds on each other and adds up as wins as you go, and when you have an end goal in sight, it can make the journey so much smoother to keep on track with. This doesn’t just apply to running, it applies to any goal. Breaking it up into digestible chunks with deadlines in order to reach the final goal helps make the process fun and holds you accountable in the process.
My 20 Minute Rule
You’ve have heard me talk about the only course I took last year, my business coach Dean Graziosi and Tony Robbins’ course called the Knowledge Business Blueprint. I was a few months into motherhood and back at work part time after my maternity leave wrapped up. To say my time was limited, especially compared to pre-baby, would be an understatement. I was juggling nursing and waking up all hours to feed Coco while growing my team and navigating what business opportunities were right for me in that season. It was probably the time in my life where my schedule was the most unpredictable and my energy was limited.
I made a plan. I printed off a calendar and spent an hour while Conley was napping, just one hour, assigning the modules to days so that I was only doing 20 minutes a day. That’s it!
I’ve learned this year that devoting 20 minutes to any goal whether it’s me jumping on the Peloton bike or learning a new skill or reading to my baby… It all adds up. I always tell myself: I can do ANYTHING for 20 minutes and I sure as heck am worthy of devoting 20 minutes of today to something I’m excited about.
It’s funny, because I can close my eyes and remember those days of going through the course for the first time. I would strap Conley into her Ergo carrier, leash up the dogs, and take the lessons on the road. I literally would walk the entire time I listened to Dean or Tony and that was how I worked through the course. So every day, in true multitasking fashion, I would walk our cul de sacs with Conley strapped to me and learn.
I think when we visualize learning, we often fall back to our traditional education and school days and expect ourselves to sit down at a desk and minimize all outside distractions and lean into the materials for hours at a time. I don’t know about you but that’s simply not possible with my life.
I completed the whole course in 30 days. As far as courses go, this one is jam-packed with so much goodness and mind-blowing lessons, but I didn’t need to sit and take notes and have this perfect learning environment in order to get it done.
I took it in small bites, committed 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week and was able to digest it so much more fully because I wasn’t rushing or putting pressure on the experience. I ended up doing the exact same thing when I led 1,000 students through the program just a few months later. I created a calendar for them and then we reviewed the lessons together. People were SO much more successful with a plan and a leader giving accountability, it made it feel achieveable vs. overwhelming.
I mean, if you’re waiting for that big, blocked out chunk of time where you have perfect learning surroundings, just let that expectation go. Life isn’t going to slow down, it’s never going to be the perfect time, but done and implemented is so, so much better than waiting for perfect anyway!
4 fast tips to remember
Don’t let a lifetime course fuel your procrastination. While buying a course that is a lifetime course is a GREAT thing because it means you get updates if any of the course materials change and you can come back to it as your business pivots and grows, it also becomes an excuse to put it off, so make sure to map out your plan (even if you’re gonna jump in a month from now!) so that it’s actually scheduled in. .
Work on implementing as you go through the course. While it may be easier to ingest all the content and THEN implement, I think it’s so crucial to implement what you’re learning in order to get a quick win to prove to yourself that something is a worthy investment. When you see the needle move, even a tiny bit, and feel that endorphin rush of progress, it keeps you motivated.
Remember, paying for a course is essentially like betting on yourself, so prove to yourself that you’re a smart investor and that your learning and growth is a worthy investment. Buy courses that fill in your biggest gaps, not ones that include all the things. A lot of courses sell themselves with having a million modules, 100+ hours of videos, and they teach alllll the things. It’s kind of like being a jack of all trades vs. a master of one.
Get involved with the accountability offerings. Accountability is huge, whether it’s through a course community on Facebook or you joining with someone else who’s also doing the course. I’ve done both and the more accountability the better! If you can do both, then do it! And if there’s a place to connect with the educator or someone adjacent to ask questions and get encouragement, definitely do take advantage. That is built into courses for a reason, so you can feel supported as you go and encouraged to continue through the lessons.
The Big Picture
Are you feeling ready to tackle an online course, revisit one you’ve already purchased, retake one that got you results, or purchase a new one? There are so many pros of learning online from being able to access the content on the go to watching and rewatching the content while you learn to connecting with a community of other dream chasers without ever having to leave your house and having the ability to turn what could take you decades into days.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but you can start experiencing benefits as you go if you have a solid plan in place, the motivation for making quick wins happen and the self discipline to just keep going. Keep in mind that feeling and excitement you felt when you first opted into a course, the promise that you knew was possible if you just followed through. Hold onto that feeling, stick to the plan you’ve made, make the most of the accountability resources, and get after those goals. Because future you deserves that.