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CreativeLive review (2020): Is it worth it? My verdict

CreativeLive is an online platform dedicated to all things creative.

Its team’s humble beginnings started with just a few popular Photoshop lessons, which has since expanded into a library with over thousands of courses on skills like baking and music production.

With so many online platforms out there (not to mention the many free resources available on Youtube and online in general) you might be wondering what CreativeLive has to offer.

In this review, I’ll break down why I finally took the shot with CreativeLive and my experience with the platform.

Why I Gave CreativeLive a Shot

Before I get into CreativeLive, I want to talk about what got me to try CreativeLive in the first place, which is probably where you are right now – thinking about signing up for it but not sure if you should quite do it yet.

I’m not a beginner when it comes to online courses – I’ve tried out courses on sites like MasterClass and Mindvalley – so I definitely know the pros and cons when it comes to this kind of online video learning.

Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, and there’s nothing that feels worse than a bad purchase.

The thing you have to know about online courses is that they can be very hit or miss; you might learn tons of new things in a topic you don’t even care about, or you might learn absolutely nothing in a topic you’re 100% interested in.

CreativeLive is a smaller and somewhat newer platform than the others I’m used to, so I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to try a completely new brand.

But CreativeLive appealed to the creative in me (no surprise there).

I’ve spent the last few years growing my online business and trying to pick up all the digital marketing and business skills necessary, so much so that the creative side of my personality has started to feel a little unloved.

I’ve always loved writing, but I haven’t been writing for myself the way I used to, and I thought I might find the perfect course on CreativeLive.

Little did I know that starting with an innocent “Write a Story” course would become the beginning of a long rabbit hole of course after course after course on CreativeLive.

Within a week I’d found myself dipping into courses on podcasting, entrepreneurship, lighting, typography, and more.

And I think that’s what people with a strong creative side will end up loving most about CreativeLive.

It has a focus on satisfying the creative inside of you, whether you want to just focus on developing a personal hobby for no one but yourself, or whether you want to learn how to turn your creativity outward and build a business or marketable talent out of it.

All in all, CreativeLive has been absolutely worth it. So let’s talk specifics.

What CreativeLive Is All About

If you’ve done the online course experience before with other course learning platforms, then you probably already understand most of what CreativeLive is about, with a certain emphasis on developing your creative talents and skills with courses and videos developed by pros in their respective fields.

If this is your first time in the online course market, here’s what you need to know:

CreativeLive is a high-quality online education platform in which students can either buy courses or subscribe to the all-access pass to go through their 1500+ classes online.

What makes CreativeLive unique from the other online learning course platforms out there is three things:

It really focuses on its creative shtick; this is a site made by creatives, for creatives

It has over 1500 courses which is crazy, and I can’t imagine the kind of work they’ve gone through to give users more content than they have the time to consume it with

They have free live broadcasts for certain online courses, meaning they are constantly streaming for people who haven’t signed up yet.

They truly are “Live” in a way that other learning course platforms aren’t

So what kind of content is “creative” content?

The courses are set in specific categories according to their type of creativity, so if you’re a photographer or a filmmaker, you can find all courses relevant to you in the Photo and Video category.

Here’s CreativeLive’s full category lists of their courses:

Photo and Video: Adobe Lightroom | Photoshop | Adobe Premier Pro | Final Cut X | Adventure Photography | Commercial Photography | Documentary Photography | Fine Art Photography | Newborn Photography | Outdoor Photography | Portrait Photography | Street Photography | Wedding Photography | Drone Video / Photography | Filmmaking | iPhone Photography | Speedlights | Videography | Camera Guides | Canon Tutorials | Nikon / Sony Tutorials

Money and Life: Money and Finance | Self-Improvement | Time Management | Wellness | Communication Skills | Leadership | Management | Podcasting | Writing | Business Basics | Entrepreneurship | Marketing and Sales | Online Business | Social Media

Art and Design: Coloring | Drawing | Illustration | Typography | Lettering | Branding | Inspiration Design | Design Projects | Design Thinking | Graphic Design | Logo Design | UX | Web Design | WordPress

Craft and Maker: Calligraphy | Hand Lettering | Mixed Media Art | Paper Craft | Scrapbooking | Stamp Making | Cake Decorating | Floral Design | Holiday Party and Crafts | Interior Design | Cross-Stitching | Embroidery | Fabric Crafts | Fashion Design | Knitting and Crochet | Quilting | Sewing | Pattern Design | Upcycling | Etsy

Music and Audio: Audio Engineering | Music Business | Songwriting | Sound Mixing | Studio Pass | Ableton Live | Avid Pro | Cubase | Fl Studio | Logic Pro | Electronic Music Production | Guitar Recording | Learning to DJ | Live Sound Mixing | Recording Drums | Rock | Synths | Vocals

What Surprised Me

I think what most surprised me about CreativeLive is that even if they have tons of courses, you don’t see a drop in quality (at least, not in the dozens of courses I’ve tried).

