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While online education has been popular for years in the online marketing space, it has suddenly boomed in the author world along with other craft and hobby niches.
In today's show, I discuss this shift and how you can easily build your own online courses with Ankur Nagpal from Teachable.com.
In the intro, I mention how I'm getting along with dictation (fantastically well!), the news that Penguin Random House sold Author Solutions, and that I booked my flights to Austin, Texas for the Smarter Artist Summit in March. I also talk about this great podcast documentary about ecommerce in India from BBC World, which makes it clear that we're only in the very early days of online shopping in India, so exciting times ahead!
This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.
Ankur Nagpal is the founder and CEO of Teachable, a site for creating and selling online courses.
You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher or watch the video here, read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.
- Why online courses have exploded in the last year to 18 months
- What non-fiction and fiction authors can offer courses on, and how to know if a course will sell.
- The steps to take to create a course, including the beginning steps to take and the tools you'll need.
- On the different types of experience you can create – audio, audio and video, slides, screen shots etc.
- What makes a successful sales page for a course, including the importance of the right type of copy and images.
- The differences between Teachable and sites like Udemy
- What Ankur sees as the future of online education.
You can check out Teachable here.
Transcription of the interview with Ankur Nagpal
Joanna: Hi everyone I'm Joanna Penn from thecreativepenn.com and today I'm here was Ankur Nagpal. Hi Ankur.
Ankur: Hi Joanna it's great to be here.
Joanna: Yes, it's great to have you on the show. A very brief introduction. Ankur is the founder and CEO of teachable.com. A site for creating and selling online courses. Which is super exciting.
Give us a little bit more background about you Ankur. What's your entrepreneurial background?
Ankur: I am in the very fortunate position to have never held a real job in my life!
I started out building Facebook applications my freshman summer, summer of 2007 did that through most of my college years and the year after. And built a pretty successful business just building and selling Facebook Applications that were very successful but added negligibly little value in the world. Things like personality quizzes, friend quizzes, send your friends a gift. I did that for a few years.
It was good because it exposed me to the world of entrepreneurship and after that I was like “I can't get a job now. I can't have a boss. Can't deal with that stuff.” And then I reached a point where right after that I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. Moved to New York and I started doing a little bit of online teaching. On Udemy I was doing a bit of teaching in person and general assembly. I started to believe in the world of online courses. But the solutions out there at the time just didn't really resonate with me.
As a teacher I wanted something better and that's how we built teachable. It started out as a side project. Just something I built for my own courses, for my buddy Conrad's courses, and before we knew it we started working with other people and this became what it is today.
Joanna: I wanted to ask you because many of us, including myself, we've been doing online courses for years. Online courses is not new.
What has happened in the last probably year, 18 months that have made it seem as if online education has just gone nuts? What is the shift that's happening in the world?
Ankur: I think it's one of those things and I hate bringing up Malcolm Gladwell and all that stuff, but you know the tipping point right?
It generally takes several years of something happening before it kind of reaches escape velocity and becomes more significant.
I think that's all that it is. I compare it to even the world of mobile games. Mobile games have existed for 15 years. But it truly hit velocity and acceleration about five to six years ago. And the same thing is happening with online education. Things happen slower than you think it does. 5-10 years ago that was early and it just kind of now hit critical mass and things are accelerating.
Of course, it's compounded by the fact that traditional education may or may not be that useful.
But I see a lot of people comparing the kinds of online courses we sell, the kinds of online courses you sell, as an alternative to education. What's interesting is that most people taking these courses have also gone through formal education. It's not even an alternative. If more additive. It's more lifelong learning. Learning what to do after traditional education.
But I think it's just critical mass that has been hit along with the fact that right now we are producing a lot more video and photos than any generation. Recording video has become so easy now. And recording high quality video that sounds good is becoming more and more commoditized. And it's only going to happen further. I think those factors have contributed to the growth of online education.
Joanna: I think I agree with you. And also like you said it's more ‘just in-time' education. I don't want to spend four years doing a marketing course. But I'm happy to pay for a small course on something specific like say Facebook ads. Is that it as well?
