How Long Does It Take to Make an Online Course

How long does it take to make an online course? If you’re like me, you’ve probably asked yourself this question before making your first online course. The answer can vary based on many factors, but here is a rough length.

It can take around eight weeks to create your course, from developing your idea to launching it. This all depends on the time you have available, what tools you have, and your knowledge of the online course creation process.

In this article, I will break down each section of the course-making process and share how long it could take you to create your online course, from finding your topic idea to launching your course. 

Many people think this takes a lot of time, but I aim to show you how fast it can be done.

#1 Finding Your Idea – 1 Day

Image by Joe from Pixabay

First, you need to find an idea for the course you want to create.  First, I want to advise you not to make your first course some giant mega course covering everything about your topic.

Instead, pick an idea that solves a simple problem.  For example, if want to create a course on playing darts, you might want to create your first course on how to throw accurately.

Related Article: You can read my full guide on how to pick a course idea here.

The thing you don’t want to do is create a course that teaches them how to win the world dart-playing championship. I think I just made that up, but you get the point.

So how long does it take:  With one or two hours of research, you should have your idea.  For some, this step is pretty quick but this is also a place where many people get hung up.  Forward momentum is always better than picking the perfect idea.  So pick one and move on.

#2 Outlining Your Idea – 2 Days

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Once you have an idea your next step is to create an outline of your course.  Start by listing the major sections in your course and then break each subsection down into smaller topics.

Pull out a paper sheet or type it on your computer to do this.  Just write down everything that comes to your mind.  Use this time as a brain dump to get your ideas on paper. Don’t worry if they are wrong or right.

Big Tip:  Try to keep your first course down to 5 to 6 subsection.  It will spead things up dramaticly.

Finally, list the desired result you want the person who takes your course to achieve.  For example, with a dart course, it might hit its target at least 80% of the time.

So how long does it take: This part of the process should take roughly two days.  Use it as a brain dump on the first day, and on the second day, use it as an extra day to fill in any extra ideas you might have.  As you create your course, you’ll likely add more ideas, which is perfectly fine.

#3 Develop a Sales Page – 2 Days

Once your outline is done, developing your sales page is time.  Now you might be thinking aren’t we jumping the gun a bit? And the answer is no.  There are two reasons you want to do this first.

First, you’ll want to do a presale of your course before we even create it. By doing this, you can find out if people are willing to put down money to buy the product.

Second, this will allow us to get in touch with a few of the early adopters of your course to get their input and help shape the course.

I prefer to use this online course platform to create my sales page because you can sign up for free, and they also have everything set up and ready to go, saving you a lot of time.

How long does it take:  Creating your sales page should only take a few days at most, and if you use Teachable, they have a lovely fill-in-the-blank template which makes the process a whole easier.

#4 Run a Presale – 5 Days

Image by Firmbee from Pixabay

At this point, you should be five days into creating your online course.  The following five days will be spent getting people to buy your course. 

Doing this helps us verify that people are interested in your course.  If you can get one person to buy your course, you can likely get 100 people to buy your course.

Related Article:  You can also read my article on my first-course presale here.

To do this, you’ll want to promote your course and get a few people to buy.  Over these five days, you’ll want to go on a promotion binge.  Send out emails to your audience, write a blog post and boost it on Facebook, and do a YouTube Live.

Also, since this is your first course, keep the price lower to entice your early adopters to buy.

How long does it take: Over the next five days, plan out something you will do each day to promote your course.  Your goal is to get four or five people to buy; however, once the fifth day comes to an end, the course.  If nobody buys, you’ll need to rework your idea or develop a new one.

#5 Get Feedback – 2 Days

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

You are now ten days into creating your first course, and once your presale has ended, it’s time to get feedback from your new students.

At this point, you’ll want to contact a few of your new students and learn more about their struggles.  Just let them know it will only take 10 or 15 minutes tops.

Ask them why they signed up and what they hope to accomplish from this course.  Finally, ask them what they would like to learn from this course.  Knowing these will help you design and shape your course to fit your student’s needs.

How long does it take: Overall, it should only take a few days to hop on a couple of brief phone calls and get this done.

#6 Develop Your Course Content – 3 Weeks

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Once you’ve gotten some feedback from your students, it’s time to start creating your course content. 

You can do this in various ways, but I prefer to create videos because they are one of the most engaging methods.

You can do this by recording yourself in front of a camera or doing a slide presentation with screencasting software.

Resource:  I use ScreenPal to record my slide presentations.

The key to this is ensuring your content is engaging and solves your student’s problems.

How long does it take: Overall, if you’re creating a shorter course, you’re looking at around 2 to 3 weeks to create your course content.  For longer courses, it may take a bit longer.

#7 Create a Lead Magnet – 1 Week

Once your course material has been created, start building your funnel.  This is the process people will go through to become students in your course.

The first thing you’ll need to do is create a lead magnet.  A lead magnet will draw people into your funnel and get them to sign up for your mailing list.

You can get people to do this in various ways, from creating a PDF such as a list or a whitepaper, a video series, or even a webinar.  I recommend starting with a simple downloadable PDF document for most people just starting out.

How long does it take: You should be able to get most lead magnets done in a week or less.  Something like a webinar or a video series can take a bit more work to get done.

#8 Setup Your Funnel – 1 Week

Image by muneebfarman from Pixabay

You’re getting close to launching your course, but we have one more important thing we need to do before we launch: set up your email funnel.  Your funnel is the tool that will help close the deal and drive sales.

A funnel is nothing more than a series of emails that hit on pain points that your audience is experiencing and drives them to buy your product.

Resource:  I use ConvertKit as my email provider.

However, writing emails can feel overwhelming if you’ve never done it before.  So if you’re looking for help in this area, I recommend Ryan Deiss’s book Invisible Selling Machine.  It gives a lot of practical advice, along with some example email templates for you to use.

How long does it take:  Overall, you will need to create at least 5 to 7 emails for this, and it should only take you around one week to set up.

#9 Launch Your Course – 1 Week

Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay

The day has finally come. It’s time to launch your course to the masses.  This is the exciting part of the whole process of watching all the sales roll in.

To start your launch, you’ll want to email your existing audience, do a YouTube Live, post a Facebook message, run some ads, or whatever else you can to let people know that your course is live and ready to go.

How long does it take: Your launch should last around 5 to 7 days.  In that time, push your course as much as possible to drive sales.

How Long Does It Take to Create an Online Course?

If you do it right from beginning to end, it should only take around eight weeks to create an online course.  So now it’s your turn. Are you ready to start creating your first online course?

Then take the next step and sign up for this free live webinar presented by Teachable.

Here you’ll learn the 7 Steps to Launch Your Own Profitable Online Course.

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