In a perfect world, we’d all have enough time to pursue a career we love, take up a few new hobbies, entertain a ravishing social life, travel more often, and get a full night’s sleep every night.
But let’s be honest - most days I don’t have time to wait for my toaster waffles in the morning.
And I know that I’m not alone in that - we’re all busy and it’s hard to prioritize the things that don’t feel absolutely, positively necessary.
That means the things we want to do, or the things that could significantly improve our lives will often get put on the back burner until they’re forgotten about.
I hear it all the time, “I want to create an online course, but I need to wait until I have more free time.”
What if I told you that you could create an online course while still maintaining the same schedule you have today? No blocking off huge chunks of time or putting your life on hold. By filling in the gaps in your day with short bursts of course creation you can create and sell the online course you’ve been dreaming of.
“But Morgan, I don’t have any free time at all!”
Ok, I know it can feel like that sometimes, but think about it: Couldn’t you squeeze in a little course creation during the fifteen minutes when your frozen pizza is in the oven? Or the twenty minutes you usually spend playing on your phone after your alarm goes off before actually starting your day?
We all have sneaky little chunks of free time that could be better utilized, it’s just a matter of recognizing them and making the commitment to replace any wasted time with efficient course creation.
Or here’s another scenario: You have free time, but the task of creating an entire course seems daunting to you. You want to do it but you don’t want course creation to consume your entire life. You are in no time crunch to get your course done, so breaking it into small, munchable tasks is ideal.
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, just know that you can create an entire online course in just 20 minutes a day with the proper planning and execution. And lucky for you, I’ve done the planning so now all that’s left for you to do is get cracking with the execution!
I’ve broken the course creation schedule up into our seven main steps, and then we’ve got subtasks for you to accomplish within those larger steps. Plus! We've got the ultimate upgrade bundle with freebies that are going to help you breeze through every step of course creation.
Step one: Ideation
Step one is the easiest - coming up with your idea. Chances are, if you’re looking to create an online course you already have an idea or two swimming around in your head. From there it just comes down to choosing and validating your idea.
Task one: Make a list (15 minutes)
Think of everything you might want to create an online course on. Consider your passions, your talents, and your experiences. No idea is too small or too far fetched. Write it out as it comes to mind - you can always cross it out later.
From there, get rid of any ideas you definitely don’t want to pursue. Narrow it down until you have just a few left.
Task two: Design transformations (20 minutes)
You’ve got a few ideas, now let’s come up with transformations for each of your potential courses. You need to define exactly what your customers would get from taking your online course here.
For example, if you’re teaching a gardening course saying “I’ll teach you how to grow a garden” might be too broad. Saying, “This course will give you the knowledge you need to grow a sustainable salsa garden.” is a better transformation.
Once you’ve come up with your transformations, decide which is the most valuable and that you’d most like to pursue.
Task three: Validate your idea (20 minutes)
Once you’ve got a transformation in mind, you want to make sure that it’s a transformation that people are actually looking for.
You can do this by going to where your audience hangs out online (hint: probably the same places you do) and start reading about their pain points. This could mean lurking in Facebook communities or scrolling through subreddits looking for people who are having the problem that you are going to solve with your course.
Can’t find anyone? This is the point where you can either adjust your initial offer to align with the pain points people are having or go back to task two and choose a new transformation.
Step two: Goal setting
This is an easy (and fun!) step - decide how many people you want to reach and how much money you want to make.
Task one: Fill out the formula (10 minutes)
We’ve made this step extra simple for you. All you need to do is plug and chug to figure out how much you can potentially make selling your online course.
Play around with different price points and list sizes (we’ll be growing your list in the next step!) to see your options.
For more on goal setting, check out this post.
Step three: Growing your audience
Once you’ve gotten your profitable course idea, you need an audience to sell to. Whether you’ve already got an email list a mile long or you’re starting from scratch, it doesn’t hurt to devote some time into growing a very targeted audience who is interested in what you’re teaching.
You can do this by offering free lead magnets to incentivize people to sign up for your email list. Lead magnets are high-value freebies that should be related to your online course in some way without revealing too much of your course content.
For example, my course is on Instagram themes and I created a lead magnet about Instagram hashtags. The content is similar enough that someone who is interested in one will be interested in the other but they are still different enough that it’d be worth buying the course.
Creating and distributing lead magnets is fairly simple, here is how you can go about it:
Task one: Come up with your idea (10 minutes)
Figure out what exactly you want to give away. Maybe an ebook? Or perhaps you’ll keep it simple with a checklist. No harm in going all out with a mini course, either.
Determine what you think will have the largest impact and what your audience will be most inclined to respond to and go with that.
Task two: Create an outline (10-30 minutes)
The length of this task depends largely on what you decide to create. It’s going to be quicker to draft a checklist than a mini course.
Task three: Create your lead magnet (bursts of 20 minutes)
You don’t need to pound out your entire lead magnet in an hour - instead, set your timer and work completely focused for twenty minutes at a time until you’re finished. You can read more about how to actually create the lead magnets here and get access to our "How to Create an Email Course" guide here.
Step four: Pricing your course
Pricing your online course is an intimidating process. If you price too low you’re missing out on income, but if you price too high you’re missing out on customers. It’s up to you to find the sweet spot and figure out exactly how much value your course has.
Before I say anything else, though, I will say that your online course is worth at least $100.
