Teachers LOVE learning...and so we buy a LOT of courses.
Some of them we start AND finish, some we just start, and then there are the ones we buy and NEVER even touch - yikes!
This week on the Teachers in Business podcast I'm going to share the questions I ask myself BEFORE I decide to buy a course (or really, anything related to my business!).
Before you buy that next course, try these on and never waste money on a course that you don't need, won't finish, or that won't actually solve your problem EVER again!
Welcome, welcome. Welcome to teachers in business. This is Episode 33. This is madness.
I'm excited because in the next couple of weeks, I'm going to start having some special teacher guests, you're going to be excited because they're like some of my favorite people. And we're going to talk all things, making the transition from teaching and thinking about teaching into the business world, and how teaching skills are a part of that. So today on the podcast, that we are going to talk about buying all the courses. So there's nothing a teacher likes better than a course, right? Because they feel comfortable for us. We know curriculum, we know, we know how core structures work, we like to build courses, we like to take courses, we like to learn stuff. And so we buy a lot of courses, like I don't know, any teachers that are not like, like course hoarders. I, I have that problem here myself. But here's what goes on. You see a course you like, and you think about it, and then you decide to pull the trigger and buy it. And half the time you start it. And you finish it. Maybe half right? Like the course completion rate out here on the internet is something like 30%. So like 30% of the time you finish the course. But probably, if you don't finish and you did start, you found something useful along the way, hopefully, or you started and you're like, oh, gosh, I already know all of this, or Oh, this is not what I thought it was going to be. And then there are those courses. Now I will admit I have done this, you will admit you have done this, the courses that you buy, and you just never touch. I haven't done it very often, but I've definitely done it. And so those are all just, you know, money that we hand away to the universe, right? That's not how this is supposed to be working. We courses are not a bad thing. You know, tools that support your business are not a bad thing. But it really matters that they're useful to you that you not only get to work through them, but you actually apply what you're learning. And that's the other thing that goes wrong, like you work your way all the way through the course. And then you're like, Okay, I learned some stuff. And you don't use it. Like I have a friend that just took an Instagram course, shouldn't even have an Instagram account. So she was like, yeah, it was super cool. And then she was done, which is crazy. So one of the things that actually is going on in my business right now is I have found myself contemplating a course that I want to buy. And so what I thought I would do this week on the podcast is share with you the questions I asked myself this weekend, to really make sure that the purchase I was making. The one that I've been considering is not just me like chasing the next shiny object, or is not just me avoiding because people I know, because I know me and I know teachers that we like to learn in order to avoid doing scary things like you're it's the if I just learned this one more thing, sort of tick that we have I mean all people have it, but teachers have it bad sometimes. It's that like, well, but if I just take this one more course, I'll have what I need, and then I'll and then I'll be ready. And we have that tendency, and that's okay. But you got to catch it. So I asked myself some questions over the weekend. That helped me decide whether or not the course I've been sort of eyeing is me avoiding, like, I asked myself about that. I asked myself about go through the questions with you. But I'm trying to check in with myself to make sure I'm buying it for the right reasons. And that when I do I'm going to give myself the space and time to both use and apply what I'm going to get from these courses. It's actually two I have my eye on I'm going to fully admit. So the first question I asked myself might be the only one. But I have five. So I really thought hard about the courses I was looking at this weekend. The first question is why do I want this? And what do I think it will do for me? So for me, the why really came down to I want to learn this new skill. Like I'm going to buy a course where I get to play with YouTube a little bit. And I'm just really curious about YouTube and about making YouTube work for my business better. Like I just I think it's gonna be fun. What do I think it will do for me? Honestly, I don't know. I don't actually care. Which is crazy to say. But actually, for me internally, that was a better answer than, like the sometimes we go and buy a course, because we think it's going to fix some problem we have, like, we put it in charge of fixing something for us. And that's never going to happen. It's like, like a kid taking my algebra course and thinking it's going to fix, like their study habits. And that's just not how this works. They have to make the choices like I have a student right now making the choices, or she thinks I'm here to fix her.
So, you know, what do I think it will do for me is all about what power I want to give it? Right? The second question I asked myself is, what will I not be doing if I choose to do this? Because here's the thing, time is finite in my day, like I have x hours that I sit at my desk and x hours, that I'm not with clients, or working on projects or other things like I don't have 10 hours a week to devote to a new course and just don't. So what I had to think about was, if I start a new thing, if I try this project, you know, what am I trading, because I am actively making a trade. And when I looked at it this weekend, I realized that the last course I bought, I actually bought in spring of 2020. And I worked my way through it through the spring and summer, it was really useful. And I decided this spring to go back through and do it again. And I've gotten about halfway through it. And I'm sort of like, yeah, I already did this. So the first half of it was really useful, too, because it was all about marketing. And it was nice to like reset my marketing and do those kinds of things. But as I'm getting into the second half, it's like skills I knew already the first time and now the second time, I really know them already. So I'm finding myself kind of bored. But I have set aside time basically through the summer to do this course, again. And so for me, what I'm going to do actually is give myself permission to not finish the one I've already done and to do something new. Which is like felt like I took an elephant off my shoulders. When I decided that over the weekend. I was like, Oh, I didn't realize how much pressure I was putting on myself to finish this other course that I've already done that no, like no one is checking on. There's no grade. It's not like whatever I've accessed forever. It was really strange. But we all do this to ourselves, right? We give ourselves artificial deadlines, we try to make it perfect. Even though there is no teacher on the other side giving us a score, like there are no A's. I was definitely trying to get an A when an A didn't exist. And really like B plus would have been perfectly fine. The third question is sort of what I got at a little bit in the first one. But it is a really direct question. It's am I looking to? Am I looking for the course to fix something? And this this sort of secondary question here is how am I planning on making this course responsible for my success? This is something that happens when people buy courses, when people buy coaching, when people buy books, it's like, okay, I am going to read this book, I am going to work with this coach, I am going to take this course and when I'm done, I won't have this problem anymore. When that's that's not how learning works, right? The the job of learning even the job of coaching is for me as a student to take the lessons I'm getting and apply them in my own work. That's not the coach's job. That's not the courses job. That's not the books job. And so I wanted to check in with myself on you know, am I gonna take this YouTube course and expect it to make me 100 clients or get me 1000 subscribers or whatever? Like, what am I looking for it to fix my marketing or extend my reach? Like, am I trying to make it responsible for something that I the human Sarah am supposed to be responsible for? Like, the course isn't gonna do it for me. It's like asking my car to drive me somewhere. When it's not that smart, like it's like saying to my husband, you know what, I didn't go to the store today because the car didn't take me and like I think he would look at me Like, I've lost my mind, but I've said Stranger Things probably.
It's, it's giving responsibility over to the tool rather than keeping it for myself. And it's not easy to take that responsibility, but it actually is really freeing to be like, no, the job of learning is on me. The job of applying is on me, the course is just the car I'm driving to get there. So that's the third question. The fourth question. And, and this is, you know, me asking me, I know myself a little bit was, am I using this course to avoid anything? Or the second way I asked it was, am I using this learning this new thing, to avoid something that I don't want to do? Me personally, I tend to avoid anything that I feel like is going to be disappointing. Like, I don't like to feel like I'm disappointing other people, I don't like to feel like I'm going to get disappointed. So like, I would rather not do the thing, then they'd be disappointed. And I have to be aware, I have to be on to myself about that. So, you know, for me to ask, am I using this course to avoid something like am I going to go bury my head and learning so that I'm not doing uncomfortable things and not risking being disappointed? Like, if that's what I'm getting in the course for then I probably shouldn't get it. Because that's that's not a good reason, right. And so I think that, for me, this YouTube course, is really more about fun, it's about playing in a new space, it's about doing something interesting. It's about sort of, you know, getting to experiment a little bit. And it's not going to be something I give a ton of time to every week. And that's okay. So I'm not necessarily avoiding because I'm still going to be doing the other things that scare me, I'm still going to be networking a lot, I'm still putting myself out there to be on other people's podcasts, I'm still making offers, I'm still inviting people into my space, I just sent an invitation to someone this morning. And so, you know, I am not going to use this course to avoid but it's certainly something I have done in the past. Like it's not in this case. And I'm sure there will be times as I'm learning in it, that I make a choice, I'm going to have to watch myself. Because there are going to be times when I'm taking the course where it's going to be like on one