That the courses that are coming out are more granular and more specific than just a degree sized thing?
Ankur: Yup and I think the other big difference is they're all, at least the successful courses we've seen, are outcome oriented.
There is a clear transformation. A clear outcome you achieve out of the course. It's not a credential.
You're not doing it because you have to. There's one specific outcome you want to get. And the flip side of that, is that as a course creator you should always think about what is the one outcome for a student?
What is the one transformation? Because that's what the successful courses are right now.
You mentioned Facebook ads for authors has a very clear outcome of what happens for you. Who is this for? And what is the outcome for completing the course? Which is different from traditional education. Where very often Philosophy 101 does not have a specific outcome for that course. And what's succeeding now is courses with an outcome.
Joanna: And do you think also that people are more happy to pay for things online? Like is that the other tipping point?
Ankur: I think we talked about that before but yes people are much more comfortable spending money online. That's right from my mom who is a non believer in eCommerce. That just seems like this bizarre concept. I have these long list of things I'm supposed to order, because she doesn't live in America but she sends me specific lists of, “Hey, go online and order this this and this. Go here order that.” That is just one anecdotal example but yeah we spend more money online all the time and this has kind of jumped on that bandwagon.
Joanna: The listeners are authors and they have books some are fiction some are nonfiction. Because of course the great thing is that people pay more for a course then they do for a book.
What are the types of courses that nonfiction and fiction authors can be thinking of creating?
Ankur: For nonfiction authors it's obviously a lot easier. Because a lot of times a course is almost the same content just delivered in an interactive format.
It's a little more outcome oriented but there's a lot of successful authors at least in the non-fiction world. Right off the top of my head David Kadavy or “Design for Hackers” created a video course almost as an afterthought but the video course ended up making about 10 times more money than the book. We helped Ryan Holiday put together “Growth Hacker Marketing” which was from a $2.99 Kindle eBook to a $25-30 course that's now sold thousands of units.
And in these cases for them it was mostly just taking what you already have and making it a little more outcome oriented, having the messaging be a little tighter.
Almost like those terrible fitness ads. The before and after. You paint the picture of the after a little stronger. It's the same content delivered interactively. Some elements are pretty easy to add. A lot of people found it valuable to be able to ask the author questions. That's something that you can do intercourse pretty easily. So you add that kind of stuff. We added a couple of quizzes and interactive exercises. And that was enough for a $30, $40, $50 course.
When you get to the hundreds of dollars you want to have it completely professionally produced. But the content is very, very similar for a nonfiction book.
For a fiction book it's a little bit different because you need to think about what the outcome is. You need to think about “what is someone getting from my course?” I've seen a lot of fiction authors kind of do what I guess Nick Stevenson has done, what Mark Dawson has done, where they have gotten very good at one very specific part of the fiction writing process and they sell that knowledge. Their outcome is, “I'll show you how to market. I'll show you how to write.”
For fiction authors I would try and think about what else they are interested in.
Almost starting from scratch. But you have a natural advantage because you're a creator. You know how to create. So you still have an advantage but chances are it's not going to be related to the book unless you're using yourself as the example and you're selling the art of fiction writing. You're selling the art of marketing fiction. Something along those lines.
Joanna: So it's still a nonfiction spin on a fiction topic.
The biggest question I get is, “How do I write a novel?” So I'm going to do a “how to write a novel” course but it'll be my spin on it. And the same with any books.
I can do a course on how to write a novel and it will be completely different to somebody else's course on the same topic.
So that's fine as well isn't it? Doing things that other people have done before.
Ankur: Yep, and we see this a lot. I do believe we're all qualified to teach in our own unique way because we've all had our unique experiences.
No two teachers are alike. For someone in the world you are a more effective teacher then some other perceived expert. Maybe because their life path looks like yours. Maybe they can relate to you better. I keep talking about the example about John and Elliot from Bitfountain. They taught people how to build iPhone apps and they were not traditional programmers.
