Do you ever feel like there’s never enough hours in the day? Start reclaiming your time, by checking out these automation tools.
Side note: If you would like to check out Tailwind, you can do so for free by using this link.
Do you ever feel like there’s never enough hours in the day? Start reclaiming your time, by checking out these automation tools.
Side note: If you would like to check out Tailwind, you can do so for free by using this link.
The majority of the time, I agree with this statement. However, lately, some people seem to be under the impression that this applies to business. If you don’t believe me, take a look at some of the requests that I have I received…
I would like you to develop 65 customized social media status updates. We were hoping we could have some videos included as a part of the status updates. You would need to create the videos as well. We would like to have all of this completed within two weeks. Can you do this on a $200 budget?
Even though I’ve seen my fair share of these requests, this is still my initial reaction whenever I receive one:
Why? I’m tired of people expecting me to price my services according to Fiverr’s rates. I do a great job and my rates are affordable. I feel like there seems to be a trend in people expecting those in the creative field to work either work for pennies or for free.
Neither option is my jam. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re in business you have two options. If you don’t have the money then be willing to invest the time. If you don’t have the time then be willing to invest the money. If you chose to contact me, then it’s safe to imply that you were seeking a shortcut.
I have been working in the corporate world in the marketing arena for 14 years. I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I’m a “well-rounded” marketer. I’ve worked on small and large accounts in “traditional” and digital marketing, category management, consumer insights, marketing analysis, content creation, and project management. I KNOW the importance of marketing. Without marketing, companies would remain unknown.
Regardless of this fact, there seems to be a dismissive attitude toward those who work in the creative positions. I’m not making this up either. I’ve actually heard folks from the accounting department refer to marketing as “overhead.” This attitude seems to have permeated into the freelance sector as well. I’m guessing this is the reason why I have seen an increase in requests like the one mentioned in this post.
I’m big on education, so whenever I get these type of requests, I make sure to explain to the requestor that why I decline taking on projects for that price (especially with that tight of a deadline). Due to the fact that I’m big on creating systems and processes, it only takes me a minute to respond because I have templates for everything.
However, I know that when you compete on price it’s going to be a race to the bottom. Sadly, this is a race that way too many people are willing to participate in when they should really sit on the sidelines for the following reasons:
What do you want to be known for within your industry? If you want people to take you seriously then you need to do your homework. Oftentimes, those new to freelancing do not realize that if the client has done their homework and your prices are too low, the majority of them will continue their search for another company. Why?
Many people still associate extremely cheap prices with low-quality products and services. You want clients who are focused on quality. When your prices are too low, they are going to question your expertise. This could have easily been avoided if you had conducted market research. You will be able to learn what the average price is within your industry, expenses, etc. Don’t allow yourself to be your own worst enemy by failing to appropriately price your services.
If you plan on running a successful business, you must have repeat customers. The folks who have the something for nothing mentality aren’t interested in developing this type of relationship. The minute you raise your prices they are going to leave.
Even worse, if they decide to stay, these folks will go out of their way to find something wrong with the deliverable (i.e. product/service) so they can feel “justified” in asking for a discount which will bring them back to the price that they are accustomed to paying for or even less. Save yourself an unnecessary headache.
Your goal is to make money. The higher you sell your products/service will enable you to reduce the time you spend on acquiring new clients. You can’t do this if you’re willing to work for peanuts. If you’re pricing your products/services too low, you have to make sure you constantly have a high volume of clients in order to make a living. You’re setting yourself up to be in a situation where you will be delivering a poor quality product due to the fact that you are overworked and underpaid.
If you have a talent you should not be afraid to charge what you are worth. You should be paid for the shortcut you provide. Just because someone says, “Your prices are too high,” doesn’t mean that it’s true.
It just means that they can’t afford it and they don’t see the value in your work. Regardless of what the reason may be, they aren’t the right client for you. Don’t fight for their business. Sooner or later they will end up at Fiverr. Let them continue their journey for the cheapest price.
The quicker you do this will enable you to have the bandwidth to grow a clientele that will support your endeavor to make a decent living without losing your sanity in the process.
