Short answer: Yes, you should. And it will be worth it.
However, before you pull out your credit card, there are things you should consider. And yes, you can apply these to your own online courses, too.
Remember that a course is not a magic pill
Do you want them to take a course to upgrade their skills?
If it’s something you cannot teach yourself, then perhaps buying them a course would make sense. Most of the time, technical skills can be learned in courses. But you have to remember that practice makes perfect. They will need guidance from a mentor for technical skills like SEO, or Facebook Ads. But they need to practice what they learn inside the course or else you’ve just wasted your money.
This leads me to my point: will you be willing to provide them the avenue and support so they can practice what they learn?
The course won’t make them instant experts but it’s a great start. As long as you provide them with an environment where their inputs are welcome.
Decide which courses you want them to have
Will you get them courses that will benefit them personally or professionally?
Personal development courses include hobbies, mindsets, faith, and anything unrelated to their professional life. If you’re okay with this, then that’s great.
However, if you only want to give them access to courses that will benefit them professionally then be sure to communicate that clearly.
Whether the course is for their personal or professional development, it makes sense to provide a course to a loyal employee.
Although you can also use free course access to entice a new employee to stay, I’d rather offer a course to someone with a proven track record.
This way, you’re giving the course as a bonus to someone who has given you their service and loyalty than giving it to someone as an enticement to stay. Although there is nothing wrong with that, I find that it’s better to reward people for their loyalty and service than bribe them to stay.
This also helps loyal employees to stay motivated and will inspire them to keep doing better.
Do you expect them to use the course for the benefit of your business?
Some business owners give access to their online marketing courses to their VAs so their VAs can implement the lessons.
Will this be the case with you?
Or, will you be willing to accept that at some point, your VA will apply this to their own business and will one day leave you?
This is something you have to discuss with your VA. Personally, I find nothing wrong if they apply what they learn in their own business. In fact, you should be glad your VA want to have their own business. That means you’re a good influence on them! But I also understand that sometimes business owners fear their VAs will leave them.
But I personally don’t discourage business owners from letting their VAs experiment with their own thing. As long as it doesn’t interfere with their work. And as long as there is no conflict of interest.
Decide what cost are you willing to spend
Will you cover the full amount or half? Or, will you set a maximum amount?
Either way, it’s important to set a budget.
Let your VA know how much you’re willing to cover.
If you’re looking for affordable courses, try course platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and SkillShare.
Consider giving them access to your own courses
This makes perfect sense, right?
The best way to assimilate your teachings and brand is for them to know what you teach in the first place.
Years ago, when I was getting started as a virtual assistant, the first thing my client had me do was watch his courses. It felt like drinking from a fire hose. But as I look back, I now understand why he had me do it. And I’m grateful to this day that he did it.
Not only did I learn online marketing from one of the pioneers in this industry, but I also understood his branding. And by learning about his brand, I learned how to better communicate with his customers.
Over to you
Buying a course is an investment. Online course costs vary from super affordable to expensive so before you invest, make sure the investment is worth it and that it won’t collect digital dust.
Not all business owners are willing to invest in their people. So you should be proud of yourself that you’re one step ahead of the crowd. People who are willing to invest in people are the ones who grow.