Want to sign up for an online course but don't have the budget. Here's how...

So you’ve spotted an online training programme you’d love to take part in. You know it would be great for your business. Trouble is, it feels out of your budget right now.

If this sounds like you, the first thing you need to is reframe the problem. Instead of saying ‘I can’t afford it’ ask yourself ‘what could I do to make it affordable?’

Here’s ten money-saving ideas to help you make it happen.

1.Get in early

Most online programmes have earlybird prices. Some offer the option to pay in instalments. So get in early and save yourself some cash.

2.Ask if there is an affiliate deal

Some online programmes offer commission/rewards for referrals. Recommend the programme to friends/colleagues and you could shave of some of the costs of your own training.

3.Offset the costs with an event/offering of your own

If you want to invest in your own learning, how about hosting your own live workshop or opening up a number of consultancy slots to cover the costs of your training? If you run a product-based business, perhaps you could host a pop-up event in a local market, office or co-working space. Plenty of venues rent out space by the hour at very affordable rates (my personal tip: try schools, colleges, and churches) and you can put together a sales page on Eventbrite in minutes. Start thinking creatively and the possibilities are endless.

4.Host an online event or sale

What do you already have of value in your business? Perhaps you have some information products i.e. courses/webinars/videos you could bundle together and offer at a special price? Something you could teach in an online class or webinar? Or products you could bundle up or offer at a special price for a limited period? I’ve yet to come across any business owner who doesn’t have something to offer.

5.Get more customers

Yep, you heard me right. Work out how many new clients you’d need to attract - or products you’d need to sell - to cover the cost of your training. Then ‘reverse engineer’ the process i.e. work out how you’re going to making it happen. If you run a consultancy or coaching business, this can be as simple as emailing your existing/previous clients to ask for referrals (or offering an additional service or ‘upgrade’). If you have a product-based business, you might consider hosting a special sale (see number 5) or hosting a pop-up event.

6.Get someone else to pay for it

Do you have a client who would benefit from you taking part in the training? If you can show how it could have an impact on their bottom line, you may be able to get them to contribute towards the cost or even cover the lot? If you have multiple clients who would benefit, you may be able persuade them to split the cost.

7.Look for money ‘behind the sofa’

  • Are you paying direct debits for services you no longer use?
  • Do you have any tech/equipment (or anything at all in fact) you’ve been meaning to sell on Ebay?
  • Is there a dress in your wardrobe you meant to return but didn’t get round to it?
  • Do you have money sitting in a bank/building society account you no longer use?
  • Is there any unnecessary expenditure you could cut out right now?

Devote an hour to looking at your ‘money leaks’ and you might be pleasantly surprised how much cash you can gather together (I recently claimed back £82 that had been sitting in a dormant bank account).

8.Consider if there is anything else holding you back

When prospective students tell me they don’t have the budget for a course, it’s actually rarely about the money. When I dig a little bit deeper there is usually something else going on: perhaps they don’t feel ready for the course, are worried they won’t have the time to complete the coursework or they’re not convinced it will get them the results they need. So do ask yourself if there is anything else holding you back.

These are the most common concerns people have about signing up for my Build Your Online Audience Programme. Do any of them sound familiar?

9.Put your ‘big girl pants on’

You’re an entrepreneurial sort. So if you really want to sign up for an online course, I believe you’ve got what it takes to figure out how to get yourself there. But if you’ve looked into all these ideas, and still can’t find a solution, it might be best to starting saving for the next intake of the programme instead. Get yourself on the waitlist so you’re the first to hear about any earlybird discounts.