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Turn Your Craft Into a Course: What should you teach?

Updated: Mar 22

Tori McElwain

Grab Your Free eBook, Design Your Workshop, here.


Are the people around you asking you to teach what you make? Are you teaching 1 on 1 but more people are asking for lessons and you need to create a workshop? Or maybe you're a savvy entrepreneur and see a market need that you can fill! Whatever the reason, welcome!

I'm so glad that you have an interest in creating a workshop! Workshops, both in-person workshops and virtual workshops, are in demand. Workshops offer amazing opportunities to create additional income to support your hobby or to take to larger stages and build a business.

If you only have a basic idea of what you'd like to teach and need to narrow it down, you're in the right place. Set 10 -15 minutes aside, grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil and go through the following exercise.

3 Questions to narrow down what you want to teach:

Question 1

What are the individual techniques or skills in your craft? If you're a pattern designer, list your favorite patterns as well.

Question 2

Of those skills and techniques, what do you like to do or teach the most?

Question 3

What are you the best at? Or would like to be known as the best at?

If you'd like to take this exercise with a little direction and a worksheet, sign up for my free class: How to Start Designing Your First Course.

Identifying what you could teach, what you'd like to teach, and what your good at helps bring together your expertise and experience to create an impactful and sustainable workshop.


Many creatives hit a roadblock here. Questions start to pop up about qualifications. If this is you, I'd like to remind you that all you need is a 10% edge over your ideal customer. That 10% is the gap that you can fill. When I wanted to start teaching quilting workshops, I taught the basics first. You can see those here. Then while I learned the tech and marketing with those workshops, that's when I took time to learn more piecing skills that eventually led to the Skill Building Block of the Month. For those beginner classes, I only started with a 10% edge.

Don't Follow Your Passion

"Follow your passion!" is a piece of advice I heard often when I started my business, but following your passion can leave you burnt out and lose all the passion you started with. I found this out very quickly in my first year of business. I began my business by making quilts to sell and quilting for others quickly ran my own passion for quilting as a creative endeavor into the ground.

Instead, I would invite you to follow your curiosity and follow your excitement! Then, follow your audience and essentially follow the profit. This pathway feeds your creative side but also helps you create a workshop that others want to purchase. It's a much more sustainable balance.

Trial and Error

Let's recall the exercise we did above where you listed everything you like to do and everything you're best at. Let's choose 3 of those topics and rank them from 1 to 3, 1 being the topic you are most excited to start with and 3 being the slightly less exciting topic.

Trial your number 1 topic. See how the response is and how you liked presenting that information about that topic. If it feels amazing, keep going! If you're unhappy with the response or weren't a fan of the content, trial your second or third!

Failure is valuable

I tend to be a little dramatic when I don't hit a goal I've been reaching for. I tend to use the word "fail" in that emotional valley, then I dust myself off and look for opportunity. What could I do to tweak my messaging? How can I reach more people to tell about my workshop? How do I learn to take better pictures (quilting and crafts tend to be very visual so this is important!)? Could I name my workshop differently?

Then I try something different.

Mistakes are the second best way to learn! So go out there and make some! Teach your number 1 topic and teach your number 2 topic and get feedback from your participants. Action, experience and feedback is a valuable combination in creating an engaging and wonderful workshop that your learners will want to keep coming back for!

Need a little guidance?

Check out my Blog Post on Feedback Here!

Also, sign up for my free class: How to Start Designing Your First Course for more guidance on this process.

Grab Your Free eBook, Design Your Workshop, here.



To keep in touch, you can sign up for the monthly Newsletter here!

Sign up for my free class: How to Start Designing Your First Course.

Grab Your Free eBook, Design Your Workshop, here.

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