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I’ve got a love hate relationship with blogging. I love the ability to share what I know with others but the process of getting there…not so much. Regardless of how passionate you may be about a topic, writing a blog post can sometimes be stressful. Sometimes, I get tired just thinking about the work involved in writing a blog. Brainstorming evergreen content ideas, conducting keyword research, searching for images, etc. can all be a bit overwhelming.
After going through all that work, I want to make sure that post gets a chance to “shine” for as long as humanly possible. I definitely don’t want all that work to be in vain, so I always make sure to take time to schedule and create a repurposing game plan. I make sure to repurpose my blog content using several of the following methods:
This is an idea that is incredibly easy that a lot of people overlook. If you thoroughly enjoyed a post and you want to print it out, often times when you do so the formatting is wrong (especially a long one). You end up printing extra pages. If you’re particularly proud of that post and can’t think of a content upgrade to accompany that post, then offer it as a PDF version. Those of us who love to save trees will thank you. 😉
Place yourself in your readers shoes audit your blog posts. Pull out key phrases, statistics, etc. that you can use as social media status updates that your audience would find of interest. Craft each piece of content to that particular medium. Then create an image that will accompany that post. Share these updates across the social media platforms that your audience frequents the most.
Once you start blogging you’re going to generate enough content that will allow you to create an ebook. Once you create your ebook you can either sell it or you can give it away for free as a lead magnet.
Medium is an extremely popular website that can expose your content to an audience that you otherwise might not have reached. In case you’re concerned about Medium cannibalizing your traffic, you can stop worrying. Medium has already provided a way to ensure that your site will be viewed as the original source. Be sure to create a newsletter form using Upscribe so you can build up an email list.
Another great platform that you should consider using is LinkedIn Publisher. LinkedIn is typically viewed as the more “formal” of the social media networks. The majority of the articles are typically business related. It is an especially useful tool if you’re in between jobs. It’s a great way to catch a recruiter’s eye or your client’s attention, so you can stand out from the competition.
Did you know that over 500 million hours of video are consumed on YouTube? They are an engaging way to repurpose your content. Research indicates 74% of people who watched an explainer video purchased the product. It’s a lot easier to foster trust and explain a difficult concept by video rather than print screens. If you would like to learn how to record and edit video, then check out our Cheers to Your Courcess course.
When you conduct livestream video it allows you the ability to connect with your audience in real time. They can answer all of the questions that otherwise would have prevented them from purchasing your products or services.
I LOVE podcasts! It’s one of the few mediums that can truly be considered passive. You can listen to them while you’re sitting in traffic (you’re trapped anyway!), exercising (my personal favorite), etc. Creating a podcast and cross promoting it on your blog, YouTube, Twitter, etc. is easier than ever using Anchor. I’ve been testing Anchor out and have found it to be incredibly user-friendly. I plan on launching another blog soon and I will definitely be using this app for my podcasts.
Since my experience has gone well with the aforementioned podcast, my goal this year is to create one for Starengu. I want to start a podcast that highlights the journey of bloggers and entrepreneurs in order to inspire more people to start a blog as a creative outlet. Yes, you can make money blogging, but that shouldn’t be the main reason you choose to blog. I If you’re interested in becoming a guest, please complete this form. Don’t be shy. Share your story with us!
I don’t care how design challenged you may be, everyone possesses the ability to create a slide deck presentation. Take the best parts of your blog post and create an intriguing story with visual images. If you do it right, your story is going to compel your audience to learn more about you. If you want to work on your design skills, feel free to check out our Brazen Brand & Design, so you can take your design skills to the next level.
If your content has a lot of statistics, steps, lessons, etc. then take this as an opportunity to reinforce your point with images. Similar to Slideshare you are relying on the images to help you tell the story. However, if you were to print an infographic it would only take up one page (depending on the niche, it probably won’t fill the whole page). By the way, infographics make great pins on Pinterest. They tend to stand out more in the feed.
I am a HUGE advocate of creating email or traditional courses. Depending on your goal, topic, etc. can help you determine which route you want to take. Regardless of which choice you use, both enable you the opportunity to further help your audience know, like and trust you.