You would think that with 1500+ courses, there might be less quality than what you might be used to, but that isn’t true.

Their production team must be absolutely immense because CreativeLive never disappoints.

Some courses have over a hundred video modules, like their Photography Fundamentals class with 107 video modules and over 24 hours worth of content.

Even the “smaller courses” are still quite hefty, with courses like scrapbooking and typography having 27 video modules each, or around 6 hours of video content.

Who Is CreativeLive For?

One of CreativeLive’s taglines is, “There’s a creator in all of us”, so that should give you an idea on who this platform is for.

The idea behind CreativeLive was to create an online platform where people could sign up and join classes that were like creative workshops, something that people have been doing for decades.

But instead of driving across the country (or flying around the world) for a workshop in a very niche interest by a very unique teacher, CreativeLive gives students the ability to open that class up in the comfort of their home, over and over and over again.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to see if CreativeLive is right for you:

  • Are you interested in any of the courses on CreativeLive?
  • Do you have a history of pursuing and enjoying creative outlets in life?
  • Are you a creative professional and would like to refresh your skills and knowledge?
  • Are you a long-time hobbyist and would like a refined course on the fundamentals?
  • Do you have dreams of turning your personal creative pursuit into a business?

CreativeLive targets, first and foremost, creators and creatives.

There’s a sense of “we want to help you master your creative instincts” all over the site, and every course I’ve tried has had that same sense of willingness to teach and imbue students with knowledge, whether it’s a photography class about lighting or an audio class about sound mixing.

There’s a very energetic and contagious eagerness all over the site and in every course you open, which is really just an indication of how much love and work they put into the platform.

Does that mean you have to be a full-time creative for CreativeLive to be “worth it”?

Not at all.

The courses are targeted to people of all levels of engagement in their creative fields, whether they’re lifelong hobbyists, full-time professionals, or just people looking into an interest for the first time in their lives.

Check out Creative Live here.

Why Should You Trust CreativeLive?

CreativeLive is one of the forerunners of online learning and has been around as early as 2009.

In that year, founders Chase Jarvis and Craig Swanson set out with their very first class: the Jason Hoppe Photoshop class.

Following its success, the duo went on to open their Seattle studio in 2010 where they held a very successful live wedding class.

Since then, CreativeLive has evolved from a live class series to a fully-fledged online learning platform.

I think the best part about CreativeLive is their focus on diversity.

The team hails from many different backgrounds, all driven by creative pursuits.

It sends a powerful message that anyone can create, as long as they have the passion and access to it.

The creators are pretty transparent, too.

They highlight team members every now and then to tell their story.

That’s really inspiring for students like me because it almost feels like I’m following the footsteps of a team with very humbling beginnings.

The team themselves understands what it’s like to want to make yourself a better person through creativity.

I think that’s incredibly important when choosing online learning platforms. There are too many that just exist to make a quick buck off of their viewers.

But CreativeLive painstakingly chooses its instructors and mainly work with people who really know their stuff and have gone through the ups and downs of the creative process.

This is important because you want instructors who don’t talk about creativity in a vacuum; you want people who understand how writing, painting, acting, and all these other things are just as challenging as other skills.

Everything You Get On CreativeLive

1) CreativeLive has two kinds of content: online classes and live classes.

Online Classes: With online classes, you can learn at your own pace and take the classes whenever you want. What you get varies per class.

For instance, their best-selling The Fundamentals of Photography class includes 107 video lessons that totals to about 24 hours.

There are shorter classes with less videos if you want something more fast paced.

The cost of each class also varies depending on the scope and the instructor. There are classes that start at $19, while others start at $104. There’s definitely something for every budget and skill level.

