Teachable Review: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


With Teachable I have nostalgic thoughts as I first used it years ago when it was still called UseFedora and seemed like only viable alternative to Udemy marketplace, not including messy WordPress plugins, that were pain to setup.

I’m fairly good with technology, but I am more business minded and don’t want to touch code a lot even if I can do it as the last resort.

There are a lot of things I LOVE about Teachable, but there are also some parts I do HATE.

It’s okay, in all good relationships you should have some spark and spice mixed in with all feel-good stuff.

..yet if you were looking for Thinkific vs Teachable comparison go there first.


Here are shortcuts to skip around:


Before you start reading this article, make sure you’ve read an introduction article on home page first. It sets the stage nicely on what you should expect from online course platform.

Here we are talking about online course platforms which take care of:

  • video hosting,
  • private membership section,
  • member management,
  • learning / teaching experience behind the closed doors,
  • payments and few other extras.

Since you are reading this page specifically about Teachable, it means that you are leaning towards picking Teachable and I’ll do my best to share how it FEELS to be an actual user of Teachable with its pros and cons.

I remember when I was looking for perfect online course platform for myself.
It was a challenge, truth is there are far too many options than necessary that just add to the noise and confusion.

I didn’t want to make the wrong call, so I signed up and test-drived all of these platforms. You could do that yourself, but you’ll find out that it takes a lot of time & you still need to dig deep in knowledge base to understand the engine that’s under the hood.

Back then it was an easy choice: Udemy vs Teachable.
No control vs full control. A bit trickier nowadays.

Anyway, let me save you some time and pass my experience to you.


Examples of Successful Course Creators on Teachable


Check out these examples of real people and companies using Teachable successfully to get real results:

  • Creators – teach drawing,photography, playing musical instrument, how to fly a drone
  • Youtubers – if you are already providing video content for free, paid video course is a natural fit
  • Niche Experts – have a hobby or unique expertise? Record yourself or your screen and sell it!
  • Authors – many writers add extra dimension to their book with video content
  • Marketplaces – create your own course marketplace. Bring teachers together and create your own version of Udemy
  • Enterprises – You can use Teachable course platform to train your employees, add value to your customers, offer certification training for your product

These are just a few examples. If your industry isn’t mentioned or you have more questions about your business fit to Teachable, just scroll to the bottom and ask me.

Yes, I actually respond personally.


Teachable Sales & Setup Process


Teachable sales process is very straightforward, you can sign-up for a free account without providing any credit card details, so no upfront investment for you.

Teachable free plan gives pretty much all the features for creation of a course curriculum and sales page.

You won’t be able to test drive email marketing capabilities, affiliate program, integrations, advanced reports or white-labeling.

Still my suggestion is to choose the free plan at first:

  • create the course curriculum
  • sales page & funnel
  • maybe test drive the student experience with free course
  • only when you are ready to drive a lot of leads to your course page, you should upgrade and prepare the branding / email templates / integrations.

Teachable isn’t the most intuitive, so the best way to start learning Teachable is to signup for their Quickstart Webinar.

It took a little longer than with Thinkific to get used to it, but once you’ve been using it a bit, you’ll get a hang of it.

In the setup phase I was constantly using Teachable Knowledge base, trying to avoid using their Support or Facebook Group. You’ll get answers to your support questions in few hours, unless you are PRO member ( $99/mo), where you get access to Live Chat.

Few hours is fast, but if you are like me, you will want to move faster than that.

For any troubleshooting I would recommend to solve it in this order:

  1. Check Knowledge base if your question has been addressed already in past
  2. Ask on Facebook Group – there are many members, you’ll get fast feedback not only from Teachable support, but also from Teachable members.
  3. Send a support ticket, if above things didn’t work. Keep in mind they work on EST timezone working hours with reduced staff on holidays and weekends.

Just so you know, there is no way to call them, only email support or chat, a common practice though.

If you will be actively using the platform within a week you should feel pretty comfortable in it.

