Teachable Vs Thinkific: Why I Slunk Back, Tail Between My Legs!

Teachable Vs Thinkific: Read why I slunk back with my tail between my legs!

Teachable Vs Thinkific: Why I Slunk Back, Tail Between My Legs!

When it comes to hosting digital products online that you will sell as courses, as well as other digital products, you have several options:

Online course hosts

Please note that this post contains *affiliate links to products that I use and love. If you click through using one of my links, it won’t cost you anything more, but I may receive a small commission at some point – which will help me increase my fabric stash!

  • *Teachable
  • Thinkific
  • Kanjabi
  • Podia (formerly known as MyCoach)

Online Digital Product Hosts

  • Gumroad
  • Sendowl
  • PayHip
  • Easy Digital Download

Of all these listed, I have tried them all, and use Teachable now for my courses, membership and design blueprints, and Gumroad for digital sewing planners and patterns. It’s a system that works.

Why I Started With Teachable Vs Thinkific

When I first registered for an online course host I turned to *Teachable. I bought a one year annual plan, during a summit they ran back in early 2016. I didn’t really use it much at that point, and ended up wasting much of the $399 that I spent, because I wasn’t ready to launch anything at that point.

Fortunately, I recouped some of it, when I signed up for Blog to biz Hive from Melyssa Griffin. In that, I had a voucher for 3 months of the pro plan included in my purchase, which was worth $299, so I felt it evened out. 🙂

My First Course on Teachable

I planned out and set up my first digital product – an online sewing course – and opened the cart for sales, in December 2016. With a waitlist of a couple hundred people, I only made ONE sale and the person requested a refund shortly afterwards.

I was gutted.

I curled up in a ball, drank some red wine, read some books, and then eventually re-emerged ready to crack on having gotten over my pity party.

I surveyed my audience to find out what the problem was. Apparently, you can get a lot of sewing courses for free online. Or much cheaper.

I took that information and pondered my options.

At heart, I’m a pattern maker – and could spend all day drafting away. So, the disheartening result actually worked in my favour, because I decided to step into teaching what I love and enjoy most – pattern making!

My Epic Freebie Lead Magnet

I created an amazing 21 day free email course as my new lead magnet, with the help of ByRegina’s ‘Get You First Sale Already’ on-line course, and called it ‘Pattern Making Basics’.

I set it up in *ConvertKit, to drip out each day.

While my readers where working through it, I decided that I wouldn’t create another course – I would create a membership site, that would have new content each month.

Because of my bad experience with the sewing course, I decided to switch platforms. I researched Teachable vs Thinkific, and most seemed in favour of Teachable… and yet, off I went to Thinkific. 😮

Why I Didn’t Stay True To Teachable

Going back to those Teachable vs Thinkific reviews I read; I had read that Thinkific were great for setting up membership sites, and that I would get paid right away. Over on Teachable, if I use their basic or free plan, and so use their payment gateway, I had to wait up to eight weeks for payment. Yikes!

At the time, I really didn’t like this aspect. Why should I have to wait to receive my pay, when my students had been able to access the content for so many weeks?

Yet in retrospect, it makes sense. I was using Teachable’s payment gateway, and if my students were going to request a refund, Teachable would need to honour it. Which meant holding onto my money for 30 days.

But, let me backtrack a moment..

Who I Left Teachable For

I walked away from Teachable, and dallied with Thinkific. I made my membership site over on Thinkific look all pretty, with my new beautiful new course icons, and several Thinkific templates to choose from, the front end, before you click buy, really did look beautiful.

Teachable vs Thinkific - My Thinkific School Homepage

Teachable vs Thinkific - My Thinkific School Icons


Did I mention that it was also faster to upload my videos? Yep.. 

Yet on the inside of Thinkific, not so great.

Thinkific Disappointments

There were several disappointments with Thinkific.

  1. I found that for the features I could get for free on Teachable – subscriptions? Hello! Kind of essential for memberships right? – on Thinkific I would have to pay.
  2. If I wanted to hide the courses that were bundled into my membership? On Teachable, simple, just unpublished them. Thinkific? Again, I’d have to upgrade my account. This time to pro!!
  3. And then there is the back end. My students did not like how things looked behind the homepage on Thinkific. They had seen my free resources on Teachable (I hadn’t moved everything over thank goodness) and Thinkific was different. It didn’t look as nice, it didn’t work as well, and frankly – it just wasn’t as good for them as Teachable was.

Teachable: My First Love


Teachable vs Thinkific - My Teachable School Homepage

So, I sidled back to Teachable, with my tail between my legs, and recreated my Membership there. I almost didn’t. It was only because I was getting more and more frustrated at the cost of Thinkific, just to have things set up for a launch system rather than evergreen…

And yet, sidle back I did… I even wrote a ‘will you take me back message’ in Teachable’s Facebook group:

Teachable Vs Thinkific Love Note - The Creative Curator


Why? Because I love being on a Teachable. It’s easy to use. It’s intuitive. And the best part is the Teachable Facebook group. If you have a question, you will get answers there. If not from the Teachable peeps (Noele is AMAZING) then one of the Teachable users will help you out.

My Teachable Course List

Will I Ever Change Again?

Nah. I have thought about. I still sometimes check out the costs of hosting everything on my own site. But in reality? I like having it somewhere else. Somewhere reliable. I know that if my site goes down, my students know where to go to access their courses.

I know that I can host my online courses, my membership site and in future, my sewing patterns and planners too… I completely trust Teachable, and so no, I won’t be changing again!

Do you use Teachable or Thinkific to host your online courses? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!









Comments (3)

  • Chris Davis

    April 11, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Thanks for the comments. I have experimented with both platforms, and then set-up my own…and I am moving back to one and have been debating which one.

    Thank you for also explaining that Podia was mycoach. I wondered how I had not seen them until recently.

    I too have thought about using Gumroad for downloads. In particular, I am interested in pay what you want models, and it is one of the few I can find that offers that.

    1. Eve Tokens

      July 19, 2018 at 11:04 am

      Hi Chris! Thanks for stopping by! I’ve recently been hearing some negative aspects of Podia – perhaps they’re growing faster than they’ve allowed for? I’m actually transitioning parts of my content from Teachable and Gumroad to here, as a members area – I think it helps to keep my community close. I sometimes find that days can go by and I don’t see the comments within the Teachable platform, whereas here, I’m always spotting what needs to be dealt with.
      That said, I’ll never leave Teachable completely – I love them too much! 🙂

  • Mary Schiller

    August 27, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Hi! I also love Teachable and also use Gumroad for what I would call “simpler” offerings. I have a membership on Teachable that includes a FB group, but I don’t really like using FB like that any more. I’d thought about trying Podia for a membership because it does seem like the comments might be easier to see (I don’t like the way that works in Teachable, either).

    I’ve also looked at all-in-one setups like Kartra, but I can’t find one that I like well enough.

    So it sounds like many of us are cobbling things together, which is OK. I use Zapier to connect everything, which works really well.

    In the end, I do not want to host my own e-commerce or membership site. I’ll stick with Teachable, Gumroad and maybe Podia (still deciding on that one). Curious to know what negative comments you’ve heard about Podia in case they help me decide what to do.

    Thanks for this post.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *