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Introducing Podia's free plan: Get your website, build your community, and sell your digital products for free

When I founded Podia in 2014, it was because I saw an opportunity to help people run businesses and even earn a living online. Since then, thousands of creators have used Podia to build online courses, sell digital products, and host communities — and today, Podia is announcing a free plan to make it easier than ever to turn your creative ideas into a business.

Podia’s free plan comes with:

If you don’t already use Podia, you can sign up for your free account in just a couple of minutes.

Eight years after Podia began, the landscape of online business has drastically changed. There are more and more tools for creators and independent business owners to figure out. The major platforms of the internet are consolidating and making it harder to build something you own for yourself.

I wanted to share a little about why we’re introducing this free plan, why now, and why this is our antidote to a market that’s become less creator-friendly over time.

When you’re starting out, there are a few things you need to build fast. And paying up front isn’t always an option.

It’s been incredible to watch the breadth of online businesses that have sprung up in the last eight years. On Podia alone, there are creators who teach bladesmithing , classical piano , plant-based eating , law for small businesses , agency management , sourdough baking , and illustration , among hundreds of other topics . Even celebrities like Harry Connick Jr. have broken new ground and taken their knowledge online. 

As we’ve watched people grow on Podia, we started to see a pattern:

  1. Creators are almost always working on their own, or with one other person

  2. Who counts as a creator has been changing and expanding. The term “creator” has really come to mean “independent online business owner” — we could talk to 20 random Podia creators and no two of them would be working in the same industry.

  3. Independent businesses are on their own. Because they’re independent, it’s all on them. They take on all the work and all the risk of their creative work. Anything that needs figuring out, they need to figure out by themselves.

Anyone should be able to do creative work. And anyone can do creative work — it’s all of the tech, the logistics, the business side of it that’s messier than it needs to be. 

If you’re starting out, how do you figure out what to do next? If you pay for your business out of your own pocket, how do you get the core of what you need without spending a ton of money or hiring a consultant to do it for you?

Experience working with thousands of creators has painted a clearer and clearer picture. There needs to be a free way for people to start making and selling things. There need to be tools that let creators own their own platforms, and own their relationships with their audience. 

Creators need to have core tools for an online business that are incredibly easy to use — and the ability to add the next set of tools down the line.

So that’s what we built. A platform that makes it easy for you to get what you need at every step of your creator journey.

When you’re starting out, you need a website . You probably want to start collecting emails. Before long, you’ll want to sell something — whether that’s your first digital product, coaching/consultation sessions, or access to a community. 

Those are the tools that turn an idea into a business. And because we believe everyone should be able to act on their creative ideas, those are the tools we’re giving away for free with this new plan. 

As businesses grow, there are more things they need and start to experiment with. Lots of our creators make their income through online courses or workshops, and the tool set of an online business can get really complicated. Podia is designed to be an all-in-one platform, meaning that it always has the next tool you’ll need to grow your business, and it lets you keep your audience and all your work in the same place.

Until now, there hasn’t been a good, easy, free website builder on the market

What would you do, right now, if you had to build a website in the next few hours?

I’ll be blunt. I don’t think there’s been a good answer to that question. A website is a business’ home on the internet. But even though the internet is around 30 years old, there isn’t a free, fast way to build a website that looks really good.

Yes, there are ways to build low-cost websites if you have the technical knowledge. And yes, there are some website builders that have made things slightly easier with drag-and-drop designers. 

But overall, the experience of someone going to create their first website is negative. It’s a mix of trying to figure out how a tool works, getting frustrated that it doesn’t look the way you imagined, and thinking “websites are everywhere. Shouldn’t this be easier by now?”

Yeah, it should.

A website is the center of your online presence. Even if you build an audience on Instagram, Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, through blogging, or on some other platform, you still need a place that you own and can completely control. A website and email marketing are still the gold standard of owning your relationship with your audience — so that’s what we set out to make possible. 

Podia’s website builder has evolved over the years, but it started from two principles that are still true today.

  1. A website needs to handle everything creators need in one place, including taking payments, collecting email addresses, and delivering digital products

  2. A website has to look amazing and be incredibly easy to set up

Podia’s website builder isn’t drag and drop, because we wanted it to be easier than that. You click to add a section, and you click through the options of the sections you want to add. The result is something that’s super easy to build, but still lets you customize in the way you want. 

If you’ve ever dragged a block to the wrong place in a drag-and-drop builder, you’ve seen everything on your screen go absolutely wild — we built Podia so it’s actually hard to make a website that doesn’t look great.

You should be able to get a great-looking website for your business. You should be able to build fast, without hiring someone. And that website should keep serving you and giving you what you need as you grow.

You can have a great-looking Podia website in about 10 minutes, including a place to sell your products (checkout is handled for you) and a way to start building your email list. Podia lets you sell online courses, run workshops and webinars, offer coaching/consultation sessions, sell digital products, and build communities — and your website is the place that ties everything together.

That’s why we wanted to make sure you could build a website on Podia for free.

A platform needs to be friendly to creators, especially now

We’re launching this at a time when the economy is looking uncertain. No one can predict exactly what’s going to happen next, but we feel it’s likely that people will be looking for ways to earn a little extra cash. There will be new side projects and new creator businesses that emerge from the next few months, and if we enter a time when people have to be more careful with their spending, having access to free tools is going to be crucial. 

Podia has always fought to be the most creator-friendly platform on the internet, and transaction fees are a complicated part of that conversation. The new free plan has an 8% transaction fee for products and community plans sold by creators, and that’s new for us—we’ve never had transaction fees before. 

For new creators, getting a platform for free without an upfront payment is key. A small transaction fee is the most creator-friendly way to offer a platform, because it means you don’t have to pay anything until you’re already making money. There’s no friction to creating, no worry that you’re going to pay for something for months before launch, and it’s much easier to get started. 

The problem with transaction fees is when there’s no way to get rid of them. A platform that runs only on transaction fees is unfriendly to creators. If a company always takes transaction fees, you have to pay the company more as you grow — but you’re growing because of the hard work that you put into your business. You grow your business because of your effort, and you should keep the rewards from that.

A free plan makes everything more accessible, and a transaction fee is the most creator-friendly way to do that—as long as there are ways to remove those fees. Podia creators on our paid Mover, Shaker, and Earthquaker plans have never had transaction fees, and that will still be true. If you pay for a monthly or annual Podia subscription, you keep all the money you earn. 

So here’s what you can expect from Podia:

  • Podia’s free plan has a small transaction fee so that you can get everything you need to start creating (without paying for anything up front)

  • When you’re ready, you can upgrade plans and remove transaction fees. You keep your money, you don’t get punished for becoming more successful — and we can keep working together to make you as successful as possible.

Overall, you get the tools you need to grow at every stage of your business.

Everyone should have access to the tools they need to create. And more tools are on the way.

Podia starts free because a website, a community, and a way to sell products are the first things you need to start an online business. 

Today, Podia’s free plan is the best, most accessible set of tools for people trying to get started. Anyone can create a free account in minutes . And you can expect to see Podia keep refining the website builder and community platform, bring more improvements to online courses, and keep building the tools creators need. We’ll build more ways for you to connect with your audience, and bring more updates to help you make beautiful, professional websites, communities, and products on Podia.

We’re going to keep building the tools to help creators grow—at every step of their journey.

And I can’t wait to see what you’ll build next.

About the author

Spencer is the Founder and CEO of Podia, a platform that helps creators build and sell online courses, digital downloads, webinars, and memberships to their audience. Sign up for free today.