How long does it take to create an online product?

Online products are an attractive source of income for many of my clients. It’s a way to bring some cash in without needing to sell time for money. But how long does it take to create an online product?

Like many things in business, this is easier said than done. If you are thinking about creating online products, then you might want to know how long it takes to develop them and bring them to market before you invest your time.

1. Short e-book

Based on material that you’ve already written, such as my Tales of Everyday Business Folk e-book, this will take between two to five hours to collect all of the content that you’ve previously written and put it together.

Then add in a day of editing and formatting. The quick route I took was to pay a professional editor to do this for me and upload it to Amazon and my website. She charged £300 to do this.

2. Full-sized business book

A full-size business book, such as my Sweetspot Pricing, which is written from scratch, in an area you already know about is a considerable undertaking. If I didn’t have other things to do, such as a business to run and clients to look after, this book would have taken about a month to write. Full time. Working hard.

Like many business owners, I didn’t have the luxury of sitting in a writer’s retreat with only my words for company and so it took a good deal longer than a month to produce.

Sweetspot pricing

3. A full-size business workbook, with worksheets and spreadsheets

In addition to the full month of writing, it would have taken me a week to do all of the worksheets and spreadsheets for the Big Resource Pack version of Sweetspot Pricing. If, of course, this was the only thing that needed my attention.

4. Membership subscription product

Membership products are things like my New Business Ideas Collection which is for people who want to set up a new business.

This takes three to five weeks of full-time writing for the first cohort and then another week or so every time I reopen the doors so that I can update the materials. Plus a week of making videos, uploading and formatting. I paid about £1500 for proofreading and a virtual assistant to upload and check all of the details. If you don’t have this kind of investment and want to do it yourself, add in another couple of weeks to develop this online product.

5. Ongoing membership subscription product

Ongoing membership subscription is where you update and add in new resources each month. This would be the same as the above to do the first three months of the subscription. Then you should add in a couple of days per month as ongoing work to build the resource base.

6. A text-based course, with worksheets and downloadable resources

If you know the material well that you’re going to be teaching, this would probably take you a month working full-time on it. You then have about another couple of days to upload it all to a platform such as Teachable. Or you could pay somebody who’s done this before to do it for you, which would cost about £750.

7. A slideshow video-based course, with worksheets and downloadable resources

This would also be about a month’s work to put it together if you knew the basics of video editing and was already handy with creating beautiful powerpoint presentations.

8. A video-based course with you speaking directly to the camera

You can do this yourself but you’ll need a reasonable production set up. As a minimum you’ll need: a good quality camera, lights and possibly a studio background; plus a couple of weeks of planning the course and what you’re going to say; a week of making the videos; another week of editing the videos; and a couple of days to upload it to the cross-platform. If I were doing this, I would cheat and get somebody to make the videos for me professionally. I’d expect this to cost between £2-10k, including editing.

filming for online product creation


9. An online app.

You can expect this to take about two to three months to develop a simple mobile or online app. Plus you’d pay around £5-15k for someone to develop it for you, unless you’re an app developer of course.

10. A full-scale software as a service (SaaS) application

If you are a non-techie doing this, but you are supplying the idea and working with the developer to make it happen, you’ll probably need the equivalent of six months to work on this to get the product. And I would expect to pay £100K+ for techies to build it for me.

I’m ready to make my online product

I don’t want to put you off, these are all potentially great business ideas and formats and can lead to brilliant recurring income streams. Just don’t underestimate the amount of time and effort that it takes to create an online product and get it off the ground.

But if you are ready to do the work, why not book a coffee and cake session with me to get you started?

And you might find these blogs useful, too: 

What is your sweet spot price? 

Starting up from home

Are you ready to face your FUD and overcome it? 

How running a business is like fighting zombies