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Thinking about taking an online course? Do this first and save lots of money.

Oh, by the way, you’re not going to like the process.

If you’re 4-years old and you tell your mom that you’d like to go to high school, she’s probably going to ask you what 12 x 4 is and when you don’t know, she’ll probably say, “Maybe you should master the art of kindergarten first, darling.”

Here’s the exact conversation I have (on a somewhat regular basis) with my Course Correction Consultant* John Muldoon.

“Hey John, I was thinking of signing up for the course on podcasting.”

“Oh, that’s nice,” he says, but he waits for me to continue because he knows I will.

“Yeah, there’s a special price right now and if I don’t sign up in the next few days, the price will go up and the lifetime membership option will be gone forever.”

“Hmm, sounds like now’s the time,” he says, probably at this point not even looking at me anymore because he’s waiting for the kill shot.

“There are all kinds of bonuses and special downloads and worksheets,” I say, trying to sound enthusiastic. When he doesn’t respond, I ask the dreaded question, “So, do you think I should sign up?”

He looks at me and makes sure I’m paying attention because he’s only going to say this once,** “Have you learned everything there is about podcasting that you can get your hands on? Have you taken up for every free course, listened to every podcast episode on the subject, watch so many interviews with experts in the field that you know the industry and what to do like the back of your hand?”

“Uh,” I mumble. “Well, no.”

“So you’re basically looking for the shortcut to the finish line before you do your training. You’re trying to run a marathon before you’ve been training with a few 10k’s or even 5k’s.”

“Yeah, I guess so,” I say. “But I’ll get access the community!”

“The thing is that you’ll be entering high school but you only have been in kindergarten. Sure, you can sit in on the class, but you don’t have enough learning or experience to get out of it what you should get out of it.”

I stare into space, dreaming of being in high school again.

“You know what’s the best option? Go learn anything and everything you can about podcasting to the point where you’re probably at university level of podcasting. You could probably teach the class at the middle school level on podcasting. THEN go take the super advanced course with the ultra guru in the industry because you have 14 burning questions that you can’t find the answers to, because you’ve spent hours trying to set up your own podcast and failed miserably, you’ve even helped a few others with basic podcasting because you know so much,” he pauses to take a breath and my dreams of being in high school again vanish. “When you’re at that point, then come ask me about taking that course.”

What sucks, of course, is that he’s right.

We’re looking for the fast track, the easy road to the finish line. But we have to get our hands dirty, we have to fail to know what we need to do right. We have to try and not find answers so that we can then ask the more experienced people the really hard stuff that we truly can’t find answers to.

The Side Effects of this Method

If you’re brave (and smart) enough to follow John’s advice, then the little-known side effect is that you’re going to learn so much about the topic that when you do sign up for the course, you’ll really get so much out of it, it’ll be worth every penny. Then it will also pay for itself because you’ll rocket yourself from the university level that you attained prior to the course to PhD status and you’ll do it quickly.

Another side effect is that the soft-spoken guru will probably take notice about how much you know and make an example of you, interview you as a star student and, who knows, teach you a few secrets on a private Skype call you have because, well, by that time, you’re a rockstar.

  • Possible: take the course
  • Impossible: learn the subject without doing the grunt work or taking the course***
  • Repossible: learn the subject before you take the course

* Ooh, I just made that up and I like it. It’s a new money-saving job title, “Course Correction Consultant.”
** Until I ask him about the next course I think I should take, this time on social media marketing.
*** Statistics show that this is the path most people take … and learn nothing more than kindergarten.

I’m filing this under the tags courage and patience. 😉

By | 2017-05-24T13:24:18+00:00 October 26th, 2015|Perspective|3 Comments

About the Author:

Bradley Charbonneau was sitting with his 8-year old reading a bad children's book when he said to his son, "We can do better than this ... and you're going to help me." Then they did it. He hasn't stopped since.

3 Comments

  1. Writing Every Day Beyond 1,000 Posts October 26, 2015 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    […] Thinking about taking an online course? Do this first and save lots of money. (Oct 26) […]

  2. Becky Hastings May 24, 2016 at 4:07 am - Reply

    This is fantastic! And so very true. We need more wise people like your course correction consultant!

    • Bradley May 24, 2016 at 7:00 am - Reply

      He’s doing a course on how to not take a course, but today is the last day to join and tomorrow the price will increase by double. So join today! 😉 Just kidding. Thanks for the note, Becky!

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