In mid-December, Skillshare announced that they were changing the teacher payments model.
The headline of the email sent to teachers read “An Important Update About Teacher Payments.”
That’ll cause you to drop your egg nog.
The email is below.
Exciting news! Skillshare is updating the way we pay teachers. Starting January 1st, your monthly royalty payments will be based on the number of minutes watched by Premium students in your classes each month, rather than Premium enrollments. This change ensures that teachers who deliver the most value to students by teaching real skills in an engaging way will have the highest potential to succeed.
The Skillshare team
Previously Skillshare teachers were told that bite-sized classes of 10 – 25 minutes were the perfect length as long as they taught a student something.
Bite-sized classes worked for two types of teachers.
Newbie teachers like myself who before May 2016 had never created an online class, and who took comfort in knowing that my entrance into the online teaching world could be with a short 10-minute class.
The class length also was an internet marketer’s wet dream since it allowed them to crib information off real experts and repackage it as their own. The cribbing formula.
Steal Crib a little about the topic, record a few PowerPoint slides, select a keyword rich title, slap on a snazzy class cover, and voila’ you’ve got a hit class.
Lucky them. They got paid when a premium Skillshare student enrolled in their class, whether the student took the class or stopped watching because the class was bad. The dissatisfied student usually won’t unenroll or leave a negative review because of Skillshare’s previous payment model.
Think of it this way. You go to a buffet and pay one fee to eat all you want. You put a little of everything on your plate. The coconut shrimp is no good, but you don’t bother to tell the manager (leave a review) or ask for a refund (unenroll). Instead, you try a different food item.
After all, you’ll find something else that you like (another class), or that makes the confusing class less confusing.
With the Udemy pricing model, you pay one price for one class (meal). With that pricing model, you’re likely to report food concerns to a manager (leave a review) or get a refund (unenroll) in a class.
THE FINE PRINT
How much will Skillshare pay in 2017?
The new payment model is based on minutes watched and teachers will receive 5-10 cents per minute watched.
Skillshare made the payment model change announcement on December 15. The new payment model will start Jan 1st.
However, teachers won’t receive the earnings from the new minutes watched payment model until February 2017.
Students have the option to opt out the new payment model if they remove their classes before January 1st, 2017.
In America where I live, and other places around the world we are in the holiday season. We are busy sipping on
spiked egg nog.
Many freelancers and online entrepreneurs – that would be Skillshare teachers – are on vacation or are working light schedules. Some might not even see this announcement before the 1st of January. Lucky for me, I’m working during the holidays so I can stay on top of things.
Judging from conversations going on in Skillshare and in Facebook Groups.
Skillshare teachers aren’t going to opt out just yet. They want to wait and see if the new payment model is better. I suspect many Skillshare teachers like myself will stick around despite the Skillshare earnings change.
Is this payment model better?
It depends? If a good number of your classes are about how you find Skillshare success, then this option may not be best.
Everybody and their dog, myself included makes a class on how to find Skillshare success. Even teachers who have found little to no success make a class on the topic.
If you are an internet marketer whose classes aren’t so good – but you know the Tricks to get Clicks (class enrollments), then payment model will disappoint you.
As a side note, I’m online friends with a successful Skillshare teacher who is an internet marketing star, but he also makes good classes, so this payment model probably won’t change his earnings.
If you have always found it challenging to make a teeny bite-sized class in 10 minutes, and you create quality longer classes that students find engaging, the payment model won’t affect you much or may even work out better.
Amazon Déjà Vu . I started writing and publishing books on Amazon in 2012. At that time Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) (Amazon’s publishing model), paid authors a flat fee whenever someone read at least 10 % of their book.
Some Internet marketers took advantage of the program. They’d pay someone pennies to write a crappy book, then come up with a delicious keyword stuffed title, slap a snazzy cover on the digital book, tweak the first 10 % of the material so that you couldn’t immediately recognize you’d collected cyber garbage.
As long as someone read 10%, they got paid for the crappy book.
This payment model did not reward hard working authors with good books. Amazon changed the payment model. This along with bad reviews stopped the shenanigans.
With the new Skillshare pricing model most teachers will probably earn less, but it is a much fairer system for hardworking teachers. It will save the platform from meeting the same fate as Skillfeed or from Internet marketers ruining the platform’s reputation.
Skillshare stated in their blog post that classes that offer the most value will find the most success, regardless of length. Obviously, if you have a lengthy class that is very good and students are engaged, that class will earn more than a shorter engaging class.
The key to success is creating the best class possible.
HOW TO FIND SKILLSHARE SUCCESS WITH NEW PAYMENT MODEL
We all like shiny new classes. In fact, Skillshare’s ever-changing point system assigns the most trending points to new classes. If you create a shiny new class on a hot topic, like Pokemon Go (as I write this PG is no longer hawt-hot), in the short run your trendy class might do very well.
However, that’s a gamble because many teachers might also jump on the trend and your class will have competition and might be the one that tanks. (true story of what happened to some of the PG classes on Skillshare.
I created a couple of holiday classes one was a hit and one was a miss.
I believe longer (under 60 minutes) engaging, evergreen classes that rarely changes with the passing of time is the way to go. Especially if it’s an engaging class that students want to watch every minute.
Merge Passion with Profit. I came to Skillshare to teach writing courses, which didn’t find a big audience on the platform, so I pivoted and found success when I merged the topic of writing and earning from a digital product.
WATCH OUT FOR THE UDEMY FOLKS
I like Udemy. I take classes on the site, and I’ve been planning to teach a class there. However, since landing on the beautiful Skillshare island in May, I’ve never made it to Udemy.
Now that all the Udemy teachers might flood the platform with their long classes, maybe I’ll finally make that class.
What are your plans? Will you stay or exit Skillshare?
(excuse any errors in the blog post which I put up quickly and will correct after I finish my egg nog).