Not All Education is Created Equally. Here’s How To Invest Wisely! - D'ARCY BENINCOSA

Not All Education is Created Equally. Here’s How To Invest Wisely!

by D'Arcy Benincosa

Not All Education is Created Equally. Here's How to Invest Wisely! with Vanessa Lust and D'Arcy Benincosa on The Play It Brave Podcast

Have you ever invested in business education that ended up being a huge waste of money? I know I have! In today’s hot seat episode, Vanessa Lust asks the all-to-common question: “How do I know what education is worth investing in?” Over the years I’ve developed a system that ensures I’m never wasting my hard-earned moolah, and it’s about time I shared it with you. The world of online education is growing on the daily, and getting more and more confusing, so tune in to hear how I make investment decisions EASILY and with major return on my investments.

Get Clear On Your Goals:

If you’re too focused on all the tiny things in your business that aren’t good enough (um, hi SEO, Pinterest, Instagram, website, etc.), then you’re going to find yourself investing in everything without truly making sure it’s the right investment for you.

The first step to ensuring you’re investing wisely is getting clarity around what you want for your life and business. 

These goals are not just about booking more weddings and taking pretty pictures. It’s BIGGER than that.

What life do you want to be living?

Do you desire to travel the world with a home in Paris where you host workshops for fellow artists?

Do you wish to take on fewer clients, so you can spend more time with your children and spouse?

Maybe your dream is to take a sabbatical every year over the holidays.

Or if the spotlight is for you, maybe you dream to write a best-selling book or speak on stages across the globe.

Whatever your biggest dreams and goals are, write them all out, and then refer to them often when making decisions (ESPECIALLY investment decisions). If the investment won’t take you towards your goal, then it’s probably not for you.

Get clear on what will help you meet those goals:

If your big goal is to take a sabbatical every year, then you probably need to hire a team to run things while you’re away. 

If you desire to travel the world, then you either need to make passive income or find jobs that take you around the world.

If your dreams include best-selling books, stages, podcasts, courses, and more, then finding a way to network and make critical connections is the next step for you.

How to know what to invest in to meet your goals:

What to invest in when you want to up-level your work:

  • Pay for a photography course (like The Profitable Portfolio, *wink wink*) that will teach you the high-end strategies for posing, client experience, pricing, proposals, and web presence.
  • Hire someone to review your portfolio. Preferably someone who has a tough-love approach, and who has experience with or has a portfolio that you look up to.
  • Get some styled shoots and weddings under your belt that capture the luxury look you’re striving for.

NOTE: If you’re not a photographer, then the same applies just in your trade.

What to invest in to get into the luxury market:

If your work and experience you offer is already at luxury level, and you’re ready to charge luxury prices, but you just need a connection or two to get there, I recommend hiring a planner to do a styled shoot with you. Prove yourself to them, and serve them well with images and work that WOW them and make them want to work with you more.

What to invest in to book more destination clients:

Travel, destination workshops, and destination apprenticeships (pay to job shadow an industry leader) are my recommendations. Anything that involves actually DOING work in the places you want to book clients is going to be the best investment for you.

What to invest in to take time off or have more time for family:

Invest in a team! Start with one team member who can take some big time-sucking tasks off your plate. It’s amazing what this can do for your overall well-being. You’ll find yourself with more time to do what you truly love!

What to invest in to make passive income:

  • A funnels strategist will be able to help you build out your funnels and organize a launch.
  • A mastermind or group coaching program will be a great way to enlist support for a big launch. The bigger network you have, the more eyes you can get on your offer!

What to invest in to open up networking opportunities:

  • A mastermind is THE BEST way to make breakthrough connections that will take you to the next level.
  • In-Person Summits & Conferences are another great way to make connections (as long as you’re not an introvert and like to sit silently in the corner)

You might be thinking, “but what if I don’t have the cash flow to hire a team or pay for a mastermind (or whatever path you’ve decided on)?” That’s where you might have to work backwards from your dream. If you don’t have the money yet, then you need to find ways to either charge more, or get more eyes on your work. Courses are a great starting point for the basics. You can check out my selection of courses here to get started.

How to know if you’ll get a return on your investment:

When I’m about to invest in something (especially anything over $1,000) I do the following research to ensure I’m not just wasting my hard-earned money!

  • Follow-Up with the people who write the testimonials and get additional feedback! You might think this feels weird, but if someone truly meant what they said in their testimonial, then they won’t have a problem talking with you.
  • Before investing in anything, think about what you’re trying to get out of it, and make sure it promises a certain outcome that you desire. If you really need to boost your SEO to be found in your current market, then make sure that’s the promise of your investment, and that the testimonials reflect that outcome.
  • Don’t take mentorship from someone who doesn’t have credibility or longevity in their business. Also don’t take mentorship from someone you don’t want to become.
  • Don’t base your decisions on the amount of Instagram followers. That’s not always an indication of their success and wealth.
  • Ask questions! If the answers aren’t on the sales page, don’t be afraid to send an email to the educator asking questions that will help solidify your decision.
  • ACTUALLY COMPLETE AND IMPLEMENT. This one’s big, ladies and gents. All too often we invest in something in hopes that it will be the magic bullet that solves all our problems. The truth is, the only thing that can solve your problems is YOU. You have to actually implement what you’re learning in order to reap the rewards of your investment.

Finally, I get asked all the time what my thoughts are about $99 bundles. I say go for it! Even if one of the courses included in the bundle gives you one tip that books you one client, your investment was worth it.

How much should you invest in business education?

This is mostly based on what your budget allows, but I always set aside at least 10% of my income per year to put towards coaching, a mastermind, or another form of business education.

There you have it, folks! My tried and true strategies for investing wisely in my business so that I don’t waste a cent on bogus education. I hear it all too often that people are in debt over education that did nothing for them. It’s time to end that cycle. I hope this gave you more clarity around the ever-growing world of online business education!

To listen to the full episode click here!

About Vanessa Lust:

Vanessa Lust is a wedding and portrait photographer that loves documenting genuine moments of couples in love. Love and light is what inspires her, as well as movement and the beauty that surrounds us in this beautiful world.  Vanessa is not only a business owner but a mother of three fast growing boys. She has been married to her partner in crime for over 16 years. Her favorite drink is a Chai Latte made with Almond milk. If she is not shooting a wedding you will find her spending time with her family with football or basketball in hand, cozied up with a good book or walking and just enjoying the fresh air. 

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