What I Spent On Online Courses Last Year—and Which Made The Biggest Impact

The deeper I get into the world of online business, the more I see how much we entrepreneurs must tread carefully around what we buy, how much we spend, and whose advice we follow.

There are sooo many “proven systems” and “business blueprints” to follow, so many big promises, and so many courses marketing themselves as the missing piece to huge growth, big fish clients, and big-money paydays.

And a lot of them really do deliver.

Many of the courses on this list really did change my life, amplify my business and rocket me to some pretty cool places (ex. from borrowing from my savings to pay the mortgage, to consistently bringing in +$10k a month).

But they only worked because I did.

They worked because I showed up to my studio every day and put what I was learning into action.

I took risks, made mistakes, and tried stuff not knowing whether or not it would work.

So…a little caveat. This is what worked for me last year, but we all have to find our own rhythm when it comes to consuming information and putting that new learning in place. Some systems work for some but not others.

Here’s what worked for me.

 

1 ~ B-School with Marie Forleo

What I invested:

IN DOLLARS: 4 payments of $550 USD ($2200 USD)

IN TIME: About a month of full-time work

Doing the work:

This program is big. The modules are very easy to digest, completely relatable and not at all scary to implement. But it takes time. And huge commitment.

I was fortunate (in retrospect, though I hardly saw it at the time) to have a really slow period in February and I spent most of that month implementing what I was learning from Marie. Another awesome thing: I had my website 80% done, so instead of building it from scratch, I was just tweaking my offerings & messaging based on what I was learning from Marie.

I’ve seen a LOT of people get overwhelmed in B-School and not finish the program, but here’s the thing: They had HUGE revelations along they way. And while their businesses might not’ve been 100% operational at the end of the course, many were on a completely new and beautiful life plan—as a direct result of the work they did in B-School.

The results:

We started a local B-School group of about 6 women, and met every single week of the program. This held ENORMOUSLY in getting the work done, because I knew I would have to report to my posse every Tuesday.

{Side note: some of these women have become my sisters and soul-business-partners, probably for life.)

B-School was my launch pad. It laid the fundamental groundwork for a huuuuge surge of growth in my business. When I started out, I had about 3 clients and almost nothing but white space in my calendar.

Today I have regular 5-figure months, a list of clients that I consider my soulmates, and have created the business of my dreams. Literally. (Now I have to create a NEW dream!)

For any entrepreneur who’s wondering what to work on next to take their business to the next level...it’s B-School. 100%.Click To Tweet

Biggest Takeaway:

Packaging your offerings is everything. A lot of service providers are messy in their delivery. They’ll just do whatever the client needs, for whatever time it takes.

I’m extremely clear with my clients on what I’m doing and not doing, what the process will look like, and how that experience will be like for them. (That last one is super key.)

Also, I’ve given myself permission to say no to clients who are wrong for me. That’s huge.

Would I buy it again?

In a heartbeat. B-School changed everything…in the best way possible. It also gave me a first class seat on Marie’s bus. As a B-Schooler, I’m a member of a super-tight community of amazing & soulfully entrepreneurial women who’ve become some of my best friends, my best clients, and my best contractors.

This month I hired a B-Schooler to do my accounting, and another to help me with a launch I’m working on. It’s a group I know I can always pull quality referrals, recommendations & leads from, knowing I’ll be in good hands.

I. Love. These. Women.

Marie is the real deal when it comes to growing a business online. She doesn’t share anything she hasn’t personally done herself. Everything about her brand oozes authenticity & femininity.

{You, Me & Marie} PLUS MY B-SCHOOL BONUS

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2~ Manifesting Formula by Lucky Bitch

What I invested:
IN DOLLARS: 2 payments of $97 USD
IN TIME: Nada. Listened to the audios on the walk to work.

