How Online Courses Fail

Welcome to episode 456.

I feel like there should be a warning here, like a red alert, red alert.

I had Cali, my right hand over at Uncommonly More, Digital Marketing Manager at Uncommonly More, build my strategy and editorial calendar for The Stacey Harris. And inside of that she built out sort of a series or themes of some episodes, called what I’m fucking done with. And this was one of the ones, she created or she scheduled rather, because I tend to rant about this semi-regularly, and so I want to talk today about how online courses are failing.

And let me start by saying all of that. And then next say, not all online courses are bad. However, there are some things that online courses do that leaves us hanging. And so I don’t want you to take this as a personal affront if you have an online course because I’m guessing you do online courses a little differently than what I’m going to talk about today.

We Need More

So often we have clients come to us who have been through thousands and thousands of dollars in marketing courses and they’re in the exact place they started with. There’s a reason I don’t sell courses anymore. I have two structures, two ways to work with me inside of The Stacey Harris. And that’s Hit the Mic Backstage, which is a membership site that yes, has courses in it, but as also all about staying updated and staying accountable and connecting with the community so that you’re going through those courses, but with some support structure. Also, I have Backstage Live, which is where we teach something inside of a single day by doing the work together. So all of the ways I teach are really about being supported during implementation.

I don’t love in courses, this structure of fire hosing someone with content and then wishing them all the best in implementation, and that’s so frequently what we see is I’m going to throw every tactic, tool and possibility under the sun at you for eight weeks.  We’ll both just pretend you consume it and then you’ll get results, which doesn’t fucking work. It just doesn’t. It won’t get you the results you want and unless you actually do the thing, and that’s why we have structured the things we have and the offerings we have in a way that’s super implementable.

It’s why I love Backstage Live because I’m not fire hosing you with information. Now we go through a lot in our day together. Don’t get me wrong, we’re building out email content and social strategies. We’re identifying ideal clients. We’re talking about what is the one thing we sell, how many of them do we want to sell? We’re going through a lot of information in that day, but we’re doing it and we’re learning it in the context of what’s this actually look like to implement because we’re implementing it together in the room. I’m teaching you a skill by doing the skill with you instead of just standing at the front of a room for a day or sending you a video sequence that says, oh yeah, this is how you build a strategy. Best of luck. No. And so I want you to look at when you’re making your investments, why are you buying that online course? Where are you getting your information? For example, I 100% still buy courses.

Where Courses Fit In

Yup. Last year, maybe, eight months ago, I bought a course on Asana because inside of The Stacey Harris and inside of Uncommonly More our teams use Asana. A lot of our clients use Asana and I wanted to make sure that I was using it to the best of my ability. Honestly, I wanted to see how somebody else structured theirs because I needed to get outside of my bubble about how this looks. And I didn’t want free content that was the basics. I knew that I wanted what was next. And so I bought a course and guess what I did the course also, our team can review those kinds of assets. We can be on the same page when we’re talking about languaging. The course came with templates that you could copy and paste into Asana. It was amazing. Courses still absolutely have a structure. They still absolutely have a place, but too often early in our business, we, if we fall into this, we’re buying a course will solve our problem. And buying a course almost never solves your problem. It will teach you how to do something if you consume the content and then your implementation might solve the problem.

Where to Invest Instead

But as a whole, I find that when we buy courses as a way to solve problems, we’re wrong about what our problem is. We’re not buying the right course. That’s why I invest in coaches and consultants more frequently than I invest in a course. Now, if I want to figure out how to get started with, um, video content, I’m gonna hire somebody who is an expert in video. My goto there would probably be Holly Gillen of Holly G Studios. Um, if I want to know how to better run my team and my structure, I’m going to look at somebody who has an expertise in leadership and organizational structure and talk to Tara Newman over The Bold Leadership Revolution and I’m going to work with her in a way that allows me to give the information I need specific to my business by talking to her.

And that’s what I really want you to look at, what you’re doing when you’re investing specifically in your marketing. I want you to look at where you can get the time of some consultants or some coaches and make sure that you’re getting the expertise directed at your business, not general philosophy. I want you to look at where you are getting specific answers to your questions, not just questions you might have because that’s where we fill in our blind spots. That is where we start to see a real difference happening in the end result of that investment.

I recently decided to get back into art and drawing and I knew I could take any one of the hundreds of online programs and online courses, but I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to learn the theory and the idea. I wanted someone to sit with me and help me fix the things that I was struggling with to help me work through seeing the whole image and being able to break it into parts because I’m not traditionally very good at that. And so guess what I did, I went and attended a live in person class. There were I think six of us in the room. It was a series of classes and I got both individual and group help on the specific things I want it to work on.

The same is true in our businesses. Find rooms you can be in where you get the specific help along with the inspiration of the group. And this is why we have Backstage Live the way we have it structured because inside of Uncommonly More you can come spend the day with me and you and I can do this one on one, but you miss out on a really, really valuable chunk of information and that’s being in the room with other business owners being in the room with other people working through the same thing you’re working on trying to navigate the same things. It’s a great way to find the blind spots in the questions you’re asking because someone else in the room will ask the question and this is why I always really encourage you to ask questions because I guarantee someone else in the room has the question too.