Just like the name indicates, based on the research you conducted (i.e. surveys, focus groups, online research, etc.) you will know what challenges your audience is facing. You can create a mini course specifically designed to answer of those challenges that you can quickly solve. You want to go for the quick win, anything longer needs to be a regular course.
For example, if you’re a digital marketer you could easily create an email challenge centered on ways to 3 ways to decrease blogging fatigue. Each day for 3 days you can provide quick tips that have a call to action which you would request your subscriber to perform. You can even make the challenge even more interactive by creating a private Facebook Group.
Gather some folks who are considered experts within your industry and interview them. Interviews will take some of the pressure off of you when it comes to creating content. Your conversation with the expert(s), would be a great opportunity to create an audio version of that interview.
Conduct an audit of your blog. I’m sure there are blog posts that would be as good as new if you give it a little TLC. Completely revamp the blog post or add additional new information to the old post, include additional opportunities to interlink your content to newer content and the repost your blog post.
Expand upon the blog post you wrote and create a webinar. This way people will get a chance to hear more about that topic and connect with other folks who enjoyed the content that you shared as well.
Checkout your content calendar and do a complete audit of your blog. Using Google Analytics, check to see which blog posts were the most popular. Create a blog post literally called, “(Insert your blog name) Top 10 blog posts of (i.e. insert year, category, etc.).
I’m embarrassed to say this, but I have an Amazon Merch and Spreadshirt store that I’m not using to its fullest potential. I have A LOT of ideas, but I don’t have the time to execute designing many of them. I really want to take advantage of my accounts and scale up because print on demand *can* be a lucrative side hustle if you do it right.
The best way to build your email list is to offer content upgrades (ahem like Starengu’s Repurposing Content Checklist …) that will reinforce your ability to assist them with the challenges they face. The more folks consume of your free content will ease their conscience when it comes to deciding whether to purchase your products.
Create a page on your website that enables your audience to see what type of content you have to offer. I personally place ALL of the content upgrades that I offer on my website as one BIG zip file that people will receive once they sign up for access to my content upgrades.
I know some people have a password protected page, but if your goal is to reduce the number of barriers to access your content, you may want to rethink this tactic for the following reasons (all of them based on my personal experience):
When you audit your blog posts with your content calendar, identify evergreen blog posts and incorporate them into your email campaigns.
If you forget to schedule your content, then you can use services like Missinglettr, Revive Old Post and Recurpost to do it for you. After you set them up, let them work their magic.
Regardless of whether you have a static (i.e. specified home page) or dynamic (descending blog posts) homepage (I discuss the pros and cons of this more in our Slay with WordPress course)
You can incorporate your content into your profile. You also have the ability to search for questions where your blog post can serve as the perfect answer.
You should create a Pinterest Pin for every blog post that you create (I typically create 3 to 5). Then you need to make sure that you place them on a blog that highlights your blog. Make sure that the “Best of” boards that you create are towards the front.
Before I create my blog posts, I literally work my way through this list to see which approaches will work best for that particular blog post. My content calendar helps me to quickly identify the blog posts that need another chance to “shine” again. I work way too hard to allow my blog posts to disappear into a black hole and I’m sure you do as well. Using the above mentioned ideas will keep your blog posts forever young.
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This quote always reminds me to dream big when I sit down to create my goals (I even wrote a post about it). I can’t help it because I’m a goal slayer.
It’s never too early to start planning for next year (especially since it’s right around the corner!). Why? Now is the perfect time to sit back and assess all of the “risks” that you didn’t tackle this year.
You don’t want to prolong going yet another year of asking yourself the following questions:
Guess what? You will NEVER have all of your ducks lined up in a row. Life doesn’t work that way. There will NEVER be a perfect time to achieve your dreams until you take the initiative to create it.
I’ve been in the marketing industry for over 10 years. It’s been interesting to see how things have changed, but shaking free from the excuses of getting started has consistently remained the same for many people.