Doing the work:
I’m a radical de-clutterer so this course completely resonated with me, and gave me permission to get rid of all sort of possession, business ideas, outdated dreams and limiting beliefs I’ve been carrying around 4-eeeever.
A lot of the homework happened in the evenings at home, and some in my studio during my breaks. It wasn’t a huge time investment, and is a course I’ll probably go back to again, just to purge any new & unhelpful material & immaterial clutter I’ve collected in the last year.
Plus, the assignments just felt soooo good to do that I actually wanted to do it all the time. It never felt like homework.

The results:

This program made a huge impact on me, especially considering it’s a low-cost product.

I purchased this course shortly before purchasing Amy Porterfield’s Courses That Convert. I was really nervous about this purchase since I still hadn’t paid off B-School, and wasn’t bringing in a ton of cash at that time. I resolved that I would manifest 1 client from Courses That Convert, who would make it financially viable.

Without being a sleazy self-promoter on Facebook, I introduced myself in my usual style and mentioned what I do and who I do it for. Within 24 hours, I got a FB message from the most wonderful Aussie gentleman, a marketing exec who’s since become a great friend and brought me over $10k in business last year.

Biggest Takeaway:

Getting rid of stuff isn’t just something nice that feels good to do, it’s essential to making space for better things to show up—from nice furniture to new clients.
The real trick is to get rid of stuff before I’m really sure how it will be replaced. And when it comes to my income, that’s not always easy to do. Working on it.

Would I buy it again?

Definitely. Great value for the price.

 

3~ Courses That Convert with Amy Porterfield

What I invested:
IN DOLLARS: $997 USD
IN TIME: At least 10 hours weekly x 4 weeks (not including course creation time)

Doing the work:

Amy’s courses are so value packed they can be daunting. That said, if you can implement just 1 of her super-tactics, sometimes that’s enough. I listened to this course about 98% of the way through, and got a TON of value …. and got stuck a bunch of times along the way.
The FB group is an excellent place for inspiration. Lots of launch stories both good and bad, with detailed numbers I’m really interested in (i.e. FB ad spend, funnel strategy, technical setup & where there were glitches.) It’s also a great place to get ideas on what software people are using and loving, and why.

I’m completely stalled on the last 2%, but that’s purely a psychological matter.

The results:

I figured out that the course idea I’d been toying with was totally off-base for my audience. Way too metta.

Using Amy’s course validation strategy, I was able to come up with something much better. Something my people have actually expressed that they need.

With Amy’s guidance, I have my course completely outlined (a big hurdle and one I’m very glad to be over), and a plan to outsource a lot of the actual building of it, so I can keep serving clients and bringing in the dollas. (I started creating slides myself, and realized it’s not something I enjoy. Plus, my gal Sandra can totally handle it.)

Biggest Takeaway:

The biggest change I made as a result of this course was implementing “content upgrades” into my blog posts. I don’t do this everytime; but when I do I always see new signups, and I have a nice backlog of posts I can run FB ads to.
Also, I got really tired of paying currency exchange on courses, and got a USD credit card so I don’t pay 35% extra every time. (I bill clients in USD, so I always have USD cash I can use to clear the balance.)

Would I buy it again?

Absolutely. Amy Porterfield is the real deal.

 

4~ 10x Emails (Masterclass Edition) by Copy Hackers

What I invested:

IN DOLLARS: On scholarship

IN TIME: About 4 hours for video trainings, plus 6x 1-hour live trainings that I watched over lunch hour

Doing the work:

Implementation was a cinch for 10 Emails & 10x Landing pages, because I could implement on-the-go, using my clients as guinea pigs (always, always, always with permission). It didn’t require more than a few hours out of my production time to digest the video modules.

If you’re considering this course, definitely get the masterclass edition (if it’s available when the course relaunches). The training with Ry Schwartz is unlike anything out there, and his templates have saved me WEEKS of time. Maybe months.

The results:

Huge, HUGE growth in my business thanks to this course. I’m much more confident writing emails for clients, and I get way better results.

