Joe Buhlig
3 min readJun 10, 2022


Confession: I have never purchased an online video course. I have gone through a few of the popular ones, but that’s because I was gifted access due to affiliate status or in return for promoting the course. But spending my own money on an online course has never happened. There are many courses I have wanted to go through, but when it all boils down, I’m left with the decision to avoid the purchase. The question is: why?

In most cases, the situation is different depending on the course. Some of them are $200 or more. And some are even $1,000+. When they break $100, I have very high expectations of the course and there’s a lot of risk on my part to spending that kind of money to watch some videos. So far, that risk has been too high to justify the expense. I would rather spend a few hours researching the topic online and spend the money elsewhere.

But I even avoid the less expensive courses in the $10-$20 range. At that point, I can’t see the value being high enough to make it worth my time. So, I skip these as well.

I’m aware that this is a bit ridiculous and somewhat nonsensical. And it leads me to realize that I don’t want to spend money to watch videos. If there’s an in-person element to the course, then that’s a different story. But access to videos alone doesn’t make sense to me.

And if that’s the case, why am I selling video courses? If I won’t do it, why should I be asking you to do it? So, I’m stopping.

I started the process of moving my video course material to YouTube about a month ago and that will continue over the next couple of weeks until it’s all there.

When I want to learn the inner workings of something, I read books and research it online. The latter of those often leads me to YouTube and blog posts. So, it’s the free stuff that I consume at ridiculously high rates. Not the paid versions of the same.

It is not lost on me that making these courses and screencasts are great ways to earn money in the Creator Economy. But having made them, having seen the statistics behind them, and having talked to others who have made them, I know that the norm is for folks to purchase the course, watch one or two of the videos, and never return. Going through the course entirely rarely happens.

That means that the hard work I’ve put into making the course is mostly about the money and not the content. And that’s the opposite of what I intend.

Sidenote: One alternative to online courses that is cropping up more and more is the “cohort” based classes. It’s the video course done live with time-enforced participation. I know those have a much higher participation rate, but they also cost a lot more. And, as we established, I can’t justify that cost.

So, if I want to make videos and I want them to help people and I want a lot of people to watch them and learn from them (I want a lot), I need to make them free and open to the public.

All this said, thank you to those of you who have purchased my courses in the past. For a period, these courses were my main income and made it possible for me to work from home and spend extra time with my family. For that, I’m grateful. But it’s time to move on.

To watch these courses (as the videos release), you can find them here:

Working With OmniFocus 2019

Working With OmniFocus 2016