Just how helpful is all that free training people offer?!

Free help always sounds great, but how helpful it it?

We get bombarded with Facebook ads for webinars and cheat sheets and ‘the secrets to’ – and they sound great so we signup.

Of course they sound great, they’re adverts!

I’m not saying the content is bad, but you do need to be aware of what you’re getting when you sign up for these things.


There WILL be a sales pitch

A challenge means a small lesson every day for a week, and on the final day they will talk about their ‘more in-depth’ paid service.

A webinar is about an hour of useful information, and then at the end they try to sell you ‘the next step’.

That’s how these things work.

You might not like it, but if they don’t try to sell people the paid thing they can’t afford to offer the free thing.

If you don’t have the budget for the paid thing, that’s fine – but don’t get grumpy at the sales pitch.

Take everything you can from the free bit – take notes, ask questions.

There’s often a Facebook group with these things – join in and get the most you can out of that.


Is this actually what you need right now?

Before you even sign up for something, properly take a look at what’s being offered. Is it at the level of knowledge and details that you need?

For example, is what’s being offered a general overview of something, or an in-depth look at one specific bit? And which of those do you need?

Think about what you actually need to know. Properly think about it. Put some time aside and make a list.

Don’t just list the subjects, get specific. Do you need an introduction to this topic, or the next level up? Is there one particular area you need to learn about?

Refer to that list when you see some free training offered. Do you actually need this right now? How would you benefit from it?

Tip: Don’t sign up for something that’s at Level 3 when you don’t quite understand Levels 1&2 yet. I understand the temptation of thinking ‘it’ll be useful later’ but it really won’t. You’ll find the training frustrating as you don’t have all the background in place, and you’ll likely have forgotten most of it by the time you need to use it.


Do you have the time?

These free trainings are often time-limited. They may be live-only, or the replay may only be available for people who actually joined in live, or just for a few days.

Find out what YOU need to do to attend the training, and be realistic about if that works for you or not.

The amount of these things I’ve signed up for that I REALLY want to do, but the live is at 9pm coz it’s US/Canada-based so I miss that, then the rest of the week slips away and I don’t get chance to watch the replay before it’s taken down.

Also check how long the training takes. Two challenges I’ve signed up for recently have involved watching an hour-long video each day for a week. Nope!

If the timing isn’t ideal or the duration is a LOT, consider much you really need what the training offers.

Really, really need it? Then you’ll need to make some adjustments to your schedule.


Beware of ‘too good to be true’

I get emails from the local government-funded business support organisation, and they often have online training offered for free.

So it’s from a trusted source and they’re already funded to provide this – no sales pitch!

Must be good stuff, yes?

Well, like in all of this, that depends on what you need.

A recent training from them offered a 3-hour session, covering:
– How to start on your business strategy and planning
– The requirements of a business plan
– Mapping out your business model
– SWOT analysis and marketing strategies
– How to set realistic business goals
– Risk management and legalities
– Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

That’s 25 mins per topic, not including a greeting and goodbye.

25 minutes on SWOT analysis and marketing strategies. It’s going to be the briefest of overviews.

That’s fine if you just need an overview to give you an idea what direction to head in to research further.

But if you’re expecting all the answers in that one session, you’re going to be disappointed.

You’ll also probably be quite overwhelmed. It’s long time to be concentrating for, being told information on many different subjects, the most of which are new to you.

The same organisation also offered a 1 hour email marketing session that covered 10 topics.

That’s 6 mins per topic!

I’d rather spend one hour giving you an overview of what email marketing is, or walking you through setting up your email marketing account.

If you’d like that, come and join us in BUILD Business Club. You’ll get all sorts of lessons like that, plus access to me for specific advice, for just £15 a month.

See? Free helpful info, then a pitch to the paid service.

Gotta do what ya gotta do!

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