Awkward situation here and I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with it . . .
I'm self-employed (we'll say as a sculptor), but I've made many friends in the sculpting community online and through some local professional organizations. One friend (as in, someone I know personally through the local group, have passed on baby clothes to, and chat with online sometimes, but have never been to her house or seen her sculpting studio) is very well-known in the sculpting community for her expertise in the business side of the profession. She regularly gives online workshops about how to get your art into museums, how to negotiate for better prices when selling sculptures, how to get chosen to create commissions, etc. I've never taken one of her classes, but I've heard some great feedback from people who have.
I'm pretty middle-of-the-road about the business stuff - I've done what research I could, but I am at a point professionally where I could really benefit from her expertise. I had heard from someone else that this friend was going to be offering her online class again soon, so I emailed her to ask if that was true and if so, were there still spots available? She replied with the link, yes there are spots, and she looks forward to seeing me in her class!
But then I got to the page about it . . . and the class costs significantly more than I thought it would. Also quite a bit more than other online classes I've taken (on other sculpting-related topics). It's worth the money, from all I've heard, but I wasn't really planning to spend that much at this stage in my sculpting career. I'm on the fence about whether I want to spend that big a chunk upfront, all on the assumption that a) I wouldn't be able to do the professional stuff as well on my own, and b) this class would make the difference.
So yeah . . . I might go ahead and do it anyway, because it really is information I need. If I don't, though, how do I tell her that after I've already done the one email being all excited about her class? If it matters, if she hadn't been offering the class I was planning to ask if she'd be willing to do lunch sometime and give me some pointers (probably many of the same ones from the class), and I would have been happy to pay her for her expertise . . . but (just based on my previous experience) I would have offered quite a bit less than what she's charging for the class. Also, she's a good enough professional friend that if our situations were reversed, I would be willing to do an hour or two of work/guidance for free, not that she'd need it at her stage in her career.