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Online Courses: Should You Buy Another and What to Do If You Bought a Dud

If you’ve hung around the online world for a while chances are you’ve had this experience: You sign up for a course, program, or mastermind, invest a lot of money, only to get access and realize that the value isn’t there for you.


Hopefully, you’ve had the opposite experience too where you’ve made an investment and the creator or coach offered crazy value and learning for your hard-earned bucks.


But we’ve all heard the horror stories or had some hard lessons ourselves.


So what do you do if you find yourself in the first situation? And more importantly, how do you avoid it in the first place?  


If you’ve already invested in something and you know it’s not for you 


Is there a refund policy? 


This will be the last resort, and for some courses and coaching there are no refunds offered (which could be something to consider before shelling out your hard-earned dough). But if you have just joined something and you know it’s not for you, it’s better to make a hasty exit and try to recoup some or all of your money.


Make the best of it


I know this may seem like counterintuitive advice but hear me out. Sometimes we may unintentionally close off and withdraw when we think something isn’t for us. 


Is there a Facebook group you could participate in? 


An accountability relationship to build? 


Some of my favorite parts of courses are the relationships I’ve built from inside the members’ only groups.


And consider this—have you pulled back and disengaged because you were pushed out of your comfort zone? This is the time to ask yourself the tough questions about what is at the root of your not participating.


Offer feedback


I truly believe that building a business is one of the biggest drivers of personal growth out there. I don’t know any coach or course creator personally who wouldn’t be open to constructive advice. 


Do you think changing the length or structure of the modules would improve the usability of the course? 


Would the group coaching calls have been more valuable with a weekly theme? 


If you can make tangible suggestions to the owner or creator you’ll not only help them but you’ll also potentially pay it forward for others who will invest down the road.


How to decide if an investment is for you


This topic has a little more gray area but here are some things I’ve learned making many big and small investments in the digital world.


Find an accountability buddy


Remember that accountability buddy we talked about earlier? We’ve all probably had the experience where you see the shiny new course, read the copy of an amazing coach, or get the countdown timer for the last chance to enroll in the next best thing—that timer gets me every time!


I have my go-to gals that know me and the direction of my business and can talk me out of shiny object syndrome when it rears its sparkly head. Or they tell me that the investment is worth more consideration. 


I love learning and I could happily spend my life surrounded by piles of books and courses just for the joy of knowing new things. But with a family, a life, a budget, and a business, that means it doesn’t always make sense to invest my precious time and energy in all the things.


So whether it’s your spouse, your mom, or your online bestie don’t discount the value of talking these big decisions out with someone who knows you and can keep your best interests front and center.


Identify what you are looking for in a course


Do you love the creativity and face time of a beta launch? Do you thrive on a set outline and schedule? Do you like the relationship of video calls or would you rather consume content while eating popcorn in your sweats at midnight? 


It’s critical to know how you learn best and where you personally get the best value.


If you know these things when you get on a call with a coach for a mastermind you can ask specific questions on what works best for you. And it’s a red flag if the creator can’t or won’t answer your specific questions. A good landing page is one thing, but if the nuts and bolts aren’t there, it could be time to look elsewhere.


Especially for investments over $1,000, it’s not uncommon to be able to schedule a call with the coach or creator to ask your questions and help determine if it’s a good fit for you. Trust your gut on this one! If you logically think it’s a good fit but just don’t have a good feeling about it after your call, move on. There are other programs or chances to sign up later. Better to be cautious than to potentially throw away thousands of $$.


Do your research


The online world is surprisingly small and chances are unless something or someone is brand new there are reviews, blog posts, or someone in your circle that has invested in what you’re looking into. Do some research and see what kind of unbiased testimonials you can find.


Pro Tip: For many big launches, like Marie Forleo’s B-School, there are some amazing affiliate bonuses if you sign up with their links. Affiliates will often offer extra learning/courses, e-books, private coaching calls, or even swag if you join a course through them. Google is your friend!


So there you have it, my advice for finding and managing your online learning. Do you have any tips for finding the perfect coach or course? Or do you have a favorite course you couldn’t live without? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

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Hi! I’m Julie. I launched my Online Business Manager business to partner with amazing business owners who need systems, planning, and automation. My clients get to focus on building the business, not hiding from it. I’m so glad you’re here!

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