Summers are a slow season for online teachers, a time of reflection and creativity. It’s the time to try out something new and begin dreaming new dreams for your business. Maybe you should raise your price? Find new clients? Do something different on Instagram? Maybe build an online course and sell it?
As soon as the new ideas loom in your head you feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by all the choices, fears and anxiety. Some of these thoughts, though original and unique, will soon turn into roadblocks that help you accomplish … nothing.
In this post I’ll share 9 of the most typical roadblocks that prevent you from moving forward with your new program, course or business plan. Then I’ll offer some tricks to outsmart your brain and crush the roadblocks before they turn into an invincible fortress.
Roadblock #1: You think about the whole process.
You want to create an online course but you’re anxious about what payment methods will work for your ideal clients.
What if they are from Russia or Turkey and their Paypal isn’t working?
What if they are in Holland and aren’t used to Paypal? What if they’re in Iran and can’t use cards at all?
Then off you go looking for multiple payment options to allow your non-existent clients from all those countries to make payments.
STOP. This is useless because at this point you haven’t sold even one course. So create a course and set up payment in a way that’s easiest for you, and then you can change it later when you begin selling it like hot cakes.
Roadblock #2: You try to “finalize” tiny details (name of the course, colors, etc.).
Watch out for that pesky word because people who use it a lot and don’t ever complete anything, get trapped in the “finalizing” stage.
“Finalizing” gives a soothing feel, like water splashing against rocks. You feel like you’re “almost” done, but then of course you’re not because you’re still “finalizing.”
When I opened this site 5 years ago I wanted to come up with a unique business name, but because I wasn’t yet sure where my business would go I just used my name. I’m glad I did that because my focus has changed multiple times but I was still able to continue.
If you can’t come up with something unique, do what’s easy for you and move on. Overthinking leads to inaction.
They sound like reasonable ideas but in the end they're roadblocks. Check out what keeps you stuck when you want to create a new course.Click To Tweet
Roadblock #3: You need to get more training/degrees/education.
Have you ever told yourself, “I can’t do XYZ because I don’t have enough training?” At some point I was questioning my ability to help teachers run businesses because I didn’t have a business degree. I was ready to enroll into a business program when a friend talked me out of it.
“You have no degree but you have a business that generates income. Many MBAs would love to have what you have but they don’t. So focus on your business instead of adding more degrees.”
Who prevents you from getting education while you’re teaching your brand-new course? In fact, it will be more helpful to do that because what you think you need to learn before you teach someone is different from what you need to learn while or after you’ve worked with someone.
Are you ready to create and launch your first course? Check out my mini-course with actionable advice on how to plan your first launch.
Roadblock #4: You need to buy more equipment/software.
A typical example. You decide you want to teach on YouTube. So what do you do? You find the best camera at your store, buy it and then spend a couple of months learning how to use it and edit videos.
As you’re learning from experienced videographers your self-esteem goes down, you feel like you’re an imposter with an expensive camera and no idea how to put sub-par videos online.
There’s no need for new equipment unless what you have is falling apart — in which case you can just replace it with something newer, but not more advanced. Use simple tools to learn.
As David Kadavy said, “Give yourself permission to suck.” After all, when you teach someone a language, you don’t expect them to smite you with their eloquence after the first lesson. You expect them to make mistakes.
So pull out your old camera and start recording today. Don’t worry about subtitles. Don’t worry about professional lighting (you can just move your camera to the window). Don’t worry about a tripod (a stack of textbooks will work).
Roadblock #5: You’re getting ready for a smashing success.
I know we all read those polished and highly edited FB ads stories. They make you believe that no sooner than you hit “publish” on your first-ever course on “How to Distinguish Metaphors from Similes While Reading in English,” the sales will excel your wildest dreams and the president of Paypal will send you a golden plaque for your amazing contributions.
I hate to burst your bubble, but your (very) first launch will not match your wildest dreams.
My strategy is to treat all your work as a rough draft. Your goal is to sell one thing, not millions. Once you sell, you’ve got a different challenge — to keep selling — and on it goes. Start with a tiny goal. Smashing success will come later.
Roadblock #6: You’re sure you can do it all alone.
Technically you can, but it will take you longer. Not only will you spend hours trying to figure out what went wrong, also having nobody who really “gets” you is what makes you sink into doubt and depression. This is not what you want for yourself.
That was the reason we created our Smart Teacher’s Library — to train and support online teachers like you and to help you stop overthinking when it comes to moving the needle.
Whether or not you’re in the Library, surround yourself with people who know what you’re going through and who can help you especially when you’re just beginning this journey. Otherwise your brain will continue building one roadblock after another until you have no strength left to smash them.
No roadblocks ever present themselves as “roadblocks.” They sound like respectable objections but the end result is still the same: you won’t create and you won’t grow.
So now that we have spoken about this elephant in the room, maybe we should do something about it? What are your roadblocks? How do they keep you in one place?
P.S. – David Kadavy’s book “The Heart to Start” inspired this post. If you haven’t read it (because you don’t have the time = Roadblock #7!) you should do it now. Spend 20 minutes every day and you’ll finish it in a week.
The post was updated in April, 2021.