Note: This is a guest post from Barbara Simmons from Livin’ The Blue Sky Life.
I am a beginner blogger just like you.
I am struggling to get my website working the way I want it to.
I pulled my hair out over WordPress.
I agonized over my domain name and my niche.
I changed my mind a few times.
I joined a bunch of Facebook groups and signed up for every email list going that has a free course on anything I thought I needed to know.
I dither over whether to pay for a course, I wonder if they are worth the huge (or not) money, I wonder “what will be the ticket to get me on the road to cashflow?”
Then there are the really BIG questions:
What if I am not perfect?
What if I missed the bus and I am too late to make any kind of money from this?
Oh…and BTW, how LONG will it take?
I was hoping for instant success, or as close to it as I can get.
SO far…. Not yet. It’s been what, two months now, and I can’t even get my site to function quite right?
SO, I get it.
I’m right there with you, in the trenches, hoping to earn a promotion and get the heck to where I feel like I know what I’m doing.
All the experts are out there, shilling courses, lists and strategies. Some are free, some are a VERY big spend.
Are the expensive ones worth it? How can I ever tell?
Everyone who reviews or writes about them seems to be an affiliate. Everyone seems to be taking a cut from helping others get started blogging… is there ANYONE who isn’t in it for a buck?
Hey… I’M in it for a buck! So whatever, no judging. You can make a buck and still help people- doctors do, teachers do, everyone does. We all gotta eat.
So why not turn the decision on its head?
Why not evaluate these courses on how they deliver the content, instead of trying to determine if the course is worth it when you don’t know the actual content?
Why not evaluate these courses on their value to YOU?
YOU are the one who will be doing the work. YOU are the one who will be getting everything you can out of the course.
YOU have your own preferred way of learning.
Let’s face it. Most of these courses are teaching some aspect of being a successful blogger. There are many paths, but all of us have the same tools and resources to help us with our success.
Nobody really has any exclusive secrets.
What they DO have is DELIVERY.
Which one will teach you what you need to know in the way that you learn it best? THAT, my friends, is delivery. That course is the one that is worth the money.
You decide what is more important: “is there value for my money?” or “how valuable is it to ME?”
Most of these course creators are out there on Facebook and Pinterest. They all have websites. There are lots of opportunities to read their writing and determine their style of interaction.
For each course you are considering, do your homework.
Visit their site/support group and give some thought to these questions:
- Does their writing personality work for you?
- Do you feel comfortable in their support group?
- Do they participate in their group frequently?
- Do you NEED them to participate?
- Do you enjoy their free content?
- Do you learn from their free content?
Everybody loves Freebies!
Free content is a little taste of what each teacher has to offer, and you can expect their courses to follow the same pattern.
It is so hard to judge value for money when you don’t get to “flip through the book”, so to speak.
But actually you do… those freebies? They’re the preview.
Let’s look a little closer at perceived value.
I would never pay $200 for jeans, but I happen to fit into $20 jeans. For me, they are comfortable and they look good, so I feel good about wearing them. I sometimes wonder if I would look better in $200 ones, but not very often.
I’m happy with my $20 jeans.
I’m pretty sure $200 jeans won’t change my life.
But what if they could?
How can I KNOW?
Is there a miracle in those expensive jeans? I mean, there must be something for all that cash!
Ummm…… not likely.
Advertising works on the principal of human nature that says:
“What if there is something better out there?”
Meh. If those $200 beauties ever went on sale, or if I suddenly came into money, I might try them. I might even buy them.
But I won’t like them anymore than my $20 jeans if they don’t look any different.
I don’t have a problem with my jeans, so I am not actively looking for a solution.
Shoes… now that is a different story.
I have the worst time ever buying shoes.
My feet are wide and I have arches like the San Francisco Bridge. My heels are narrow.
Yes, I have the feet of a Ballerina Duck.
I buy shoes and they hurt my feet. They will stretch? NO. When I find a pair that fit, I buy two!
Will I pay $200 for shoes? Well… I will watch like a hawk for them to go on sale so I can buy TWO PAIR!
Shoes are an ongoing problem and I am always on the lookout for solutions.
When it comes to shoes, I see the value of $200, and it has proven to be a good thing.
Everyone is looking for a Magic Bean
Blogging courses are no different than shoes and jeans.
You either get sucked in by a magic bean, or you don’t care about magic beans.
You might really NEED a solution to a particular problem, and wow! Someone comes along that promises to solve that very problem for you!
You are willing to shell out those big bucks just to get some relief.
Should you spend the big money? Will it guarantee a solution and a shot at the big money?
To narrow it down in a concrete way, it may help to do a little self discovery.
It’s all about learning styles.
Everyone has a preferred learning style, and knowing what it is can help immensely with choosing a course that will be a good fit for you, and help you to achieve your goals.
Pretty much all of blogging courses have the same basic information:
Build a blog that represents you well and addresses the problems or interests of your target audience.
Grow it by promoting that blog.
Build an email list.
Keep promoting it.
You weren’t born knowing how to do this. But you do have strengths and trouble spots, and you do have a preferred learning style. Looking at a course from the angle of what suits your learning style can help you to choose the right one. After that, it’s budget and teacher personality.