They had no qualified degree. They were competing against very large companies who taught iPhone programming. But their unique spin of being two guys that are self taught, that struggle to learn programming and finally taught themselves. That narrative was so much more compelling and it made them better teachers. It's the same thing I see a lot of people worried about, “Hey I'm not qualified to teach.” Chances are you have something unique in your story that makes you a more effective teacher to certain people. So it doesn't matter if someone else has taught it you can put your own unique spin on it.
Joanna: Exactly. It's like podcasting. There's lots of podcasts and people listen to the ones that they enjoy and that they resonate with. So it's a similar thing. No, that's cool.
How should they start? We've got people who've written books. I've written loads of books.
How do people know which topics are going to actually sell?
And is there a way for them to sort of gauge interest in potential topics before they spend a lot of energy creating something?
Ankur: So two things. One, I would always stay focused on the transformation. What do you think is the most valuable transformation you can bring to a student?
Literally that's what it comes down to. So for instance you have a lot of different topics. For each topic think about what is the most compelling transformation I can bring to a student. So say I'm interested in three topics. How to write a novel – the transformation is you can teach someone how to write a novel. Chances are that might be the strongest transformation you can bring.
Then just try pre-selling it. Are people willing to buy? Is anyone willing to buy this concept? And chances are even if a few people buy you can talk to them find out why they bought and refine the angle just enough to make more people buy. If no one buys then back to the drawing board.
Joanna: Well then I'm interested in your experience of all the courses you have on your platform. Obviously you mentioned the transformation.
What are some good examples of courses that are just selling bucket loads?
Ankur: That's what's amazing is how specific some of them are and how it's just stuff we don't think about. We have a very expensive course that's doing really well now teaching actors to give great auditions.
That's something I don't think about. One of the common myths is all the courses that do well are about selling courses or making money online. But we're seeing such an amazing depth.
We have someone recently doing really well selling courses that prepare you for the Florida Board of Cosmetology. So some absurdly specific topics. We have a course doing very well on growing medical marijuana.
Joanna: Of course for medical use only.
Ankur: Yes, for medical marijuana. So they are legally covered. The diversity of courses is very, very interesting to see.
Another story that I am specifically proud of is we had a watercolor teacher, Angela, who was a little hesitant at first because the only courses she saw succeeding were programming, marketing, design. But now she is consistently making at least $5,000 a month selling watercolor painting courses.
Which is exactly what she's always wanted to do. And personally we are trying to push more and more of that stuff. We have guitar classes doing really, really well now. Just seeing that kind of stuff.
The biggest difference between people teaching watercolor painting or guitar and people teaching marketing is people teaching marketing can charge more per unit. Courses that in some way relate to money can charge more.
But a lot of the guitar guys make it up by selling 10 times more units. So it doesn't necessarily impact your income. It does impact your economics because you need to sell more copies if you're selling something random. But back to the specific question about what classes we see doing well, it literally changes every single month. The same person, much to Mark Dawson's sadness, has never been our top earner for two months in a row. Ever. Or even for two months period.
Joanna: I think that's great and I think as, like you say, the guitar, the tutorial, the watercolor thing that has to be taught through video.
I mean its almost no point in buying a book on how to do watercolors. You actually need to see it. Don't you?
Ankur: Even something like cooking right? Cookbooks are such a popular genre of book but it lends itself to video so much better.
Joanna: That's a really good point actually. Obviously one of the good ways of marketing of course is to have a book with a link to a course.
Ankur: Yep, it's certainly interesting. There's two things that we've seen done. One is obviously using a book to market a course. We are actually talking to Nick Stephenson about that and that's one of his biggest ways of building traffic. Growing leads. Distribute a book for free, direct traffic with some kind of lead magnet and then sell them the course.
We have been exploring the other avenue with Ryan Holiday where his publisher wanted to move books. So we bundled in a book sale with every single course sale. Because dude's working with Random House. They're still a few years behind evaluating things in order of books.
But we helped him sell another thousand units of a paperback book. As an author if you evaluated what's important to you right now maybe you are making a run for the rankings or something and you really want to push copies of the book you can use courses for that too. It very seldom makes financial sense unless the goal is you want to get on a bestseller list or something. But I've seen both strategies work and they're very complimentary.
Joanna: If people actually want to then build a course what are the steps that they need to go through in terms of preparing the material before they get on to the technology?
Ankur: It depends if they're going the pre-sale route or not. Let's pretend they're not going the pre-sale route. In that case the first thing you need is and anyone writing a book is familiar with this is an outline. And the way we tell people to do with courses is to think about your transformation.
What is the outcome? And your outline is just kind of a path to the transformation. The path to the thing.
What I recommend is first coming up with an outline of steps someone needs to take to complete their transformation. Under each step have shorter lectures that help you accomplish that specific step. And then that's almost your curriculum or whatever you want to call it.
And then each smaller section is just a video you record.
If it's your first course I recommend keeping it simple you can even use PowerPoint or Keynote. Basic slides and just talking over slides is good enough for your first course. The most important thing at this stage for someone creating their first course is to not be a perfectionist. Just understand the difference between a book and a course. A course is a living product. A book is not. Yeah you can edit your book and so forth but a book once it's out there, it's out there. Courses are interactive.
You can release one module of the course, talk to your students, and then release the second. And the biggest mistake I see people make is not internalizing that. Editing their own videos over and over. Being perfectionist about an “um” or an “ah.”
But what you realize when you ship a course is your course gets better after you talk to people taking it rather than you editing your videos over and over.
Joanna: I agree. The same with podcasting. I try not to edit a lot of this and I know I say “you know” a lot. But human communication when it's more face to face which works on video is people forgive a lot more than they do on a page.
As authors we get emails that say, “Oh, your grammar was wrong” or “you made a typo” and you never get that with videos or with audio, do you? It just doesn't happen.
Ankur: It's more normal. It's more natural. And I'm a huge fan.
I feel the other advantage we have with courses is we're best case scenario in year 10, year 15 of courses. And books we're in year 2000. I don't know. How long have books been around? This is an art form that has been perfected and standards are higher. With courses people are more forgiving. I think twenty years from now courses will look very different. But right now people are forgiving.
As a teacher your focus should only be on getting students to the transformation.
Again back to the Bitfountain guys they never show their face on camera until they made 2 million dollars in course sales. Things that we think are important aren't necessarily important for certain topics if we help people reach the results they want. And they did. They had people go from a $30,000 job to a $70,000 job as a starting programmer. When you bring about that kind of transformation, so what if your slides aren't that pretty.
Joanna: Exactly. And people are paying for the result. So once we've got the outline and I agree it is similar to a book, you kind of are structuring things and then you're breaking the outline down into smaller even smaller chunks.
How do authors go ahead and actually record that material? What are some of the tools that they're going to need?
Ankur: I would recommend starting by keeping it simple. If you're on a Mac use Keynote. If you are on a Windows computer use PowerPoint.
It'd be nice if you recorded your face in the bottom right corner. You don't have to. I've seen courses succeed without it. Tools we've used on Mac; ScreenFlow is something we use a lot. People on Windows recommend Camtasia. I've not used it personally.
As long as you find something that records your screen it almost doesn't matter. If you want to be really quick you can record video within PowerPoint and Keynote too.
The goal here is to just get your stuff done. Get your module out there and start having people go through it. Just start having students buy it. If you give away a few free copies. Get feedback from real students who want to solve this problem.
Joanna: I've use ScreenFlow and Keynote and I have my little face down in the corner and I like that.
I think people like to see your face. But hearing your voice is important as well. I think the audio is almost more important. Do you see any purely audio with slide downloads?
Ankur: A lot. I would say a majority of our courses are slides and audio.
And it's totally fine but I think a lot of people when they're first starting out I don't know if the word is self-conscious, but they don't want to put their face on camera. That happens. And I felt like that initially. My first course did not and it was all slides. And then I realized if I just put my face on camera I don't sometimes even make slides. I save so much time it's worth it. But then after a while it's a process a lot of people go through where they're, “Hey I don't want to show my face on camera.” Two videos in they're “screw it. Let's just do it.” First course that question comes up a lot.
Joanna: It's something you get used to. Same with podcasting. I mean I don't like my voice. Never have but you get over it. And your voice never sounds the same to other people right. I think the human connection is super important as well. Obviously we can't go into everything now and I'll do some links in the show notes so people can see a bit more detail on technology.
But after they've made their videos can you just explain how Teachable works in the set up? Because many people are scared of the technology around course hosting.
Ankur: Our goal is to make you not worry about technology.
So what that means is we give you everything you need to create, sell, distribute, deliver online courses. In the past we've had to use WordPress like 10 different plugins or something. We give you an easy to use interface where you just upload your content and set a price, pick some nice images and colors, and you're good to go. If you want to be more advanced we let you do a lot of things.
Like affiliates. You can set up authors in your school for automatic payout. You can bundle courses together. Sell a subscription.
You can completely customize your sale space.
There's a lot of advanced features but at its core the most simple idea is we don't want you to worry about technology. I think it was actually you that said it, “Look I'm a writer. I'm a creator. I want to create. I want to write. I want to create. I want to teach. I don't want to spend my time dealing with plugins. I value my time too highly to deal with technology.” You described exactly what we're trying to be.
Joanna: Yes, and I should say to everybody I went through a process of thinking that I would build my own self-hosted thing and just got to the point of bashing my head against the wall saying, “I hate this. I do not want to deal with all these silly plugins.”
Because actually it is easy on Teachable but it's not easy without a hosted platform.
So it's similar to you like people using WordPress as a website. It's easy if you use WordPress. But if you're trying to build something from scratch yourself it's really hard. So that is very cool. And then one of the most difficult things I think for anybody is a sales page. Which you do need.
There has to be a way for someone to click a button to buy the course and you do need some text around that. What are some of your tips for sales pages?
Ankur: The biggest thing is use Teachable. We've tested our sales pages a lot.
Honestly what's important with the sales page is and there's a lot of great books on writing sales copy and so forth but the biggest one lesson is no one cares about you.
It's what you could do for the student.
It's not “Hey, I've done XYZ.” It's what are you going to do for me and why? Social proof is obviously huge. For instance on our sales page editor we've made a really easy way to add testimonial blogs. You pick someone's picture, you pick a quote from them and it just looks like a good testimonial. So on a sales page that's what's really effective.
Just keeping the copy focused on what is the outcome for the student. What am I getting? Along with social proof of other people have gotten it.
And I've said it somewhat facetiously that you should use Teachable but I do think a couple of things we do are very useful. One is by uploading a couple of nice images the page looks good. I think aesthetics are incredibly important when someone's at a purchasing decision.
Design can be seductive.
And if you have a sales page that looks great that helps a lot. The other thing that's important is having it be your brand. Your brand, your domain for instance can also sometimes ad the professional edge where it concerns.
And of course this is obvious to people that have been selling online products but clearly stated risk reversal. Which means somewhere on the page you boldly call out the fact that “hey, if you invest in this and this is not for you you get 100% of your money back” and maybe you even keep something. But those are the critical components of a good sales page.
Joanna: And what are the differences between teachable and a site like Udemy? Because a lot of people have heard of Udemy and so what are the differences?
Ankur: So Udemy fundamentally is a marketplace. The positive marketplace like Udemy is they do all the marketing for you. The negative of Udemy is…well there's several. And I still feel Udemy for a lot of people, especially when they're starting out, does have its place. So when I say negative it's not even a hard diss it's more the pros and cons.
The pros are they do the marketing for you. The cons are you don't get an email address. So ultimately you're not really building a business. You're making a little bit of side money. You can't build a business without having someone's email address. It has a reputation for almost being the Kmart of online education.
The discount…they are going to sell all their courses for $10. Well, we talked a lot about how you should charge more. Be the premium product in your space. Udemy also has the risk of if you do your marketing for your Udemy course, people will get cross sold competitive courses. Which is if you bring someone to how to write a novel on Udemy they'll get ten other courses on how to write a novel from other people.
Joanna: Which might be cheaper. And they would buy those.
