I was just scrolling on Linkedin (yeah, that’s a rare thing for anyone) and I’ve seen something interesting.
A connection of mine just posted an image that made me stop scrolling for a second.
That’s what good design can do.
After taking a closer look at it, it seemed to be a HubSpot certification.
If I remember correctly, an inbound certification.
It was looking good and I was happy for that person but LinkedIn is not such a fun place to hang around so I just closed my tab, nothing special.
But then, as I usually do, I opened a new tab and went to Youtube. After that, as I usually do, I click on my subscribed channels list.
Surprisingly, there was nothing new.
(That’s what happens when you check it too often)
So I just clicked on one of my other YouTube tabs I probably opened a few days ago (I usually keep around 20 tabs open in Chrome) so I can continue watching something that was interesting but not new content in any way.
While rewatching it for the 5th time already, something went through my head.
“OK, this is interesting but not urgent in any way. Why not watch something else that can bring a better return on my time invested?
That’s when it clicked and I made the connection with the HubSpot academy videos.
I thought that Marketing ain’t such a boring subject so I could handle it.
I’m not sure about you, but every time I hear the word Marketing, there’s a little dopamine receptor in my head that lights up.
And that’s how I decided to start watching… ONLY the social media course.
However, the social media one didn’t seem to be the last.
If you ever thought that it takes too much time and effort to add some certifications to your resume, let me show you how you can get 10 certificates in 10 days.
Don’t worry that much, I went to the gym and watched YouTube videos as well during that time, you don’t have to lock yourself up for 10 straight days.
Maybe you need to be a little less social, but hey, the best work doesn’t always happen when you’re extremely relaxed, comfortable and hang out with your friends.
Even if you wanted to give yourself more time, doesn’t it sound like a good deal to earn 10 certificates that show you have a good understanding of highly valuable skills, even in 20 days?
If you’re thinking how legitimate they are, I just need to tell you that they are part of Hubspot Academy.
If you haven’t heard of HubSpot, they are pretty much one of the top companies in this field.
For an enterprise Marketing package, they start the pricing at $2,400/month.
I just played around with their pricing to check how much would a big enterprise pay them for an All-Services Package annually.
It’s around $150,000.
You can check their clients here.
We could say they are doing pretty well.
All their certification are marketing, sales , nd design related.
To be honest this is less important if you like learning. The skills acquired here can help in many other areas.
How much time does it take to get through all the courses?
It depends, of course.
The average would be 2-3 hours/course.
Some have 1 hour, some have 4.
If we add it all up with the higher value, 3 hours x 10 courses = 30 hours
“Woah” you might be thinking.
Yeah, true, it is a high number, but when I started I didn’t look at the numbers.
I just did it without letting my mind use some biases and get me scared before I even started.
It is definitely a lot of content but you can do as I did, especially for the Social Media course.
x2 the speed.
It depends on your previous knowledge and how you take notes (more on how in just a while), but I’d definitely recommend having a higher video speed if you can concentrate.
Why take the stairs when you can take the elevator?
This needs to be taken seriously into account.
Just listening on x2 or x1.5 speed and thinking about what you will have for dinner isn’t that effective.
Trust me, it happened.
You need some enthusiasm and some kind of motivation.
You will see later in this post how poor motivation yields some poor results.
If you like learning, that’s a great start.
If you will like the HubSpot “Professors” you might enjoy it even more.
Some have a little more energy so they won’t let you think too much about other things.
Either way, bring your A game.
If you see it as a challenge, that won’t be hard.
TOOLS, TACTICS, AND METHODS
Now, it’s important to actually talk about what to actually do.
Getting 10 notebooks, 10 colors or 10 socks doesn’t make learning more efficient, although you should probably change the socks either here.
The best way is to go minimalist and have as few distractions as possible.
Each of us has different ways to focus, but trust me, our brain can’t really multi-task, we just switch attention.
But you probably already know that.
So what I did is basically create a word file. Taking notes on a piece of paper should be just as helpful. The downside will be speed and time, since you can’t write with the same speed as you type.
If you are like me and have 1 simple screen, the best way would be to just split it.
One half is the video, one half is the word document with the notes you want to take.
You might want to make some folders for each one of the courses.
Well, documenting is always a good idea.
Don’t trust me?
Look at big companies.
Look at vloggers.
Look at Gary Vaynerchuk.
Look at me right now.
That’s exactly what I’m showing in this post.
What and how I did it.
Even if you’re not interested in that, organizing is always a good idea, it will make everything easier and more time efficient when you’re going over everything or when you’ll want to get back to some of the material.
