Why I Invest in Learning

Welcome to episode 389 of Hit the Mic with The Stacey Harris.

I want to talk about learning today. One of the favorite things in my business and in doing what I do for a living is that I’m literally always learning. There is always something for me to expand my knowledge on, or deepen my knowledge on, or completely new for me to figure out. I love that, but there’s also a ton of ways to learn and so I wanted to talk about, today, how I know when it’s time to invest, and when free content’s great, and also why I do choose to invest in learning.

One of the questions I had coming up in conversations recently was, “Well, why would I join a course when I can watch something on YouTube,” or, “Why would I join the membership community when I could just listen to your podcast?” I wanted to address that, and not in a way where I’m right and you’re wrong if you don’t agree with me, so much as this is why I make this choice, this is where I draw my lines. From there do what you will. This is not built to convince you to do anything you don’t want to do because that’s just not how I roll. I’ll be completely transparent in the fact that I had recorded something else and totally just recorded over it for the sake of not having to put an explicit logo on this particular episode, but when I do the Facebook Live I’ll probably say it because I can’t edit myself as well.

That’s what I want to talk about today and this feels interesting, but today’s episode, like every other episode, is brought to you by Hit the Mic Backstage. This is the upgrade to this podcast, it’s where you do invest in taking the information we talk about here on the show, and expanding it, and taking it even further, and some accountability because you’re in the community. We’re going to talk about all of the reasons why I do that. Anyways, you can join us. We’ve got the brand new Instagram guide that rolled out last month. We’ve got the brand new Facebook guide that rolled out the month before that. We’ve got a training that came out this month on Instagram content strategy. We’ve got LinkedIn stuff coming up next month, so if you’re looking ahead to March already, which if you’re anything like me by this point of the month you’re totally looking at what’s happening the next month. We’ve got LinkedIn stuff coming including soon, I’m working on it right now, a new guide all around LinkedIn.

Cool stuff is happening there, join us hitthemicbackstage.com.

Now, back to the show.

I don’t know why this episode is … this is bringing up a lot of stuff for me because whenever we talk about what’s valuable enough to invest in we’re bringing our own stuff, we’re bringing our own noise, we’re bringing our own perceptions, we’re bringing our own mindsets, we’re bringing our own past experiences, and so it can feel a little gross to try to figure out why my feeling is one way and why your feeling is another way. I want to break this down into three pieces.

To start with, I want to talk about where I draw the line.

Where free content makes sense, and where investing makes sense. I want to qualify this by saying, investing doesn’t have to be a ton of money. It can be a 20, 30, $40 a month membership or it can be a $2000, $5000, $10,000 course, mastermind experience. Here’s the deal, if you’re listening to this and you just started this whole show, and by the whole show I mean your business, this whole thing your investing level is, rightfully so, different than me, who I’ve been doing this seven years now. I’ll tell you what I invested the first year was not what I’m investing this year. You got to make the decision that’s right for you right now.

First off, quality and my ability to engage with it will always be my primary driver in when to choose free and when to invest. I that because some people are putting out epically good free content and some people are putting out epically crap paid content. Most people are somewhere in the middle and that’s cool, but for me if I need something that’s going to be super high quality and to take me all the way through I’m going to invest. If I just need to know the big picture, brass tacks of something I can generally find somebody doing a really high quality job providing free or incredibly low cost content, so that’s where I’ll go. A lot of it depends on what my end goal is, what I need to know because, I’ll be honest, a lot of what I learn, a lot of what I am consuming from a content perspective is more so about knowing enough to be able to give it to somebody else and have the hiring conversation with somebody and less about I need to know everything, because I don’t.

This is something that I have learned literally 100 times the hard way that I don’t need to know everything about everything. I do like to be able to have an intelligent, or maybe we’ll even lower that to semi-intelligent conversation when I’m hiring somebody to do something for me especially if I’m hiring somebody to do something for one of our clients. That means learning a little bit about a lot of stuff. I like to have a very … how should we put this? Wide scope of knowledge. I like to know a little bit about a lot of stuff. I like to be conversational, how about we put it that way? I don’t need to be fluent, but I like to be conversational and so I will listen to podcasts, that’s generally how I consume free content.

I don’t tend to opt into a lot of email sequences these days just because I’m very diligently trying to get out of my inbox a little bit more. With that said, and I want to say this here because I feel like sometimes email and signing up for email gets a bad rap, and people who have been in business a while talk about how, “I’m never looking in my inbox and I don’t subscribe to anything and so it can make feel like, “Well, how am I going to get clients? If people aren’t reading their email why am I producing an email?” There are absolutely still email lists that I subscribe to and I read every single email, without even a shadow of a doubt.

With that said, they varied, they have changed from where I was. If you listened to this podcast when it launched four years ago I would’ve said hand down, without a doubt I read every Marie Forleo email. That’s not the case for me anymore, but a big part of that is because I’m no longer Marie Forleo’s ideal client. A, I have already purchased her program, I bought B-School in 2013, but also I have passed that phase in my business. I’ve passed that season in my business. It’s not that I have reaped some new wonderful enlightenment it’s just I have different experiences now and so the programs I’m looking for are speaking to the problems I have now. If I still had the problems now that I had seven years ago in my business when it started this would be a very different show. In fact, I would have a job and the show would not exist.

There are absolutely emails I read. I subscribe to probably about five email list and I read every single email from those email lists because that’s where I’m at right now and that’s what’s important to me. Don’t feel like you have to just be somebody subscribe to anything. I highly encourage you to subscribe to the people and consume the content of the people who are making an impact for you. I’ll be honest, most of the emails I subscribe to are people who I have also purchased product or time, or whatever from, so they are mentors of mine that I am learning from. They are teachers of mine that I am learning from. Those are the lists I tend to say I subscribe to. Do with that what you will. I wanted to take a brief soapbox moment against email gets a bad rap but it can be great when used correctly, which I do a good job of like 47% of the time.

