Imagine a security guard whose latest internet marketing effort is to spend $3,000 for complete access to a guru's archive of interviews, audios and videos, and she gets to attend two of the guru's live events this year.
Sound like a good deal?
How much better does it sound when I tell you this is just the latest purchase?
I am an avid supporter of, and subscriber to, continuing education. I also enjoy attending live events and get great motivation from them. But they are not the same thing.
Live events are intended to pump you up, expose you to new ideas and people, and provide you with a massive amount of information.
Most of the learning from a live event comes in the days and weeks after the event. The education comes from reviewing the material, learning it, and putting it into action.
So where can you get a good education without shelling out thousands of dollars?
Glad you asked.
Here's an example of an informative, educational article provided in exchange for your name and e-mail address: http://www.wordtracker.com/academy/business-blogging
This article is ideal for anyone starting, or improving, a blog. Especially business owners who are wondering if a "blog" is even worth the effort of finding out how it works.
The article is written by Chris Garrett. It is published by WordTracker (in their Academy), and arrived in my inbox this morning for my reading pleasure and edification. It is just one of several articles I will read this week as part of my continuing education.
Visit sites by people like Clayton Makepeace (The Total Package), MIchel and Sylvie Fortin (The Success Doctor) and Terry Dean (Internet Business Coaching). Each of these sites promotes their services and information products. Each site also gives you access to their blog, newsletter and other tools/information to build a relationship with you and help you build a better business.
Then take a look at sites from service providers. Aweber and Constant Contact are e-mail manager services. Both offer templates, articles, newsletters and tutorials to help you get the most from their service.
Other providers - www.WordTracker.com, www.1ShoppingCart.com, www.Google.com - all provide free tools. From their perspective it is helping them build a relationship with you. It is putting them in control of the buying cycle by having their name come up first in your mind when a purchase needs to be made.
From your perspective these tools and resources are helping you build your business without cost. You're also getting to test-drive the service. Every article, tool and resource helps you decide whether that provider really wants to help you succeed - or are they just trying to get into your wallet?
Here's what to do with your education:
Start with the free stuff.
Make use of the resources your service providers are already making available. Augment that with newsletters and tools from professionals in your area of interest.
Then spend a little.
Whether you purchase support from a service provider, hire a consultant, or buy an information product - invest in your education to build a better business.
Invest in motivation.
Everyone works better when they are well motivated. Just makes sense, right?
Okay. But notice I wrote "invest" rather than "spend" or "buy." That's because there are two basic sources of motivation - one free, one not.
The free source of motivation is to connect with other people. You can join a club like Toastmasters, Rotary Internation or The Lions Club. Organisations like these help you develop professionally, and they give you a social outlet.
You can also make your own club - often referred to as a "mastermind group." Network with some of the people you have met at conferences, and pick some from the social networking site you use.
Find six to eight people who are doing the same thing you are. You're a carpenter - find other carpenters. You're a graphic designer - find other graphic designers. Then you meet once a week - in person or by teleconference - to actively work toward achieving goals.
A mastermind group is one way to bounce ideas off people in a non-competitive environment.
The other way to invest in motivation is to attend live events. My suggestion is that you choose no more than four in a year. That gives you one motivational boost every three months.
Combined with a mastermind group, or other club, this should be lots of stimulus for motivation - and sufficient burden for you pocketbook. (Personally, I choose just two. They're both in November, and they happen on successive weekends. Big boost with the cost of only one trip.)
One thing to keep in mind for every aspect of your education - this comes from Jeff Herring - Go Use This Stuff (G.U.T.S.)
You can read every cookbook ever written, and attend every cooking class avaiable. When you get home, you still have to peel the potoates and turn on the stove before you get to eat.