power is gained by sharing knowledge

Happy Monday!  It’s a dreary one over here in New England— what a shocking turn of events!  Not. 😂

We don’t close on our house until mid-March.  There is still time to go back to Wisconsin, right? 😄

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Earlier today I decided that since Mondays already suck for all of us, why not go to the gym and later attempt to clean out my embarrassingly large number of emails?  Ha.  Where’s Hillary when you need her?  I’M JUST KIDDING.  Don’t leave. 😛

As I was skimming through, getting an overview of what kind of work I’d have to be doing, (ie. reading through them vs. taping down the delete button for about 30 minutes and hoping for the best) I realized just how many silly webinars and e-courses I have signed up for in the past that I wish I hadn’t, and also how much those pesky little buggers are a newfound thorn in my side.

I’m cheap.  So the ones I signed up for were always free, and thankfully so.  Because, at the end of pretty much all of them (with literally one photography exception named Jasmine Star) I found myself sitting there wondering why I had just invested an hour (sometimes more) “learning” something I already knew.

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The “tips & tricks” were all regurgitated facts.  The “industry secrets” to six figures, solutions to “more traffic on your blog!” or helpful hints to “book ten clients today!” etc. You know the ones.  Every bit of information I was receiving from these “masters” was all things I had seen, in some form or another, in other spots on the web.

What I didn’t know when I started serial signing up in the earlier days of my photography business was that the majority of these self-proclaimed “experts” were no different, nor more knowledgeable nor successful than you or I am. And those free videos were just a teaser masking a giant advertisement. A quick flash—almost overview-style— of one or two semi-significant tips to make you think, “wow, tell me more!?”  And then the second half of the video or e-course was them telling you all about their paid course and all the secrets of the universe they will divulge unto you when you hand over the $50-100 for the guaranteed “$279 value!”

Girrrrl, $279 value my ass. You’re talking to someone who scoffs at the price of accredited college courses. There is literally zero part of me that will recognize the alleged value you are promising lies within the information you found online and then rephrased for us eager learners.

Quick example. I recently signed up for a “5-Day Email E-course” on how to increase traffic to your blog. Because who loves when their words fall on deaf ears? Um, no one. And I know this from firsthand experience. We all do. But anyway, after day 2 of this “course,” the emails stopped and were replaced with messages pushing the 30-Day course that was going to cost $60. HA. No thanks, bro.

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Granted, there are obviously bloggers with thousands of followers, and photographers who charge thousands of dollars. Clearly they did find the road to that amazing success. And sometimes they are the ones opening the door to their world and sharing their processes with us. I don’t mean to wrap them into this “scam alert.” But more often than not, they have that success because they busted ass, and therefore probably don’t often have the time to spread the gold around via webinar anyway.

So, I tend to wonder how many of these “experts” actually make their money off of these webinars and e-courses, rather than from their own blogging or photography businesses that they are “teaching” us to monetize.

Truthfully, there isn’t much these days that you can pay for that you can’t get from YouTube faster & for free. And full disclosure, those are the ones I want to learn from anyway. The ones who have learned firsthand from their own mistakes, and are passionate about their knowledge and want to share it with you without charging you money first. Sure, they may earn money from advertisements on the videos.  But personally, I’d rather pay 30 seconds than 30 dollars.

So here are my two free tips (valued at $2,000,000!!!)

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👓 Step one: ask YouTube.  Next to Google, it is one of this generation’s greatest gurus. What a time to be alive, right? There are countless resources per topic. Countless perspectives and successes after failures that we can all learn so much from— for free!

🔥 Step two: stalk it like it’s hot.  If an e-course ad on Instagram truly grabs your attention and you feel you’d benefit from hearing what they have to say? Sign up— if it’s free. You have nothing to lose but an hour or so of your day. I still occasionally sign up for the freebies if they really get me, just in case. You never know. But if they start begging for money? I definitely highly recommend doing a little sleuthing on their social media and making sure they are as legit as they say. If it’s a photographer, check out their photos. It has to be more than just some crystal clear photos of their daughter and her friends if they are promising the yellow brick road to building a photography business to a fully booked year by the end of January.

If it’s a blogger, head over to their blog before hitting “process payment.” Sure, they may have the numbers. And sure, numbers don’t lie– unless they are referring to the number of followers someone has, and especially in the age of buying followers. It’s the currency of the social media realm. No one looks “richer” than the person with 10,000 followers on their blog. But what good are those 10K followers if they get no interactions? When you’re looking to monetize your blog, advertisers don’t care about those 10k sets of eyeballs if they don’t actually look at your page or see the product said advertisers are paying you to draw your readers towards.

There are no shortcuts to making it. You have to put in the work. There are always some tips to point people in the right direction. But no e-course or webinar is going to rocket your hobby-turned-profession to six figures or your blog to thousands of followers without you truly hustling for that goal.  You pay enough to keep your websites up and running, don’t pay extra to get information others want to give to you for free! 💸

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