I spent this entire weekend imagining all of the goals that I desire to achieve next year. I started updating my content calendar, went through my goal setting formula exercise and reevaluated my routine to see if there were any changes that I needed to make.
However, I decided that I didn’t want to wait until next year to start one of my goals. I created a Facebook group called Goal Slayers. This group is dedicated to providing bloggers and entrepreneurs the opportunity to soar to new heights online together.
My goal is to create an atmosphere that will enable people to bring the dreams that they imagine to fruition. I plan on accomplishing this feat by doing the following:
I’ve been toying with this idea for a while but finally decided it was time to make it happen! If there is a project that has been on your to-do list, don’t wait another minute. It’s time to cross it off of your list.
Become a Goal Slayer so we can work it out (I love that song) in 2018 together!
Google Chrome is the only browser that I use because it’s fast, safe, secure and reliable. Apparently, I’m in good company because according to StatCounter Global, 55% of the world uses Google Chrome.
The main reason I use Google Chrome is due to their extensions. When you download an extension, it allows you to change the functionionality of the browser to create and enhance your browsing experience so it can support your workflow.
The extensions that Google offers from their Chrome extension library enables me to be more productive when I’m blogging. Regardless of what you need, I guarantee there is an extension to satisfy your blogging needs.
If you want to be efficient when you blog, then you definitely need to check out this list of Google Chrome Extensions that are definitely going to enhance your blogging experience.
I LOVE to learn because I’m a DIY kind of gal. I don’t spend money or refer a product unless I’ve researched it to death and used it myself-LOL I thoroughly enjoy reading articles about digital marketing and technology.
Therefore, if I come across content that is really good, I make sure I share it using Buffer. Buffer’s Chrome extension allows me to immediately share or scheduled content to all of the major social network platforms within seconds. In order to keep my queue constantly filled with evergreen content, interesting articles, questions, etc. I use an automatic scheduling tool called Bulk.ly. You can learn more about it by clicking here and watching the below video.
Tailwind is incredibly user-friendly and allows you the ability to schedule and reshuffle your pins so they can be shared throughout the day. According to Co-Schedule, peak times for pinning to Pinterest are between 8pm to 11pm.
However, my absolute favorite part about Tailwind are the Tailwind tribes. You’re able to demonstrate your pins not only in the tribe, but then quickly share and repin those pins to group boards to Pinterest from Tailwind. Can we say awesome?!
I like using Ritetag’s Chrome extension because it enables me to evaluate whether I should use a particular hashtag. Based on the color of the hashtag, I’m able to easily see if a hashtag is on the rise or if it’s overused which allows me to determine if it is worth incorporating into my marketing campaign.
Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder is an absolute must for bloggers. This Chrome extension allows you to see not just where your traffic is coming from, but it helps you to identify if a specific event, tweet, or blog post is the cause of why you experienced a surge or decline in traffic.
If you have a YouTube channel, then you know how important it is to make sure that your videos are optimized. VidIq helps you to identify keywords that other YouTubers are using within your niche. If you see that you are missing some keywords, then you can easily add them to your channel, description, etc.
When I’m trying to identify keywords for a blog post or whether I should create a T-shirt for a particular niche, I always make sure to use Moz’s Chrome extension. Moz toolbar is my go to SEO toolbar for keyword research. You’re able to easily identify domain and page authority and inbound links.
The Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension enables me to easily obtain volume and CPC information for the keywords I wish to use. Once I determine which keywords I want to pursue, I can then easily save my keywords into one list all from the browser.
If you have too many extensions running it can slow down your browsing experience. Extensity places all of your extensions under one tab. This allows you to turn off extensions that would normally run in the background with the click of a button. You’re able to save space on your browser menu and
Whenever I come across interesting posts that I want to revisit at a later time, I save it to my Google Drive folder.
You can easily get email notifications and respond to your email all from the Checker Plus for Google Chrome extension. I like using Gmail this way because it’s a much less distracting way for me to work.
I can see that I have emails, but I have mine set up so I don’t see the actual email notification come through on my desktop. Based on my routine, I check my emails during my Pomodoro breaks.
