I know you’ve been bombarded with courses and Ebooks from every blog direction these days. How do I know? It’s happening to me too. I worry that far too many people who are starting blogs have done so because they’ve fallen for some scheme and are now tricked into taking courses that cost them hundreds in order to make their dreams of working from a home business come true. Most new bloggers quit within 6 months and its usually because they haven’t done the research or work necessary to validate their blog and business ideas. So, courses make sense for those who want to learn and I’m guessing that since you’re reading this, you’re a blogger who is learning to grow and are considering taking some courses so that you don’t quit within 6 months and become another blogger statistic. Before you go an buy that next course though, there is one thing you should start doing now, which is treating your blog like a BID’ness. I’m not playing word games with you, I’m fairly serious about this and it might make me a little un-popular.
Okay, yes Bid’ness sounds like slang you’ll find on Urban Dictionary, but what I’m getting at is you should to stop giving your attention to potential schemes and really start doing necessary research and treat your time as a valuable commodity. The way you’re going to do that is by making all of these Courses, Ebooks, Webinars, Periscopes, other Blogs and Newsletter Emails really work for your time!
How do you make them work for your time? You should be making them bid for it! Let me explain…
Every second you waste watching another webinar about building your email list, you could very well be writing content, buying yourself a new software, taking blog photos, or some other natural blog “list building” task that probably already comes natural to you. I mean – you are a blogger – right? You somehow stumbled into owning a blog of your own and I’m guessing you know a little about what it takes to blog already. So, number 1 – don’t waste your time on things that teach you the basic stuff you already know and make those who do want to teach you higher level stuff – WORK FOR IT.
I’ve been in the business of hiring contractors to do work for me for a long time now (nearly 15 years) and I never hire anyone without doing my due-diligence. This means I put out a request to multiple contractors for their bids. It’s not as simple as that though. Every time I receive a price form a contractor, I go through the extra steps necessary to validate it and make sure they’re being honest. When there is something that doesn’t seem right, I ask questions. The reason I do that is I don’t want to waste my money on poor work and I don’t want to waste my time with someone or something that wont meet my needs.
What I am trying to stress here is that your time and money is valuable and I want to help you make the most of it by sharing with you the steps you should be taking before you buy into all that blog and business ecourse hype!
Treat your blog like a BID’ness
Before you spend another second considering your next online course for “list building” or “Pinterest marketing”, or before you consider hiring anyone to work for you as a designer, a coach, a copy writer, or a web developer, please consider these very basic things that I consider when I bid out work and hire anyone to work for me:
Step 1 – What are my needs?
Make a list of the things you need:
What do you need to learn?
What do you need to design?
What are your expectations from anyone you hire or any course you buy?
By listing the things you need and your expectations, you are creating a criteria list for yourself. I would call this a “scope of work”. This establishes your bottom line expectations. If you’re even considering an online course, before hitting that “BUY NOW” button, make sure you cross reference your own scope of work. If the course doesn’t have a list of expectations – move on or ask for one.
That goes for hiring someone to do design work or copywriting too. Make sure you establish that list before you sign on the dotted line.
Step 2 – Establish a budget (for your money & time).
What’s the price you’re willing to pay for each one of the things you’ve listed in step 1?
This is huge. Courses can be expensive. Especially the “BIG” ones. Make sure you put a value and price next to each of the things you will accomplish and learn from the course you’re considering.
“What’s included in the price?”
Does this list of included items equal or exceed the value you will get from it?
As an example, what if the course you’re considering will teach you how to use twitter to grow your business. It costs $197. They claim you will gain 15,000 followers after you take the course. The question you need to ask yourself is: “When will I see a return on my investment?”
“How long does the course take?”
After taking the course, how long before can I expect to reach 15,000 new twitter followers and how much time and effort do I need to put towards it? (Remember time is valuable and if they can’t answer this somehow with a range – move on) So, if that’s the claim then what’s the conversion rate? How many of the 15,000 new twitter followers will actually click through to my blog and either purchase something or subscribe?
Step 3 – What are the terms and conditions after you make a purchase?
Make sure you understand the return policy if you are unhappy with the course or the results from your purchase. If it’s a digital Ebook, there is a likelihood that, because of its digital nature, you can’t return it. Are you going to be okay with that?
Another condition you may not be considering is what you need to do in order to hold up your end of the deal. If there is a lot of work involved on your end – make sure you understand that clearly and are ready to commit.
Step 4 – Compare competing courses, Ebooks, and services
I can’t stress this enough, but do not make a decision to buy a course until you’ve researched your other options! There are so many free resources out there, are you sure you need to pay for this one? In fact, there’s a few free blog and business resources on ivorymix here, like free stock photos or access to our facebook group of other bloggers.
Make a complete list of the multiple options you can choose from to meet your needs and then compare them side by side. A pro’s / con’s list works great for this and it’s super simple to do.
Savvy business owners don’t make uneducated decision about their money and their business. So, don’t fall for the sales pitch from anyone right away. Don’t fall for the flashing bright lights and the cha-ching they’re selling you.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
If you can’t find a competing course or someone offering something similar, then it might be too good to be true OR it could be a unicorn.
Unicorns exist but are rare. So, odds and chances are, it’s not a unicorn.
If you’ve only spent 24 hours looking for competitors – keep looking and ask around to fellow bloggers and business owners.
Step 5 – Check their references!
I don’t necessarily mean that you need to read the testimonials they’ve listed on their website. Some of those testimonials might be legit, but how will you know unless you reach out? If the person you are thinking of hiring has a list of testimonials from other bloggers and business owners, then reach out to those people. I’m certain you can send them a private message on their Facebook page and 9 times out of 10, they’ll respond.
How many times do you check reviews on yelp before you choose a car repair shop, a hotel, or a restaurant? So, why wouldn’t you check the reviews of someone you’re about to drop hundreds of dollars to?
Spend the time you need to check their references and make sure their claims are real and that their previous customers are satisfied!
If testimonials aren’t panning out and you’re not getting the answers you needed – ask for more references. In fact, why not find a forum of other bloggers, like our ivorymix facebook group, and start asking around?
Step 1 – Establish your needs
Step 2 – Establish your budget
Step 3 – Know the terms and conditions of any offer
Step 4 – Get multiple offers and compare
Step 5 – Check their references and get referrals
Don’t get me wrong, watching Webinars and taking courses can be very helpful – BUT – only if you’re taking the right ones that meet your needs and not falling for the scams.
I’m not the first person to say it, but courses are a great way for bloggers to make money online. People, like you, want to learn, and people like me want to teach. However, not everyone is made to be a teacher. They may be a good sales person, but their teaching abilities might suck!
Make sure you’re treating your blog like the business you want to make of it and take the time to do the research before you pull out that credit card!