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I’m Hailey – content strategist and founder here at Your Content Empire where we help you create more profitable, purposeful and productive content — and hopefully enjoy yourself more while doing it too. Learn more about me here >>

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Busy Business Owner’s Guide to Learning from E-Courses

People are creating some incredible courses!

I find it amazing that you can find a course to learn about anything + everything you’re interested in. Especially when it comes to learning the skills we need to take our businesses to the next level.

But if you’re anything like me, you have a collection of courses (free and paid) that are collecting digital dust in your folders without being touched – much less implemented. Those courses aren’t doing any of us any good if they’re not being used.

Another real risk of course addiction (it’s real and if you’re not sure, just ask in any business-related Facebook group) is that it can feed into that feeling that you need to be ready to take action.

I just need to learn x or I just need to get y set up. It’s a great stalling tactic because if you buy into this mindset, you can put off taking action forever (they’ll always be something else to learn!)

So this post was written to help you, busy business owner…

  • Cut through the clutter and choose the courses you really need to go through
  • Start implementing and using the courses you’ve collected

You can download the Course and Learning Planner and read through the steps below to create your own learning and implementation system for your business:

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Step 1 – Gap Analysis – Where you are and where you want to be

The first step is to perform a gap analysis of where you’d like your business to be and where it currently is. This means that we look at the distance between your business vision and your current business reality. Only then is it possible to identify the steps that will take you from point a (your biz right now) to point b (your business vision).

  1. What does your ideal business look like? Be specific, think about: the products and services you offer, the partnerships and collaborations you’re in, the team surrounding you, what your marketing strategies look like, what types of communications you undertake (blogging, newsletters, social media, podcasts). Basically brainstorm anything that is a part of your vision for your ideal business.
  2. What does your current business reality look like? Think in terms of the key differences between your ideal business vision above and the things that you are currently doing in business.
  3. Brainstorm what you’d have to learn or implement to bring your business from where it is now to where you’d like it to be. What are the gaps?

Step 2 – Prioritize and Pick Your Next Course

List all of the courses that you currently have and those that you’d like to purchase.

Go back through the list and put a star by any courses that support your business vision. These courses are your priority. This isn’t to say that you won’t go back and take the other courses, it just means that in order to serve your business vision, the starred courses should come first.

Relist the starred courses below in the right-hand column.

Go back through the list and in the left-hand column rank your courses in order of their impact on your business vision. 1 = the most impact & highest rating. The higher rated courses are the ones to focus on first.

If you’ve put a course down that you cannot take at the moment for whatever reason, move on to the next course on the list until you can take the higher rated course.

What are your next 3 courses of programs that you’re going to focus on going through and implementing?

Step 3 – Time Blocking

Go to your calendar (paper, Google or something else entirely) and block out time blocks that you have available for courses and e-learning in the next 4 weeks. Schedule separate time blocks for implementation time. The implementation blocks will be the time that you use for taking action based on what you learned.

The ratio that I use in my business is 3:1 so for every 3 hours of learning, I dedicate 1 hour to implementation. But pick a ratio that works for you and your business.

As I’ve learned with exercise and self-care, if you don’t schedule it and assign it to a real date and time, it’ll almost never actually happen.

Step 4 – Creating Your Learning (AND Implementation) Plan

Take an inventory of the lessons and activities contained in the course or module. Then provide a realistic estimate of time that it will take you to complete the lesson or activity.

Are there any activities or lessons that you don’t need or want to take? If so, cross these off. Remember, you aren’t obligated to complete every part of a course. Take what you need and leave the rest.

Creating Lesson Plans

Now it’s time to create your lesson plans for your learning blocks. Complete one box for each of the learning time blocks you have in the calendar you created. Having a well-defined plan for each of these time blocks will help to keep you on track. I recommend you leave 10-15 minutes at the end of each learning block for the “Lesson Review Worksheet” on the next page.

Step 5 – Lesson Reviews

Spend 5 minutes at the end of each learning time block to jot down your implementation and review notes. You’ll find this included in the template.

Step 6 – Utilizing the Holding Wing

When you want to sign up for a new course, put it in the ‘Holding Wing’ below. Try to wait at least 24 hours before deciding to purchase the course. The aim is to avoid the bright, shiny object syndrome and to remove some of the urgency or excitement from the decision to purchase.

After 24 hours, use the following questions to evaluate your decision of whether to purchase the course or not:

  1. What will I learn from this course?
  2. How will what I learn from this course support my business vision that I’m try to achieve?
  3. Is now the time for me to take this course/program? Do I have the time to dedicate to this course?
  4. Can I afford this course/program?
  5. What do I have to gain from this course? What do I have to lose if I don’t take this course? What will I lose from taking this course?
  6. Will you purchase this course?

Share your takeaways below AND make sure to download the Course and Learning Planner. click on the image below.

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