FYI: The below post about Skillshare give or take a few things (such as best referrals earnings) is also an eBook Skillshare on Amazon. There is NO need for you to purchase the book unless you would like to receive my Skillshare Cheat Sheet that list the Pros and Cons of teaching on Skillshare – as a way to say thank you for purchasing it.
A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Udemy
A funny thing happened on my way to spending an entire year and beyond getting my first course ready to be published on UDEMY, I ended up creating my first class and publishing it on the online learning site SKILLSHARE via a 30-Day Teach Challenge.
I didn’t spend every single day of the year working on my Udemy course. But I did spend many days and long hours creating the course that as of this writing is not published. I will publish it soon. More about that later.
FYI: Udemy is an online learning platform. It provides tools which enable users to create a course, promote it and earn money. None of the courses are currently credentialed for college credit, and instead, students take a course for self-improvement and to improve job-related skills.
What took so long? One word fear. I was intimidated by the technology and other stuff I needed to learn to publish my course. Udemy has a test video review process, and my video didn’t get approved the first couple of tries. This is not uncommon as many people’s videos don’t get approved on the first try.
Eventually, my test video was approved, and I was given the green light to submit the rest of my course for review.
In the meantime, along came the Skillshare 30-day Teach Challenge that came with a cash bonus, prizes, and a year’s free premium membership and I was sold.
A quick backstory. Someone I know from various entrepreneurship social media groups (does anyone know anyone in person anymore?), stopped by one of the groups we are both in and did a drive-by, a drop-by.
With the sites administrator’s permission, he posted a thread stating that he’s just created and published 20 courses on Skillshare. He shared links to the courses. Before his drive by drop-by, I’d heard of Skillshare, but his posting in the group caused me to stop what I was doing and go explore the site.
I liked what I saw and believed it would be easier to create a course for Skillshare than it had been creating one for Udemy since Skillshare promotes bite-sized classes of 10-25 minutes.
Udemy’s classes have to be at least 30 minutes in length. Because they have a flat rate pricing model that has changed several times, most recently in August of 2016, I would suggest one create a class that is at least one hour in length to compete on Udemy.
My plan was to create a quick mini class for Skillshare and continue working on my Mega course for Udemy.
It didn’t happen that way. Somehow I got stuck on the beautiful island of Skillshare with the splendid blue sky and water. I needed every day of the 30 days to work on a class for the site.
In this post, I’ll be your Skillshare Island Tour Guide. I’m going to share what I’ve learned and learned about Skillshare. You’ll have to forgive me because I sometimes use the words instructors, teachers, courses, classes interchangeably.
This guide gives you a peek inside both Skillshare and Udemy from my perspective. While I have done my bests to give you reliable information, both Skillshare and Udemy are constantly updating their sites.
In fact, just this month Udemy has changed it’s pricing model and Skillshare has changed its “trending” algorithm. Keep reading to find out about class “trending” on Skillshare.
Therefore, it goes without saying you should do your own research. Also, this post does not cover the online learning sites from A to Z.
I’ve spent over a year learning about Udemy and the last few months learning about Skillshare.
*How much on average Skillshare teachers earn
*What Skillshare teachers earned in 2016
*Perks of taking Skillshare Teach Challenge and what it means
*My Skillshare Review, which includes topics like (What makes a good class. Becoming a Brand Ambassador. How you earn revenue and find success on Skillshare, How do you get your class to trend and so much more.
*Skillshare vs. Udemy
* How to achieve Skillshare Success
* Marketing Tips and Strategies on Skillshare
This post isn’t the end all be all, but you will learn some things, and I hope it inspires you to create a course. Every site has a learning curve. Instead of you dear reader running around like a chicken with its head cut off, I want you to grab your favorite beverage and come along on a short journey as I give you a tour of the beautiful Skillshare Island and Udemy. I’ll share with you what I’ve learned about the two online learning sites.
Let’s get started.
Skillshare Teacher Earnings
According to the Skillshare, website teachers earn $4,500 a year on average. The top 10 most successful teachers earn $40,000 + per year.
What could you do with an extra four to five grand per year? I can think of a few things like pay a couple of bills, continue to invest in things to grow my online business, and maybe even take a vacation.
What Skillshare teachers earned in 2016?
Kari Sayers, who as of this writing has six courses on Skillshare including the popular Become a Creative Entrepreneur –
Responded to this question in an online forum – “Has anyone made considerable side money teaching Skillshare classes?
Sayers responded, “In January 2016, I made over $500 from my courses on Skillshare…so the answer to your question is YES, you absolutely can make considerable side money on Skillshare.
The top 100 teachers on Skillshare earned an average of $1500 in January. I’d say that’s pretty good side money in my book.”
What Skillshare teachers earned in 2016 was a question asked in a Skillshare Facebook group by the administrator. The group consists of about 4,000 mostly Skillshare teachers who offer free coupon codes to their classes, advice, and an opportunity for teachers to network.
The name of the Facebook group and other social media platforms where Skillshare teachers can promote their classes and network is provided in this class. Awww, come on I have to get you to visit the Island some kind of way. Skillshare is usually running a promotion which lets you take classes for 3 months for 99 cents. After that, it cost less than 10 per month.
Here are some responses to the question from the group. I’m using initials and not names of teachers because I didn’t ask permission to use names. You are welcome to apply to join the group to promote your class and to network. As long as you are not a spammer, you will be accepted.
I mentioned Sayers name and Skillshare earnings because her name and comment appears on a public forum to which anyone can access by doing a simple Google search. She also recently had me as a guest on her podcast.
Here is a breakdown of what some teachers in the Skillshare Facebook group earned in 2016.
BELOW IS MONTH OF JUNE 2016. It is from a Facebook thread.
SD earned $28 + (1) $10 referral bonus. Teacher states this was slightly less than last month’s earning because most of his classes were offered for free most of the month. He estimates that each premium student yielded him $1 – 1.5.
AB earned $82 (1) $10 referral bonus. Teacher states it was less than expected but still happy.
NS earned $535 ($80 from referrals). Teacher states, it’s less than last month’s earning.
ME earned $523 ($70 from referrals). Teacher states that she is very happy with earnings considering mid-May is when her class enrollments increased.
RH stated that she doubled last month’s income on Skillshare from $25 to $55. She doesn’t consider it a lot of money but estimates that she will receive more money the following month. (side note: Many of this teacher’s classes are trending on Skillshare so my guess is that she will earn $500 or more revenues next month).
To my knowledge, this next teacher who I will refer to with the initials TH is not in the Facebook group. I’m not going to use his real name or initials because I don’t agree with the strategies he shares in a couple of his courses that I’ve taken.
Later in the Skillshare Review section, I’ll get into the strategies he uses to create classes, and I’ll share the disgusting advice he gives for teachers to be successful on Skillshare. I’ll also cover how teachers can earn additional money through referrals.
TH shares Paypal account with students. It shows he earned $3200 from Skillshare in June. It’s important to mention that he has over 100 classes on Skillshare. That may seem like a lot of classes, but as mentioned classes on the site can be as short as 10 minutes.
I will discuss how much I earned in the next section. Gonna let you in on a little surprise. The first month’s earning were slow, but I kicked butt in the second month.
Perks of Taking the Skillshare Teach Challenge
As mentioned earlier in this post, I created my first class on Skillshare in May. Here’s a recap of how it all went down.
As my first class was launched on the last day of May, I did not receive really any June earnings from my class. But I did receive a $30.00 bonus for referring three students to the site. I also received a $150 cash bonus for completing the May Teach Challenge link here.
I also won a $25.00 Amazon gift card for providing helpful feedback on classes being created in the Teach Challenge.
In July of 2016, I earned almost $200 from Skillshare. In August of 2016, I earned, wait for it. Almost $2,000. I went from just a couple of hundred followers to close to 2,500 followers in less than two weeks just by learning marketing strategies on Skillshare.
Peggy D. (Hand Lettering, Watercolor, Modern Calligraphy teacher) won the top May Teach challenge prize which was a $1,000 Apple Gift Card, getting her class featured in the coveted Skillshare newsletter that goes out to over 1 million students. She was also paid a $150 teach challenge bonus, and perhaps additional student referrals bonus.
Peggy won the challenge because her class had the most student enrollment and trended the highest of all classes that launched in the May Teach Challenge.
