A woman named Paula worked with me for about a month or so because she was so overwhelmed by the crazy volume of material and knowledge she had amassed over the 8 or 9 years she had her business. She was bound and determined to create a course but had the day-to-day operations of her business to run which already took a considerable amount of time. “This can’t suck up all my waking hours!”
Paula’s issue was not procrastination. Her issue was time.
If you’re like Paula, you are on top of your course creation process but are beginning to feel it’s taking over your life. But there are ways to make this whole process more manageable so you get at least some of your life back!
5 Tips for Managing your Course Creation Process
Tip #1 – Re-scope it
You’d be surprised how many people I’ve talked to who are out to make an EPIC course. Their flagship, super-duper, awesome course packed with content; the course that will bring in the bacon even when they’re out at the beach.
And so, they plan to throw everything they know – plus the kitchen sink – into their course.
Exciting? Maybe at first.
Please do be careful if this sounds like you. It’s no good to set out to create your epic course if you’ll never get it done.
Here’s the thing: It *always* takes people longer to make their course than they think it will. Just does. But if you scope down the course into something smaller your likelihood of finishing it up in this century will skyrocket.
Remember, you can always compile various shorter courses into one package later. So, consider focusing first on creating an introductory course. Get that done, put it out in your market, and learn everything you can about what works, what doesn’t. After you’ve improved upon it, then, by all means, add in your intermediate content. Rinse and repeat until you’ve completed your advanced content.
But for goodness sake, start small!
Tip #2 – Repackage what you can
So, what’s this tip about? It’s about starting with all the relevant content you already have – your blog posts, your webinars, your how-to guides, your opt-in freebies and your guest posts. Inventory what you have, reassemble, and then build around it.
This tip, however, isn’t for everyone. It’s messy, it’s kind of chaotic. This repackaging approach is only going to work for you if you’re the type of person who likes to start big and and messy and then refine and narrow your work. This tip worked for Paula, but if this is not your approach no worries, skip to the next tip!
First thing, make sure you have a pretty decent course outline to work from. Once you’ve done that, follow these steps:
- If you haven’t already, create a folder for your course in Google Drive (or Evernote or wherever you organize your thoughts).
- Using the outline for your course, create separate folders for each module in the course and then create separate documents for each of the lessons within the modules.
- Start with a module at a time and gather all the stuff you’ve created already that relate to those headers. This is where you’ll go back through all those blog posts and freebies, etc.
- Cut and paste in all the text related to those headers in the appropriate places in each document.
Great! Now you’re no longer starting from scratch! You know what you’ve got and what you don’t and will have to make.
Tip #3 – Outsource some of it
It may not be as expensive as you think…
In “Should you DIY Your Own eCourse? The 9 Most Common Tasks You May Want to Outsource” I talk about the 9 most common tasks that course creators tend to outsource:
- Branding Specialist
- Graphic Artist
- Course Designer/Instructional Designer
- Programmer/Technical Virtual Assistant
- Video Editor
- Launch specialist/ Virtual Assistant
- Customer Service
Try your local network first (of course!). Ask around in your Facebook groups. Try hiring someone online (I’ve also had some good experiences using folks from Fivrr and from Upwork). Or let me know and I’ll give you some referrals.
Tip #4 – Always be making progress
A couple of researchers from Harvard wrote a great book some years ago that still stands out for me because of their simple (and well tested!) premise that our inner life at work is a central driver to being creative and productive in our work.
What do you think is the most important thing that can boost our inner work life? The ability to make daily progress toward something that’s meaningful to us.
The point? By making steady progress on your ecourse you’re going to impact all elements of your business. The researchers call this the Power of Progress. Use it!
Commit now to making steady progress.
The next tip will help you strategize how.
Tip #5 – Time block it
So, you’ve committed to making steady progress on our course. You’ve re-scoped (down!) the course, you’ve pulled together and repackaged what you’ve already created for other purposes, and you’ve figured what you’re going to outsource (if anything). Now it’s time to make a plan.
You know how you’ve said, “Yeah, I’m going to work on that project this week” and then never got around to it?
This time, look at your calendar and your typical weekly tasks and determine what amount of time you’re going to be able to allocate to creating your ecourse. 5 hours a week? 20 hours a week? Or are you going to do a full-time, all-out sprint in a tight, two week window maybe over the holidays or summer when your day-to-day business slows?
However it makes sense to you, make a series of meetings with yourself. Time block your calendar now. What’s that mean? It means making appointments with yourself to work on course creation – and only course creation – during the time you’ve blocked out.
Sounds like something you’ll blow off? Think about what you might do to prevent that from happening. Think about implementing some of these ideas. Put an alert on those calendar meetings (and on your phone) to remind you when that time block is coming up. Turn off your phone. Block social media. Go to another location that’s just for course creating.
And be determined – and focused – to protect that block no matter what! For some people that means getting up early and working before others are up. Or it means working into the early hours of the night. Or it means going to a coffeeshop to work uninterrupted.
Whatever it is for you, block it!
And then, move on. Once you’ve completed your block you’re done with course creation and development for the day. Close up those files and folders and documents and MOVE ON! Remember, the whole point of this post is to keep your course from dominating your life?
Great, there you go – 5 tips for managing your course creation process:
- Scope it
- Repackage what you can
- Outsource some of it
- Always be making progress
- Time block it
Before I end this, if you’re thinking that there’s a real possibility of procrastination holding you back, take a look at:
Good luck! As usual, let me know if I can be of any help.
And if you’re at the end of the process and want to start thinking about leveraging the content of your course in other ways across your business, take a look at this blog post.