How Taking an Online Course Can Transform Your Business

How Taking an  Online Course Can Transform Your Business

When I was growing up, it was a given that when you finished high school, you went to university. This was automatic. This was guaranteed.

If you went to university, you’d be fine.

If you didn’t, you’d be screwed.

But most people I know with extraordinarily successful careers say a university education can be a waste of time. They’ve seen many, many students who attend university only to finish with degrees that are completely irrelevant to their future career.

The same successful people will tell you that an online course can absolutely transform your business, your career, and your success.

Here’s why:

Online Courses Correlate to Your Business

In university, most of your classes won’t translate to your career.

You’ll learn language skills as you write essays, sure, but no one’s going to ask you to write a 20-page screed on Proust in any marketing department. You might learn statistics skills or some algebra, but you won’t learn how to do your taxes.

And so on.

Online courses are specifically designed to solve real-world problems. Problems you’re probably having in your business right now

Not sure how to market your business? There’s a course for everything from how to set up an email marketing account to how to conduct a full-scale guerilla marketing campaign. Don’t know how to write that sales page? There’s a course that tells you exactly how. Not sure how to write an ebook? There’s help for that too.

Online, you’ll find a huge array of courses that makes sure that whatever your problem, someone can guide you step by step through the answer.

And that’s guidance that’s near impossible to find anywhere else.

Speaking of which . . .

You’re Never Without an Online Course

I know many people who’ve taken workshops, seminars, or specific courses to learn more about business topics. Those courses are often great, and they usually offer the ability to talk directly with the instructor or speaker, so it’s easier to get questions answered in the moment.

The problem is that it’s extremely rare for those workshops or seminars or courses to be offered when you actually need them.

If you saw a flier tomorrow for a seminar on how to conduct an affiliate program, you might pass up because you’re not currently looking to start an affiliate program. Six months from now, when you have a product that needs affiliates, you’ll wish you’d taken the course.

But it’ll be too late.

Online courses are usually more flexible. Whenever you want to learn something, you can find someone offering it. You can educate yourself at the same pace your business develops, which means you’ll never have to walk into a new phase without the knowledge you need to pull it off well.

Oh, and by the way…

Online Courses Are Cheap

Many people balk at the price of online courses, which can run in the thousands. This always baffles me, and here’s why:

On average, an upper-level university course costs about $3,000 in the United States – and there’s no distinction between useful courses and non-useful courses. Want a full education? $40,000 is the norm. (It’s not much cheaper in Canada, by the way.)

And out of that 40 grand, there might be two courses that were in any way useful to your career.

But the same people who shelled out tens of thousands to take Shakespearean iambic pentameter balk at paying a reasonable fee for information they actually need to run their business.

That class on Russian social studies will never earn your business any money. The online course on how to launch a product successfully? You bet it will.

Any course worth its salt helps you earn back the price of the course AND go on to make a sizeable profit on your investment. They give you immediate potential to create more wealth – and they’re tax-deductible, too.

I’d say that’s the best ROI you’ll see in the business world.

And guess what?

Online Courses Get Personal

Sitting down in a classroom with other students and the instructor has its advantages. Interaction is one of them: You can raise your hand, discuss with peers and listen to what they have to say.

Some people think that online courses are still plug and play, where you learn on your own in a solitary vacuum, and the instructor never shows up. And way back when, that’s exactly what used to happen.

Online courses have changed a lot since those days.

Most online courses come with forums where you can interact with your peers and your instructor. Some have live calls where you chat as a group. Some have video conferences, or webinars, or chat features.

They’re alive. They’re real-time. And you always know how to email the instructor for personal help so he can answer your questions promptly when they arise.

Learning online is the next best thing to being in a classroom – in fact, it’s even better. What university lets you show up in pajamas, munching on a snack and holding a mug of Irish coffee?

Yeah. Exactly.

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Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. Right, James. Online courses are great, and they can get personal. Specifically why Damn Fine Words will be awesome for any aspiring writer longing for that freelance career, or book deal. I took up a course in college that was totally unnecessary, but I met some great friends along the way.

    No regrets, but it doesn’t help me in what I want to do, which is writing.

    • I’ve been to both CEGEP and university, and while I appreciate the experience both gave me, what I learned most relates to dedication, effort, and study and research skills.

      In fact, I’ve forgotten most of what I’ve learned, because it just wasn’t really that relevant to my life. It was just a course you had to take to get the degree. (Kayaking and sports medicine were a lot of fun, but hey.)

      What I do remember, what stuck, and what sticks most today, was learning something very specific and relevant. And the more I turn to online courses, the more I find ultra-specific education that helps me get ahead.

      So I don’t knock university learning by any means, and I still think people should go for that degree, but…. Yeah. 🙂

  2. Siita Rivas says:

    When I think about what I learned at Uni. it was often the teachers that influenced our attitudes and the value we got from any subject.

    I’ve done a few courses online and I have noticed that the best teachers are the great communicators and that’s always all about their writing – the way they convey the information we are all hungry for – in words!

    Learning to write in your own voice in an engaging way – surely has to be a prerequisite for anyone who wants to be successful online.
    And when you get taught by one of the best in the business there’s a greater chance of becoming the best in your field.
    Thanks James

    • That’s the truth! The classes we remember the most are often the ones with great teachers who helped us enjoy the course and the learning process. (Or the teachers we absolutely HATED… but that’s another story.)

      Finding a course run by a good teacher who gives a damn and who helps you enjoy learning is brilliant!

  3. I’ve loved my on-line classes. You get a lot more comments than you get from a live teacher. And a good deal of support from fellow students.

    And I’ve taught a lot of creative writing on-line classes. The set-up allows me to give the participants lots of feedback. They also get to know each other. Sometimes in that elementary school set-up in a university folks barely get to speak to each other.

    It’s also good for folks who have full schedules. You can read the info at 3 in the morning if you like.


    • Being able to learn through a flexible environment that fits with your schedule is definitely a bonus. For example, there’s no way I could trot off to university now, what with kids, life, a business, etc.

      But an online class? Hey, I can do that any day of the week, any time it suits me. That’s great!

  4. As someone who teaches online myself, I would agree that online learning can be a fabulous alternative to getting a degree. What bothers me most about the thousands that a university charges, is that the world tends to only recognize the official degree (as in “Why didn’t you get an MBA?”). Would love it if we — as online teachers — could band together in our own university to grant degrees as well. If you ever take up that cause, James, let me know!

    • You know, I’ve frankly asked myself that question many times. How does one get ‘recognized’ as an official educator? Or that the course is accredited somehow…

      I mean, it’s nice to slap up a badge and say, “Become a certified writer through the Damn Fine Words writing course” but that’s essentially meaningless. I’ve seen other people do that and it makes me think, “Who are you to say your students are ‘certified’ – what are your credentials?”

      I could be overthinking it and making it more complicated than it is (maybe we can all ‘certify’ our courses!), of course.

  5. I truly enjoy the online options that exist for education in the form of courses, webinars, articles, videos, forums, and the rest. The opportunities are wide open, and those who take advantage of them benefit greatly. Thanks for the insight!


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