How good are you at investing in yourself?

February 8, 2023 | Jarrod Saxton

Hispanic Woman Checking Finances at Restaurant

If you are someone who understands the importance of investing in yourself or your business, I’m sure you can think of a time when a $5 book or a $300 course had a greater impact on your life than a $2,000 course or perhaps even a $100,000 project or mastermind community.

Here’s a quick exercise. Write down all the online courses you’ve done, books you’ve read, coaches you’ve had sessions with, workshops you’ve done, and any other services of that nature. Then prioritise them from most impactful to least impactful. You will almost always find that the most expensive offer isn’t at the top, and the cheapest offer isn’t at the bottom.

This confirms a bias that we all have, where we assume that more expensive things are more valuable, otherwise known as the “Veblen goods” effect, named after economist Thorstein Veblen who first described it in 1899. This bias is the tendency for people to believe that goods or services that are more expensive must be of higher quality when in reality, this is not always the case.

It’s important to note that this bias can be very costly, because it can cause us to turn down cheaper and more effective offerings, for more expensive less effective offerings. In other words, you could end up investing a lot of money into solutions that others might be able to access for a fraction of the cost, or even for free.

Let’s split consultants, coaches, and course creators up into three categories, and look at how they price their offerings:

The undervalued expert: There are many skilled and knowledgeable experts out there who under-price themselves. They usually do this because of what’s known as the Adaptation Level Phenomenon. In this context, it means that these experts have become so accustomed to the value they bring, that they have become desensitized to it and see their value as a norm rather than something exceptional, and they now feel like they bring little to no value at all. While you will get the best deal from working with these people, make sure to do them a favour and let them know that they do amazing work, and encourage them to charge what they are worth!

The reasonably priced expert: You’re going to get a fair deal with these experts and be satisfied with what you pay and what you get. They are aware and clear on the value they bring to you, and charge accordingly. They are confident in their ability to help you and don’t mind proving it 

The overpriced expert: On the other hand, there are also individuals who have an inflated sense of their own abilities and charge exorbitant prices for their programs without providing much substance or thought behind what they are teaching. These individuals may come across as confident, but their offerings may not deliver the results that clients are looking for.

So how do you tell the difference between the three? Well, DO NOT rely on price for starters!

Make sure that you do a little check on the following:

– Write down all the obstacles preventing you from moving forward, and check those obstacles against the course curriculum. Are all of your obstacles covered? Or are certain obstacles missed? Then consider any obstacles the consulting, course, or program does not cover, and ask yourself, is it still worth the price for you personally?

– Write down your beliefs and values and the way you prefer to work. Then check that nothing in the curriculum violates those beliefs and values. You might learn some pretty effective things, but if it goes against your beliefs, values, or preferred way of working, you are going to really struggle to commit and see results.

– Check that the curriculum was developed assuming the starting conditions you actually have. If you want to get from point A to point B, there is no point investing in consulting, courses or programs that take you from point D to point E – you’ll have to solve a lot of problems on your own before you can begin to apply anything.

– Lastly, judge the expert based on the substance of what they actually say. Are they telling you things simple, generic things, or things you have already heard before? Or are they offering deep insights and new perspectives and methods that allow you to see a fresh way forward? Because if you are looking to buy consulting, or a course or coaching program where only you will be doing the work (not them), then all you are really paying for is insight, information, and perhaps some accountability. So ask yourself, are they offering any new insights, if not, then you’re probably not going to see a huge change in your life by investing in what they are offering.

Now, if you want another one of those moments where a low-priced course has a greater impact on your life than a high-priced one, boy do I have something for you…

In our Thinking Foundations course, you will train and build skills in critical thinking and logic, giving you the flexibility to make decisions and solve problems in any situation you find yourself in. We also have an online community of experts from a wide range of industries, who all have their own unique insights to share. The course starts at $320 so jump on board, and remember… don’t fall for the Veblen goods effect on this one!