Congrats Peggy. I mention her name because it’s public information that can be found by searching the internet. I read in a recent blog post by Skillshare that Peggy was recruited by Skillshare after they discovered her on Instagram.
If you’d like to participate in a Skillshare Teach Challenge and earn a cash bonus, prizes, and a premium membership simply sign up to the site. As of this writing, you can do so for 99 cents, simply go here.
You’ll find that the class is a nice introductory to get you started on Skillshare.
If you are considering becoming a Skillshare teacher you want to do it via a Teach Challenge which seems to be offered each month.
Skillshare reported in a recent blog post that teachers who join Skillshare via a Teach Challenge typically enroll more students and earn 25% more money.
They also receive a cash bonus. The cash bonus ranges from $100 – $200 dollars.
Be sure to read this post to learn a little more about the Teach Challenge.
There is a lot I absolutely love about the little island of Skillshare. For one, I like how easy it is to create a class. I love networking with Skillshare teachers and students because they are my kind of people. People who are entrepreneurs, artist, creative types and what I call Freedompreneurs looking to make extra money.
Whether you are on the site to learn, teach, or to do both, it’s a great experience.
As I mentioned earlier, I was busy creating my Super Book Writing course on Udemy when I was introduced to Skillshare. Earlier I gave the quick backstory.
To recap, It was taking me forever to create a 1-2 hours Udemy course, so I halted the Udemy course in favor of creating a bite-sized Skillshare class of 10-25 minutes.
Even though I’m smitten with Skillshare spending a couple of hours on the site each day, there are a few little things that Skillshare could do to make the experience on the site wonderful. Thankfully, they seem to be making tweaks to the site often.
As a newbie, you probably won’t find Skillshare to be the easiest site to navigate.When I started on the site, the only way I was able to find my way around was via a Skillshare email link.
I copied and pasted the URL of certain pages into a document. Each time I needed to do something on the site, I would open the document, copy the URL and paste it into my browser and find a page that way.
If that sounds complicating and confusing, it is.
Thankfully, I don’t have to use those methods anymore. Skillshare has made tweaks and the more I use the platform, the easier it is to get around.
Newbies can expect a learning curve. No worries, I created a Skillshare Cheat Sheet to help. Sign up for this class to get started and then email me so I can send it to you.
OVERWHELMING AMOUNT OF COMMUNICATION
I enrolled in the guy who did the Drop-by of his classes and immediately I started receiving way too many emails from Skillshare via the guy whose class I enrolled. It seemed like every time the guy created a new class, posted an announcement, or even blinked a damn eye, I had to hear about it.
When you enroll in a class, Skillshare automatically makes you follow the teacher. Each time the teacher creates a new class, post an announcement, creates a discussion on a thread when one of the students post a new project in the project gallery, you’ll receive an email.
Also, if you comment on a thread, and someone posts a follow-up comment – guess what? You are notified.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, this “Drive-by Guy” was extra special, chasing down money like an addict chasing an addiction. We all need and want to earn money.
But for the love of pancakes be respectful. Most people on the platform are. They aren’t salesy or spammy and only send helpful communications which is why it’s a good idea to follow them.
If you find that someone is being way too salesy and spammy, you can unfollow them. You can also unsubscribe to a communication sent by Skillshare. Simply go on the site and uncheck communication that you do not wish to receive on a daily basis.
You also have the option only to get notified via Skillshare. So when you are on the platform, a light or a number appears on top of your notification box.
Another Update August 2016:
Skillshare made another tweak. They created a special discussion area that Skillshare teachers can use like a blog and keep their students updated.
Please blog responsibly. Don’t do like “Drive-by Guy” and advertise nonstop. Share what you are working on, no worries, but don’t over do it.
SKILLSHARE BUSINESS/SUBSCRIPTION MODEL
Skillshare is a membership site. For about $10 per month or a slightly cheaper annual fee, you get full access to Skillshares over 7,000 classes. I like the “all you can eat buffet style” of choosing classes. You don’t have to worry about paying for a class, not liking it, and feeling like you’ve wasted your money. Instead, you can simply select another class.
I also like Skillshare’s generosity in that for every annual membership purchased, they give a scholarship membership to students. So awesome!
The cash bonus, one-year premium membership, and other prizes are the big draw of attracting new teachers. It was certainly the reason I halted the creation of my Udemy course.
