Bonnie Christine on Finding Inspiration for Your Next Class

This guest post was written by Pattern Designer and Skillshare Teacher Bonnie Christine. 

This guest post was written by Pattern Designer and Skillshare Teacher Bonnie Christine. 

We all have big dreams and goals, and if you're like me, these can leave you feeling anywhere from incredibly creative and inspired, to completely overwhelmed. When it comes to accomplishing BIG goals, I have found myself repeating the same steps over and over again. I'll start by dreaming BIG, then fight the overwhelm by breaking down the steps in order to reach my goal bit by bit. By doing just one small thing every day, I have made some of my biggest dreams come true (like becoming a fabric designer, teaching on Skillshare, creating the Roost Tribe and so much more!).

I'll tell you another little secret. You know that quote, "The hardest part is always getting started"? As much as I KNOW THIS (and preach it), it's oftentimes still the case for me. The truth is, I've wanted to put my latest course, "Watercolor for Surface Pattern Design" together for nearly a year. A YEAR, folks! But I kept putting it off because when I started thinking about it, the overwhelm began to settle in. I would think to myself "I don't have time, how can I record a live video with two small children? I don't have a good place to shoot." 

Another major hurdle was that I knew iMovie had had a major update. I had opened the new version, fumbled around just enough to get totally lost and then quickly went back to using the older version. I knew that I wanted to use the new program for the new course, so I kept putting it off. Because let's face it: learning curves aren't fun.

This time, I googled my question, watched a quick 5-minute tutorial, dove right in and learned the thing. And guess what - they updated it for a reason (imagine that!). The new version is SO MUCH BETTER and so incredibly user-friendly!

Once I got started, this ENTIRE course took about 2 weeks to complete -from start to finish That included shooting the intro video, all the class illustrations, recording the actual lessons, editing all the videos, writing the lesson plans, uploading them to Skillshare and launching it across the web.

Now I realize how silly it was to put it off. Once I began, it came together quickly and easily!

In case you're considering launching a new course, I put together a brief list of steps I take before teaching a class.

  1. Have a great idea (no pressure!). Try thinking about it this way: what problem can you solve for people? What do you know how to do that others might enjoy learning about, too?

  2. Decide on a title and a short description or intro for the class. Make it catchy yet informative, concise and compelling.

  3. Write down a rough draft of the class and create an outline of the course. Title each segment and write them down.

  4. Write a draft for the intro. What information do you want to relay to potential students in a ~60 second intro? Work on engaging them, and 'the hook'.

  5. Schedule a recording day and put it on the calendar. Most classes can be recorded entirely in a single day (mine was!).

  6. Record your intro - stage a pretty spot, use natural light and try to get comfortable in front of the camera. Making silly faces and fake laughing will help warm you up!

  7. Record all of the class material - I used my DLSR for the intro and QuickTime for all the screencasting.

  8. Work on class marketing - make an intro image and type up all the info for the class + write up details for the class project. Skillshare's Teacher Handbook will walk you through this step by step.

  9. Begin editing your video footage. Use the latest version of iMovie, and you'll love it!

  10. Begin uploading the videos to your class draft. Make sure you have good wifi and a couple of days built in to perfect everything.

  11. Publish + launch to your audience. Making your class trend once it's published will ensure success, so be sure to push it to your friends, family, newsletter and social media.

Now I know that's a pretty quick overview, and LOTS of details go into each phase, but my promise to you is that if you just BEGIN, you'll always know the very next step. Once you lift your head after a week or two, you won't believe what you've accomplished! It just takes motivation + focus. 

Ready to join Bonnie and hundreds of other teachers who've invested into teaching on a regular basis? This month, we invite you all to take the plunge and publish your next class. We know that getting started can be the hardest part of teaching, but in our 30-Day New Year Channel Challenge, we'll help you get there. With fun resources and a handful of special prizes, you'll publish your next class during Skillshare's busiest time of the year!