9 critical questions Online Freelance writing course feature image

9 Critical Questions to Ask Before Taking An Online Freelance Writing Course

Taking an online freelance writing course is a great way to draw on the lessons more experienced writers have learned during their careers. 

The problem is…

… some writers can become very good at marketing, but their courses can be a pile of turds.  

With this post, I hope to help sift through the junk to find the best freelance writing course for YOU. 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means if you purchase something after clicking a link on my site, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.  This is how I’m able to provide quality reviews.  Please note that I do not promote any course or product if I do not 100% believe in the course creator and their ability to provide you with the high quality information you need to meet your goals. 

1. What Kind of Experience Does the Online Freelance Writing Course Creator Have?

The first thing you’ll want to look at is how long has this person been a freelance writer?

Are they brand new?

Unfortunately, we live in a world where we are taught to “fake it until you make it!”

When you first start out as a freelance writer, it’s normal to feel inexperienced.  

But in many industries, you’ll want to avoid those people who are trying to come off as experts in a field where they are brand new. 

You don’t need to look for the person with the MOST experience. 

But look for the person who has successfully done what you are wanting to learn. 

If the person is trying to sell you on their course and their methods rub you the wrong way, you likely won’t connect with that person. 

If they are trying to teach you how to sell on social media, but they have almost no social media presence, that is a huge red flag. 

When I finally decided to pay for Write Your Way to Your First 1K by Elna Cain, I already knew that Elna was making a living as a freelance writer.  

I knew she was new enough to have up-to-date techniques, but not so new that she didn’t know how to predictably attract potential new clients.  

Once I joined her private Facebook group for the course, I realized she had a very solid inbound lead strategy.  If she received requests that she couldn’t take herself, she would post them in the group. 

She still does that today. 

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2. How Valuable Is Their Free Content?

In my experience, people who offer free content that is highly valuable often have incredibly valuable paid content. 

For instance, when I took Elna Cain’s Write Your Way to Your First 1K course, I first checked out her free content for a while.

I could tell she knew what she was doing. 

She gave away a lot of VERY valuable free content on a regular basis. She still does.

She was also pretty responsive in her free Facebook groups.  She did (and still does) regular live videos.  

When I signed up for the course, I found I was right. 

Her course was JAM-PACKED with step-by-step information to get me to profit FAST! 

(See my review of her Write Your Way to Your First 1K course by clicking here)

3. What Are the Testimonials REALLY Saying?

See if there are testimonials for the course. 

Review the testimonials with an educated eye to see what the students are REALLY saying.  

If they rave about how they were able to increase their prices and that’s what your goal is, it might be a good fit. 

If your goal is to get lots of inbound customer inquiries and the course teaches how to improve your writing speed and processes, it may not be a good fit for you.

If many of the testimonials look the same, the course creator may have given them a template or put words in their mouth (written it for them).

Look for variety in wording. You should be able to tell fairly easily if they are authentic testimonials.

4. What Does Their “This Is for You If” section say?

When writing to sell, copywriters usually research who the target audience is. We call it the “this is for you if…” research.

If the course creator has dug deep into their student’s wants, this section will contain the ideal student goals, pains, and expected outcomes. 

They want you to think “Oh wow, that IS me!”

If they’ve done their research correctly, you’ll feel really connected to this section and feel like they’re talking directly to you. 

5. What Extra Support Do They Offer?

Does the course creator have a private Facebook group, a Slack channel, or a community message board? 

Do they offer Voxer support or email support? 

For instance, Elna Cain offers a free pitching strategy audit with her Write Your Way to Your First 1K course. 

(See my review of Elna Cain’s Write Your Way to Your First 1K course here).

She also offers a private Facebook group so you have access to tons of new and experienced writers in all niches. 

She’s also really good at responding if you email her. 

I love that she has contributor websites, so you can publish your samples on one of her sites if your style and writing fit the goals of the site.  

This is incredibly valuable to a brand new writer. Having one of your first samples published on a website other than your own builds your portfolio quicker.

All of these things give you a leg up in launching your career. 

Look for similar support in any online freelance writing course you take.  

6. What Do You Want From the Online Freelance Writing Course?

What do you want to get out of the course? 

Make a goal for yourself and figure out if the course aligns with your goals. 

For example, if your goal is to be able to attract inbound leads through social media, and the course is heavily geared towards a pitching strategy, it might not be right for you. 

If the course teaches how to write for a specific niche and your goal is to learn how to close more sales, it might not be the right fit. 

7. Is There a Guarantee? (Does It Even Matter if There Is?)

If the course creator is super confident in their ability to provide results, they may have a guarantee. 

If they don’t have one, it doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic course, it just means they don’t have a guarantee. 

Some really popular courses have a guarantee, but it’s at the discretion of the course creator. 

When people offer a guarantee like whether or not you’ll get new clients, they are relying on the effort you will put in. 

If you don’t put in the effort, you may not get the results they promise. 

They can’t offer a guarantee that allows someone to go through the course and get a refund as soon as they have access to all of the information without some sort of “insurance.” 

8. What’s the Cost Vs. the Benefits?

The cost of a program doesn’t necessarily indicate the value it provides. 

I’ve seen course creators offer extravagantly priced programs that are just part of their funnel to sell something even more expensive. 

I’ve also seen course creators offer an amazing course for under $200 (like this one).

While others offer a course with similar information for $1500. 

Really take the time to look at the benefits you’ll get out of the course vs. the cost. 

A $200 course is a small price to pay of I’ll make $1000 back right off the hop. 

For instance, Write Your Way to Your First 1K was very reasonable in cost and I made back the entire cost of the course in the first month before I even made it through half of the course. 

9. Are They Promoting Overnight Success?

One of my biggest pet peeves in business is the “I made (insert extravagant dollar figure here) in 1 week!” story.

Overnight success does happen sometimes.

But more often than not, a student will have lots of failures before they have impressive success.

There might be 30 failed pitches (or 100) behind that one big sale.

Expenses could be astronomical.

When someone says “I made a million this year,” my first question is “is that gross (before taxes and expense) or net (take home number)?”

If they made a million dollars, but their expenses were $990,000, it’s more of a failure than a success in my opinion.

It’s common to see freelance writers spending a lot of money on coaches, virtual assistants, etc… I’ve seen other copywriters making the take home pay as I do, but they bring in significantly more in gross revenue.

Every business owner should invest in their business and themselves. But be cautious when you hear writers talk about their amazing success.

They often leave out the ugly stuff. Expenses, taxes, paying for a coach, cost of a mastermind, failed projects, etc…

My Favorite Online Freelance Writing Course

When I first started my writing business, I took Write Your Way to Your First 1K by Elna Cain.

This course had everything I needed like:

  • Pitching templates
  • When and who to pitch to
  • Social media strategy for landing clients
  • How to set up profiles like LinkedIn
  • Where to get samples published
  • How to create a portfolio
  • Do you need a website?
  • Step-by-step directions on how to land clients in 30 days or less
  • And many advanced strategies

I could go on and on with this list. In my opinion, this course is still undervalued given what you get out of it.

Elna has helped hundreds of people (maybe even thousands) launch their writing careers.

If you’re brand new to freelance writing, this is hands down the best course for you!