The online world is buzzing with educators. 5-10 years ago, online courses weren’t even a thing unless you enrolled in the University of Phoenix. But today? I swear that I see a new online course or an entirely new-to-me- online educator advertised daily. And on the one hand, I think this is absolutely amazing! You can learn so many cool and specific skills from such a wide variety of people that you’re sure to find someone you jive with that can teach you exactly what you need to know. On the other hand, it can also be REALLY overwhelming. With so many online courses and online educators to choose from, how do you pick? How do you know which online educator is the best fit for you? Sit tight as we get into 9 things you should consider when choosing an online educator to give your hard earned money to.
9 Things to Consider When Choosing an Online Educator
1. Choose someone who has creditials
- It’s important to learn from someone who has actually had success in the area you are looking to grow. Absolutely. I’m not one to take diet advice from someone who can’t seem to stay fit. Doesn’t make them any less valuable as a person, but they are probably not the best one to guide you to success.
- However, credentials CAN be misleading. Case in point: I ran cross country in college. I am technically a Division 2 College Athlete Cross Country Varsity Runner…. Which sounds really impressive and I could throw that around as credentials for my “learn how to run” program. However, when you know the REAL story and the WHOLE backstory you wouldn’t want me to teach you how to run cross country.
- The WHOLE story is this: I went to a tiny college that was barely big enough to be D2. In fact, they were SO “barely big enough” that they were hunting down girls and to fill spots on their cross-country team. They were literally willing to accept anyone with a pulse and two legs. I got lots of free clothes out of the deal, got to hang out and travel with some of my BFFs, plus got a tiny scholarship to stay in shape. So I ran cross country. I, who am a natural-born sprinter and who had never run over 2 miles at a time, signed up and competed in cross country. So ya, you could say I have success and experience… however, am I REALLY the person you want to pay to put together your 5K training plan?
2. Also choose someone you align with
- The further I get into business the more I realize that not everyone is my people nor am I everyone else’s “people” either. And that’s ok!
- Honestly, I think that aligning, clicking, jiving, whatever you want to call it, with someone is one of the most crucial factors in deciding if you want to learn from them and invest your hard-earned dollars into their program.
3. Their teaching methods make sense to you
- Y’all, if I cannot understand someone’s teaching style, I’m out. It may work for you, it may work for everyone else and their mom, but if I don’t get it, why would I stay and pay to play?
- It’s true that everyone has such different teaching and learning styles, and YAY! I love that we are all so unique! But if you really don’t understand how someone teaches, don’t spend your money to learn from them.
4. You get value from their free content
- This is one of the biggest factors in determining where I spend my “education” budget.
- Generally, if someone can add value, improve my process, make me more productive with their free content, I feel safer trusting that they will deliver big on their paid content.
5. Their offer fits your immediate needs
- I’m all for looking down the pike and making plans for your long-term goals. However, if you are just needing to figure out how to better communicate with your Instagram audience, you probably shouldn’t invest in a course that teaches you how to manage a team of 50+ people right now. Buy courses and pay coaches that can help you gain traction where you are at right now, not just where you’ll be 10 years from now.
6. Their offer also fits your long-term goals
- Always, always, always make business decisions with your long-term goals in mind. If you don’t want to own a brick-and-mortar store, don’t make strides in that direction. If you don’t want to be running a social media agency, don’t focus your learning efforts on building towards that.
Example: Let’s say you have an immediate need to learn how to make better graphics. But, you know DANG good and well that your design talents are limited and a career in graphic design is not what God designed you for. While it may be tempting to shell out some big bucks for the immediate need (graphic design skills), weigh that with your long-term goals as well.
- Ask yourself- what skills will this course hone and what direction will this propel me in?
7. Does this teach a skill that would be better to sub-contract out?
- Are there skills that are REALLY just not in your wheelhouse, or maybe you just loathe doing them? Then don’t spend your education budget learning those skills. Instead, spend your money hiring that out and focus on your own strengths.
- If it IS a skill like, say, money management that you absolutely HAVE to learn to some degree, maybe a coach or just a really good accountant with the heart of a teacher would be a better use of your dollar.
8. Can they clearly communicate what specifically they will help you with and what transformation you’ll go through?
- I’m all for improving our lives in general. And it’s true that most learning and personal development has ripple effects. (i.e. if you learn to manage your money well chances are you can learn to manage your eating habits better too)
- However, if an online educator or coach cannot clearly communicate what transformation I will walk through, what tangible skills I will learn, what clear takeaways I get if I TRULY do what they are teaching? Byeeeeee. An educator or coach should always know where they are taking you and be able to clearly articulate it. Yes, you have to do the work, but they are your guide, your coach, the one who has gone before you and blazed the trail.
9. It fits your budget
- I always have been and always will be a proponent of investing in education. But, you should NOT have to mortgage your house to buy a course on how to build your business. I’ll go so far as to say, if you cannot pay cash or at least make the payments along the way, you are probably not ready to make that level of investment yet.
- Don’t spend money that you don’t have to spend. Periot.
Your time and education budget are way too valuable to go throwing at every flashy course that gets flashed across your social media feed. While I am always and will always be a huge proponent of lifetime learning, I do think it’s crucial to choose your online educators wisely. Do your research, read testimonials, ask questions before you invest! If that educator and their team are truly there to serve you, then they will be happy to answer your questions about whether this offer is a good fit for you! I know that personally, I turned away at least 3 photographers from my first Live Masterclass, teaching photographers how to blog and write compelling captions. Simply because it wasn’t the best fit for where they were at in their business right then. My hope is that this blog will help you choose online educators with integrity and the heart to serve you and your bigger goals.