I often receive emails or comments from people asking about whether they should buy one of my home study courses or information products for small business owners. Or a client or Coaching Club member tells me that before they started working with me they spent a lot of money on information products but didn’t really follow through with many of them and were still struggling and it just made them feel overwhelmed and frustrated.
So I want to attempt to help you understand when to buy information products as well as which ones will work for you and which won’t so you can avoid throwing money away on one after the other and ending up no better than when you started.
There are three reasons people buy information products:
- You are looking for the secret success ingredient or money making opportunity that so far has eluded you and you buy a product with the hope that it’s the “one”.
- You know you have a lot to learn and you figure that if you buy information products on an array of relevant topics you’ll gain enough guidance and knowledge to make a breakthrough in your small business.
- You know you need to learn about a very specific subject or master a specific set of skills to get your small business to the next level and you know the person who created the product is an expert who can help you.
Out of these three, the third is the only one that will give you a good return on your investment. Why? Because no single information product will give you all the help you need to succeed. And purchasing one after the other means that most likely much of the information will never even be acted upon because you’ll be on “information overload”. Yes, information junkies buy lots of stuff but never follow through on the information and action steps that are included. So they end up feeling disappointed.
When you buy an information product you probably have good intentions to follow through and there are truly lots of great products available. The problem is that to succeed on your own without any hands on coaching or mentoring, you have to be extremely self-motivated, self-disciplined and have good time management skills. You have to put aside time in your schedule to follow through, which takes some focused effort, since you’re already busy building a business.
So I recommend you buy information products, online courses, home study courses, e-books and audio or video courses only if these 2 criteria are met:
- You have a specific area of knowledge or a specific set of skills that you need and don’t have and you are willing to devote the time necessary to follow through and to master whatever it is because it’s crucial to your success.
- You are self-disciplined and are very good at following through and you’re willing to take action quickly on what you purchased.
Where people often make a mistake is when they think that a home study course will be cheaper than working with a personal coach or mentor and will get them the same result. The truth is that you get what you pay for and money buys speed. Our home study courses, for example, are designed to give you rich in-depth information, guidance and action worksheets on a specific topic and I’ve seen people really learn from them. But those people followed through and completed the course. And many of them moved on afterward to personal coaching because they knew it would take them further quicker.
Information products can rarely be a substitute for live coaching and mentoring where you get customized, hands on help, where you are held accountable and where you get your questions answered. But if you need knowledge in a specific area, like say marketing, copywriting or creating videos, and you are self-disciplined and focused, then some carefully chosen information products can definitely enhance your learning.
So be strategic about what you buy. Ask yourself if you’re buying a product to try to get a quick fix on success or whether you plan to follow through and do the work required. Also ask yourself what specific knowledge you hope to gain from the course, program or e-book and what kind of time will be required to complete it. Most information products, including all of mine, offer a money-back guarantee. If you quickly see it’s not for you, you can return it.
Finally look for testimonials that say that others have been happy with what you want to buy and see what they liked about it. Then decide if it’s for you. And if you’re not good at going it alone, then invest in the personal mentoring you need.