Are Those Online Educational Webinars Worth Anything?


Creative freelancers, design students, creative contract workers, do those online courses actually teach you anything?

Chances are, as someone that’s been pegged by Google as a young creative person looking for work, that you’ve seen ads for free workshops, General Assembly-type classes, webinars. All these classes for niche subjects or “getting started in…” run by someone who calls themselves an expert or influencer in the industry.

THESE AREN’T ALL BULLSH*T….. Only most are.

I’m not the person to ask when it comes to “forever learning” because I’ll ramble for hours and throw in meaningful quotes from academics about how the true genius is he or she that knows they don’t know enough.

Everyone can be constantly learning and improving themselves. It doesn’t matter if you just landed an entry level job or you’re already in Issuu or advertising portfolio highlight reels, or already published in digital branding magazines. Especially with technology and social media shifts, your industry is forever changing, and there’s always something new to learn.

So if a “Understanding the New Instagram Algorithm” webinar pops up in your feed, if a “How I Made 10K in My First 3 Months Blogging” workshop says they have 3 seats left, if you see a week-long online course about setting and achieving goals through work-life integration, CONSIDER THEM.

Some of them are legit. Some of them are actual thought leaders that want to share their story, and have built tools they wish they had when they started.

But most? Most are just the copycats and posers of those real influencing marketers and leaders, who scam young college grads or high school students into paying $75 for a booklet on becoming an Instagram blogger. A travel writer. A freelance logo creator who makes enough to work from Rome and has to do nothing but post their ideas in a feed. A sponsored-by-everyone industry success story.

Sadly…

Sadly, most classes you see on social media won’t be worth taking. If they’re free, you may sit through an hour of chit-chat and may even write down two or three helpful bullet points. But then it’ll get you– the pitch at the end of how “this webinar is just the beginning…” and suddenly you’re being sold a workbook or a personal consultation at $30/hour.

That’s not a GA-type class. That’s not an online resource that will keep your knowledge growing. That’s a small influencer trying to grow their business by making their business about how to become an influencer. And you don’t really need that– you need knowledge.

So consider them. Check them out, read more. But keep your wallet shut and your patience short when waiting for the value of the class.

Don’t Give the Benefit of The Doubt When Waiting For Value

If you’re lucky, you’ll get a cool worksheet about finding your niche. Or you’ll get the story of struggles from a designer who wants to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes they did, like paying absurd amounts of money to get into a digital design magazine. Or you’ll fall into a dope network of like-minded creative professionals with whom you can bounce ideas and questions.

Trust your gut, put out feelers, and ultimately, you’ll find the knowledge you’re looking for without ever having to pay a second tier influencer or wonder where the valuable points are. Instead you’ll find your own way through the changing industry and make waves along the way.

Because the forever learner also learns one other thing– not everyone should be your teacher.

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