Grammarly is an absolute must for bloggers. You can read more about more love for Grammarly right here. Regardless of weather whether, the online grammar checker will help you identify and correct mistakes.
Although the primary purpose of this tool is for grammar, I also use this tool to periodically check to see if anyone has plagiarized my content. You can learn more about how I use this tool to protect myself from digital content thieves right here.
If you’re seeking a subtle way to share your blog posts with your friends and colleagues, then you need to take advantage of your email signature. Whenever I’m emailing anyone, I make sure to use the email signature that I created with WiseStamp.
This allows me to share my signature information in addition to my latest blog posts, email newsletter sign up form, etc. You can customize your email signature to share your contact information in a way that highlights your blog.
Here’s an example of what my signature looks like using WiseStamp:
As you can see, I have all of my contact information along with my latest blog posts and free blogging course. It’s an awesome feeling to have people sign up for your content without being pushy.
PlusTrello helps me to stay sane. I like using Trello to help me keep track of the content that I create. This Chrome extension helps me to quickly access and save the research information I find directly to my boards.
Bloggers are going to love how easy it is to create and share videos using the Loom Chrome extension. Side note: Loom integrates in your email allowing you the ability to respond to your emails using video responses.
Have you ever seen a color on a site and thought, “I wonder what color that is?” Well, the Eyedropper Chrome extension takes away the guesswork. When you use the color picker function you are able to get the hex code information for the color you seek and even use that to create a color palette.
In the event that your a blogger looking for a side hustle then you need to check out the print on demand industry. I have a list of Google Chrome extensions and sites for you to download right here.
What Google Chrome extensions do you love? I want to be sure that I add them to my list, so be sure to let me know in the comments.
Did you enjoy this post? If so, please do me a huge favor and share this post. It would be very much appreciated! 🙂
Money doesn’t grow on trees, but the list I’m sharing with you may cause you to feel otherwise (especially if you’re a blogger). Regardless of where you are in your online journey, bloggers can take comfort in knowing that there are still opportunities to make additional income outside of monetizing your blog.
Even if you’re working a 9 to 5 be sure to check out these sites and side hustles because some of them can even be done at work. Don’t worry, I won’t tell on you. 🙂
Many of the sites and side hustles that you find on this list are tasks don’t require much effort. Many of these side hustles are also fun. My favorite one is at the end of this post!
Enough rambling from me, it’s time to hustle!
As someone who worked for a market research company, I already know what lengths companies are willing to go through in order to get data they can use to improve their products.
If the thought of your opinion being used to improve to your product or service excites you, then you definitely need to filling out these surveys. Below are legitimate (emphasis on legitimate) survey sites that you can sign up for in order to get compensated for your opinion.
Get paid for shopping? Yes, please! That’s exactly what will happen when you use these apps. Some of these apps request you to “check in” when your at the store so you can get points or scan certain items so you can get points. These sites allow you the ability to gain points that you can turn in for cash or gift cards.
It’s important that if you decide to start a blog, that you do so with the intention that it’s about a topic that excites you. If you’re the type of person that craves instant gratification, then do yourself a favor and skip this side hustle. If you’re just doing it for the money, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
Starting a blog is easy. Don’t don’t let the tech side of setting up your blog scare you. I created a course to help you build and customize your own blog called Slay with WordPress. but maintaining and promoting it is a whole different story. I’m not stating this to scare you, but just warning you to think of this side hustle as one that is more of a long term investment. You can anticipate the amount of success to expect based on how much time you devote to your blog.
Below are some of the sites and tools that I use to operate Starengu. If you’re interested in seeing my entire list then be sure download our resource list. I wanted to specifically share the below items because they have affiliate programs. Getting paid for using a product that you already know and love is icing on the cake. You might as well get your slice. 😉
Siteground: I have tried different hosts and can hands down state that Siteground is the BEST. You can read more about my experiences right here. In the event that you choose a different hosting company, do yourself a favor and make sure that you steer clear of the the EIG companies.
