The Problem with Online Courses

Raise your hand if you have ever purchased an online course.

Me too! (who hasn't?!)

Would it surprise you to learn that in this digital age of learning, where hundreds of thousands of courses are available online: 

less than 10% of people actually finish an online course they've paid for?

That's right, people left and right are plucking down hard earned money to take courses they don't actually complete.

Truthfully friends, I'm one of them.

Maybe you can relate....

Are you guilty of signing up for a course you didn't finish?  Is your hard drive full of courses you paid $50 for when it was offered as a special deal and you just KNEW it would help you understand that thing that everyone else seems to know but that you can't quite get?  Things like growing your email list, leveraging Instagram, building a community, how to get followers and likes or how to convert your followers into more bookings....

Every business owner I know has tried to learn something from buying an online course.

If you've been on Facebook in the past year you have, no doubt, seen a crazy amount of sponsored ads for online courses;  everybody (and possibly their dog) is offering an online course these days.

So many people, you have never heard of.....

When you consider it as an opportunity for a lucrative additional revenue stream, and you acknowledge the reality that most of our learning is now done on the internet, it's easy to see why so many people are making and selling online courses.  The demand is definitely there.

Even courses offered by renowned experts and Thought Leaders aren't immune to high dropout rates.  Business Marketing icon, Seth Godin, even revealed in 2016 that he experienced a dropout rate of 80% for his highly sought after online courses.

It turns out learning online isn't the easy solution we hoped it would be to take our businesses to the next level...

So if we, as consumers, want learning delivered to our fingertips, where is it all going wrong?

The truth is - Most entrepreneurs don't know what to focus on first to bring greater success faster.  They don't know what will make the most impact for their specific business so they try and learn a little of everything all at once.

Business owners often don't know what to focus on first;  they want to keep up with what everyone else is doing but constantly feel like they don't know enough.  As a result, they tend to make multiple small investments (both time and money) into many items on their to-do list in order to feel like they are making significant progress.

They are constantly trying to DO MORE instead of doing what MATTERS MOST.

Instead they are making incremental progress in an unclear direction.

They are overwhelmed by all.of.the.things. they need to do and, understandably, choose to minimize their financial and time management risk by investing a little into a lot of different things.

Subconsciously, they are seeking the emotional payoff that comes from accomplishing something without realizing that they aren't growing as far or as fast as they could if they were to invest in the foundations of creating a truly flourishing business.

Foundations that would eliminate unnecessary items from their to-do list and help them concentrate on learning that substantially grows their business in the right direction.

People love to buy crash courses on topics that seem too big and scary to tackle fully. And online course makers know how to sell you a shortcut to those happy feelings of accomplishment.

What they don't tell you is that most people get distracted, confused, bored, lazy or overwhelmed and never fully reach their well intentioned goals.

The Problem with Online courses is, there is no accountability

For Business owners, and Creatives particularly, there is always something else that grabs our attention.  Shiny Object Syndrome is real ya'll.

One minute you are updating your website and the next thing you know you are surfing the Net and you are lost down the vortex of the millions of things you realize you don't know or NEED to learn about like yesterday.

So you watch a few free podcasts until you realize, you REALLY NEED to learn about this critical thing and then decide to spend the money for a quick course that promises the systems and secrets not available anywhere else.

And the first few modules are great and helpful and you feel like you are finally GETTING SOMEWHERE and then your kiddo gets sick and you don't have time to do the next module.  And then you read an article about something else you REALLY REALLY need to be focusing on in your business and you start researching that and before you know it, that super helpful course of yours is just sitting there making you feel super guilty for not having enough time to complete it even though you REALLY REALLY REALLY NEED to know this stuff.

Online courses make us feel like we are accomplishing something just by signing up so we can pat ourselves on the back and feel like we are really tackling that thing.  

But after the feeling of accomplishment fades, most people lack the consistent internal motivation and discipline required to actually follow through with completing the self-driven work required in an online course.

The reality is that learning at your own pace without someone to keep you on track is extremely hard.  Life is busy, there are always reasons to delay the "non-urgent" items;  always more and more items on our to-do lists.  There are also way too many distractions;  our phones are beeping text messages at us, our email is alerting, our Instagram account is notifying and our sister is tagging us on a funny cat video, it's no wonder we can't get anything done!

Online courses have to fit in between our work and our life and most people are already struggling to find enough time for just those two things.

Have you ever paid for an online course and then found the exact same information being offered for free elsewhere?  Isn't that super annoying?

While good sales copywriting can make you feel like you NEED to buy a course to access the most valuable secret information, the reality is that a lot of helpful material is available already for free.  Courses are sold as a way to learn this valuable information faster.  A solution that would be welcomed if it addressed all of people's needs but...

People don't just need information fast, they need help applying that information in their own lives.

Online courses are meant to generalize.  They aren't specific to your business goals, struggles or needs.  Having general information about a topic doesn't actually help you understand how to best apply it to your individual business.  It doesn't help you sort through your thoughts and make decisions with clarity.  Online courses offer knowledge without application.

So what's a person to do, then, when they need help with some aspect of their business?  If online courses aren't an effective strategy for growing your business, then what works better?

Invest your time and money in Good PEOPLE.

Hiring a professional person, in the "Real World", who can either do that thing for you or who will work one-on-one with you to make sure you actually accomplish your goals, is a far more efficient use of your time and money.

Yes, you can DIY just about anything.  You are a creative - you ROCK DIY but........sometimes, you shouldn't.  Sometimes, you need to know what will take you where you want to go and what will keep you stuck where you are.  Sometimes you need to NOT do-it-yourself.

Spending your hard-earned money on online courses will keep you stuck at a crawl in your business, when you were always made to soar.

Online courses can't truly know your needs.  
They can't dig in with you and talk you through the hard stuff when you're unsure.  
They can't sit on your couch and drink root beer floats and hold you accountable for how and where you are spending your time that week.
Courses can't answer your stressed out email at 9:00 am on a Saturday, or remind you over and over again what makes you special when you are questioning yourself.  
Online courses can't cheer for you, celebrate your wins, leave you the best IG comments and tell all their friends about you.
Online courses can't invest in YOU.

The Problem with Online Courses is they are a poor substitute for the kind of life changing growth that happens when you invest in building your business right from the ground up.  The kind of growth that happens when you invest in people who will walk WITH you as you learn and grow.

If you are craving