So you think that you have a great idea for a course. You have a lot of knowledge and experience about growing plants indoors, or you are super-passionate about providing the best customer experience and want to teach others. You can see yourself standing in front of a grinning group of students, their pens dancing on the pages of their notebooks, their eyes alternating between watching you and capturing your every word. Of course, there’s that one student with a laptop, slapping the keys and never seeming to stop typing. You don’t let her distract you. You feel great, you are the expert, you are awesome!
But then…your head comes out of the clouds, and you think “That will never be me. There’s no way I can do it.”
While you might feel pretty confident about what you know, you might feel skeptical about creating a course. I want to talk about some of those reasons and then let you know why they just aren’t true.
Here are some things you might believe….
1. I don’t know if people will be interested in my expertise or passion.
Yeah, they will. If you are interested and you know one, two or even three more who are interested, there will be others. You may have asked your family or friends and they said “Nah, that’s not for me.” But remember this, if you are creating an online course, you will have a wider, global reach to find your audience. If you’re creating an in-person or a local course, you might consider having an online portion for your course. People love things. They love trendy things. They love obscure things. They love hobbies. They love knowledge. Unless you’ve invented some new topic, there will be people who want to learn it. If you take a look online and can’t find a course on your topic, it’s probably because no one has created one yet – you will be the first.
2. I don’t know how to use the tools, the tech is too hard (and I’m not techy).
This is a non-issue. And that’s for two reasons. First, once you know what you need to do (create an outline, create a quiz, create a video, etc.) there will be plenty of ways to learn how to do it. Tech (whether it’s software, apps or hardware) gets easier and more user friendly. Second, if you can’t do it, then find someone to do it for you. If your expertise isn’t tech, you will simply stick to your content and let someone else worry about the techy details. If you want to learn a little more about the tech, then good for you. I know you can figure it out.
3. It’s too difficult to organize all of the information about my topic into a course. It’s just too much information!
This is common, especially for those who have so much detailed knowledge on their topic. Whether you’re a crafter with 10 years of knowledge or an engineer with 10 years of experience, you can chunk that knowledge and experience into bite-sized bits for your course. It’s just a matter of being organized and deliberate about who your audience is and what you want to teach them and how.
4. There are already courses like the one I want to create.
Well my friend, that is not a problem at all! In fact that’s good…very good. If there are courses that you have seen already that are similar to yours, then that means there are people who want to take it. If it’s an online course, it means there’s a pretty big market for that course. The creators of those courses have done much of the work for you – they have validated your course is wanted (see #1 above). Be happy, get started on your course!
5. It’s too expensive.
It’s true. There are sometimes costs involved. You may need to have people create videos for you, pay hosting fees, or pay for materials. But the good thing is, there is always a way to do it on the cheap (or perhaps even free). You don’t need to sign up for a costly course platform just because “they” tell you that you have to. You don’t need to have a video with high production value (i.e., “fancy pants style”) just because that is what “they” have. You can use what you have, if you don’t have anything you can rent it. If you don’t want to rent it, then borrow it. There’s always a way. I’ll tell you a story one day about the time I went to get “video tape” for my camera and a young, slightly confused clerk looked at my camera, and said “Oh, wow, that’s old school.”
6. My course has to be 8 or 10 or more hours. I just…can’t.
Nope. It doesn’t. In fact, if your course will be for adults, you will have to trim that down. Way down. People are busy. They are on the go. They are on the internet looking at things. They want to go on vacation. They don’t want a 10 hour course. Sure, sometimes the topic may need to spread its beefy wings in a longer, more substantial course (topics just do that sometimes). But for the most part you want something manageable for both you and your audience. Here’s some homework…Go to udemy.com and pick a topic and look at the length of the courses shown. You’ll be surprised.
For transparency, I’ll admit the first course I saw when I just checked udemy.com for a topic was 17 hours long (ignore that one, it looks like the guy’s been maintaining this course and another for a fairly long time, and his students seem to love it). My point is, the others are ranging from only 30 minutes up to three hours, so don’t need to feel that you need to go the academic, semester-long route for your course (unless you truly want to).
If you have a course idea, and you love the topic and know it, inside and out, and are ready to share with the world, don’t let these beliefs hold you back. You can do the tech, if not find someone who can. You can make the same course as Julie in NYC, it’s fine, even if yours is shorter. There’s always a way. The most important thing is that you share your knowledge so others can see you are an amazing instructor.