I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a course junkie. I love to learn for the sake of learning but when I take an online course, I’m very strategic in regards to how it will help my business. Since I have a teaching background, I’m very picky about who I take a course with. I have to be a fan of the person’s work for a long time, talk to people who have taken the course and read testimonials about what past participants got out of it. If you’ve been contemplating whether or not a course you’ve been wanting to take is worthwhile, here are some benefits to taking online courses.

1. Courses can be more affordable than coaching or hiring someone to do the work

You may need to work on areas of your business and can no longer wait. Taking an online course can get you up to speed quickly. Sometimes we’re so caught up in trying to keep every aspect of our business together, we don’t take the time to figure out what needs more work. While it’s great to outsource or hire a coach, there are times when courses are the best option. I find that the pricing hits the sweet spot for small business owners and there’s usually enough value that exceeds the cost of the course. Like many courses, you can pay in full and get a discount or pay in installments over a certain period of time.

I’ve been saying I want to write a book for years. It helps you establish authority which opens up the door for more opportunities. After listening to presentations, tidbits of advice and reading online, I realized I couldn’t string this knowledge together in a way that lead to clear action steps. I didn’t know where to begin. After watching a webinar, I signed up for Michael Hyatt’s Get Published Course. Let’s just say I’m beyond happy with every aspect offered in the class. Outside of being a highly skilled business person that worked for a publishing company, Michael Hyatt is a natural teacher. His course and lessons are extremely comprehensive and follow a logical sequence. I’m usually someone who has many questions while taking a course. I currently don’t have any because it’s that thorough.

2. You can use them over and over

When you take a course, most of them can be taken repeatedly, meaning you have lifetime access. So all of the tips and tricks will still be accessible to you if you can’t remember something. This also works to your advantage because sometimes it’s hard to take in a bunch of new information all at once. You can replay a module to hear it again. Even once you complete the course, you may just need a refresher on certain aspects like finding your target market or getting free publicity. Sometimes you might learn something that you don’t need at the moment so listening to it again can help you implement it when you’re ready. The information will be fresh on your mind and you don’t have to worry about storing it somewhere, you can find it again in the course.

3. Get sequential guidance that a course can provide

One of the first things I learned while getting my Master’s in Education is that people learn best when information is concrete and sequential. A course provides the perfect framework to ingest the content this way. Having served on a committee, I’ve had to put together curriculum for the grade level I taught. A curriculum has a scope and sequence. The scope indicates how in depth the material goes. The sequence is figuring out the best order the material should go in. If the person offering the course has battle tested the material prior to offering the course ie. by trying it out on real people, they will get a feel for how far in depth to go for the course. Many times if they feel they need to address something extra or offer more value, they’ll often have bonus material available outside of the basic modules of the course.

The Bottom Line

There are many benefits to taking an online course. They can be more cost-effective option than coaching or hiring someone to do the work. They can be accessed repeatedly for multiple projects or to refresh your memory when needed and they allow you to follow a logical sequence to get a desired result. Shop around to choose what course is right for you and figure out what percentage of income to reinvest into your business by purchasing a course.

Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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