Even if they don’t yet know they have the question and so put yourself instead of saying, you know what, 2019 is the year. I’m going to get really good at Instagram so I’m going to go buy an Instagram course. Don’t do that. Instead, join a community where you get access to maybe Instagram trainings, but you also have the ability to go get a profile review by the person who’s teaching it. You have the ability to go and ask questions of the person who’s leading that community and the other people in the community. By the way, this is what you can do in Hit the Mic Backstage. If this is the year you’re going to make your email funnels work, don’t go buy another course on email marketing. Spend a day in a room virtual or in person (hint, hint) where you’re going to build that strategy together. By the way, this is what we do in Backstage Live.

If this is the year you’re going to get your Facebook ads on lockdown, they are going to be, you’re going to turn that thing into a little ATM. Don’t buy another ads course. Go work with an ad consultant to help you build this out. It doesn’t have to be a done for you person. This is not about you not learning it. It’s about finding environments in which you actually learn it. Because in the environments you’re in right now, you’re not actually learning it. You’re being firehosed information that, let’s be honest, you’re probably not consuming and you’re certainly not consuming all of it. I know, cause I’m guilty of it too guys. This is not me talking about this sort of above. This is me talking from experience. I know you have done it because I have done it and that’s changed the way I invest. It’s changed the way I look at things now. Again, I will buy a simple course to solve a simple problem. I need to know more about Asana. I bought an Asana course.

Transaction Vs Transformation

Cool. I won’t invest in being firehosed information in a passing format, in a transactional relationship. And this is something I love that Tara Newman has been talking a lot about inside The BRAVE Society, which if you don’t know about The BRAVE Society yet, go check it out. But we’ve talked a lot about transactional versus transformational relationships. It seems weird that in marketing and selling marketing services and products that I would care about transformation instead of transaction, but that’s exactly why four to six times a year I take an entire day off my schedule. I bring a small group together and we transform how they deal with their marketing right now because it’s not transactional. I could sell you your third Facebook course. I can sell you your ninth Instagram course. I could sell you any of those programs and I know because I have sold them, but guess where people started getting results is when I built Backstage when we turned all of those courses into a membership community. When it came, it became more about keeping you updated and staying in touch with you and doing reviews and answering all the questions you could possibly think to ask me. That’s when people started seeing results from the teaching I was doing. I’ve talked about strategy, endless times. We now have people who have attended Backstage Live this year who are currently working on the first strategy they’ve ever had in their marketing and they’ve been doing this for years.

We’re currently seeing people who have attended Backstage Live rollout entirely different marketing plans than they’ve ever run before because we built something that served their next level. That’s a game-changer. And so when you’re looking at investing and when you’re looking at how you serve your clients, I want you to look at how they can actually get results. Is that a cold passive course or is that finding a way to support them further caring about them as a human and not a number because that right there, that’s why I’m done with online courses. That is why I do not sell standalone courses and trust me, I have had people who have joined Backstage and who have left Backstage and said, I really wish I could have taught just this one course cause I love the community but I can’t afford to stay. I get it. You have to make the investments that are right for you.

Now. I do have other questions about the whole, I can’t afford thing, but whatever. Let’s set that aside. The reason you got the results, the reason you actually consumed is because you were in the room with us because you couldn’t hide in the corner with your information and pretend to consume it. You had to do something with it and guess what? Those members, they come in, they consume that content, they cancel and tell me they can’t afford it. They wish they could’ve just bought that course. Then they go implement and guess what? Then they come back and they’re like, I can totally afford this now.

What’s next? I’m going to take the next course. That is incredible and it’s what happens when you care about people. All right, putting the soapbox away. Slide it under the table here.

Let’s Build Your Q4 Strategy

I want to remind you that we have our early bird seats open right now for Backstage Live September 12th this will be where we create our Q four plans. That’s going to be covering the end of the year holidays. That’s going to be covering, building your momentum as you go into 2020 instead of phoning it in as soon as September hits because that, that’s a whole nother soapbox for another day. Right? I want you to go into the last quarter of this year ready to make a big impact, having your marketing planned and scheduled and working so that you can take some time off. You can have both time off and momentum but only if you build a strategy only if you have a plan to work and that’s why we created at the beginning of September so that you can go into Q4 with that stuff done.

Ready to go. Ready to roll right. Early bird tickets end August 15th. I will also be sending a special care package to people who sign up with your workbook and some cool stuff in it to help you get through the day if you want to make sure you get that. If you want to make sure you get the early bird pricing and if you want to make sure you get a follow up one on one call with make sure you join us for the early bird price and make sure you painful is where you get that one on one call with me.

I’m so amped for this day. I can’t wait to have you all in my sphere even if it is a virtual one this time. Uh, our next in-person one will be in 2020 but we’re going to be doing this one virtually and it’s going to be incredible. So if you have questions head on over to Instagram and let me know. Otherwise, I will see you next time.

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