If you’ve ever made an investment in an online course for your business and then later regretted it, bookmark this post! I’ve invested quite a bit of money into online courses for my business over the years. Some ended up being great investments and others had me wishing that I could get my money back. 

I’ve learned a thing or two about how to tell if a course is going to be a good investment or not before deciding to buy, and in this post I’m sharing five important things you need to consider when deciding if an online course is a good investment for your business. By spending some time thinking about these 5 things before buying a course, you’ll avoid the buyers remorse and make sure you’re only spending money on things that will be a good investment! 

Hey there, I’m Elli Runkles and I help online business owners create a seamless and connected content marketing system that leads to real business results like sales and clients every single day.

#1: What are your goals?

The first thing you want to consider is what you are wanting to get out of the course in the first place. What are you hoping that this particular course will help you achieve? It can be really easy in business to get stuck in perpetual learning mode where you are constantly taking online course after online course or maybe even multiple courses at one time, and then never taking the time to actually implement what you’re learning so that you can get the results in your business. 

I recommend that you clarify the specific goals that you’re trying to achieve in your business and then find a course that will help you do that specific thing, not the other way around! This way you can focus on what you want to achieve in business and then find a specific course that will help you to achieve that goal rather than being tempted by every course that comes across your path.

#2: What type of course do you want?

There are really two main course options out there for business owners that serve two very different purposes. It’s important to be aware of this and know what type of course you need before deciding if a course is right for you. The first type of course is a Big-Picture Course and these are the courses that help you tackle a major area of your business or maybe even your business model altogether. These courses usually have several different modules that all tie into each other and usually include some sort of live aspect where the creator is available for coaching calls, Q&A calls, or some type of support as you go through the program.

Big-Picture Courses are really designed to be more of an experience where you’re focusing on building something over time. 

For example, my course, Content to Conversion, is one of these big picture courses where I teach my complete content marketing system for mastering your message, building a sales system, and creating a content strategy that leads to sales and clients consistently. It’s a really big topic that takes some time to go through and when you follow this framework, it creates a really big impact. Big commitment and big impact are what these big picture courses are all about.

The second type of course is a Tactical Course where you’re learning very specific tactical information that gives you detailed information about how to do a specific thing in your business. These tend to help you get faster but not always quite as impactful results. Both types of courses can play a major role in your business success, and I personally purchase and use both types of courses in my business on a regular basis. Examples of Tactical Courses I’ve taken in my business include courses teaching how to set up a project management system in Asana, implementing video into my content strategy, or getting set up in Dubsado when I was first starting to work with clients.

I tend to always have some sort of big picture course that I’m using as a guide for the overall goal and strategy that I’m implementing in my business. And sometimes I’ll use one of these big picture courses and spent a year or more focusing on implementing the big picture plan that I’m learning through that program. At the same time, I’ll also purchase some of those smaller Tactical Courses here and there as they serve a specific purpose for helping me learn or implement a strategy within that bigger picture goal, that will help me get where I want to go even faster.

Both Big-Picture and Tactical courses can be useful to your business, so it’s really a question of what you need at this stage in your business to help you reach your specific goals.

#3: What do you know about the course creator?

Before investing in a course, spend some time getting to know the course creator. This is especially important when investing in bigger picture courses where you’ll be interacting with the creator a little bit more. But no matter what type of course it is, you’ll want to get to know the creator a little bit better by consuming their free content before deciding if you want to pay to learn from them. For example, if someone is teaching strategies in their free content that you really don’t agree with, you probably shouldn’t be paying to learn from. If you find yourself shaking your head at their free content, you may be better off finding someone else who’s teaching similar content, but who you would be able to learn from better.

So before you invest in a course, make sure to consume some of their free content to see if you like what you’re getting for free. And if you do, then you’ll probably get a ton of value from their paid content as well.

#4: Can you find testimonials or social proof?

Spend some time reading up on what other people are saying about the course you’re thinking of purchasing. Ideally you’ll find testimonials about that particular course, but at the very least you’ll want to find out what people are saying about the creator. This will help you get an idea of what kind of results people have gotten and whether or not the course can help you reach your goals. If you can find those examples and see that other people have been pleased with their experience, then it’s probably a good sign that you would have a good experience as well. 

#5: What are your motives?

Finally, before investing in a course, you’ll want to consider your motives. Why are you thinking about investing in this course in the first place? It’s important to make sure that you understand the amount of work that will go into implementing what you’re learning, and that you’re willing to do what it takes to get the result. I believe that a lot of the reasons that people end up being disappointed with the results they get from online courses is because they go into it thinking that purchasing the course will give them a quick fix that will help them get the promised result right away.

The truth is, a course is only going to work for you if you take the time to implement what you learn. So if you’re hoping that a course will be the secret ingredient to business success, and all you have to do is purchase it to get the results, you’ll be disappointed, no matter how impactful the course might be. 


There are a ton of valuable courses out there that can help you get amazing results in your business, but only if you do the work. It’s really important to examine what you’re hoping to get out of the course and then only invest in the ones that you’re going to commit to going through so that you can implement and get the results that you’re after. 

If you want to learn more about my course, Content to Conversion, you can check it out right over here. This is my Big-Picture Course that teaches my complete content marketing system to help you master your message, build a solid sales system, and create a content strategy that converts. I only open up enrollment a few times a year, but if you’re interested, you can check it out and get on the waitlist to be the first to know when Content to Conversion opens up again for enrollment. 

How do you decide if a course is a good investment for you? Leave a comment to let me know!

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