By Lacy Boggs
I like to hang out with smart people.
In my nearly eight years in business, I’ve gotten in the habit of intentionally surrounding myself with smart people, online and off, through programs, masterminds, online forums and groups, and even the occasional coffee chat. In fact, if I can help it, I never want to be the “smartest person in the room” on any given subject (unless I’m the one teaching).
I learned that a long time ago in peer writing groups; if I was in a group with writers who were all newer and less experienced, I ended up being the one giving all the advice and (unpaid) teaching and didn’t get much value from it for my own writing. If, on the other hand, I stretched myself and joined a group with writers who were on par with my experience or more experienced than me, then I felt like I could bring value and give value.
One thing this helps me with in business is to start to spot trends in the online marketplace. If I’m hanging out with smart people, and they’re all talking about something, chances are there’s a good reason for it.
And one trend a lot of my smart friends and colleagues have been talking about lately are in-person experiences.
The rise and fall (?) of DIY courses
We’ve seen an interesting shift in the last 10-15 years. Do you remember when the first webinars started to become popular? When online courses started to become a thing? (Or am I just dating myself here…?)
When those technologies were new, everybody wanted to try them, use them, and experience them. Online courses offered the promise of democratizing learning — at least geographically speaking. No more having to be in a particular location at a particular time to access learning.
Video conferencing and webinars made it possible for the teacher to be “present” live as well.
I think the novelty of these new technologies ensured that customers were eager to participate and try something new.
These technologies also made teaching at scale easier and highly profitable for the business owner. While we had to invest in the technologies, there was no overhead for a location, food and drink, transportation, etc.
But these fully automated learning and teaching experiences also have downsides. Any business owner who has created a course knows the disappointment of seeing paid customers not complete the course. And any course buyer knows how easy it is to get stuck, get discouraged, or not see the results you hoped for from a DIY course. When there’s no opportunity for ongoing interaction, or when the students vastly outnumber the teachers, it’s difficult to overcome these problems.
As a bit of a course junky in my early days of business, I also found that there were vast differences between courses, even at the same price points. Some I might get a ton of value out of, while others were barely worth the paper they weren’t printed on.
Over the years, I think a lot of buyers have become wary of …read more
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