Before getting into it, let me first fully own the irony in this statement since I’ve recently released my own online course. I do think it’s a slightly different package, though: lifetime access to technical tutorials at a low price-point, rather than premium, cohort-based live instruction. Nevertheless, feel free to roll your eyes 🙄

Let me not bury the lead any further. There are two main reasons I’m pushing pause on online course spending.

  1. I’ve become hyper cost-conscious over the last few weeks.
  2. There are treasure troves of free resources available, and I want to be very sure that there will be a measurable payoff before I put dollars on the table.

Let’s explore the cost side first.

Online courses are getting pricey, particularly when converted to South African Rands. I have been thinking about registering for #Ship30for30 for a few months now, as the price steadily increased from $299 to $499. Unfortunately, the timing was never right, and the final nail in the coffin of my #Ship30 dreams was when I decided to leave my previous role halfway through February. Having no income means that I have had to clamp down on my expenses, and high costs like this need some justifying.

For some additional perspective, David Perell’s premium “Write of Passage” course comes in at a whopping $4000. It’s not something I was ever considering doing, but for the same price, I could register for a two years master’s degree at a top South African university. I know, I know; “you can’t compare apples and oranges” and “the university model providing quantification of qualification is outdated”, but it still gives a lot of pause for thought.

Free resources, all the free resources!

Yes, they’re unstructured, and yes, there will be duplication and filtering required, but they’re free! And if you find the right folks, they’re also of high quality. It’s also worth noting that there will probably be duplication in the promotional materials for the course you’re signing up for, and the materials in the course itself. I actually like gathering from a broad range of sources, and distilling down the important messages for myself. And now I have a bit more time to do that too!

There are definitely elements of online courses that aren’t accessible with these resources: the accountability of a cohort is excellent, and making new friends online is also a win. But I think I’m entering a more introverted phase for the next few months, doubling down on what’s already in my head rather than looking outward and learning too many new things.

Back to the topic of writing, a friend of mine who is a professional writer recommended that I just read two books and zero in on the lessons in them:

  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser, and
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.

And then obviously a lot of practice… So with $20 spent (yet to begin reading, though!), I’ve started my own little “daily shipping” effort since the beginning of March. I’ve called it Ship23for31, removing the pressure of shipping on weekends (I am attending two weekend weddings this month) and ensuring that the process remains enjoyable.

You can track the journey on Twitter, and I’ll also be cross-posting the “atomic essays” to this site (although don’t worry, I’ll be sparing your inboxes because that would warrant an instant unsubscribe).

Now I need to go and record some videos so that I can make a living 😋

I’ll see you in a few weeks.