I have a college education. Only 10% of women my age got one (I’m 78). We were just supposed to get married and raise children. In my 40’s as a mother of four, I went back to get my Master’s Degree. I was the first one in my family to do so. And I continue to get more education today – much of it for free from the internet.
The rising cost of education
I have to admit that I don’t know what my father paid for my BA in 1954 or my husband paid for my MA in 1995 but I do have an idea of what I’ve spent since then, particularly in developing my own internet business.
It’s amazing how much great information is available on the internet at no cost. Everything from Wikipedia to blogs on a specific topic to the free teleseminars that give you valuable tips even as it promotes a longer paid class. Free videos abound with pertinent core information. People give out free ebooks as opt in offers and free levels of membership sites help you move rapidly forward. Seth Godin is giving away free ebooks. www.ted.com has inspired speakers. Bloggers give great information. Public domain literature is on line. And you can go get an important business book at the library. There is no reason you cannot get a healthy start on your business education for free.
Barter for learning opportunities
I received two major coaching certifications for no monetary exchange by asking if I could assist in the course. I volunteered in a three month course on information products and served three times as a team leader which strengthened my coaching skills and added to my reputation and my knowledge. I have exchanged coaching sessions with another coach because she knew things I didn’t and vice versa. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking to serve in place of paying money.
Pay for concentrated courses
Information marketers are a source of valuable targeted information. You can gain specific information and training for a small investment. With an Early Bird Special you can get a six week webinar on a specialized topic for under $200. And in that six weeks you will learn skills that could totally turn your business around. Conferences, workshops, webinars, speakers – all have words of wisdom to offer that will add to your online education.
Hire a coach
An investment in a coach for a specific phase or project will save you time and money. Coaches have specialties and are trained to move you toward a specific target and keep you from taking costly detours. Interview your prospective coach so you both can tell if you are a good fit. Plan on at least three months if not longer and let your coach guide you rapidly toward your chosen destination.
Sometimes learning online is as simple as finding a colleague to talk to every week. You help each other stay on target, get unstuck and keep moving forward. Whether it’s an accountability buddy, a Mastermind Group, or a membership forum, working with peers can be a great way to increase your skills and knowledge.
Write for discovery
One of my favorite ways to learn is to create a class or ebook about it and teach it. When I wanted to take my article writing strategy to a deeper level I wrote a teleclass about article writing and I not only inspired myself to up level my game but I added some new skills simply from the research I did for the class. Teaching helps you own the material you share.
When you learn on line you keep up with the trends and changes and new needs. Follow some bloggers who are trying new things. Listen to the thought leaders on TED. Learn more about marketing. See where publishing is going. Keep up with the trends and try new things yourself.
Enjoy the versatility
The beautiful thing about an online education is that you get to take classes that interest you, not those that are required. If you want to be a public speaker you can focus on that. If you want to write, study and do that. There are classes on everything you could possibly want to learn from people all over the world through the internet. And there is no commute or restrictions due to our location. We can stay at home and increase our knowledge base as we learn from people who are teaching what they know.
Now that you have gotten your online education, how do you give back?
Here’s the exciting part. Because you have hand selected your online education based on your passion, your skills and your need to be in service, you have a unique blend of knowledge. No one is going to offer what you do in the same way you do. So what better way to give back than to start teaching others about what you have discovered, the dots you have connected to take you were you are today, the insights you have gained along your journey.
Teach what you know
People will pay a lot to someone who has read 15 books on a topic, done extensive research and distilled it into an ebook they can devour in 40 minutes. People will watch a 4 minute video that teaches them something that gets results and then call you to learn more.
Whether it’s an ebook, teleclass, video, podcast, article or blog post, or coaching program teach what you know. As you teach you will deepen your own understanding. As you find ways to help others move forward you will move yourself forward. Information products do three important things – they increase your status as an expert, they create recurring passive income and they keep you learning as you teach.
After you get your own eclectic version of education, try passing it forward by crafting your own unique information products. You can touch lives with what you know.
© 2011 Cara Lumen