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[Making Of… #18] It’s A Bit Longer

The Making Of An Online Course Part 18

In 2021 I made a new course, From WordPress To Webflow. This post is one of a series of behind-the-scenes emails I wrote as I went along, exclusively for my email list (start here).

Seeing as this is an (occasional!) behind-the-scenes series, I thought I’d give you a bit of insight into why making the course has taken me longer than expected.

1. Stuff always takes longer than you think

No matter how many courses I’ve made, the one certainty is that they’ll take longer than expected to make.

That’s not a problem unique to me. We humans are generally terrible at estimating how long things will take. And hey, I am particularly terrible at it. I’m just an optimistic kinda guy!

And actually, I’m getting waaaay better at it. Every time I make a new digital product my estimates get closer every time.

My estimates used to be months out. They’re now just a few weeks.

Getting there.

2. I had a better idea

I decided with this course to spend more time upfront planning than ever before.

I used to tend towards creating a broad plan, enough to get started, and then figure it out along the way as I made it.

However, I now know from bitter experience that having a solid plan, with a very clear outline and idea of exactly what will be in each lesson, is absolutely the way to go.

And that’s the approach I took with this course – the old adage, “Measure twice, cut once.”

But even so, I still got about a quarter of the way through production only to realise that there was actually a better way of approaching the teaching, that would seriously improve the learning experience.

And also, I realised as I was making the course that I could greatly improve aspects of the Webflow Starter Site framework that students receive with their enrollment.

And so, I started again.

All was not lost, apart from a few weeks.

Sometimes, you can plan till you’re blue in the face (I don’t recommend doing anything till your face turns blue though), but you only realise what really works once you actually take action and do it.

Like most things in life.

3. The scope has expanded somewhat

If you’ve been on my list for a while, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of trying to keep courses as short and focused as you possibly can.

No-one wants to really take your course—what they want is the quickest shortcut to a particular result as you can give them.

And so my aim for the new Webflow course was to keep it as tight and focused and short as possible.

Webflow themselves have a ton of videos teaching how to use the features of the tool (minus any kind of best practice framework or workflow, which is the gap my course is intended to fill).

So my original aim was to start my course where Webflow’s training leaves off, and teach only my framework and workflow.

I quickly realised though that there’s a big problem with that:

My target audience for this course are looking to switch from an entirely different tool to a brand new one. And I felt that if the scope was very narrow like this that the barrier to entry for them would simply be too high.

They’re looking for me to take them from absolute scratch and teach how to use Webflow “the Dave Foy way” (meaning, in the particular way I teach).

So I since decided to assume no knowledge of Webflow whatsoever, for absolute complete beginners. The entire focus of the course – every single lesson – is on building towards my system, workflow and framework.

It just now builds on that step-by-step from absolute scratch, not assuming any prior knowledge whatsoever.

And because of that, the course ended up much longer than I’d originally thought.

It’s still not enormous. It’s actually my shortest course to date.

There are 6 main modules.

Each module contains about 9 lessons.

And each lesson is a maximum of 10 minutes long.

It’s still very easy to take and follow, with bite-sized wins all the way.

It’s just taken me longer to make than I originally expected.

4. 8-week cycles

And finally, I took another week off at the end of June, strictly sticking to the 8-week work cycles we follow here.

I’ve mentioned how we work in 8-week cycles before.

But basically, for each cycle we choose a deliverable that we’ll all work on with maximum focus. We work on that for 6-7 weeks. And then week 8 is a week off.

The 8th week doesn’t have to be an actual holiday/vacation of course. It could just be easing off the gas a bit, maybe taking some courses, focusing on some professional education (for example).

The old me would NOT have taken that week off, or indeed the previous cycle’s week off either.

And in fact, the old me making a major course like this would have been setting the alarm for 5am, working late into the night, and working weekends too.

I think particularly having 2 big health scares over the last few years – testicular cancer in 2013 and nearly having to have my lower intestine removed last year – I’ve finally found proper perspective.

So the wiser me now works day times only—definitely no evenings or weekends—and he also takes time off when the opportunity arises… and ENJOYS it!

Fancy that?

The most recent week off, me and my wife spent a week walking in glorious sunshine in Devon—beautiful countryside in the south of England.

Check out this photo I took on my phone of just one of many incredible scenes we hit upon. This tiny photo in an email captures approx 1% of the actual beauty and majesty of the real-life view.

Breathtaking.

Worth delaying the launch another week, right?!

Anyway – the new course IS on its way. It’s almost complete

One more module to go, and then it’s game on.

I’m off to finish Module 6 now.

And I will be back to you before then with a bit more behind-the-scenes stuff, especially around managing the production process and some of the technical-related stuff.