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Why Part with Your Money so Easily?!

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GIMP: open-source and most popular

Whatever the reason and for whichever project or money-making idea, I find it strange that all over the internet these so-called experts are advising viewers to gravitate towards the “big” names and big-tech platforms like iTunes, Amazon, Kajabi, Udemy or Adobe. The same goes for website hosting, where these “recommendations” usually go in the direction of GoDaddy, Bluehost or SiteGround.

Even more strange that people are actually following that kind of “advice” — which is often bad advice, it turns out. I’ll explain in a second, why.

Follow the Money

What I find not so strange and, in fact, quite easy to believe is the reason behind those expensive and big-tech solutions above being touted as “the thing”. They do, as it turns out, pay handsome commissions to those “experts” promoting them. All these influencers and “experts” often make 20%, sometimes more and sometimes less, off the sales they’re bringing in to Kajabi (20% of $199=$39.80 per pop) or Shutterstock (30% of $19 or $29.90 per video bought). That can add up to a lot of money, especially if you have a large — or a very gullible — audience! No matter any disclosure statements, required by the FTC as of late, people still tend to believe their gurus or “experts” no matter how obvious those motives may be — and, to be honest, it’s also not always bad or “wrong” what they recommend. And yes, I am one of them in as far as including a few affiliate links for these offers here myself goes, just in case you really have your heart set on using one of those offers.) So it appears that it pays to advertise.

The problem with this situation is, it distorts the market and helps over-expensive offers to survive instead of prices to correct in accordance with true competition.

Do Your Homework

It usually takes some extra digging and reading up on available offers, comparing features, and really familiarizing yourself with the situation, the problem, and the tools available, before you are able to make an informed decision and go for the “right”, the most appropriate, and the most reasonably priced solution as a result.

Quite often, good solutions are free solutions! How is that even possible, some people may ask. The answer is because “free” means freedom and not only free beer. This is the slogan of the Free Software Movement. This is where enthusiast donate time and effort in order to build solutions, usually very good ones and often even the most powerful ones, in order to escape vendor lock-in, software patents, and make this world a better place as a result. Yes, it may sound overly idealistic. I suggest removing the “overly” though and only go with idealistic — which it is. Regardless, if you see the features of functions of many free and open-source solutions, if you compare the extreme dynamic and speed with which bug fixes and security patches are available, if you try out free software yourself and experience the stunning solutions you can build with it, you’re immediately hooked and want to find more of that.

Go Free as in Freedom (and Free-of-Charge at the Same Time)

In line with the above, let me suggest replacing those costly monthly Kajabi subscriptions (you’d be out $199 or at least $149 every month using those!) with high-quality free software instead. There are many Content-Management Systems out there, from Drupal to Joomla, to simple Markdown files assembled into website pages to, of course, the complex but legendary WordPress package and its extremely large ecosystem. The latter includes a huge library of both add-on layouts (called Themes) and add-on modules performing about every function you could ever want or think of (called Plugins). Little wonder, then, that WordPress plugins also got you covered when it comes to content creation and hosting online courses, Kajabi-style. There are, in fact, multiple very good eLearning solutions for WordPress, and I have tested five or six of them by now. Most plugins have a standard version that is available for immediate download free of charge and for multiple installations. (Sometimes you may want to add a paid-for premium version, but you really don’t have to; it mostly depends on which specific features you want and whether or not you can find them — for free — in another one. Even the paid-for Premium plugins almost always are cheaper than going “commercial” with Udemy, Kajabi, or Teachable or similar.) It is true that you may need a consultant or IT person to support you in some cases, depending on your own skills, but that is also usually cheaper than using any of the above commercial platforms.

So, at the end of the day, it all comes down to whether or not you’re an informed buyer (or a gullible one), whether or not you are able to decide what you really need and go for it (or research all corners of the market until you really find it), or whether you — for one reason or other — want to go with the herd and do “what everyone does” in order to “feel better”. The latter most often comes at the price of losing control over the content you produce and/or paying through your nose for a service that you might as well have free of charge (or free plus some occasional service fee paid to a specialist helping you to fix problems, if any).

Watch This Space for More

I will go into more detail about specific solutions and what they can do for you and your projects in separate posts. These will be published as part of this series over the next few weeks and months, so check back here or subscribe to our notifications to see when they become available.