hand, I can go do the scary thing or on the other I can go work on the course. And I'm going to have to make sure that I'm not choosing to go work on the course instead of doing the scary thing. Right? It's going to be I'm asking it at the start, but it's actually a question I'm going to ask a lot, you know, you know, what am I avoiding? If I'm choosing this now, if I find him like, like, just go work on that course right now, like, Well, why what am I not wanting to do that? It's like, it would be so much more comfortable to go learn something. And then the fifth question I asked myself, you know, and this is just straightforward is, is there a simpler way to get what I want and need? Like, I want to go learn about YouTube? Is there a simpler way to do it? You know, and depending on what you're trying to learn, often I find the simplest way for me to learn a new skill is coaching, like directly coaching, because it means that I am not off the hook ever. Like I don't get to avoid the skirt, excuse me parts of the course. I don't get to, you know, skip around, I don't get to take a week off, I don't get to do all those things. And you just learn what you need right away the time you need it. Like that's the joy of coaching in a lot of ways. It's the Legos, you need to build exactly what you're trying to build versus a whole bin of Legos where you Only you need to dig around and find what you need. But for me, like I'm looking for a better general knowledge of YouTube right now, it could be that after I take this course, the simplest way is coaching. But actually, like I thought about looking for coaching and sort of some help directly with YouTube. But I realized I don't actually know enough about what I want to do with it. So the course I've been looking at is sort of a generalized version of it and and I want that general picture first. And, and I'm going to be investing in coaching in another way at the end of the summer. So I already have a plan there. And, and so this feels like, like a fairly simple path. For you these questions like, why do I want to do this? What will I not be doing? If I choose to do this? Am I looking for it to fix me? Am I using it to avoid something? Is there a simpler way you can use this? When you go to buy a course, you can use these questions when you're looking to buy a tool for your business, you can look, use these questions when you're thinking about investing in coaching. And you should, like any investment of money or thinking of making is fair to ask yourself questions like these. And actually, the other thing I want to bring up here is that, you know, the question, What will I not be doing? If I choose to do this also applies to money? Like if you spend your money on this course, you know, I had to think for a little while, like if I spend the money I have in my business on this course, will I still have the money I need to invest in coaching later in the summer? And the answer is yes. But I did pause and think about it for a second. Because when you spend money, there's you're making a choice against not spending it somewhere else. Right. And this is not me saying hoard it at all. Because I'm, I'm a believer in investing in business. Like I know that the investments I have made in coaching, and very selective courses, courses are the difference like they are, they are why I have grown. They are why my business has grown faster. And I was just listening to a podcast over the weekend, where the host was really making the case that like if you take a LeBron James, he's got 10 coaches like he's investing in coaching, because he knows the difference that makes it's what he's has gotten him to the highest level. Like at that point, he can't afford not to like for me, I tend to see it the same way. It is the thing that's made the most difference. So it's the place I choose to invest. And I'm going to invest in this course. Because I want to use it to round out what I want from coaching a little further in the year. So for you as you're making choices about where to spend your money and your time, these are great questions. I would love to hear how you use them. I'm super curious. I know that I have used them clearly this weekend. And I've used them before or thinking about courses and coaching and books and things that I want to buy. Although I did buy two podcasting books this weekend for $1. On Amazon that I don't know if I'll even read. So clearly it didn't work every time. And I'd be curious to know your thoughts about investing. So feel free to come and find me in my Facebook group, which is also called Teachers in Business. Come play with us in there. Come find me on LinkedIn, just at Sara Torpey or come send me a message you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org And if you know you're asking yourself these questions, because you're thinking about investing in coaching, the best way to decide is to actually have a conversation, ask yourself the questions. I'm all for that. But if you get to the end, and you're like Yep, I think investing in coaching is the right thing for me. And the next step is to have a conversation with whoever you're looking at. It might be me, it might be someone else. But that's the scary next step that you kind of have to go like okay, yep I might go say yes to this. You know, it's a friend the other day was like, well, they strap you to another person and sort of shove you out of the airplane when you go skydiving because if you if they didn't you wouldn't go. Personally, I don't want to go skydiving at all. So you know, but it is that same idea sort of have to throw yourself out of the plane. So if I can be of help to you in coaching or in any other way, please feel free to reach out. Tell me tell me tell me how you use these questions. And I will see you with a special guest next week. Have a great week, guys.