When you compare online course & community platforms, it's essential to consider the specific features they offer to make an informed decision.
After researching all leading solutions in the online course and community software space, and after having used a combination of Teachable and Skool for almost two years, I decided to move over to Skool.
Now, I’m hosting all my three different communities (FundraisingCOUP, FundraisingCOLDSTART, COUP) on Skool.
The Result: My students/community members are happy and more engaged; it’s much easier for me to manage my communities, and thus, I’m happier – and more successful with my course, coaching, and community business.
Here are my top reasons why I decided to manage my courses and communities on Skool.com:
Super simple interface, not overwhelming.
Course and community on one platform. But not more, so you’re not overwhelmed by features you don’t need. And much more important: Your users are not overwhelmed. This was the case for my community members on our old platforms (Teachable + Circle).
Smart features (calendar, member profiles, gamification through leaderboards) that increase your community members’ engagement.
Stable platform, easy and flawless login (which was a problem for me, especially with Circle).
Excellent iOS and Android apps to ensure community members have the best mobile experience.
Best community of course and community creators with super valuable content.
Skool allows me to continue using the best vertical solutions for areas like building my websites, managing my email campaigns, etc., instead of offering mediocre solutions for those adjacent areas that I wouldn’t use anyhow.
Skool’s founder, Sam Ovens, is a worldwide legend in the course and community business. There is hardly anyone on the planet who understands the needs of course and community creators better than him.
It seems like you're interested in creating, building, hosting, and managing your online courses and community. I strongly believe this is an incredible idea, one of the best you can have these days. I've run several online courses and communities, testing various software solutions to host and manage them. Through these experiences, I've learned a lot, faced numerous challenges, and gained valuable insights. I'm here to share those experiences with you and explain why I made the move from Teachable and Circle to Skool.
First, let me introduce myself. I'm Iskender Dirk, a venture capitalist, tech founder, tech advisor, and tech executive with extensive experience in the industry. I've managed venture capital funds, worked with startups, founded and invested in companies, and have a deep understanding of what makes great software solutions.
In addition to my role in the tech industry, I also run my own communities and courses. I currently manage three of them:
FundraisingCOUP: This program helps entrepreneurs looking to raise funds for their tech startups. I offer courses, advisory services, masterminds, and a community to empower them to become successful fundraisers.
Fundraising Coldstart: This is aimed at very early-stage founders, providing courses and a community to help them connect with investors.
COUP Movement: COUP stands for "Mountains of Outstanding Presentations and Pitches." This community and course focus on improving presentation and pitching skills.
Now, let's talk about my journey in finding the best solutions to host my video courses and communities online. I thoroughly researched many software options and tested various platforms, and based on what I learned I want to help you compare online course & community platforms. After considering several factors, I decided to go with a stack that wasn't an all-in-one solution. Here's why:
I'm a firm believer in the "best-of-breed" approach, where you choose the best solutions for specific areas and integrate them. I prefer specialized tools that excel in their respective domains rather than a one-size-fits-all solution. For example, I believe an all-in-one platform like Kajabi can't match the email management capabilities of standalone tools like ActiveCampaign or MailChimp.
I initially chose Teachable for my online courses after evaluating options like Thinkific, Kajabi, Mighty Networks, and others. I found Kajabi and Mighty Networks overwhelming for creators and users, with too many features that I didn't need. Teachable seemed a better fit then, and I hosted my video lectures there.
I opted for Circle after extensive consideration when it came to hosting my community. I also explored options like Slack and Discord. While Slack had its advantages, including a familiar user base, it posed challenges with constant notifications and limitations on content storage for free members. On the other hand, Discord might not be suitable for all audiences and lacks the ability to create a long-lasting knowledge hub.
For my website, I chose Webflow, for payments, Stripe, and for email campaigns, MailChimp (although I now lean towards ActiveCampaign if I were to start fresh).
While this tech stack served its purpose, it wasn't ideal for me in the long run. It was functional, but not excellent, which led me to reconsider my options. Eventually, I decided to move my main components—courses and community—to Skool. This decision was based on several key factors:
Integration: One of the biggest issues was managing two separate platforms—Teachable for courses and Circle for the community. This was inconvenient for both me and my users. The disjointed experience hurt community engagement because users had to switch between platforms.
Feature Overload: Teachable had many features I didn't need, such as email drip campaigns and landing page creation, which I already handled with Webflow. It required additional work and complexity that I wanted to avoid.
Lock-in Issues: Some users faced lock-in problems with Teachable, affecting their experience and engagement. These issues needed resolution.
Community Complexity: Circle's community platform, while robust, felt overly complicated. The multiple channels and features made it challenging for users to navigate and engage effectively.
Lock-in Problems (Again): Circle also had its share of lock-in problems, similar to Teachable but more pronounced.
After extensive research and testing, my decision came down to Skool and Kajabi. I ultimately chose Skool because it perfectly combined my needs: hosting video lectures and community engagement, without overwhelming me or my users with unnecessary features. It focused solely on these core aspects of my course and community business.
Skool offers a simple, yet flexible, user interface that is incredibly easy to use. It streamlined my workflow, improved the user experience, and increased community engagement. The platform is reliable, and fast, and includes mobile apps for both iOS and Android, ensuring accessibility for users on their smartphones.
Skool's commitment to simplicity and user-centric design, along with the backing of its founder, Sam Ovens, a renowned figure in the coaching and consulting industry, solidified my decision. Sam's dedication, direct involvement, and understanding of creators' needs further reassured me that Skool is the right choice for the long term.
In conclusion, I'm thrilled with my move to Skool. While the migration process was a challenge, the benefits of having my courses and community on Skool's platform have already proven worthwhile. The user-friendly interface, reliability, and alignment with my needs make it the ideal solution for my course and community business. I hope this explanation clarifies why I made this transition, and I'd be delighted to welcome you as a fellow creator on Skool. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Best of luck with your course and community project!