Crush It! How to NOT Waste Money on Online Courses

Cynthia Hull

Do you suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome? Sufferers from Shiny Object Syndrome have great intentions. You work hard to build your business and carve out a place for your products or services. Your challenge is learning the new skills needed propel your business. You bought the E-course or workshop because you thought it would help your business.
In the previous posts (Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3) you learned how to prioritize your needs and where to find the resources you need. You know what you need to learn next. NOW it's time to optimize the course you bought.
Set Clear Objectives
When you are taking an online course, clear goals help filter out irrelevant content. Keep your focus on your goal so that you can focus on key components to help you meet your ultimate objective.
Determine One Main Objective
You might have a lot of different reasons for taking a course. Ask yourself: If you take just one thing away from this course, what will it be? We learn best when we narrow it down and focus on one take-away. Otherwise, you try implement too many new ideas or skills at once. You end up not getting any one thing done well. Plus, you are likely to be distracted and overwhelmed. Take all your reasons for studying the course and narrow them down to the one that's most important.
Make Your Objective Specific
Your objective should relate to a specific outcome for your business. For example, you decide to take a workshop to learn about Pinterest. Your goal is to learn Pinterest to get more customers. A better, more targeted objective is to learn Pinterest to increase traffic to your website by 20% in 90 days.
Start with a specific targeted objective. You are more likely to focus on the pertinent details for that outcome. You more likely to finish the course and use the skills you learn when you have a specific goal with a due date.
Post Your Goal Everywhere
Post your goal everywhere possible. Write it down and hang it above your computer so it's always visible. Carry it around on a little piece of paper. Tell all your friends on Facebook about it and blog about it. The more you put words to your goal, the more real it becomes to you. Plus, the more you tell people about it, the more you feel like you have to follow through.
Set Your Schedule
No goal ever gets done without a deadline. Choose a date for finishing the course. Then, work backwards from that date and break the course into chunks. For example, the training program has 8 modules and you decide you want it done in one month. You need to complete two sections a week. You can always change the date if it's too much or too little, but don't make a habit of pushing aside your learning time. And don't forget to allow time for exercises and other components of the course.
Get Exactly What You Need from It
Here's a story that'll blow you away. You know that there are $10,000+ seminars offered by big-name gurus. When you pay that much to attend, it motivates you to get the most out of the program. Some attendees leave in the middle and they are often the best students.
Why is that? It's because they learned exactly what they needed to know. They learned what they need to meet their targeted goal before the end of the seminar. Why bother with the rest? Anything more would have distracted them from the reason they were there. It sounds crazy, but it illustrates an important point. For best results, let your goal guide you in your learning. Don't bother with anything that doesn't help you meet that objective.

How to Hold Yourself Accountable and Get Things Done

The real challenge is to finish the workshop or E-course AND follow through on what you learned. You need to be accountable. You need to put in place strategies to hold yourself to your goal.
Accountability Partners
One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable is to get an accountability partner. Tell someone your plan and targeted objective. Ask them to keep you on track. They don't need to hold your hand. They need check in with you regularly and listen. You can do the same thing in return for them.
Choosing an Accountability Partner
Your accountability partner can be a friend, coach, mentor, spouse, colleague, or family member. It doesn't matter who the person is, but it should be someone who has a positive influence on you. They should believe that you're going to follow through on your promise.
How to Use All Your Acquaintances as Accountability Partners
A great way to use everyone you know as accountability partners: announce your plans on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. You will find it difficult to give up when you know that you have to announce it to your 250+ friends and followers! You'll stay on track to avoid the comments.
Join a Group
You can also join a group of people in the same boat as you. There are online groups and forums with every interest under the sun. Find one related to what you're doing and join. Then, introduce yourself to the group and tell them what you're doing. You'll find plenty of support in a good forum, as well as tips on how to learn.
Journaling Your Progress
You don't actually need anybody else to have accountability. You can be accountable to yourself by keeping a journal. You can do this by keeping a blog, or you can write daily in a notebook. Writing down your progress helps you recognize your progress day by day.
The More Accountability, the Better
The best strategy is to take a few of these methods and combine them. Write in your journal and also keep a running commentary on your social media sites. Ask a friend to be your accountability partner and draw support from an online group. The more support you can get, the better.
Go forth and learn!