One Monday morning, a peek at my calendar for the week ahead left me blue.

There was a mound of difficult client work with at least one difficult client. Peppered throughout the week were also several calls for courses and programs I had enrolled in for business and personal development.

It was also going to be a four-day workweek, as I’d be heading out to Raleigh on Friday to visit my sons, both of whom attended universities in the Raleigh-Durham area.


If I wanted to get my client work done, I knew I’d have to pass on those course and program calls, several of which were meant to help me build the Million Dollar Business of my dreams.

Sure, I could “catch the replays,” but would I?

I always WANT to.

I always tell myself that I WILL catch up, but based on my history, I know it’s unlikely.

The client work alone was maddening. (Yeah, I know … a terrible problem to have, right?!)

But what really upset me — what has been upsetting me for quite some time — years, really — was the huge and growing backlog of untouched course modules, assignments, and missed-call replays.

I’m always so freaking busy working IN my business that I have little time to be working ON my business, despite forking out beaucoup bucks in hopes of carving out time to build my Million Dollar Business.

It’s like being on a race to nowhere.

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Sadly, this stuck-in-freelance mode has been with me since I started my freelance-writing business back in 2002.

And the stuck-in-freelance mode PLUS course craziness has been eating away at me since early 2016, when I purchased my very first course.

It was Amy Porterfield’s “List Builder’s Lab.”

I think that program cost me $197.

Spending two hundred bucks was easy.

I’d be getting SO MUCH in return!

I’d build my list!

Then to that list, I’d sell my yet-to-be-created courses!

And once course sales were rolling in, I’d have the cash I needed to say “no thanks” to the avalanche of freelance work so I could work ON my business!

At last!


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I’m embarrassed to tell you that today, four years later, I still have not completed the List Builder’s Lab program.

But back then, I didn’t know things would work out that way.

Back then, I was gung-ho!

So gung-ho, in fact, that a few months later I purchased Amy’s “Courses that Convert” program.

I remember watching the sales webinar for Courses that Convert one evening around bedtime.

I’d learn STEP-BY-STEP how to create a successful online course!

I’d FINALLY be able to stop working one-on-one and dollars-for-hours, and move into a more profitable one-to-many model!

OMG I wanted that program!

But it was soooo expensive — $997!

I remember pacing the floor in my bedroom, while my husband waited in bed for me to finish.

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As I paced, a monologue fell from my lips.

“This course is what I’ve been wanting!” I said, marching one way.

But it’s so expensive!” I replied, marching back.

But I have to do it — how else will I learn to create an online course?” I asked myself.

Do you have to spend a thousand dollars to figure that out?” came the reply.

But I love Amy’s style; she knows what she’s doing!” I argued.

But I’ll have to put it on a credit card,” I warned.

Which one should I use?” I asked, this time of my husband, who sat patiently waiting, listening to me work things out aloud, as I tend to do.

I stopped pacing.

I didn’t yet have a business credit card. A thousand bucks would be a large, unexpected expense.

How much is it?” my husband asked.

Oh boy! He’s going to say yes!” I thought, smiling.

The saleswoman in me turned her attention to him.

It’s just $997,” she/we said, rushing on.

“That all-inclusive price will get me all of the modules, multiple live sessions with Amy, a private Facebook group to work alongside other course creators, templates — everything I’ll need to create my online course!

She/we paused. Waited.

Put it on our Chase card,” he said.


I wasted no time, and in a matter of minutes, became the proud owner of a THOUSAND DOLLAR COURSE — Courses that Convert.

I am course creator!

Hear me ROAR!

Copyright sgarton67; used with permission,

Maybe I should have mewed instead, because I haven’t finished Courses that Convert, either.

What’s really sad is that I’ve repeated that experience with many courses — many even MORE expensive — many times over.

Most times since then, my husband has not been involved.

Many times, I purchased without telling him, knowing he would disapprove. (He doesn’t read my stuff … I hope he doesn’t start now!)

Several times, I purchased despite his voiced disapproval, using my business cash or credit card.

A few times, I resisted the purchase, somehow dredging up the ability to say NO.

Looking back now, I see how those purchases of List Builder’s Lab and Courses that Convert opened the door to a room I now call the Room of Untouched Courses.

(I’ve actually touched many of them. But the “Room of Untouched and Unfinished Courses” is a mouthful.)

Back then, I had no idea just how easy it would be to purchase online courses and join online programs regardless of whether I could afford to or not, regardless of whether I’d be able to start or complete them, regardless of how many other courses and programs were already in the queue.

To illustrate to you how bad the problem has become, I put together a shortlist of people I’ve purchased courses from.

Note “short list.”

If I looked through my email and files, I’d find many more names of many more people whose pockets I lined with my course and program purchases over the last four years.

People whose courses I own

Recognize any of those names? Have you purchased from any of those folks?

After compiling that list and mentally reviewing its accompanying, sad accounting (I purposely left off course prices), I confess, head hanging low, that I’ve started or completed courses from at most 10 percent of those names.

Ouch. Oh the Guilt!

That math means 90 percent of the courses I’ve purchased are still sitting there, waiting for me to complete them.

I STILL want to complete (or for God’s sake start!) them!

I paid good money for them, many times money I didn’t have.

I kept — and still keep — telling myself that I WILL work through those courses one day. I’ll work through them one at a time, because, fortunately, they all came with LIFETIME ACCESS.

As part of your buying process, have you ever asked whether a course comes with lifetime access? Fortunately (or maybe, unfortunately!) most do.

Fortunately, the Guilt has loosened its grip because I’ve recently become better at saying NO.

What’s that? You’re offering 10 extra coaching hours if I purchase through your link?


You’ll give me BONUS access to your finest, most-expensive online program?


You’ll give me all of the above PLUS an unheard of opportunity to work with you one-on-one, in person?



Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash

I know … I’ve learned … that the offer will come around again later.

Plus, my wallet is empty.

My credit cards are full.

And my heart shrinks when I think of having to harbor even one more ounce of Guilt, which will latch on for sure if I have to toss just one more program into my already over-stuffed Room of Untouched Courses.

I’ll look for the same offer again, or an offer for whatever better thing has been created, in another four years.

By then (should my resolve hold … it will! it will!) I’ll have cleared out the blasted Room, locked it tight, and thrown away the key.

Then, when I do purchase that juicy-sounding program, I’ll crunch through it on schedule, which is good for the course creator, good for me, good for the world.

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash