No matter your niche within the wedding industry, it’s always worth the effort to stay at the top of your game by making continuing education a priority. Maybe you have a specific new skill you want to learn, or maybe you’re just feeling stagnant in your work life and need a recharge. Whatever the motivation, now more than ever, there are a plethora of educational resources available to you, whether in-person (conferences) or online/digital (courses). Each has its own merits – and fallbacks – which we’ll cover below to help you decide which is the route for YOU and the best use of your time, money and other resources. Let’s get to it!
How to Know if an Online Course Is Right for You
No matter the area in which you’re looking to grow, chances are, there’s a digital course out there to help you do it. In the last 5 years, digital courses have become an industry all their own, giving self-education a new platform accessible for just about anyone. From beginners to experts, you’ll find digital courses tailored to your skill level (or desired skill level) within your niche of the wedding industry, or on nearly any other topic you could want to learn.
Digital courses offer many perks. For one, they’re often self-paced. Once you purchase access to the materials, you can typically go at a pace that feels right to you. This isn’t always the case – certain courses, especially those with interactive online features, require you to follow the instructor’s pace – but mostly, you can go through as much or as little of the material at a time as you’d like, and you’ll typically have access to the course materials for several months, if not a lifetime! In that vein, digital courses give you the chance to revisit the material as much as you need, whereas with a conference, once the moment has passed, it’s passed.
Additionally, digital courses are often updated as industry knowledge changes. With a one-time purchase and subsequent access to refreshed materials, you’ll be getting a lot of bang for your buck over time. Of course, with digital courses, the key factor to success is initiative: no one is going to MAKE you follow through and there’s not the in-person motivation you’d receive by going to a conference. However, if you’re eager to learn and ready to take the steps on your own to get there, a course can offer flexibility in doing so.
With these things in mind, the main benefit of digital courses can be summed up with the word LONGEVITY. Typically, with access to a course, you’ll be getting access to materials, resources and community for a much longer period of time (if not infinite) than you would with a conference.
How to Decide If a Conference Is Worth It
Even just hearing the word ‘conference’ can evoke feelings of heart-pounding excitement and visions of speakers giving LIFE to attendees as they share their best secrets and tactics from on stage. Whether it’s a giant conference in Vegas with thousands of attendees and dozens of incredible speakers or a smaller-scale event with a dozen attendees and a deeper delve into the community and networking experiences conferences offer, the main benefit of this education route can be summed up with the word CONNECTION.
In addition to the imparting of wisdom and lightbulb moments with pages upon pages of notes worth of new skills to put into practice, conferences differ from digital courses in their inherent and intangible aspects of inspiration, energy and excitement that can motivate you to reach new heights in your business long after the event is over. Not that digital courses aren’t exciting! But there’s just something about traveling to an in-person event that can be invigorating and refreshing for you and for your business.
Whereas digital courses are often very targeted to a specific skill level or skill set, with specific strategic goals outlined, conferences usually offer a broader range of topics, target skill levels and approaches. You’ll get the chance to learn from multiple educators and hear various perspectives. While a digital course may offer access to a Facebook group or other online community, conferences give you the chance to make those ever-important in-person connections with people from all over, as well as the chance to meet industry leaders you admire.
So, Should You Take A Digital Course or Go to a Conference?
With all this information to consider, choosing to spend your time, money and business resources on either a digital course or a conference is truly a matter of two things: your goals and your personality. If you’re craving connection, inspiration and a total refresh – maybe you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a rut or aren’t sure where to go next with your business – a conference can offer the heart-and-soul reinvigorating, transformational energy you’re looking for.
If you’re ready to get down to the nitty gritty with no-nonsense skill development at a self-guided pace, with the ability to come back and refer to materials whenever you need them and the guidance to achieve something specific to take your business to the next level, an online or digital course may be more your style.
No matter the route you pick, you’re doing yourself, your business and your clients a service by investing in education, seeking guidance and connection with like-minded professionals and taking the next steps to get there. We wish you the very best in your endeavors!