Pre-10x Emails I wrote pretty emails that worked pretty well. Now I can design emails for an entire funnel, I know exactly what each email is required to do, and I can confidently quote to my clients because I know they’ll get results.

Biggest Takeaway:

I’ll never write an email sequence again unless I can answer this question: What does the prospect need to be forgiven for before they can take action on this product/program?

It’s probably the most important part of the sale. And when you work in coaching & training (that’s most of my clients), this question becomes even more important. It’s not just a purchasing decision, it’s a potentially life-altering decision, and that needs to be treated very carefully.

Would I buy it again?

Absolutely. It’s worth double what it cost (actual cost is $1499)

 

5~ 10x Landing Pages (Masterclass Edition) by Copy Hackers

What I invested:

IN DOLLARS: $750 USD (purchased with a buddy—totally legit with permission from Copy Hackers). The full price of this course is $1499.

IN TIME: About 4 hours for video trainings, plus 6x 1-hour weekly live trainings

Doing the work:

Once again, I was able to implement the training as I worked with clients—and see results almost right away.

Re: The Masterclasses – You can NOT learn from Joanna with 1 eye on your email and the other on her Zoom training. I fell behind of the first live training (totally my fault for not closing out all windows and giving Joanna all of my attention), and wasn’t able to pick up the thread.

I sometimes struggle to put Joanna’s training into action because we serve a really different kind of client — hers has a TON of data, mine has almost none. But when I do figure out how to make it work for my business, invariably there is a massive pile of cash for everyone on the other side.

The results:

Before taking this course I really had no idea how to quote a sales page, probably because I didn’t have an official tested-and-true process for writing one. People would occasionally approach me about writing a sales page, but I found it hard to close. Now it’s my most popular product. Mostly because…

I’m very good at selling on the phone now. Particularly sales pages. I use a ton of the language from Joanna’s courses, and can clearly show the value of working with me to my clients.

I’ve had clients tell me that I quoted double or even triple what other copywriters did, but they chose me because I mentioned things most copywriters don’t (ex. the extensive interview process) and had a process in place to make it easy for them to collaborate & execute with me.

I feel pretty good about my current pricing on landing pages, but I know I could be charging more, and providing even more value. (A huge part of the reason I chose to join Copy Hackers’ mastermind group in 2017). Stay tuned for the next chapter.

Biggest Takeaway:

The interview process is key. I can’t believe I ever wrote a sales page without doing interviews. Because I normally did NOT do interviews, I’d been grossly under-delivering (and undercharging) on sales pages.

To understand the psychology of the sale and get in the buyers’ heads, you have to actually talk to them. Preferably face-to-face (something else I learned from Joanna). A client’s customers can tell me a lot more about their “pain points” than a client can, because they’re actually living it every day.

Would I buy it again?

In a New York minute.

 

6~ Money Bootcamp by Lucky Bitch 

What I invested:

IN DOLLARS: $1299 USD

IN TIME: Listened to the audios for about 2 weeks over lunch, and implemented for a half hour each day.

Doing the work:

This is a lot of soul work, so you can’t do it in fast bursts without getting overwhelmed. It takes time and it takes patience.

Lots of “Lucky Bees” (i.e. the women in this course) get huge results even if they only do a module or 2. It’s really quite incredible. Just being in the community creates space for magic, and Denise Duffield-Thomas (aka the lucky bitch) does a great job of keeping the private FB Group a positive, super-uplifting space (though you’re totally allowed to bitch when you need to—all part of the magic).

The results:

I purchased this course at a really emotional time in my career. I’d just made a lot more money than I was accustomed to earning and was really on edge since it brought up many insecurities and lingering old beliefs about money.

This helped me a LOT to work through them, but I lost interest quickly, since it felt like a repeat material from her other course, which I preferred.

Biggest Takeaway:

Forgive & Tap. It’s the answer to everyone. Even my husband does it now.