TryInteract Quizzes: People love taking quizzes just as much as I love creating them. If you love the taking Buzzfeed style of quizzes you’re going to love this tool. You also have the ability to create your own type of “Buzzfeed” style of quiz. I still love Typeform, but if you’re looking for a change you should check out this TryInteract.
BluChic / Creative Market / StudioPress / Restored 316 / Thrive Themes: If I’m building a website, these are my go to places to purchase my themes.
NameCheap: I know a lot of people use GoDaddy (I used to as well), but I stopped once I found NameCheap or Siteground. Both offer the ability to have domain privacy for free for the first year.
Adobe -I get it. Photoshop can be a bit intimidating (I used to feel that way). However, after several tutorials later I definitely feel a lot more comfortable with Photoshop and use it to create my T-shirts. Photoshop offers a lot more flexibility than Canva, Visme and PicMonkey.
Tailwind: If you are trying to build your email list, you really need to be on Pinterest. I’ve known about Pinterest for a while, but always put it on the backburner because I thought it was too cumbersome. It does involve some work up front, but once you get your system down you will start seeing results in a short period of time.
Camtasia: If you’re developing a course or doing YouTube tutorials, you should check out Camtasia. It’s a little pricey, but it’s definitely worth it because allows you a lot of premium capabilities and its user-friendly.
Freshbooks: Great accounting software for small businesses (the invoicing feature is my favorite).
Grammarly: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. You want to make sure people focus on your content and not your typos. Grammarly is the BEST online grammar checker.
Affiliate networks can help you gain additional income from the products and services that you already love. Being compensated to share products that you love is icing on the cake. Regardless of what your niche may be can be found on one of these networks.
ShareASale: This is one of the oldest affiliate networks out there.
OneNetworkDirect: This network has a lot of technology related products.
Amazon Associate: If you’re having a hard time trying to find products within your blog’s niche, Amazon Associate captures everything.
Dabble: I LOVE Dabble! I’ve actually attended several classes via Dabble. Side note: My favorite was the soap making class. 🙂 After I finish working on my latest course, I plan on teaching a workshop via Dabble.
Thinkific: I am a firm believer that everyone has a talent. The best way to showcase your talent is to create your own course. If you would like to learn more about why I chose Thinkific, check out this post.
Teachers Pay Teachers: Educators seeking to make extra cash should consider selling their content to this site.
If you’re selling digital products like ebooks, templates, bundles, etc. then you should choose to sell your products through one of these companies. You’re able to
The below sites offer you the opportunity to find all types of work in a variety of industries. I love using the below sites to look for work voice over, social media management and course creation service type of work.
My friends always tease me because I know and love Chicago. I’ve lived here all of my life because there’s so much to see and do. My friends have often told me that I need to be a tour guide. I’m always taking people to new places, restaurants, etc. and I can even tell you some history about the buildings, neighborhoods, etc.
Needless to say, I was thrilled when I found out about the below sites. They allow locals to create their own itineraries and tourists have the ability to hire you to be their guide. I’ve known about these sites for awhile, but I’m definitely going to be doing this next year (I was too busy working on my courses this year).
Amazon Flex: Make deliveries for Amazon.
Spinlister: You can use this site to rent your bike, surf or snow equipment.
Healthywage: You make a bet on how much weight you will lose. You will get paid if you have achieved and maintained your goal at the end of the challenge.
Print on demand is an awesome and fun way to make additional income. Even if you feel like you aren’t creative, you should seriously consider getting into the print on demand industry (especially T-shirts). You would be surprised at how many text based T-shirts are making a killing on Amazon. If you’re a designer, you seriously need to take a look at incorporating this into your side hustle game.
Merch by Amazon is the BEST option out of all of these. However, please note that there is a long wait list to join, so you might as well join. While you’re waiting to get accepted work on your keyword search capabilities and T-shirt designs so you’re ready to upload as soon as you get accepted into the program.
I’m still new to Merch by Amazon, but I’m definitely starting to accumulate a list of free or low cost resources that will help in your quest to be successful on Amazon Merch. One of my favorite resources is Lisa Irby’s, The Passive Shirts Profit Podcast. This podcast has tons of great info. If you’re interested in receiving the complete list of my favorite Amazon Merch resources then click here.