However keep in mind that:

  • If you use course curriculum text editor, it’s very limited. You should use something else to customise your content (like WordPress) and then copy the code and paste it in Teachable.
  • Sales Page creation process – again pretty much all the sales pages on Teachable look the same. It might not be issue at start, but if you want more customisation you’ll either need to hire a programmer or use 3rd party landing page builder.

Everything else is a smooth sailing.


Teachable Additional Resources


This is something I recommend you to take full advantage of no matter which course platform you choose. Both Teachable and Thinkific offer amazing educational materials that help you become a better course creator.

  • Teachable Blog and Mailing List – they have an active blog containing lots of great resources and advice, check it out.
  • Teachable Knowledge Base – whatever your question is chances are you’ll find the answer there, I’ve been using it a lot and the right answers always seem to pop out.
  • Teachable Facebook Group – the community is very active and it’s a great place to ask questions not only to Teachable Customer support, but members themselves.
  • Teachable Quickstart Webinar – these webinars are a great way to learn new stuff and ask questions.
    • Also if you want to signup for their paid plan, signing up for webinar will give you unique offer with bonuses. Right now as bonus on webinar they offer:
      • The Profitable Teacher video course to help you create & launch a course
      • Course Creation Workshop Series – 11 videos from Teachable Summit featuring some successful creators
      • If you sign up for Pro ($99/mo plan) you’ll also get 8 weeks of Q&A group coaching

Three Things I LOVE About Teachable


What I LOVE about Teachable…

It’s a big deal for me to love something and while the list is not long, there is a list and it matters!

First of all I really like Teachable focus on sales & marketing.

When they create a Checkout Process and offer a marketing tool like 1-Click-Checkout they make it GREAT out of the box!

They have a converting checkout page with 1-Step process, allowing you to add testimonials, guarantee badges and you’re done!

Same for 1-Click Upsell on Thank you page.

The most effective Upsell is a clean page showing that payment went through and trying to upsell customers on ONE TIME OFFER they will never see again!

This one click upsell is just done very well, it will make you feel like marketing ninja!

You just pick the video, add coupon code, customise ACCEPT/DECLINE buttons and you’re done!

These pages look professional, secure and they convert! This matters a lot!

The second thing I LOVE about Teachable is the flexibility you can have with their other marketing tools like:

  • Affiliate program – you can customise the cookie length, which courses to offer affiliate on and you can let Teachable handle Affiliate commission payouts for you
  • Easily create coupons one by one or in bulk with few clicks
  • Payment Gateways – take payments yourself through Stripe or Paypal or let Teachable handle payments for you. If you choose Teachable to handle payments, all you need is a Paypal address and you’re set! Super simple!
  • Teachable handles EU VAT taxes for you (if you use them to handle payments)

Teachable does a lot to make it easy for beginners starting out. You really don’t have an excuse by saying that you don’t want to mess with taxes, legalities, payment processing, refunds.

Thirdly and finally, I do love how much Teachable’s educates you to become at course creating and selling:

  • take advantage of their free webinars
  • on their blog there is a lot of value
  • and they have a very strong and vibrant Facebook Group community.

It really does feel like a tribe.

*Note that you don’t need to be paying customer to take advantage of this community, if you choose so.


Three Things I HATE About Teachable


Now lets talk about some red flags you should consider.

  1. There is NO WAY to completely white-label your Teachable school on ANY plan!

Even on PRO plan, you are getting indications that Teachable is used on their secure checkout & URL’s and its HORRIBLE for branding!
Teachable is not trusting you to be able to run trusted SSL website, and this lack of white-labelling pisses me off!

Here’s an example from SmartPassiveIncome Patt Flynn course checkout page.

Maybe you aren’t such a branding maniac as I am, but I personally hate this lack of customization.

For some it could be a deal-breaker.

I understand Teachable must do it when they handle the payments, but they could provide the chance for people who use their own Payment gateways with Stripe & Paypal to have their own secure URL’s.

But this also marks a difference between Teachable and Thinkific. Teachable focuses on beginner audience, making it as EASY as possible for new course creators to get started. And I get it.

But for PROs this will cause some headache, though Patt Flynn doesn’t seem to mind.
The only way to avoid this is by having your own checkout process with 3rd party integration, but that will obviously cost you extra.

