The power of now: 4 creator secrets to adopting a “now mentality” for an online business

Caitlin Miller

| Nov 12, 2020

Now is one of the most powerful words in your vocabulary. It can refer to time, be used as a directive, and incite immediate action. And yet, as powerful as now can be, later often seems more contagious. We acknowledge that 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. Small business owners and creators have not been immune. And for many, the cycle of later has been pervasive throughout. If you’ve been tempted to put your business dreams and goals on pause this year because later sounds more appealing, we’re here to reassure you of the true power of now.

Thousands of Teachable creators know the power of now. Now is where goals are set, courses are launched, coaching calls are answered, and money is made. In fact, success can only be achieved in the now.

But you don’t have to listen to us deliver a pep talk to see now in action. You can witness the power of now from real Teachable creators—all of whom launched an online knowledge business in 2020.

We broke down the four major secrets to adopting a “now mentality” so you too can break the cycle of later.

1. Unleash the power pivoting

Change was present in nearly every aspect this year—some of it really good, some of it not so good. For business owners, a change that isn’t planned for can be terrifying. But what separates those who say “later” and those who say “now” is the ability to pivot.

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For shoemaker Amanda Overs, adaptability was key to saving her business in times of change. Amanda had been making shoes and teaching in-person shoemaking classes for a decade when the lockdown in March caused her to make a gametime decision: pivot to online or go out of business.

With the fear of losing her business on her 10-year anniversary at the top of mind, Amanda used uncertainty to kickstart her online courses business—something she had delayed for years. As it turned out, it was the best choice she could’ve made for her business. “I went from [being afraid of losing the business] to actually earning more money in a month than I normally would,” she said.

Watercolor artist Shari Blaukopf also had to embrace a “now mentality” this year. “I was supposed to teach in-person painting workshops all over North America and Europe in 2020,” Shari explained. But, like so many, she had to put a pin in this plan and look outside of her comfort zone.

Shari and her husband, who also comprises her team, already had the inkling to launch some videos. So, while they were on location in South Carolina earlier in the year, they brought along some simple borrowed equipment and recorded a short video of her sketching for YouTube.

“That attracted a surprising number of views, so when we realized I had to cancel all my travel workshops, we thought it might be a good idea to take the leap into online courses,” she added. It may not have been the original plan, but Shari saw an opportunity during an unexpected window of time and launched her first course and online school, Blaukopf Online Learning, in April when her students were ripe for learning.

“My students were so happy to have a class they could follow from the comfort of home during a time when many of them couldn’t go out to sketch on location,” she said.

2. Get cozy with fear

Fear is later’s best friend. It’s also the voice inside of your that says, “What if I don’t make a sale? What if no one likes my course? Maybe I should try next year instead.”

Yep, that’s fear for you. But the funny thing about fear is it’s also very normal. Even more so, it’s expected.

Dr. Janine Krouch


For psychologist and course creator Dr. Janine Kreft, who is trained to help motivate others, fear was a factor that kept her from launching her business. But after deciding she needed to take back control of her life and empower herself to just do it, she took her skills online this October with her foundational course Heal a Dysregulated Nervous System and her mini course Subconscious Reprogramming.

Even for a trained professional, getting cozy with fear is uncomfortable. “Remember that it is normal to experience fear in doing something new,” Dr. Kreft added. “Practice observing it without judgment. You can even thank your ego for doing its job in keeping you safe in the familiar.”

Successful creators acknowledge fear as it sets in and then guess what? They keep going.

“Ultimately it is helpful to consider what emotions one is avoiding feeling by not starting,” Dr. Kreft explained. “Fear is inevitable when we step outside our comfort zones. Trust that is part of the process and continue to put one foot in front of the other.”

Remember: The cozier you are with fear now, the easier it is to manage later.

