Creative Class Review

Apr 6 2018

Creative Class* opens for enrollment this week, so I thought it would be a good time to review my experience of it.

UPDATE — I’ve been given a discount code for anyone wanting to sign up for the Creative Class. Just use JAMIESE at the checkout!

Learn the business of freelancing

CC is a course for freelancers from Paul Jarvis and Kaleigh Moore that covers all the “other stuff” that comes with working for yourself. It assumes that you’ve got a creative skill — be it writing, design or development — and shows you how to use that skill to earn a living. It covers many of the common pitfalls for new freelancers like pricing, contracts, on-boarding processes and creating a network of contacts to help keep you busy.

Not just another course

Having taken too many online courses — I used to a be a sucker for the “quick-wins” that many promised — I’ve found zero correlation between the value a course offers and how much it costs or how much material it includes.

I’ve also learnt that when it comes to online courses the important question isn’t…

“How much does it cost?”

…but instead…

“How long is this going to take?”

I rarely complete those courses that have 60+ hours of video, add-on eBooks and endless worksheets. If I have to tackle it in more than a few sittings, it’ll just sit on my hard drive gathering digital dust; meaning that no matter how good it is I will get absolutely nothing from it.

CC is wonderfully succinct and has 15 distinct lessons each with a five to fifteen minute video, some additional notes and a few action items. I completed my first run through of CC in an afternoon, taking notes as I went. It’s a much more realistic proposition when y’know, you probably should be doing the actual work!

After that initial run through I’ve revisited each lesson, often many times over, implementing the advice. I reckon I’ve probably spent about 8 - 10 hours in total on this course yet still have reaped it’s rewards. That’s the sort of equation that makes me happy!

Cost vs. Value

When I bought CC originally it was most definitely a “big-ticket” item that almost couldn’t afford. I was about to be made redundant and going back to freelancing in a hurry whilst money was tight. You could even say that it was a foolish purchase in the face of a uncertain future.

However, I’ve followed Paul Jarvis for a long time so trusted that the content would be up to his usual high standards and very much in line with my ethos around business. I knew what I was buying.

An example is that I’ve played around with how I price my work many times, always thinking that I had finally cracked it only to later find a flaw. CC finally helped me get my head around value-based pricing and saw how it benefits both parties.

That particular lesson helped me understand that if you can’t provide enough value to justify the cost for a given project, then it’s a huge red flag and not an example of why value-based pricing doesn’t work. I’ve previously taken on projects where the value I was offering was hard to articulate, or tried to squeeze them into unrealistic budgets using some creative pricing method. Predictably both the client and I got burnt by these decisions.

Creative Class taught me that I’m in the driving seat no matter the client or the project, and that the responsibility for getting best possible outcome rests solely on my shoulders — even if it means walking away from projects that aren’t a good fit.

The course is full of lots of these little gems, any of which could make a huge difference to how successful you are as a freelancer. It also provides access to a members-only Slack group — something that I’ve often found is just a source of noise and distraction. Continuing the trend of being different, the CC Community on Slack is really useful both for further advice or just networking.

It also provides access to the original version of Creative Class that was just a few videos. Whilst the current version obviously builds on the original, a few parts got left behind, namely a really good video that I only recently discovered about how to start creating products. This a really useful “next-step” for freelancers and very relevant to what I’m working on right now.

I’ve already said it, but Creative Class was a huge purchase for me that I could have really regretted. Instead it’s probably the only course that I’d pay for again if I needed to — it has been, and continues to be that useful!

If you’re a solo developer like me that want to get their business running smoothly, then I’d really encourage you to enrol for Creative Class’ next intake* on 8th April.

UPDATE — I’ve been given a discount code for anyone wanting to sign up for the Creative Class. Just use JAMIESE at the checkout!

* The links to Creative Class throughout this post are affiliate links, but there’s no hard-sell here. I don’t write about, much less endorse anything that I don’t think delivers on it’s promises.