Monetising fail(ure)

Sunday Blog 69 – 29th January 2023

Another life experience I won’t be able to monetise

I have been digging back into my blogging archive, reviewing what I learned and forgot and remembered as far back as November 2013 when I was sure I wanted to start a business. All along, what I really wanted to do was come out as a writer. But somehow, that did not seem to be easily accommodated unless I quit my day job and upended my life. In the intervening decade I have self-published a memoir, spent seven years running a non-profit and then quit that job. I am still toiling away at book number two (deadline June 2023 or bust!) so have integrated working and writing. Sort of.

During 2014, I did a lot of online entrepreneur training. I mean A LOT. It got me thinking. It would be hard to track the data, but the attrition rate of online training must be absolutely staggering in terms of money spent versus actual knowledge gained. Once you have been suckered in by the marketing offering you quick fixes, (Six Figures in Six Weeks!) clicked the “Get instant access” button to buy the training, that is often the end of the relationship between you and the trainer. You may never even access or download one megabyte of information and no-one will ever contact you to ask you why and chase up your sick note. The actual transaction that is being offered is a often a sale, the temporary reduction in discomfort rather than the actual transfer of knowledge.

Plus, most online training is done by people who know lots about their subject but didley-squat about adult learning principles. I can’t count the number of hours I spent listening to and reading material, filling in enterable pdfs etc. How often my heart sank the knowledge the next audio to listen to was 1.5 hours and must be waded through to extract about 20 minutes of actual learning. Whose learning style is that working for exactly? Nobody’s I suspect – it is just the trainer wanting to share all their knowledge in a massive download that swamps but doesn’t necessarily help you to master a new skill. But to be fair, there is some excellent online training (here’s looking at you Marie Forleo) A finished online course where you have taken action on the course contents can be awesome. Perhaps online training is neither good nor bad, but procrastination makes it so.

I certainly gave online business training a red hot go. Like the myth of Spring I was Demeter, descending into the Hades of business training to reclaim my daughter Persephone to the surface and bring Spring back into the world. Down I went, following the trail of excellent marketing copy for the many training programs that promised me endless hacks and and end to all my business concerns at the end of a click. After an inordinately long time in Hades I eventually re-emerged with a somewhat peeved Persephone in tow who wondered when in the hell I was going to complete her release from the Underworld of online sales. I finally got it that there is no magic, quick fix. You need to let things unfold. And running a business may not actually be the right destiny.

During this time pretty much all the online business training talked about how you can turn your pain points into learning, and monetise it through developing courses (naturally). This hasn’t always been so obvious to me. I mean, could I potentially market the ninja romance move of finally stumbling across the right life-partner for me by buying the house opposite him? It doesn’t seem that transferable a lesson. Then there’s my life hack from 2021 when I broke the hypnosis of overwhelm by leaving my non-profit leadership role. Again, not something that sparks inspiration. It has also occurred to me that the world may actually have enough courses monetising pain points.

But are still room for more books. Books are different. So back to the writing I go. Right after I log on and look at that Book Tok course I bought last month…

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