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Teachery User Spotlight: Meet Tara Leaver, Artist and Creative Encourager
Teachery User Spotlight: Meet Tara Leaver, Artist and Creative Encourager
Jason Zook avatar
Written by Jason Zook
Updated over a week ago

Teachery User Spotlight is our way of sharing the stories behind course creators using Teachery.

This spotlight is on Tara Leaver and this is her story...

I’m an artist and teacher, and what I think of as a creative encourager, since that’s a large part of what my work entails. :) I create and run online courses focused on uncovering and developing your unique style and voice, and expressing yourself freely as an artist, however that looks for you. 

About nine years ago I was recovering from a breakdown and starting to find myself again, and I returned to making art, which I’d always loved but had ‘lost’ for a long time due to ongoing clinical depression and the unhealthy lifestyle I’d built to cope with it. While I was healing, I discovered online courses, which were not as widely available then as they are now, and absolutely loved being a serial student while I regained my creative confidence and learned new ways to make art. 

In 2013 I created my first course, Creative Spark, after observing how much fear and self doubt there was for many people when it came to making art, and how many people were in a similar situation to me, wanting to come back to it after a long time away but overwhelmed and not sure where to begin. I also noticed that it was very common to get tangled up in arbitrary rules about what ‘good’ art should be, confusion around how to not be too heavily influenced by artists whose work you love, and uncertainty about what’s ‘yours’ as an artist. All my courses now seek to help untangle that in different ways, so that people can make the art that feels most true to them and reap the benefits of that.

I tried a few different ways of offering my courses before discovering Teachery. Initially, I was using password-protected pages on my website, which didn’t feel very secure and was a little clunky. Then I tried the Wishlist Member plugin for Wordpress, which I did not get on with at all. It ended up being very stressful and creating a lot of extra admin for me. 

I started looking around for something more efficient and easier to use for both the students and myself, and - being keen to avoid plugins at that point! - looked at a few of the new course platforms that were popping up at that time. 

I did several free trials, and Teachery was not just the most affordable for me, it was also extremely easy to use, gave me plenty of leeway to personalize my courses, allowed me to have them all in one place with the consistency of design, and offered outstanding customer service. 

The first course I created on Teachery was free, as a way for me to familiarize myself with the platform and to spread the word about my work. So far over 2000 people have taken it, there are new sign-ups every day, and I receive positive feedback about it frequently, which has been great. 

I transferred most of my courses across to Teachery once I was sure it was going to work for me, and it’s been fantastic; growth is slow and steady and there have been almost no student problems beyond a couple of user errors that were quickly resolved. That has saved me heaps of time which I can spend creating new courses and marketing the ones I already offer.

I enjoy the ease of use of Teachery; it’s a godsend to be able to create a beautiful and user-friendly course without needing to know any code, or having to get {and pay for} technical help all the time. 

I love too not being embarrassed about the look and user-friendliness of my courses! Being able to rely on Teachery takes a huge amount of stress off my plate.

Another thing that’s great is that Teachery comes with its own sales page and automated welcome and course completion emails. I’ve saved a lot by no longer needing to use Leadpages. :) {Which is great, nothing against it; this just suits me better.}

I also love how responsive the Teachery support team is, adding new developments according to what Teachery customers ask for. The recent addition of affiliates is easy to use, and I’m looking forward to using it more as my audience grows. 

Although there are workarounds, I'd like to see Teachery create an integration with Aweber. I understand that it’d be a huge amount of work to connect Teachery to the many email providers out there, but haven’t managed to set things up with the alternative offered through Zapier {despite efforts and following the instructions!}, so am still transferring new names to Aweber manually. That’s my issue really, but obviously not needing to use a third party to connect the two would be ideal!

I’m currently creating a new course called Artist Inspired II, which is about exploring famous women artists, both historical and contemporary, as a means to refreshing your work and developing your unique artist voice. It stands alone but is also a sequel to Artist Inspired, which I created a few years ago and focuses on male artists.

There’s another course in the pipeline too about loosening up your art to break away from the realism we’re usually taught and which ends up becoming limiting and hard to shake later on. 

I love that as soon as I have an idea I can start setting it up in Teachery, adding to it as more ideas come, and it’s all waiting there for when I’m ready to develop it into a full course.

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