Below you can see how I organized my HubSpot Academy folder.
I usually try to practice what I preach, hence why I used some of the methods mentioned in a previous blog post, about learning anything, in a smarter way.
I usually use tags such as  or  because it gives me an idea of what the order is.
You could use this technique as well or something that fits you.
Just make sure you don’t have to go through a 10 folder tunnel until you find this folder.
You can put it on the desktop, at least until you finish.
DID I FAIL ALONG THE WAY?
Sure I did.
I told you earlier how a lack of motivation can bring some poor results.
It was on Day 8.
Below you can see an image with the only exam I had to take twice.
It was the Contextual Marketing one.
Was it a little painful?
With my type A personality, sure it was. But it didn’t take more than a few minutes to realize this was an opportunity to get better.
Thankfully, Hubspot is nice enough to send you an exam breakdown so you can see where you made mistakes.
This helped me get a better idea of where I made mistakes.
They don’t give the right answer though, so you still need to be prepared when that “scary” question appears again.
Without a doubt, there was a mix of overconfidence and a small loss of motivation on that day.
After 7 straight days of passing from the 1st try, guess who read the notes superficially?
I have to admit that this exam was also a little more challenging.
I say this because after going through all of them, this one didn’t make the correct answer so obvious.
You have 3 hours to finish an exam.
HubSpot gives an estimate of 2 hours to finish an exam.
I will only tell you that the exam that took me the longest was 40 minutes.
Trust me, you’ll probably finish even faster.
To pass it you have to answer around 76% of questions correct.
You can also retake an exam every 12 hours.
Knowing this, what I did is take an exam early in the morning to be sure that in case I failed the 1st time, I could retake it 12 hours later, at night.
However, I didn’t listen to my own plan. For the first exam, the Social Media one, I took a risk and did it at night on the 1st day.
Because emotion beats rationality and I was confident.
So on the first day, I studied in the morning, went to the gym, studied again when I came back home and I took the 1st exam later in the day.
What if I failed?
Well … who cared?
If such a small inconvenience would be able to throw anyone off too much, then they are probably not ready to take the challenge anyway.
It’s true that failing an exam, later on, would be inconvenient, especially because of a particular thing called ” the ego”, but I made sure I studied in advance, to be able to take at least 2 different certification exams in a day.
If I failed the 1st exam in the morning (e.g. Inbound Marketing), I could take the 2nd exam (e.g. Content Marketing) in the morning as well, since it was a different course.
If I failed that as well, I could retake the 1st exam at night (Inbound Marketing), making it the 2nd try for that particular one. If that failed as well, then that would mean I’m pretty lousy anyway.
But even if the 3rd exam of the day would fail, there was still a 4th opportunity. Retaking the 2nd exam (Content Marketing) from the morning again.
Minimizing the risk is always a good idea.
As I said, I organized myself as much as possible to finish everything in 10 days.
Could I have done it in less time?
Sure, but then the title of this blog post wouldn’t look so nice.
I’m partially kidding.
Around Day 6 there was a feeling of overwhelm, so even if it could have been done faster, I still would have stuck with a reasonable time schedule to not get overburned without any reason.
Below is a simplified breakdown of all the days. with what I studied that day, and what certification I finished, in case you want to have an idea of how time-consuming some might be in comparison with others.
Some courses were started and finished on different days.
I know this might be boring for some of you who prefer more images.
That’s why I included a hand-made visual with how my calendar looked like during these days.
Isn’t this the reason why colors were created?
For some reference:
- Day 1 – 20 July 2018
- Day 10 – 30 July 2018
Day 0 (preparation day)
Courses studied: Social media
Courses studied: Social Media, Inbound
Certification: Social Media
Courses studied: Inbound, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing
Courses studied: Content Marketing, Inbound Sales
Certification: Inbound Marketing
Courses studied: Sales Enablement, HubSpot Marketing Software
Certification: Content marketing
Courses studied: HubSpot Marketing Software, Email Marketing, Contextual Marketing
Certification: Inbound Sales
Courses studied: Growth-Driven Design
Certification: Sales Enablement
Courses studied: HubSpot Sales Software, Growth-Driven Design Agency
Certification: Email Marketing
Courses studied: Growth-Driven Design Agency
Certification: Growth-Driven Design
Courses studied: /
Certification: HubSpot Sales Software
Courses studied: /
Certification: Growth-Driven Design Agency
DAY 4 PROBLEMS
Didn’t you expect this?
There’s always something that doesn’t go according to plan.