I’m sure there are a lot more side hustles out there, but these are the main ones that I have been incorporating into my routine. Do you have additional sites that should be added to this list? Let me know in the comments!
Did you enjoy this post? If so, please be sure to spread the love and share it. It would be very much appreciated! 🙂
Passive income. It’s something that everyone wants, but it’s a feat that many aren’t necessarily sure how to achieve. The first suggestion that people offer is to start a blog and join affiliate networks. There’s nothing wrong with this idea, but what if I don’t have aspirations of becoming a blogger? Does this mean that I’m doomed? Absolutely not!
One of the best passive income avenues that you should consider pursuing is creating a course. Now I’m sure you’re probably thinking either “I don’t know enough to create a course” or “Everyone and their mother have probably already created a course about (insert topic).” Before we go any further, I’m going to need you to change the channel on this negative mindset because I guarantee that there is a course buried deep inside of you.
My background is in marketing and communication and I’ve spent the majority of my career training and supporting other company’s endeavors. I truly love helping people which is why I’m passionate about teaching (in my spare time, I am an online English tutor).
However, last year, if someone would have said to me, “Tosha, you’re going to create 6 online courses,” I would have laughed and immediately assumed that they were a couple fries short of a happy meal! So imagine my surprise that by the end of this year, this is exactly what I will achieve.
Creating an online course has been an amazing journey. It’s definitely one that I don’t want you to miss, so here are six things that you should consider when you’re looking for an online course platform to host your courses.
I chose the following course companies based on the ones that I felt would be relevant to most people:
This should go without saying, but you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating an awesome course only to have it hosted on a shady website. You need to make sure that your course platform has an SSL certificate applied to the site in order to ensure that you secure your data. If you don’t feel safe uploading your courses to the course platform, you can only imagine how your student will feel trying to pay for them…
I’m a patient person. Yet, for some reason, all of that seems to fade away when it comes to navigating a website. If you can’t stand slow loading websites, broken links, etc. then don’t place your future student in this situation. Whatever course platform you choose to host your course on should be easy for both you and the student to use. Here’s how to accomplish this feat from both perspectives:
As an instructor, I share the same concerns as my students, so the below questions are in addition to the aforementioned. Self-hosted course platforms will allow you a lot more freedom, but with that freedom comes A LOT more responsibility. You will need to decide how much responsibility you are willing to bear.
When you keep all of these questions top of mind, you’re going to save yourself and your students the hassle of having an unpleasant online learning experience.
At some point in time, regardless of how good you are at technology, you will need to speak to tech support. Before I invest my time and energy into a product I always make sure that I contact support (especially if it’s a big ticket item). The amount of time and how you respond to my questions is a good indicator of the level of support I can expect to receive after I purchase the product.
As a course creator, you definitely want to make sure that you get your questions answered in a timely manner. I’m all about anticipation. I really don’t want to have to learn on the spot. I always try to make sure that I have the answers to any questions that my students may ask before they ask them.
It is extremely important that you read through the course platform’s terms of service for a variety of reasons. Many of questions we already addressed above, but the main one is to ensure that you retain the rights to your content.
However, one that many people don’t think about until it is too late is the ability to create their own refund policies. Digital products can be delivered and used immediately after they are purchased, so you may want to consider having an ‘All Sales are Final’ type of refund policy. You worked hard on your course, so it should be up to you to determine what type of refund policy you decide to offer.
Once I have determined that a website is secure, I want to make sure that my payment option is available. You need to be sure that the payment gateway is one that my students are accustomed to using (i.e. Stripe, PayPal, etc.). If applicable, your course platform should offer the ability to make one time payments, monthly subscriptions and offer a payment plan.
If you plan on using affiliates to help promote your course, then your course platform should be able to easily generate affiliate links. You will also need to make sure that you have access to user-friendly financial reports so you can keep track of your affiliate sales and payouts.
So you’re probably wondering, “Ok, what course platform should I use?” I thoroughly research everything that I buy, sometimes to the point where I come down with a case of analysis paralysis.