That’s for me, podcasts tend to be the free content. Occasionally, it’ll be like Facebook Live or a YouTube video, but for me my preferred method of consumption is podcasts and so I do absolutely consume free content and it tends to be caught podcasts. However, when I want to really learn something I have to invest because, here’s the deal and this  is how I know there’s a lot of you listening right now who do this too, when I’m listening to a free podcast from somebody I’ve never invested in the chances of me doing anything with the content I’m listening to is really, really low, like 1%. More often than not, I will think about it for a while and then totally move on in my brain because I’m not invested. However, when I’m invested, and I mean financially, I have spent a little bit money or a lot of bit of money depending on the circumstance I’m more likely to take action.

This is not unique to me, this is not what makes me a magical unicorn. This is pretty much the human condition and I can tell you this safely because thousands of people listen to this podcast. If everybody who listened to this podcast did what I was talking about every week I would see a radically different environment online. I’m hoping that you’re the one who’s different. You’re listening to this and you’re like, “No Stacey, I take what works for me and I implement what works for me.” Maybe that’s not everything and that’s realistic, nothing is for everybody. If you’re implementing, gold star. You’re awesome. For me though, I’ve got to be invested and so if it’s something that I really want to make sure I do I’m spending a little bit of money. I’m making sure I’ve got some skin in the game. That’s a big deciding factor for me, for where I consume free content and where I invest in content.

The other reason I do like to invest is community and relationships.

If there is somebody I want to get to know, if there’s somebody who I look up to and I want to spend some time with them I will buy their program, I will book one-on-one time with them. I will get on their radar as a client and start building that relationship. Sometimes you got to pay to play and that’s okay, that’s cool. That’s necessary, that’s a part of life, and I have no problem with that because I see an intense value in my time. I also see an intense value in everybody else’s. You won’t see me very often showing up late to something, almost never. Occasionally, life happens and I’ll be a minute or two late for something, but no you won’t see me quite often show up late for something because, again, I have an intense, intense value for my time and I don’t want to screw with yours anymore than I want you to screw with mine. That whole Golden rule situation.

Oftentimes, if I want to get on somebody’s radar it’s not, “Hey, can I buy you a coffee and pick your brain,” in fact, it’s never that. It’s literally, “Hey, I would like to get to know you better. I’m going to book a one hour consult with you. I’m going to join your program and engage with you in your Facebook community.” Whatever it is that I can get access to them. A really good example of this is I look up to Todd Herman, I like what he’s doing, I like how he presents his brand not just within his Todd Herman brand, but he does a lot of really amazing things in his other businesses, in his other brands. He’s an angel investor, that’s something that I’m really interested down the road as my business grows. I like a lot about him. I wanted to get to know him better. Do you know what I did? I invested in the 90 day year.

Now, with that said, I also wanted the 90 day year, I was very interested in that. I was also looking to build a relationship with people who have that same kind of energy and so buying a group program where I could connect with him via the Facebook group, and he’s got a live event that I’m going to in March, having that opportunity to connect with him, but also the group aspect of getting to connect with a lot of these people who are on the same wavelength is incredibly valuable for me. I can more than make back my $2000 investment by working on those relationships. Notice, I said working on those relationships not abusing those relationships, growing them.

I go through, I’ll be honest, I started in January with the 90 Day Year and I go through seasons of being super engaged and some quiet time as we’ve had stuff going on at the beginning of the year with client projects and what not. I’m making time to really show up, and connect, and support people because I want to show up, and connect, and support people, and build relationships. That, for me, is worth the cost of admission. That, for me, is worth investing. That’s something that’s really hard to duplicate when you’re talking about a free community.

The third reason is results talk.

I know, for me, if I want to get results I’ve got to invest. I’ve got to spend a little money so that I will spend a little time otherwise I will absolutely, 100%, without a doubt fall off the horse and be like, “Yeah, that’s a great idea. I’m totally going to do that,” and I did nothing with it. For me, spending a little bit of money means seeing a lot of better results. It really, ultimately comes down to that. I mentioned that earlier, but it’s worth repeating. I’ve got to be invested to make sure I to the work. I’ll be honest, a big part of the reason I invest is because even after I’ve spent a little bit of money the accountability of the person I’m working with or the accountability that comes from the group community that makes all the difference in actually seeing the results. That’s why I do it, that’s why I invest.

Now, again, I’m not saying this to say one is better than the other. There are seasons in your business, there are things you’re learning where one may make more sense than the other, but lately I’ve seen a lot of conversations around paid courses are dying, membership sites are dying, people are not going to spend money to learn because there’s too much free content. I don’t think that’s true. I wanted to come on and talk about honestly why I thought that was BS because it is in my opinion. All right? All right.

That’s it, that’s the whole show. I hope you enjoyed it. In fact, in the interest of talking about investing and learning I’m heading out of town next week for a conference where I’m spending quite a bit of dough to learn a ton of new stuff to bring you guys, and to bring my clients, and to make my own business better, and to meet some really amazing people. I will be in San Diego, I’ll be down in San Diego next week for Digital Marketer Traffic & Conversion, if you are going to be there let me know. I would love to meet up with you, I’d love to connect with you. On the flip side, I’ll be down there again, the perks of it being so close, I’ll be down there again next month for the 90 day year live event, so if you’re going to be at that or if you are going to be just in San Diego the last week of March I’d love to meet up, so let me know. Of course, I’ll see you guys in Backstage. Have a wonderful week. Bye.

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