  1. Lack of customisation your school’s design, course & sales pages.

This is something that I know Teachable is working on, but as it is now, customisation is horrible.

You can easily tell which school is hosted on Teachable, because the design for all of them look the same. Colors may differ, but everything else is the same.

These pages get the job done yes, but since my background is a web designer, it is hard for me to accept outdated designs and lack of advanced page builder and themes.

The way to hack this is by using 3rd party landing page builders like Leadpages or WordPress and linking directly to Teachable’s purchase page.

Other way is that if you like HTML/CSS then you can use their Power Editor or hire a programmer/ Teachable expert to help you “prettify it” – but it will cost you extra cash and time.

Kinda destroys the beauty of being able to do everything yourself without hiring other people.

The reason why I am upset about this is because I used Teachable, when it was used UseFedora and their sales pages, editor looked pretty much the same. But it’s not 2014 anymore.

Not cool.

Look at SmartPassiveIncome landing page as inspiration, Patt does use minimal design to his advantage..!

  1. Lack of Intuitive Design & Getting Started Videos in Backend

I love using all the apple products. I wouldn’t change my Macbook Pro or iPhone for anything (except maybe newer Apple model).

And that’s my problem, it’s not a joy to edit course curriculum or their other features, except only their marketing, sales and reporting tools.

Teachable is great at TECH stuff, but they are not as good YET on creating intuitive backend.

I tell this only because I experienced such a huge contrast in Thinkific experience.

I cannot tell that technically Thinkific is better, there are very close in terms of functionality.

Just that Thinkific in overall is much more joy to use. It just feels nice to create a course there with only exception is that I don’t like how they do their Thank You & Checkout pages.

When you encounter new functionality on Teachable there is no video to explain it. Instead you gotta go to Knowledge base yourself and find answers.

Hacker kinda way.

I care about these little things and I admit that Apple has spoiled me quite a bit.


Current State and Future of Teachable


Teachable with its CEO Ankur Nagpal have been around since 2013 and are growing quickly.

I like how Teachable has rebranded themselves and have solved their huge Customer Support issues. Their focus on giving good marketing & sales tools to their customers is admirable.

Teachable is showing how they can grow successfully and scale without loosing their focus and key qualities.

I was worried about that since Teachable has received in total $12.5 million and has over 20 investors with their recent announcement of raising $4 million.

This is something to keep an eye on, since Teachable plans to become profitable by the end of 2018. If they will be raising extra money in future that could be a cause for a concern.

The great thing in Online Course Platform market is competition.

I admit it makes life harder for consumers, who need to sift and sort to make the correct choice of software, but it also means that because of this race for the 1st place we will get better service.

Teachable is going head on with Thinkific and they are exchanging equality powerful blows back and forth.

I know I bashed Teachable on their outdated backend design tools, but I know they will be updating it very soon and I CANNOT wait for it!

It’s been about time.

That being said Teachable makes for a good choice of online course platform and if you are leaning towards using Teachable – don’t wait more and signup for their free plan and give it a test drive!


Final Words: Conclusion


Teachable has an edge on making things simple for creators to get started.

Where they lack in design flexibility, they compensate with marketing & sales tools.

Does It Work?

Absolutely. I never had issues with payouts and when I started it was an easy option to choose to get introduced to the world of course creators.

It takes time to learn it, but it’s absolutely powerful solution!

If your business fits the criteria, make a little commitment, run with it and never look back.

Recommendation

Would I recommend Teachable?

Yes, I would.. and I do a lot.

That said I want it to be crystal clear that just as with Thinkific I will reserve the recommendations of Teachable to only individuals or companies that I know would be a good fit for it long term (read full comparison here).

It’s true, Teachable will work for any online course solution, but I don’t think it’s the best solution for everyone. The more advanced you grow, the more little details matter to your and your business well being.

If you already know Teachable is a fit for you and your business, go and sign up right now.

There is no point of questioning yourself for too long and being paralysed and ending up doing nothing.

That’s the worst kind of path you could ever go.

I don’t wish you that.

Take action, whatever the decision.

You can always message me if you still have pressing question!


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