I definitely knew I was NOT going to self-host my course. That is an awful lot of responsibility that I’m not willing to take. I just want to create my courses. I don’t want to worry about fixing security issues, setting up payment gateways, hosting my videos, etc. Ain’t nobody got time for that…Needless to say, I went the third party route.
My decision on which course platform I should choose was an extremely easy one. I already knew that I was not going to go the Udemy route. This site is not truly looking out for the course creators best interest. Udemy runs numerous promotions which provide students with deep discounts. If you decide not to participate in these promotions, your courses will often time be subject to further scrutiny for not participating in their promotions.
Imagine working on your course for almost half a year. It’s jam-packed with value providing your students with a shortcut to help them gain a skill that otherwise would have taken them years to learn. How dare you not participate in Udemy’s promotion and sell your $197 course for $10! Shame on you! I truly hope you can sense my sarcasm because quite frankly this is the type of atmosphere you will most likely encounter the majority of your time on Udemy.
Students are conditioned to wait for the deep discount sales so they don’t have to pay full price. To add further insult to injury, they determine the frequency in which you are able to promote to your students. This along with reading all the other negative reviews from other course creators that used Udemy, was enough to immediately cross them off of my list.
So my remaining course platform options are Teachable and Thinkific. Both platforms have a free starter plan, but Thinkific offers a lot more features than Teachable. I decided to create my courses with Thinkific and can honestly say it was one of the best decisions that I have made.
When I was doing my homework, the deciding factors that prompted me to choose Thinkific were the following situations:
1.I already knew that Teachable was not an option for me once I found out that they did not offer telephone support. I’m not saying that if I needed support that I would call versus email, but I at least want to have the option. If I can’t get anywhere by email, then I want to be able to speak to someone about my situation.
The situation that alerted me to the fact that Teachable does not offer phone support was when I had a simple question that I needed to have answered before making my final decision on which course platform I would use.
I emailed Thinkific and Teachable literally on the same day. Thinkific responded to me the very next day. I went searching for a phone number for Teachable. I discovered that they didn’t have one. I was at the mercy of waiting for Teachable to respond, but this also allowed me to test their response time. I had given up on Teachable after not hearing back from them after three days. Teachable eventually responded to my question almost two weeks later, but obviously, I had already moved on to Thinkific.
2. The other reason why I decided to go with Thinkific is that their course creators receive immediate payment for their course. Teachable pays their course creators 30 days later. Why wouldn’t I get paid right away? What possible excuse could you have for unnecessarily holding my money?
This has never made sense to me. The only other reason I believe Teachable does this is because if you use their platform to accept payments you must agree to Teachable’s terms of service. Therefore, offering an All Sales are Final type of policy is not possible with Teachable. I did not want to give up the right to create my own terms of service, so that pretty much sealed the deal for me and I went with Thinkific.
If you’re looking for an online course platform, now is a great time to check out Thinkific. I really like Thinkific’s drag and drop course builder because it’s easy to use. You have the flexibility to brand your course player, create your own landing pages, set the terms of service, etc.
They generally care about their customers and support typically responds in a timely manner. I never thought in a million years, that I would be creating courses. I’m literally in the process of creating my fifth course using Thinkific. I’m super grateful that the Thinkific platform has enabled me to share my message. Take advantage of the opportunity to share your talent with us.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase with the link, I may receive a commission from it. Please note that I would never advocate a product that I don’t love. I’m all about making sure that the products I recommend will benefit my audience. You can learn more here. 🙂
Your imagination is your preview to life’s coming attractions.
I immediately fell in love with this quote because it reaffirms what has been instilled in me since childhood—you are what you think. As a child, we have all had dreams of what we wanted to be when we grew up. However, somewhere along the way many lose that zeal and drive we once had to pursue those dreams and turn them into reality. Why?
As we grow older, we allow outside influences (i.e. family members, circumstances, etc.) to persuade us into believing that perhaps our dreams were not meant to be achieved. This could not be further from the truth! You have the power to change the channel if you are not enjoying the current attraction.