Ankur: Udemy courses are commoditized. And you don't want your education to be a commodity. So I think Udemy can be an okay place to start but once you find your feet you want to move to your own platform. And even then you don't want to put your best material on Udemy you want to put quick commoditized courses that you're okay with being a commodity with the goal of eventually…you just cannot have your premium course on Udemy. There's just no way. It's just not worth it.
Joanna: I agree and the discounting is a problem there where people have put it up say for $250 and then suddenly they see it for sale at $10. And they're, “what just happened?” So I think if people do use Udemy … I've read all the terms and conditions and it was getting crazy so I agree that teachable is definitely better if you have some way of selling, at least.
And I think that's the big point isn't it? If somebody builds a course on teachable nobody is going to just stumble upon on it.
Ankur: We do get the odd person getting lucky on Google. But bigger picture no.
Joanna: So it is for authors who do have a platform or who are building a platform and can send traffic to it.
Ankur: The alternative, which some people have done without a platform without a traffic, is affiliates.
If you have someone with an audience who likes your content and is willing to sell it for you…we have an inbuilt affiliate program and you can use that as a way of selling it. Where the entire sales strategy is affiliates.
But yes, in general, that's still something you need to think about. Is how am I going to sell this? How am I going to distribute this? And we help people learn marketing funnels so forth but you need to internalize that and learn that.
Joanna: But as we said at the beginning one of the really good ways to have a book that has a link to a course. So people have paid say $5.99 for an eBook they may well be interested in a video course on the same material. So taking it further I think that's something that is accessible to all authors who sometimes turn away in horror from other marketing. So that's really good. We've talked a bit about the benefit of the hosted service.
I pay Teachable a monthly amount and then instead of having to maintain all of the technology you guys do all that. Just mention some of the other things you have that make the platform stand out like the video stuff.
Ankur: We don't charge for a lot of stuff people charge for.
We've got unlimited hosting. Unlimited video bandwidth. So for a lot of people you just save more money on video when you join. Unlimited courses, students, and so forth. We have some people running schools with 100,000 plus students and that's all included.
Traditionally there's been two kinds of software. There's been the internet marketers building stuff that's very, very good at marketing but in a really bad student experience. Then you have the traditional learning management systems that have a lot of education features but are not built to sell.
We tried to marry those two together.
And give teachers a powerful tool that helps some on the ecommerce side. So you can have multiple pricing plans per course. Charge monthly. Charge annually. Do affiliates. Do authors. Have a hundred different currencies. Bundle your courses. Do all these really cool commerce things.
On the other hand we try to focus on the student experience too so students have a nice lecture player. Students can make their video go faster or slower. Students can track their progress in courses. I'm trying to merge those two ideas together and build teachable.
Joanna: And you're adding things all the time aren't you?
Ankur: Yep, we're now 16 people in New York City. And culture wise it's also the difference. We're not built by internet marketers. I love a lot of internet marketers they're my friends but we have different priorities right? If an internet marketer releases a course hosting tool their goal is either to have a million dollar launch for their course hosting tool so that they can build a new version a year from now two years from now.
For us this is our software. We're going to do this forever. We are purely a software company.
We have raised venture capital to be a software company. Every single person on the team works everyday to make the software better. And that's what I think in time is also going to make a big difference. This is the one thing we do. This is 100% of what we do and everyday there's 16 people that come into work everyday trying to make this better. So I think culturally that's the difference between us and a lot of other marketing tools.
Joanna: I have been very impressed by your enthusiasm and your passion for this. And the platform which is excellent. So people on the show will know that I'm really hot for virtual reality and I'm a bit of a futurist.
Do you see online education moving to VR (virtual reality)? What do you see coming in the next 5 to 10 years?
Ankur: So I will caveat this with the fact that I am not specifically a VR enthusiast but it's common sense. It has to right? I don't know much about VR but it has to. It would be naive to think it wouldn't. Again what I would be a little concerned about, not concerned about, is time frames are always very hard to predict. Because for a long time this is something that only a few enthusiasts do and then it gets mainstream and then again it hits a critical mass where it goes crazy.