This was on the 4th day, so at least I got some momentum.
This day was really stressful, due to more HubSpot inconveniences.
First, I tried to link my account to my website.
Long story short, the HubSpot plugin for WordPress didn’t recognize my HubSpot account.
Ok, got over that, verified my website in another way.
After that, I noticed that I couldn’t do some practical exercises on the course.
From my understanding, after reading the FAQ or before starting a course, there wasn’t any hint that you would have any type of problem in finishing and getting any certification.
Well, guess what?
For some of them, you need a Marketing Basic subscription, which is $200/month.
Let’s say there were around 10 practical exercises. On 2 of them I received this message:
“HubSpot Marketing Basic or above required”
But on the other 8, I could click on them but then I was redirected to a page where it said I don’t have access.
I thought there might only be some error with my account since it didn’t mention that I don’t have a Marketing Basic subscription.
I tried to get into a live chat conversation with the HubSpot team.
Free accounts don’t have access to live chat.
I tried to get in touch through Facebook.
I received a message on both HubSpot and HubSpot Academy pages after around 12 hours.
With this speed, I knew there was no chance I’d get my issue solved too soon.
You can see below that I left a message on their forum as well.
It does sound pretty butthurt.
That’s because all of these issues stacked on the exact same day, one after the other, and except the fact that this was hurting my 10-day challenge, it was wasting a lot of time.
If there’s anything you wouldn’t want to waste, it’s your time.
We can all make more money, but we can’t make more time.
I think that’s a pretty good thing to keep in mind at all times.
Support for someone like me with a free account was definitely really poor.
However, I did find help, without even looking for it.
Every day during this 10 days I posted my certifications on Social Media as a way to keep me motivated.
One day before, on the 3rd Day, I posted my certificate with a hashtag.
This is actually the ONLY day I used a hashtag.
And guess what?
The Vice President of HubSpot Academy, Mark Kilens, left a message on my post.
“Oh, that’s nice” I thought initially.
One day later, however, this seemed to be extremely helpful, because I could let him know that there were some issues I was having.
Sending an email to someone who is part of the leadership team seems to help.
What a surprise.
It’s true that after sending the email I received the necessary support from both Mark and someone from the team who is leading the HubSpot Academy program.
I was pleased to see this involvement, and although the HubSpot Academy machine as a whole might not be well-refined just yet, from a few aspects, the people who are leading the project are definitely doing a good job of continuously improving it.
FINISHING THE CHALLENGE
After 10 days…
Or actually, better said, 12/10.
2 of the courses I went through didn’t give a certificate but I did fully finish them, except the practical exercises which were not accessible.
And trust me, anyone can finish the practical exercises after going through the courses, even if it’s not from the 1st try. It’s not like you have to do everything perfect in life, but if you can always improve, there’s no way you can’t win.
Hard work doesn’t always beat talent, you might lose some sprints.
But hard work always beats talent in a marathon.
I didn’t pass the Contextual Marketing exam on Day 8, but I was prepared to take another exam and even had the possibility of retaking the Contextual Marketing exam at night after 12 hours, on the same day.
This is a perfect example of how you don’t need to do everything perfect and you can still achieve your desired outcome.
Taking the exams is not a hard task.
Having the interest and starting is probably the most important thing you need to do.
Once you get the ball rolling, it becomes easier since you’re more invested in the program.
That is one of the reasons why I tried to do it in a short time, because I knew I would be focused and wouldn’t allow myself to lose interest.
But this can be done during a longer period as well.
You could double the time and do it 20 days.
You could even do it in 70 days.
That would be 1 Certification/week.
I’m sure anyone can find 2-6 hours/week to study any of these lessons.
Some are definitely more helpful than others, but they do a great job at building a good foundation.
There’s only one big problem with most of these online courses.
And no, it’s not necessarily their quality.
No doubt, they could definitely benefit from being more entertaining or visual, but let’s be honest, this is not such a good excuse not to take them.
If you want to learn, you will learn even if it’s boring, isn’t that right?
Do you remember any boring class in high-school or college?
We all do.
But you wouldn’t get a diploma if you didn’t pass it.
The main problem with online courses doesn’t seem obvious because we might actually see this as a benefit.
The main problem is that they are FREE.
You might think “What? That’s the best thing ever!”
Well, yes it is. Except for the fact that the problem with something that is free is that we don’t pay enough attention to it.
This is a whole different topic that we won’t cover now, but the idea is that each and any one of us can take these certifications and get some good knowledge out of them, isn’t that correct?
Even if you’re a CEO and even if you’re a student, I’m sure that there are some golden nuggets anyone can extract from watching and paying attention to these courses.
Sure, some things might be simple and might seem like common sense.
But the challenge is this, simple doesn’t mean easy and common sense is not that common anymore.
If you like to learn, seeing these type of online courses as a challenge is a great way to get motivated.
There are other ways as well, but the aspect of having a certification, makes it much more appealing, especially since our behaviors are heavily influenced by rewards.
If HubSpot wouldn’t know that, they wouldn’t make such a nice “Congratulations” page after you were finishing an exam.
Now, bear in mind, this is my conclusion.
You can agree with a few things.
You can disagree with a few things.
Either way, there is no right or wrong way to look at this.
In my opinion…
Did I max out with a perfect score on each exam?
Did I become an overnight expert?
But who cares?
That wasn’t my plan either way.
Did I take 10 certifications in 10 days?
I sure did.
But also, who cares about that?
Not anyone, really.
And that’s ok.
Remember what I called these 10 days of learning?
We could argue that anything in our life should be seen as a challenge.
The difference after these 10 days?
I went from having 0 certifications to show, to 10.
Who cares about certifications you might think?
Well, we could ask ourselves why are almost all colleges full of students?
Yes, in part because of that piece of paper.
Did my knowledge skyrocket from 0 to 10 on all of these topics?
Of course not.
But it probably went from a 1 to a 5 or 6.
I’m fully satisfied with that and anyone doing something similar should too.
After a few weeks, my knowledge will probably get down to a 3-4.
But that doesn’t mean the time wasn’t worth it.
If I just re-read my notes I can easily get back to that 5-6.
That is basically a good level for anyone who wants to get a job or anyone who wants to use the knowledge on their own business. If you have your own business, it’s actually better to learn just enough to be able to do it but with the goal of being able to outsource it at a later time.
To tell you the truth, HubSpot classifies the Social Media Certificate as an Intermediate level course.
Yet, it was the only one which I kept at x2 speed the entire time and finished the exam in around 25 minutes without worrying at all that I might not pass it.
So although I’ve never had the job of a Social Media Specialist, I’m not that really far away from that level of being an actual expert at this.
And that’s the truth for everyone.
When you do something enough times, you will get better at it.
Of course, working in a company, taking an internship or even working on your own business accelerates the learning curve.
That is actually one of the reasons why I was able to finish this challenge in 10 days. I was expecting my past experiences to help with this and many times, just remind myself of things I already knew about.
But there were many new things as well.
The main advantage of doing this type of online course, especially if you take notes, is that you can revisit the notes and remind yourself immediately of what you already know.
That actually sounds a little crazy, doesn’t it?
Reminding ourselves of what we already know.
But that’s most of our day-to-day.
You know what sports players do all the time?
They practice fundamentals. Over and over and over again.
Because a basketball player will always need to use the same hands to score points.
A soccer player will always use the same feet to score goals.
A pianist will always use the same fingers to play songs.
We will always use our brain to think.
Do you think a salesperson knows 1000 sales techniques?
He could actually use 3 for all of his life and still be successful.
The rest 997 that exist in this world? Well, he could have the most important ones printed out next to him and the rest in a word document.
Some may disagree, depending on where each person is in life, but knowing something is just as powerful as using it.
Taking into consideration that you will USE it at one point in your life and not just hope you MIGHT use it.
Look at me.
Will I ever use these 10 certificates?
Well … honestly?
I just did.
I made this post.
Was it worth it?
Depends on how you look at it.
Considering I learned about Inbound Marketing which is basically another way of saying Relationship Marketing among many other things, I’m already applying it right now as you read this.
I’m offering content that I do hope is useful for at least 1 other person beside me.
The content is totally free and it could help someone thinking about spending their next 30-60 hours on these courses to take a decision. Maybe implement some of these techniques or maybe write about their experience as well, with this post being an initial inspiration.
With this in mind, I want to wrap everything up and thank you for getting to the end of this post, since I’m sure there were a few things you could take away from it.
If there’s anything you want to share, you can in the comment section down below.
It’s open to anyone who has anything to share regarding this post, maybe a personal experience or simply anyone who wants to start a conversation.
Growth is always faster in a community.
If there’s anything on your mind, don’t be shy, you have the comment box down below ⇩⇩⇩ Promise I won’t bite ⇩⇩⇩
Life enthusiast with a great desire to constantly perfect myself, get in better physical and mental shape, while also helping other people by sharing everything I’ve been able to learn.