In this Teachable review, we look at one of the world’s most popular online learning platforms: Teachable.
Ever since online marketing experts / gurus like Jeff Walker, Frank Kern, and Brendon Burchard began touting online courses (and promoting the online course software Kajabi) as the perfect platform to monetize your skills and elevate your authority as an expert – online learning and teaching has been ultra-hot among infopreneurs, solopreneurs, coaches, etc.
But the global lockdowns of 2020 have irrevocably catapulted all things e-learning / online learning / distance learning into mainstream awareness that it’s safe to say: online learning is here to stay.
The reason is simple. Teachable is simple. It’s powerful – yet simple.
While it isn’t perfect, you’ll see it has one particular, major benefit over the alternatives.
And it honestly makes Teachable an outstanding choice. One of the best website builders for anyone wanting to build great courses, market, and sell them, successfully – and as effortlessly as possible.
Why? I’ll come back to that later in the review. But first, let’s look at something else that also distinguishes Teachable from its competitors:
Teachable has an iPhone app!
The Teachable iPhone app will let your course participants enjoy their purchased courses on their mobile phone: on-the-go, on-the-couch – and they can even download videos and other course content for offline access! Great for travel, or to save battery on-the-road, or to avoid EMF radiation from 4G/5G video streaming.
With the app, your students can stream lesson videos, access handouts, worksheets, and other course content.
They can also take lecture quizzes, view their scores, and complete lessons. All progress is, of course, synced across devices.
One thing they can’t do in the app is to comment or read comments. That’s a missed opportunity, IMO. Community is a vital part of distance learning, wouldn’t you agree?
The app is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch. While it can also be used on the iPad, it’s not optimized for its larger display. An odd choice by Teachable, as iPads (and other tablets) are perfect for online course consumption.
Then again: tablet-users can always enjoy the full desktop experience in their browser.
Now, here’s the real kicker: the app isn’t available for Android.
Still, the fact that there is an iOS app is a strong selling point! As an example, this website gets 30% more iPhone than Android visitors. So chances are, the majority of your potential customers will appreciate the ability to access your online courses in a convenient, simple app.
Teachable’s main competitor Thinkific doesn’t offer an app – for iPhone nor Android.
Teachable Payments – the Easy Way to Get Paid
Teachable’s payment processing is fundamentally different from its main competitors Thinkific, Kajabi, and Simplero. It’s a major advantage and can drastically simplify your bookkeeping and tax reporting. I’ll explain how in a minute – but first, here’s what Teachable will save you from having to bother with:
Since the EU began taxing digital services, other countries soon followed their lead.
Suddenly, digital service sites the world over had to collect and report taxes, based not on their own business’ location – but on each customer’s individual location.
The business needs to gather and store two matching pieces of “proof” of the consumer’s location, so the VAT is based on the correct country’s rate.
Registering for, calculating, and collecting EU VAT: is bothersome. Reporting it: even more so. And when it comes to bookkeeping: don’t get me started! (it is hair-pullingly frustrating…)
The rules are complex, and thresholds and rates change frequently. Staying on top and up-to-date can feel like an excruciating jungle safari. Some countries have minimum thresholds, others don’t. All the EU countries don’t. That’s a lotta countries you’ll owe taxes to, the moment you sell to individuals in them.
EU-based businesses can, of course, always input their VAT number during checkout to have VAT waived.
Digital sales taxes are a sizable burden for sellers of digital services (incl. online courses) to private consumers.
No worries though: Teachable does it for you, automatically!
The EU (masters of bureaucrazy) also introduced a Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) requiring all online payments to implement Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) – something that was bothersome and time-consuming to implement (let alone figure out) for all eCommerce sites in the EU.
Again, no worries: Teachable handles PSD2 SCA compliance too!
How Teachable Payments will Simplify Your Life
Unlike the alternatives – Thinkific, Kajabi, and Simplero – Teachable doesn’t require you to set up Stripe and PayPal accounts and connect them.
Instead, Teachable offers its own two payment options: Teachable Payments and Teachable Monthly Payments.
Using the latter, you’ll get paid monthly (obviously).
If you’re in the US or Canada, you can use the more advanced Teachable Payments to get monthly, weekly, or even daily payouts.
Here’s what’s immensely cool:
Teachable’s two native payment gateways make them the merchant (the seller). Hence it’s their responsibility, not yours, to correctly collect VAT/taxes and pay it to the respective authorities.
It means you won’t have to!
Your students buy your courses from Teachable. They receive invoices from Teachable . To avoid any confusion, your business name is included as the vendor.
The student pays Teachable, and Teachable pays you, like an independent contractor.
I can’t stress enough how fabulous this is! It makes bookkeeping WAY easier.
Don’t confuse this with marketplaces like Udemy and Skillshare, where your courses compete against those from other course creators. A Teachable school is your fully independent online course platform – on your domain. You’re 100% in control! Far from the murky waters of Udemy’s crowded fish farm.
Subscriptions can be a Bookkeeping Burden (but NOT on Teachable!)
This will particularly save you (or your bookkeeper) time if you offer subscriptions.
100 students, on a monthly subscription = 1200 transactions per year. And 500 students = 6000 transactions.
O as in “oh”.
M as in “my”.
G as in… “getdafuckouttahere dasalottawork!” 🙂
I’ve been there. And it didn’t take that many students for me to ditch the monthly subscription option – leaving only quarterly and annual plans, to ease my bookkeeping burdens.
Bonus: a regular paycheck! Yay!
As a welcome bonus, it’ll feel almost like the relative safety and consistency of a regular paycheck:)
Maybe it’s just me, but as a solopreneur, I like the idea:) How about you?
Verdict: Is Teachable Worth It?
Teachable is as capable and stable as all its closest competitors. Alternatives like Kajabi, Thinkific, Simplero, are all good choices – and so is Teachable. They’re comparable “beasts” sharing more similarities than differences, overall.
But what makes Teachable a unique online course platform, is how it simplifies billing and bookkeeping: it will relieve you of heavy, ongoing administrative burdens like EU VAT / digital sales taxes, payment authentification requirements, refunding, and similarly tedious stuff.
As a paying Teachable user since early 2018, I can wholeheartedly recommend it! I’ve experienced few to no serious issues, and as a reviewer: I wish all software was this good!
Questions? They’re welcome! Ask below! And if you’re already using Teachable – or one of its competitors: please share your experiences below!
- Unlike its competitors, Teachable can handle all the tedious stuff for you: EU VAT / taxes, affiliate partner payouts, refunds, etc. Greatly simplifies billing and relieves you of bookkeeping and admin burdens.
- Simple, consistent, combined payments – sparing you the overwhelming mess that a gazillion individual transactions can be.
- iPhone app, giving your learners/students easy, convenient access to course content/lessons.
- Learning spaces can look a bit bland by default. But that's true for its competitors Thinkific and Simplero, too.
- No export feature. Makes an eventual migration harder. Would be reassuring. At least for the blog content.
- iPhone-app is cool. Yet no app for Android-using students?? While they can always use the browser – an app would be awesome. Competitors (Thinkific & Simplero) don't have any apps at all, though.