Here’s a sample of what you would get for one of their popular classes:

Course: How To Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence

  • 16 HD video lessons
  • Downloadable workbook
  • Online and offline access through mobile and desktop devices
  • Offline sync with iOS apps

Again, what you get depends on the class you take. Some classes will have more than a hundred videos and will include other content such as workbooks and extra videos.

Regardless of what you choose, you’ll always have lifetime access to the classes you purchase.

Live Classes: Live classes are streamable classes.

You can visit their website at any time and find live classes to join, or you can RSVP to the ones they have coming up.

Live classes are recorded and streamed in real-time. It’s a great option if you want to feel like you’re really in the same room as your instructor.

Like online classes, the price of live classes also vary.

The good news is that some of these classes are 100% free, so you can always pick up new skills and learn introductory information into something new.

2) CreativeLive App

Probably one of my favorite things about CreativeLive is the fact that they have an app. If you’re like me and you prefer spending your time more productively, the app makes it easy to do just that.

The app automatically syncs your progress with other devices, so you can pick up right where you let off.

They only currently have apps for iOS and tVOS devices. Android users can just access the classes through their website.

3) Creative Life TV (CLTV)

CLTV is the newest addition to the CreativeLive suite. It’s a 24/7 variety show with live streamed content.

It’s usually shot in the homes of the instructors and they feature anything from crafting lessons to spoken word sessions.

It’s fun having it on in the background while you’re doing some work yourself. Plus, it’s completely free.

If you want to know what they’re showing, the team also regularly puts up the CLTV live schedule. You can also watch previously aired episodes if you ever missed out on anything.

4) The Creator Pass

I started out by buying individual classes until I realized there is so much more content I want to watch and follow.

CreativeLive has a library of over a thousand courses, and the topics are incredibly diverse so it never feels like you’re running out of things to watch and learn from.

The Creator Pass offers tremendous value for people like me who want to jump on another course right after finishing one.

What makes this such a good deal is that there are courses designed for different levels; after finishing the beginner’s class, you can move on with a more advanced class or one that focuses on a specific technique.

Think of it this way: each class is a lesson in itself but CreativeLive’s extensive library gives you the freedom to choose how you’ll progress in that specific skill or hobby.

In the Photo and Video category alone, they have courses covering everything — from starting a photography business to shooting techniques with an iPhone to photographing newborn photos VS wedding photos.

Keep in mind that not everything is accessible with the Creator Pass. There are some classes that are not covered by the pass. You can look at all the excluded content here.

Is CreativeLive Worth It?

Although $100 is the standard price of an online class nowadays, CreativeLive sweetens the deal by giving its users the Creator Pass option.

After three or four classes, I quickly realized the Creator Pass is the best option for me since I use the platform quite often.

It might come as a surprise at first but the Creator Pass doesn’t provide access to all content. Out of the many thousands available, its more “premier” classes still have to be bought separately.

The list only includes about 20 excluded content, most of which are on Photography and Photoshop so you’re really not missing out on a lot.

The pass still provides amazing value for the amount of courses you can binge watch on any given time.

Like many others, I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of online learning when it came out.

With Youtube and the Internet, this stuff is pretty much free and available to anyone who wants to dig deep.

So why pay?

After taking a few classes (How to Produce a Weekly Podcast by Alexandra Dipalma is one of my favorites), it’s easy to see what sets CreativeLive above your standard free Youtube content.

For starters, the production value is stellar. The videos are in HD, which probably doesn’t matter if you’re taking a class on entrepreneurship, but would make quite a difference if you’re trying to learn art or photography.

For the $30 monthly access pass (or less than $13 if you’re getting billed annually like I am), you get more than just access to lessons.

You get a beautiful platform that reliably streams your content in HD. You get to download lessons so you can watch them on your commute to work.

More importantly, you learn from actual experts, not just random strangers on the internet.

CreativeLive works with people who break down the creative process into actionable parts that you can easily replicate.

They take theory and technique and explain it in a way beginners can follow. With CreativeLive, you’re not just getting lessons; you’re getting teachers, too.

I think the monthly fee is a small price to pay for that.

Nothing is more frustrating than sitting through a video and realizing you learned nothing new at the end of it.

But with CreativeLive, you can keep track of what you’ve learned through the app and enjoy a more structured approach to learning.

So to the people who are feeling a little bored, inspired, or anything in between, I recommend trying at least one of their classes to see what you’re missing out on.

It’s definitely a platform I see myself going back to over and over again.

Check it out here.

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.
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