3. Skip the bells and whistles

Creators often note a lack of faith in their own skills as a hard hurdle to overcome. But, we don’t do hard around here so neither should you. From customizing your sales page to incorporating schedulers so you can better manage your coaching clients to launching email drips, course and coaching creation isn’t hard on Teachable. In fact, we designed it to be the opposite.

But, we know it’s not just the world of tech that makes creators hesitant. It’s the belief you need a full-scale studio to film a video. It’s the belief you need to be a design and marketing pro to create powerful course content that sells. It’s the belief you need an army of editing software to make a splash.

Sure, some of that is nice, but none of it is nearly as important as the simple matter of just doing the work. Most importantly, your work.

As Amanda learned when creating her first course, Beginner's Guide To Home Shoemaking, she already had course content ready thanks to her in-person classes. Most importantly, there was no need for a fancy production studio for filming her instructional videos.

“There's a huge part of me that was like, ‘I need to get a pro!’ In fact, two weeks before [lockdown], I was trying to get a professional film crew into the studio,” Amanda said. But what she would soon realize is that she didn’t have to plan out each video perfectly—done is better than perfect—and she could film and edit all her videos in her living room herself. (“It's almost more authentic that way!”)

“Just put it up there. Once it's there, you can improve it. People will give you feedback, but once it's live, it's live, you're committed to it,” she added.

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Similarly, Shari found she could count on her husband’s amateur photography skills and simple love of cinema to film her watercolor courses. In fact, her biggest surprise was that the two of them could produce content that matched the quality of a large production house.

With just a few cameras and zero pro training, Shari found she was able to help her students feel as though they’re standing right alongside her as she paints and offers commentary on her process. “We use two or three cameras for each segment, so students can view my palette, my paper and my brush from both overhead and side views,” she said of her DIY setup.

Bottom line: What you know can—and will—get you paid regardless of the fancy tools and marketing tricks you use to share it. Your students are here for your knowledge, so leave the bells and whistles at home.

4. Remember your why

You may know what your dream is but do you know why it’s your dream? Every single creator we spoke to acknowledged the fear they felt launching a business in 2020. Every single one admitted there were tough times. But, every single one also maintained a focus on their end goal—their passion for their product and students.

“You can look at circumstances and think that means that you should just stop creating and stop showing up, but the people who are going to make the biggest difference and feel the best going into the New Year are the people who never stopped showing up for themselves and for their dream and for their audience,” said Haley Hoffman Smith, TikTok creator and motivational speaker.

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Haley said she created her course as a solution to a problem she kept seeing from her Tiktok audience: What do I do if I can't find my life's purpose? Or what if I don't know my big dream? Haley knew her audience was already tuned into her mentally—and virtually.

She also knew her insight could help people understand more about themselves, understand their limiting beliefs, and help create an action plan for putting that purpose into motion. Her own “why” for her course was simply to help her students. And for that, she had to show up and stay on track with her launch.

“And it's hard to show up right now, but people need us to show up,” she said of her own motivation to launch The Purpose Pilot. “You know, if you think about the teachers and creators that you were learning from—what if they weren't showing up right now? We all have value to give. And so, it's an act of service to show up.”

You do what you do because you’re good at it. But you teach what you teach because you love it. Sure, there may be many small steps to stay motivated and on track to achieving a successful business launch, but none may be nearly as important as maintaining your passion for sharing what you know with a world of eager students.


Share your why—now

The time is now. Whether you're skilled in pastry making, oil painting, email marketing, or beekeeping, there's a space for you to share your knowledge online. Right now.


The “now” mentality isn’t always an easy one to embrace, but it’s the most powerful. Now will always be stronger than later. Now will always deliver results faster than later. And now matter how hard it may seem to value and take action to achieve your own goals, there’s never been a better time than now to get started.

What are your goals for breaking the cycle of later? How are you utilizing the power of now? Share in the comments below.

Caitlin Miller is the Editorial Strategist at Teachable. In her spare time, she's often found listening to vinyl records, buying too many house plants, and enjoying a run on the streets of Brooklyn.