We’ve partnered with Danny Iny at Firepole Marketing to analyze a survey of over 1,000 online entrepreneurs and course creators.

We dug into the responses to identify the #1 challenge many course creators face…

The drumroll please…

The biggest challenge that independent course creators struggle with is:

Time.

Finding the time to plan, create, and market an online course.

We saw quotes like these over and over again from people sharing their biggest challenges:

  • “Finding the time to get this up and running”
  • “Time to make it happen”
  • “Time management in writing & marketing the course”

Does this sound familiar for you? Are you also wondering how you can find the time to create your course?

There’s no question that this is a big big challenge.

But there are some practical things you can do to get more out of the limited time you do have.

Some of these we’ve picked up through hard-won experience.

Others we learned from experts in time management, such as Elizabeth Saunders, author of How to Invest Your Time Like Money.

Tip #1: It’s not about “having more time,” it’s about making the best use of the limited time you do have.

Remember that creating a course is… creative! And when you’re engaged in a creativity activity, you need to get into a creative mindset.

It’s almost a meditative state of mind, in which you have higher-level awareness.

To achieve this state, you need to block out longer periods of time and really devote yourself to this work — perhaps once or twice a week.

You should also be as “disconnected” as possible — disable interruptions like email or Facebook, and consider shifting into a different environment such as a coffee shop.

Tip #2: Finding time to create your course starts with making choices.

We want to be very intentional about how we invest our time. The first step is to really stop and reflect on what’s most important to you.

If you’re having trouble finding time to create your online course, a first step would be to review all the activities on which you’re currently spending your time. Then ask how your course truly fits into your set of priorities and projects. If you say your course is a top priority, yet other activities are taking more of your time, then you can start to figure out how to spend less time on the lower-priority activities.

Tip #3: Replace time debt with time investments.

Many solopreneurs are in “time debt,” meaning you have committed (internally or externally) to more meetings and projects than you could possibly handle.

A great first step is to reduce this debt by reducing meetings with clients or partners, or phasing out projects that are “nice to haves” rather than crucial to your business.

Next, you can create “automatic time investments” through consistent scheduling. An automatic time investment could look something like this: “Every Wednesday afternoon from 1pm to 3pm, I’ll focus on my course.” When the time comes, you know that’s what you need to focus on in the moment.

To make the most of this creative time, get really clear on what you’re going to do in a specific block of time. For example, “I will outline the first 3 modules of my course using Workflowy, and then email the outline to my partner to get feedback.”

Now it’s your turn. How can you apply these tips to make time for your course creation efforts?

This is a critical first step to get moving on your course idea if you’ve been feeling stuck.

It will also help you get the most out of any training program you follow to design a successful course.

Now that we’ve tackled the #1 challenge of course creators, you can learn more about other challenges and opportunities facing independent course creators on Firepole’s blog.