But I was actually watching a talk by Peter Gruber the owner of the Warriors. He is very heavily invested in VR and he thinks a lot about bringing the stadium experience to your home. I think the same thing has to happen with education.
Where whatever the perceived values of being in an actual classroom environment all of that stuff, you can bring that. I think there will be two stages. The first stage is you bring those experiences to the home. You bring the experience of being in a classroom. And then there'll be a bit of soul searching.
But is the classroom experience the best? Can we build immersive experiences that teach by doing? And I think that will be the next wave that's more exciting.
Joanna: As you say it will be a while off.
Ankur: Yeah, it's hard to predict. I don't know if will necessarily be a while off. Its just I don't want to try and predict these things because it's just very hard to. And personally I believe as an educator or as a company in this space I personally believe in letting it happen and then reacting really fast, than trying to be at the forefront of it. Unless we're doing it for passion. If you're passionate about it then yeah, it totally makes sense. But if you are thinking strategically I would wait until it's happening and then react really fast rather than trying to be the first person in the space.
Joanna: I mean it's funny in that way that podcasting really only…I guess 2014 it really took off didn't it? And video courses were at the end of 2015 as we record this. So getting into video courses now is a good idea right? It's not too late to get into this it's actually just the start of a boom.
Ankur: Yep, if not we are going to be out of business. No, it is. And I also say that facetiously because the mission behind the company is not to be a video course hosting platform.
The mission behind our company is we think the best teachers of the future are entrepreneurs and we want to empower them.
And right now video courses is the best tool of doing that. But if VR becomes a thing that's what we will do. Our goal and what we ultimately think about all the time is how can we empower more teacher entrepreneurs? More people that are not just teachers but running their entire business themselves?
Making a financial gain from their teaching. Because for too long I feel like those two things have been divorced. Like the idea of being a teacher and almost being a capitalist making more money when you teach better or whatever those concepts have been divorced. And we believe that you're going to have better, more motivated teachers with that financial outcome. And there could be full time teachers, self-employed teachers and that's what we're excited about.
Joanna: Fantastic. So where can people find you and teachable online?
Ankur: Awesome. Teachable is at teachable.com. For people who are watching this that have heard of fedora we used to be called fedora.com. We are now teachable.com. Personally I think the best way of getting in touch with me is on Twitter. I try and maintain an active Twitter and then mostly fail but it's still probably the best way of getting in touch. It's my full name Ankur Nagpul on Twitter.
Joanna: Fantastic. Thanks so much for your time Ankur that was great.
Ankur: Thanks Joanna it's been a lot of fun.
Suzanne Grosser says
You inspire me and I always come away from the show with new ideas and renewed energy.
I am thrilled to learn about Teachable! I have a course I took down last January to avoid the hosting (and VAT) hassles. Looks like it’s time to spiff that up a bit and get it back out there.
Thank you both!
Debra Eve says
I’m right in the middle of this process at the moment. I’ve been wary of teaching platforms that move the student away from the author platform, such as Ruzuku and Udemy, so I’ve been looking at WordPress plugins. But I looked at the examples on Teachable, Ankur, and noticed they are branded to the teacher’s URL. Will definitely check it out. Great information here, thank you!
Joanna Penn says
I went through the process of building a new site and using plugins Debra, but the number you need to serve the various payment methods e.g. subscriptions and one off sales, as well as Stripe and Paypal, plus the various design decisions, was a total pain. I decided to focus on creation rather than the tech side, and am much happier 🙂
Debra Eve says
Thanks, Joanna. That’s really helpful info. I’m playing with a few plugins right now, but haven’t gotten to the payment side yet. Will definitely give Teachable a closer look!
Joanna Penn says
You have to weigh up how much time you want to spend in integration and tech pain – you get the benefit of controlling everything, but also the downside of having to deal with all that. I like not having to worry about tech and just focusing on the creative side!
Jason Tremere says
Really enjoyed this post, but I must tell you, the transcript contains a funny typo:
Joanna Penn says
I’m going to leave that there as it’s a good one 🙂