Let’s Take A Quiz!
Which blogging course is right for you? Let’s figure out your Learning Style, or how you like to learn new things.
Have a pencil handy and write down the letter that best describes you for each question.
1. How do you learn new skills?
A I prefer to have someone demonstrate it in person, and get a chance to do it myself while they watch, so they can help me when I make a mistake
B I like to get the instructions, work through them, then have someone around to ask if I get stuck on something or need an explanation
C I like to work through something on my own, and have some loose guidelines to keep me from making major mistakes
D I hate asking questions, I like to research it on my own and figure it out as I go and look for free resources I can use
2. How you prefer to handle it when you get stuck on something?
A I need a real person right there to help me through it so I can ask questions and get immediate answers
B I need a step by step plan in front of me so I can see where I went wrong and fix it, and have someone to ask if I am still stuck
C I like to create my own overall plan but have a step by step plan I can follow at my own pace, and look up solutions or ask a group if I have trouble
D I like to look up solutions online or ask an online group
3. Do you prefer to work alone or in groups?
A I like to have face to face conversations as I work so I can solve problems with the help of others
B I like to work alone and at my own pace, but I want others working on the same thing so I can ask them when I need help
C I like to have resources in print or online with people who are like minded but not necessarily working on the same thing
D I like to work on my own with no one to bother me
4. What do you find most discouraging?
A Having no one there to be accountable to. I need someone to tell me what to do next and make sure I do it
B Having no outward motivation or instruction to continue with something
C Not having a framework to help me figure out what the next steps are
D Not finding an online example to help me figure something out
5. How do you stay motivated?
A By working with others who are doing the same thing and being inspired by them or encouraged by their progress
B By my own gradual success as I work through a set of instructions
C By reading and figuring things out, with examples to help me
D I am very task oriented and self motivated. I can set my own agenda
6. How do you work through a task?
A I need someone to help me figure out the steps to take and the order to take them in, specific to my situation
B I like to have a framework set out for me and work from beginning to end
C I like to skip around a bit if I get stuck or bored with something, and take an a’la carte approach and find solutions to what I need help with at the time
D I have my own approach and it works for me
7. How do I make decisions?
A I like a lot of discussion and feedback from experts and colleagues to reach a decision
B I like to read the opinions of experts and discuss it with a few people who are working on the same thing, then make a decision
C I like to evaluate my work as I go along and make smaller decisions that support a larger one. I like to read the opinions of others that are doing the same thing as I am
D I rarely consult anyone on what I want to do, I easily make my own decisions
8. How do I stay organized?
A I like to have it all laid out for me so I can work through it, and have someone to discuss it with directly as I go along
B I like to have a detailed set of tasks set for me that I can work through from beginning to end
C It helps me to have a sample list of tasks, then make my own list for each part of an overall project
D I like to figure out my own path as I go along
Time to find your Best Blogging Course Type!
If you had:
Mostly A answers: You prefer a full college style course with an instructor and classes and lots of immediate help with your questions.
Mostly B answers: You are best suited to a unit based, step by step course that leads you from beginning to end, with all the bells and whistles and an instructor on deck to ask questions and evaluate how you are doing.
Mostly C answers: You do well with shorter, self directed courses that address particular aspects of blogging. The level of instructor involvement varies with price of course, or the course may have a closed facebook group for help. You are self directed and organized.
Mostly D answers: You are very independent and prefer small bits of information like you get from freebies. You are tech savvy enough to figure it out on your own with a really good Facebook group for help.
Now what? It isn’t about squeezing the maximum value out of your dollars in terms of success, it is about how much help you need to become a success.
The best course for you is the one that fits.
Choose a course that has the level of interaction and help you need.
A If you need the full package, and you feel better knowing that it is all there for you to follow, go ahead and spend the bucks (or the time).
B If you need to have the extra handholding to succeed, then by all means pay for it and you will be glad you did.
C If you don’t need a high level of assistance, then look for something with less hands on help from the instructor, usually with a correspondingly lower price tag.
D If you are tech savvy, or know someone who is who will help you, you can get by with less. Try the free stuff and facebook groups first, then pay for more help when you need it.
Your chosen course should give you motivation and information in a way that you can make use of, and allow you options to get help if you are stuck on something. These options might not be included in the course- expect to pay for it from someone, like in a coaching call, or get it from a facebook group.
Don’t expect the course to be a magic bean!
You still have to put in the time and the work, and you might want to quit at the points that give you trouble. THAT might be where you will need some help- like minded people, a shorter course, or someone you can pay to do it for you. Decide where your money is best spent based on where you are in your journey, what you are stuck on and what you need to continue.
Choose wisely, not with the “what will get me there fast” idea but with the “what is the best fit for me” in terms of course delivery and personal attention idea. THEN look at your bank account and make a decision.
Barbara Simmons is a new blogger trying to figure it all out. She spent many years giving quizzes to people who weren’t all that happy about it, and is pleased to now be giving quizzes to keeners. She blogs at www.livintheblueskylife.com, and talks about starting vegetable gardens for absolute beginners.
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