From coding to cooking, we live in an age where we’re simply spoiled by the amount of information that we have at our disposal. There’s only a handful of things that we can’t find out through a quick, simple search on our favorite search engine; something our predecessors have had to spend hours in the library and years of in-person networking to even get their hands on.
But like Uncle Ben said right before he died on the big screen the first few times, with great power, comes great responsibility. And that couldn’t be more true today.
With the unparalleled amount of information and knowledge that we have available to us these days, it’s easy to want to take the easy way out and pay for a service, or a course to teach us what we think is the fastest path to being a millionaire, but therein lies the problem itself. You see, with the amount of access that we have to information these days, nothing you see behind a paywall can’t be found on YouTube for absolutely free. Yes, the production quality may be a little lacking, but if you know what you’re looking for, there’s absolutely no reason for us to keep paying other people to teach us a skill that they have picked up on the internet for absolutely zero dollars.
But if you insist on signing up for an online course, then here are a few tips that you can keep in mind to make sure that you’ve picked ones that actually will teach you something.
- Pay attention to what they’re selling
We get ads that try to sell us courses all the time. It’s gotten to the point where it’s honestly quite annoying, and if you’re unfortunate enough to be following these people on social media, you’ll know just how much these people want you to get their course (they’ll normally spam the hell out of their Instagram stories). And if one of them just so happens to catch your eye, and seem like a good choice, take a closer look at what they’re trying to sell you before you punch in your email into their “sign up” box. Are they selling you a course? Or are they selling you a dream?
One of the most obvious signs is when a 20-something-year-old kid is trying to sell you a course which they claim to be “the path they took that made them millions”, and sure, that may be true, but take a close look at what they’re trying to sell you. If their ads are vague, contains no actual information about the course they’re trying to sell you, and features a luxurious villa in an exotic location, or expensive cars and luxury watches, then you might want to stay away from those and look elsewhere because fundamentally, all they’re doing is selling you a dream. A dream they built from the money they made by selling you those courses in the first place.
2. Do your research
Do your research online and find out who that person really is, and be very thorough with your research. Search for every possibility that the course might either be
A.) a scam or,
B.) not informative.
This is one of the reasons why I almost always steer my friends and family to established websites like skillshare (not sponsored) because the courses on that site are screened ahead of time, and the access that you’ll get with just a few dollars a month in a subscription is just unparalleled.
But if you’re dead set on getting a course from one of these social media gurus, then you’ll need to find out exactly why they think they’re qualified to do what they do. Do they have a degree in the relevant field? Did they work with brands that you trust? Do they have a proven track record of achieving the results they’re boasting? Have they ever taught anyone before? Be critical when it comes to your research because you’re putting your hard-earned money into this and just like how you scrutinized over which car you should get, you should apply that same curiosity to courses that you’re going to invest your money into, no matter how cheap or expensive these courses may seem.
Also, take a close look at their offering and see if they’re offering you a one-on-one coaching session once they’ve ticked all the questions you’ve posted in the beginning because the only redeeming quality of these individual online courses is that they’re more personal and it’s (normally) run by the teacher themselves. If this is true and if their intentions are genuine, then they should be offering you a one-on-one coaching session with little to no additional cost. You can find some great ones on the internet, so do your research.
3. Look for the signs
Sometimes you’ll just know if someone’s not a very good tutor or mentor simply by looking at how they operate and how they think. Go on their social media platforms, see what they think of the world and see where their focus and goals are. I’m not going to say much here but all I’m saying is that if their main motivation, the driving force behind their actions is simply and purely money, then you’ll know that that person might not be the mentor for you, because no matter how you look at it, once money is the main motivation, they’re really looking at you like the product, not the course itself.
Look, the bottom line is this. We’ve got google and it’s really up to you which way you want to go. But my advice would be to take advantage of every free knowledge that we can get on the internet either by doing your research on YouTube or going on to Twitter and Reddit to get your information. Most of the time, you don’t even need these personal courses anyway since you’re only getting what they know without any tangible results, unlike some sites where you can actually earn certificates from companies like Google which, like it or not, will hold more water as you go about your day.
The internet is a powerful tool that can help you find just about anything, including knowledge. So remember, with great power, comes great responsibility.