5 Tips to Read Before Buying an Online Course

Before buying an online course, I would really like to give you a few words of wisdom based on my own buyer’s remorse and amazing online experiences.

When I first started baking and decorating, I felt like I was entering a foreign land where I only spoke half of the language and the other half was well-guarded secrets and code.

There was a huge gap in products and ingredients found at the grocery store, my home turf, and what the pros used and recommended. In fact, everything was different.

It was really overwhelming.

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As per usual, the internet was filled with advice, but I would end up more confused and need to know so much more than most people shared.

All of the good information was behind paywalls. (Paywalls are the content that you can only access after you pay for it.)

We are flooded with online courses…

When I started baking, it was also the beginning of the “online course era.” It was exciting to be able to take a course from a famous baker or decorator. The promise of having access to them and learning their secrets was genius and alluring.

I signed up for SO many online courses. So many… I wish I could say I finished them all, but I did not. I am bad about thinking I have more than 24 hours in a day, so time to do extra is always hard to find. Also, the truth is a lot of the online classes were not as great as I wanted them to be.

Nowadays we are flooded with “NEW online courses” about everything. How can you tell which classes are the real deal and which classes to avoid? True reviews are hard to find, and sometimes it feels like people complain about dumb stuff making the ratings hard to decipher.

How can you tell which online course to take?

Here is my humble advice for you to before buying an online course:

1) Spend your money where it will do the most good.

Focus on what you really need to learn now… not what you think might come in handy next year.

Make a list asking yourself, “What are the skills I need to learn to take me to the next level?”

Then prioritize that list into:

  1. What will immediately increase your skills or earning potential?
  2. What will you need to learn for the next phase after you’ve grown a little?
  3. What sounds interesting for when there’s free time?**Suggestion** Only take the courses that help you with #1.

2) Learn as much as you can about the teacher of the online course.

Before you click “pay” or “join” or whatever button, sign up for their free content and newsletter. Check out their other platforms like YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook, and look them up on LinkedIn.

One time I saw a person teaching a course on “Growing Your Instagram Following and Social Media Marketing” who only had 212 followers on Instagram. I didn’t sign up for the course.

3) See if the presenter has any books you can check out of the library.

If they do have a book, look up the book reviews on GoodReads or Amazon. Sometimes a book is a lot more thorough than a workshop. 

If you can, check out the book first. You know, do a little detective work before you dive in and fork over the cash for an online course. You work hard for your money, what’re 10 minutes of digging.

4) Resist the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Push back the impulse to buy something you just heard about and ignore the middle of the night, desperate to become better than you are purchasing.

Resist the “this course is only open for 2 more minutes, you’d better buy it now” tactics that play on your FOMO.

If you miss it, you miss it. When a door closes, a window opens? Right? Insert your own phrase which means you will get another opportunity to learn what you need to know.

You will. 

You even know what you need to know BECAUSE you made a list back on step one. Right?

5) Never pay for an online course that you can’t see at least 3 ways to immediately implement into your life or work.

That is my very best advice and I learned it at…. “a workshop!” (HA HA! That was funny to me… warped sense of humor.. idk.)

Kristy Tuttle of Kosmic Custom Cakes and a Mona Lisa Fondant Brand Ambassador said that she never signs up for a course unless she can immediately find 3 ways to use it.

Immediately, those words smacked me in the brain and forever changed my thinking (and credit card bill.) 

It is sound advice.

Questions and Comments!

Do you have a tale about an online class? Are there any great online classes you recommend? Please, share in the comments! If you have any questions, please drop me a line and I’ll get back with you ASAP!

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About Mikel Ibarra

Mikel Ibarra holds a BFA in painting, is a certified cake decorator, teaches baking and cake decorating classes, and frequently combines her passions for the sake of art. Sweet Bytes is where she shares everything she knows about the art of baking and running a baking business.