The course is set to be at least four parts:
- Part 2: Libraries and frameworks
- Part 3: WordPress REST API
- Part 4: Real world projects
Also, part one will be released first, with the other parts trailing. So even though registration is open, the course is not quite ready for release. Part one will be ready very shortly, he says, and the remaining parts will be releases over the course of the next several months.
Zac called the course, “a labor of love,” and says he definitely isn't making a ton of money going this route. While he successfully registered about 200 early bird students and has gotten about 50 new students in this release cycle, he's still short of his goals.
I think, long term, Zac will end up with a nice return on this course, but often people want to buy when they're ready to learn, versus on a set schedule. He may create an extension for the current buying period, but he will definitely close it sooner than later, as he wants to focus on content creation versus new customer onboarding.
I asked Zac what he's learned throughout this process, and I enjoyed his response, so here are five points he made about what he's learned so far:
- I’ve started studying a lot more about minimum viable products and planning businesses. I took on a HUGE project sort of at the suggestion of others and it’s grown tremendously. I’ve learned a ton from taking some courses myself on business and would have probably taken more time planning the initial scope and entire approach to it.
- I’ve learned a lot about what my strengths and weaknesses are. Hiring a project manager came in part from taking a personality test and realizing, ‘Oh! I would do much better if I had someone else helping keep me motivated and planning out some of the grudge work and ongoing details of planning.'
- Health and energy levels. I wake up around 4:30 now and do 1-2 hours of yoga and meditation before starting my day. Waking up at 7:00-8:00 was just too late and I wasn’t getting enough done. I also cut out all sweets and unhealthy foods and eat organic non-GMO to keep my energy levels up. Then I go to bed by 10:00 and take off weekends, with almost no exception. I really started to hate my life when I was just trying to work around the clock week after week. So I work harder and smarter now.
- I have never had to record day after day on an ongoing basis so I had to learn how to take care of my voice. What foods and drinks to eat and not eat. What exercises and practices to do, etc.
- I am SO glad I have hired a professional editor and videographer. I kept trying to do this on my own and it was just not at the quality I wanted. I have a professional home screen casting booth and had learned a lot in this regard at Treehouse. However, Treehouse tried to start making us script every video word for word. When I did that, it took 1-2 days of work for a 3 minute video. So I recently threw out the scripts and started just doing what I used to do at Treehouse before micro-management was implemented. The videos are longer and much more in-depth now and have a more conversational quality and tidbits of wisdom in them. There is definitely something to be said for finding out how you work and don’t try to fit into someone else’s mold just because they tell you to.
I can definitely sympathize with Zac, and agree that the change to working fully on your own is a tough one. I think his takeaways for figuring out the right strategy are good ones.
One bit of advice I gave him was to not feel too trapped by his own prior decisions; part of the fun of being your own boss is you can change your past decisions. You may have to justify changes to customers, but the worst that could happen is that someone wants a refund. If your process is making you less effective and you think you need to change it — change it!