From that baseline of $100, you’ll need to either figure out where your course falls or add extra value to your course so you can price it where you’d like.
Task one: Use our pricing calculator (5 minutes)
If you already have an idea of what freebies and bonuses you’d like to add, you can help narrow down your pricing using our calculator. While your pricing is dependent on a lot of different factors, this calculator is simply designed to help you see the value in what you’re offering.
Task two: Settle on a price (5 minutes)
You can refer back to the goal setting section and decide on a price that will help you reach your income goals. If it’s a higher price point, we’ll add extra value during task three.
Task three: Determine how to add extra value (10 minutes)
During the course creation section you can throw in a few extra freebies to help raise the value of your online course, they can be any of the following:
- Free consulting
- Live Q&A calls
- A Facebook community
- A Slack group
- A workbook
- Higher production quality
- And anything else you might be able to think of!
Everything you add to your course adds value - don’t go overboard, but think of what will truly benefit your students the most.
Step five: Create your sales page
On Teachable we make creating a beautiful and functional sales page easy and intuitive. The most time-consuming part will be writing the copy because we’ve handled the rest for you.
Task one: Create a hero image (15 minutes)
The hero image is what people will see at the very top of your sales page. It should be representative of your course topic while appearing clean and beautiful. You can check out free stock photography sites for images.
Task two: Writing the copy (1 hour or bursts of 15 minutes)
Depending on what your schedule looks like you can sit down and do this all at once, or break it up into smaller tasks.
There is a lot your copy needs to accomplish, and if you are looking for advice on how to write great sales copy you can check out this post that breaks it down for you.
Task three: Edit your copy (30 minutes or bursts of 15 minutes)
Editing is my least favorite task in the entire world, but it’s an important one. Keep any embarrassing mistakes from making you look less professional.
My editing process looks like this: Run my post through Grammarly to capture the big mistakes, run the post through Hemingway to make sure the post has decent readability, and then read through the post myself once or twice.
Task four: Input your copy into Teachable (20 minutes)
Like I said, we make adding your copy into the sales page simple. Once it’s written all you need to do is plug and chug and be on your way.
If you want to see exactly how to go about that, you can check out this post.
Step six: Create course content
This is the most time-consuming step yet, but also one of the most exciting. Here you’ll be creating the actual content that you’re selling.
The type of content you’re creating might include:
- Blog posts
Task one: Outlining (20 minutes)
Here you’ll figure out exactly how you’re going to help your audience arrive at the transformation that you’ve promised them. Write down every step you took to get where you are, group them together, and create an organized list of videos you need to create.
Task two: Create the slide shows (bursts of 20 minutes)
Use the list you made in task one as a reference when you’re creating the slideshows for each video. Make sure that they are thorough without writing out word for word what it is you’ll actually be saying in the voiceover or floating head.
Task three: Set up a filming studio (30 minutes)
If you’ll be filming yourself at all you want your video to look polished and professional. Luckily for you, that doesn’t have to mean dropping a lot of money. Just spending half an hour or so setting up a filming space will go a long way in increasing the quality of your final product.
Task four: Filming yourself (bursts of 15 minutes)
This is where a lot of people get intimidated. Don’t worry, deep breaths, you’ll be fine!
Whether you’re filming your face or just recording your voice remember to be slow and clear and if you make any mistakes no worries - you can edit them out in post production.
Here is more on how to record course content.
Task five: Editing your videos (bursts of 20 minutes)
This is the task that will likely take you the longest. You can edit one video a day, or try to tackle a few.
If you’re really crunched for time I’d recommend setting a timer, working hard and focused until it goes off, saving, and picking up where you left off when you find yourself with free time again.
Task six: Uploading your content to Teachable (10 minutes)
Again, we make this easy. If you want to save time compress your files in handbrake first so they upload quicker, then you can get the queue up and go about your day.
Step seven: Launching
This is the step we’ve all been waiting for! It’s here that you’ll finally be bringing in customers and making money.
Task one: Plan out your launch (30 minutes)
Reference this blog post and come up with a launch strategy. Remember you’ll need to be both educating your audience and selling your product.
Decide what points you want to touch on and how you can make your online course irresistible to your audience.
Task two: Warm up your list (bursts of 30 minutes)
Here we are going to write 3 or 4 emails to get your audience reacquainted with you and your area of expertise (i.e. your online course topic). Spend 30 minutes writing out each email and getting it scheduled.
Task three: Write out your Crazy 8 Launch sequence (bursts of 30 minutes)
Haven’t heard of the Crazy 8 Launch? Where have you been!? This is the tried and true, proven launch strategy that converts your email list into paying customers.
It’d take me another 1000 words to write the strategy out for you, so instead, scroll to the halfway point on this blog post where the launch is thoroughly explained.
Getting your emails written, edited, and scheduled in advance will save you stress and headaches, so I recommend being at least an email or two ahead of your sequence at all times.
You did it!
You defied your busy schedule and stressful days and created your own online course. Here’s to hoping the success you’ve had from your launch will give you a taste for entrepreneurship and that there will be more launches in the future.
BONUS TOOL: After downloading the bundle above, you'll also get access to Teachable's Signature Course Creation Productivity Board, so you can stay productive and keep track of your tasks as you create your course!
Busy course creators out there, tell us: How did you manage? Any time-saving hacks you want to share with the rest of us? Add them in the comments!