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How do I find the time to create an online course?

This is how I did it.

· Time Management

Listen to the entire blog audio here! Podcast style.👇🏽

Sometimes, taking the first step is the hardest part of creating your online course.

About a month ago, I decided to create my first online course. I’ve always wanted to share my knowledge and help fresh grads on the job hunt. I mean, my job search was just as painful as my first breakup, and no one should have to go through (either) situations.

So one day, I decided to take the plunge.

At first, the thought of creating an online course was exciting. I’ve never created one, but I knew I had a “niche” topic, so I was excited to share my unique method. But there was one thing that I lacked, time.

Between my 9–6, staying active and indulging in my other hobbies, it seemed like an impossible squeeze. At the end, I recorded my first episode, and I documented my journey throughout the way.

Creating my online course

So let’s get to it. During those two weeks after deciding to create a course, I was excited. I’d think about it whenever I had a toilet break (because who doesn’t bring their phone to the toilet?), and even scribbled ideas on my notes app in the middle of the night.

But as time went by, the enthusiasm faded away. Instead, I had this creeping fear. When would I have the time to do it? After work, I was just so drained. And let’s be real, it’s easier catching up with Rose and Ed on 90 Day Fiancé.

I put it in my to-do each day, but the plan never actually came to life. I thought getting one of those £1 notebooks from Flying Tiger would help. But still, I couldn’t muster up the courage to write anything. Writing it down just seemed so final, especially without outside help.

Before I go on to the third week, I want to talk a little about the medium I chose, audio. It’s quite an unusual form to create a course (I prefer the term “lesson”), but:

  1. It was a sweet spot: I didn’t have time to record videos, and there aren’t any podcasts geared towards learning.
  2. It was easier to create + faster to monetise.
  3. I feel like I could be myself (no fancy lighting or editing necessary).

Doing audio lessons was a relief as a first time creator, since I could focus on the content itself rather than what my students thought of my editing skills, choice of slides or even the way I looked (I have a weird freckle on my nose, and I get conscious about that).

Also, I was happy that I chose to release a course with a startup who saw my vision in wanting to help my students learn the best, while also making it easy for me to create content (P.S. They even guided me through my syllabus!).

I think supporting creators emotionally is massively important, which I got from them. Lastly, I wanted to be authentic, and the thought recording and editing videos, plus wasting my £25 Hoola bronzer when I wasn’t going out (duh, quarantine), paralysed me.

Officially taking action

Anyway, back to week three. At this point, I was full-on procrastinating. Questions of doubt surfaced my mind, especially on my credibility. As my confidence slowly began to diminish, I needed a quick fix, a way to keep myself accountable in making this course.

So like any millennial, I made an Instagram page about my course (Check it out here). Heck, I spent more time making an Instagram strategy than actually creating a syllabus (found out that my favourite course creator on IG is Ariel Adams).

I shared my page to all my friends, and boom. Validation. Everyone told me that it was a great idea, and started sharing it around. Then I thought, I had to create this course now, since everyone is expecting me to release it soon. The pressure was on.

screenshot of instagram page for online course on how to get a job after graduation.

However, week four came, and I was still in my dark hole. But the thing with creating a course is that it’s only you who can keep yourself accountable. No one is forcing you to make it, but quite frankly, if you don’t create it, someone else will. 

Now that got me motivated. From then on, it was a race to be the first creator to release the course. After a long and sunny day (very rare in London), I sat on my porch on a Friday evening and just wrote the entire syllabus. It took 30 minutes and a cold Diet Coke, but it was done. Finished. Completed.

handwritten online course syllabus draft notes on paper

(Here's a section of my course syllabus. You can’t really read my writing, and I’m glad since it’s semi-confidential stuff.)

I was excited to start recording it, but my brain was tired from the random spurts of energy writing out rough drafts for each section. So I left it for the next day.

I recorded the first episode (at last)

The weekend was to my surprise, another nice day out in London, which is as rare of an occurrence as me opening Snapchat. But that didn’t stop me.

On Sunday afternoon, I locked myself in my room and just recorded the damn course. All I had to do was open up my voice notes app and just start speaking.

After 3 recordings, a lot of so’s and um’s, and about 15 minutes, the first section was (finally) done.

If there’s anything I learned, it’s that there’s no perfect time to create a course.

You’re not going to get that magical feeling, or hear that special mating call, or whatever you want to call it.

On a random Sunday afternoon, you’re just going to have to ask your family to shut up, sit on your £150 office chair (I bought mine after lockdown) and record the damn course.

It’s not going to be perfect, and you’re probably going to throw the first recording anyway. But hey, you’re one step closer to getting your course out, and possibly changing someone’s life. And that my friend, is everything.

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