Are You Buying Too Many Courses?

Courses are one of the best ways to learn something new, pick up a new skill for your business, and explore topics outside your own expertise. You have a problem, hurdle, or gap in knowledge, and someone else has the expertise to meet you where you are. 

What’s not to love?

But as a small business owner, it’s easy to feel like you have to buy or enroll in new courses constantly. What if there’s something you’re still missing out on? What if it’s on sale? What’s the problem with having several courses?

Truth is, there can be such a thing as having too many courses. And if that sounds like you, we’re here to help you audit what you currently have, and what steps you can take in the future to make more strategic and valuable investments.

Why too many courses is a bad thing

Before we dive in, let’s be perfectly clear for a moment: We’re all about investing in educational content – and lots of it. But it’s not always the best investment for you and your business. Here’s why:

Courses can cost a lot of time and money – both of which are absolutely valuable to your business. But if you’re buying up courses like a clearance sale at Nordstrom Rack, there’s a solid chance you’re investing in courses that:

  • Have a lot of overlapping material
  • You won’t use to their fullest potential
  • Don’t have everything you need 
  • You won’t end up using at all

When that happens, it’s easy to lose sight of why you wanted to buy or enroll in those courses in the first place. 

Do you feel pressured to buy more courses? 

Are you passively buying them because they’re on sale? 

Are you building up your inventory while saying, I’ll get to it later? 

If you answered yes to those questions, it’s time to re-evaluate your main goal and purpose of investing in courses: to learn something new, provide value to your business, and get the tools you need to succeed.

How to audit your current courses

Auditing your current courses can feel overwhelming at first. But if you break it down into bite-sized steps – and put on your strategic hat – making decisions about what to keep and what to toss will become much clearer.

Re-evaluate the purpose and goal of your current courses

As you go through all of your current courses, ask yourself some questions:

  • Do I still need this course?
  • Have I gotten everything I can out of it?
  • Have I applied what I’ve learned from the course?
  • Did this course successfully fill a gap in my knowledge?

Based on your answers, you should have a much better idea of what’s working, what’s not, and where there’s a lot of repetitive course material. Speaking of…

Look for redundant content

Next, make an outline of each course you have, and compare it to any new courses you’re considering buying. If you find a lot of overlap, chances are that a new course isn’t really necessary.  

Remember: You should get almost everything you need out of one course – you shouldn’t have to enroll in multiple courses with similar content to get the full scope of what you want to learn or apply.

Don’t be afraid to toss what’s not working

We know it doesn’t feel great getting rid of courses – especially ones you’ve put a lot of money in. It’s like that one pair of shoes you bought impulsively that has been collecting dust in the corner of your closet ever since. Buying them felt exciting and right at the moment, but maybe it was a little impractical then, and it’s still impractical now. And that’s ok! We’ve all done it before – it’s just a matter of making better investments in the future.

How to purchase future courses more strategically

Start with what you have

To avoid ending up in the same place you’re at – course overload – make sure you evaluate your existing course material before buying a new one. Start with the same exercise as above by outlining each course. If there’s a lot of overlap, you may need to scrap the idea of purchasing a new course or re-evaluate what you need from a course and whether it will measure up to that.

Set goals and measurements of success

If this step hasn’t been a part of your process before, it is now! For any course you purchase, make sure it measures up to what you consider a successful investment for you and/or your business. Consider things like:

  • Will I get a return on investment (ROI)?
  • Is the material applicable to what I need/what I want to learn?
  • Will I be able to apply my learnings?
  • Do I have the appropriate time and money to invest?
  • Will this course help me achieve a goal?

By asking yourself these questions upfront, you’ll be able to make smarter, more intentional decisions about which courses are the right fit, and which ones aren’t.

Track and organize all of your courses

To prevent course overload in the future, everything should be better tracked and organized. But instead of starting from scratch, we have this free Course Tracking Spreadsheet for you! Whether you work out of Google Sheets, Airtable, ClickUp, or Notion, this spreadsheet will help you keep a detailed inventory of all your course material, so you know exactly what you have at all times.


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