Would I buy it again?

Not sure. This is an incredible course and really important work. However, I got just as much out of Denise’s other program, the Manifesting Formula, and could safely have stopped there.

This brings up a bigger issue of trusting myself & trusting that my inner guide will show me the way, that I don’t always need to look to another course, a coaching session or an angel-card reading for answer. I already have them all inside.

 

7~ 90-Day Year (Playbook Edition) by Todd Herman

What I invested:

IN DOLLARS: $499 USD
IN TIME: About 3 hours (so far)

Doing the work:

The Playbook Edition is video modules-only. It takes an hour or 2 to work through each module, plus another 1-2 hours for the worksheets.

I had hoped this program wouldn’t require a lot of extra work outside my usual business activities, and that I would be able to implement Todd’s systems and just keep going. Not so. I actually have to do some damage control on some of my systems and even hire some people to take care of the things I’m not good at.

Once it’s all in place, I think my productivity will improve. More on this to come. I’m just a beginner in this course.

The results:

Can’t say yet. Purchased in December.

Biggest Takeaway (So Far):

My accounting systems are my biggest weakness and where I have the most work to do. I’m so grateful to have done the reflection work that Todd teaches.

As I gave myself raving 5-star reviews on marketing & other systems I have in place (my back was getting sore from all the patting I was doing), I had to do a major business ego check when I realized that a TON of accounting information is currently stored in my brain (i.e. what it will cost me to run my business next month, how much I paid to contractors in December, what I spent on courses in 2016, etc.)

I hired an accountant right away. Over Christmas. I didn’t negotiate on the work or the price. I just said, “Yes. Send me the invoice. When do we start?”

Would I buy it again?

Can’t say for sure yet. Since purchasing this course (admittedly on a whim) I’ve become aware that “systems” are very individualized, and it can be quite dangerous for women to try and replicate exactly what male entrepreneurs are doing to be successful.

I’m not sure women are hard-wired for the go-go-go way of doing things—it can drown out our feminine gifts of intuition & vision if we’re not careful to adapt these systems to our own unique way of doing business.

(There, I said it. Call me a woo-woo if you must.)

Also, it looks like the people who see the best results from 90DY are those in the full program—i.e. those who get way more support from Todd’s team and the big side-benefit of connecting with T-Herm’s community, which, from what I’ve witnessed, it super tight and supportive.

Just to be clear, I’m a huge believer in Todd Herman and his program. I’m just not sure it’s right for me (yet).

UPDATE: I had this course refunded, and they were super great about it. They refunded me within hours, no questions asked. I still think it’s a great program, but I’m heavily invested in a high-level mastermind with Copy Hackers this year, and I don’t really need any extra systems or people telling me what to do. 2017 is all about embracing my own power, and following my own path.

Total: $5939 USD

If you’d told me that number at the beginning of the year, I’d probably have had a minor panic. That’s almost $8000 when you convert it to CADs, which is more than I made in entire YEARS in the old days.

But…the other number that’s worth mentioning is this one: $61,300. That’s how much business I got this year DIRECTLY from Facebook groups. Not from referrals or past clients. But from people I took courses with, and who’d been following me and connecting with me through private groups and FB messaging.

All things considered, I’d say that’s a pretty good return on investment.

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  • Steven Thrasher

    Great information. I’ve heard “Steve, you’re way too experienced for B School” so I haven’t had it at the top of my priority list, but I see so many people get so much out of it I think I must be missing out on something!

  • Kit Artig

    Thanks for all this insight! And congrats on getting so much business from Facebook groups. I’d love to know more about your methodology!

  • Thanks for great feedback. I’ve just purchased Courses That Convert from Amy Porterfield so looking forward to getting into it.

  • Love the way you laid this out. I know people who’ve spent WAY more than you have in a single year who got nothing out if it. Most of the time that was because they were buying something they weren’t ready for and / or working with someone who wasn’t really a good fit for them.