As an online entrepreneur and freelancer – I offer my services and products on a variety of sites. Each site where you sell products or freelance, there is a learning curve and upfront time you must invest without a guarantee that you will make one dime.
That is indeed the price you pay as a Freedompreneur, but some upfront incentives are just what you need to hop onboard.
I was happy to receive the $150 cash bonus. It’s summer time where I live so there is always exciting places to spend money. My thinking and I’ve heard other instructors say this is that you get a bonus to teach a subject related to your passion and add another income stream.
That’s one way to look at it. But not so fast. Yes, you get the bonus for creating a class and NO visible strings attached. However, if you want to earn ongoing revenue for the class or classes you create – you have to be accepted into the Skillshare Partner Program.
To be accepted into the program, you have to enroll 25 students in your class so that you class will start trending. Trending is when your class gets showcased in a good position on the default page of the site.
Enrolling 25 students is not an unreasonable requirement as you can create a FREE coupon code for your class. That way students can enroll with their email address only and not a credit card.
The good news is that you only have to enroll 25 students in “one” class to join the Partner Program. Once you’ve done so, you’ll be compensated for the Premium enrollments in “all” of your classes each month. Even classes in which you’ve yet to enroll 25 students. That’s good news.
Still – essentially you have become a Brand Ambassador, marketer, and promoter for Skillshare. You bring them students and help grow their email list, customer base, and revenues. Before you get your drawers in a bunch, this also benefits you and your earnings.
If you think about it, you are a Brand Ambassador for any site you sell products, services or use. I sell my eBooks on Amazon and Gumroad. I am promoting those sites when I send people there to buy.
I am a Brand Ambassador, which is essentially a marketer or promoter of a brand (or fill in the blank).
If you use a social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Youtube, essentially you are a Brand Ambassador for the site.
Skillshare differs from other sites like Amazon in that you earn revenue on those sites as soon as you launch a book (product or service). You are not required to sell a certain number of books or bring a certain amount of customers to the site before you can earn revenue.
That’s the part that that does not thrill me. But let’s be clear there is no get rich quick schemes. To make it as an online entrepreneur, you have to put in upfront and ongoing work. There is no such thing as income that is truly passive.
Regardless of the site, you use it’s better to start bringing customers right away as I explain in this class because when you sell your products or services successfully, it triggers an algorithm, and the site will begin to promote you to their thousands if not millions of customers.
Amazon changed, Skillshare probably will too. (UPDATE: Skillshare changed!)
Amazon has a program called Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). With KDP’s previous payment model, the Amazon author was paid a fee for any a fee for any eBook that was borrowed by someone in their subscription program- if they read at least 10% of the book.
Let’s pretend you borrowed a book and read a few pages (at least 10%) of the book, but a few pages in you could read no more of the book because it was crappy. That author would still be paid a fee as if you’d read the entire book.
What made that unfair some authors began to game the system. They would slap a nice cover on their book and spend a lot of time making the first few pages of the book interesting. Then they’d slap together some crap for the rest of the book or have it outsourced for cheap by a writer overseas.
This was unfair to writers who took the time to make sure their book was good from start to finish. Said writer would be paid no more than someone who figured out how to game the system.
That payment model was very unfair, and Amazon quickly changed it.
Don’t worry if you didn’t quite get that the Amazon bit, let me bring this back to Skillshare and the teacher which I will give the initials HT. I’ll talk more about this teacher in the next segment.
UPDATE: I’m sorry to keep breaking in with updates, but get used to it. Skillshare, like Udemy, like (fill in the blank) site, is constantly changing and striving for improvement. I wrote this post a month ago, and so many things have changed. Expect more changes to come.
WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL SKILLSHARE CLASS
First, I’ll tell you what does NOT make a successful Skillshare class. You will not have a successful Skillshare class if you follow TH’s model of creating classes. Remember he’s the instructor that earned $3200 in June.
In TH’s classes, he brags about only working about 30 minutes each day creating a Skillshare class. He states that the reason he can churn out material quickly is that he essentially steals other people’s material.
In one course he says he no longer “steals” people’s information and instead he states he now borrows other’s material since the material isn’t copyrighted.
There is a difference between gleaning inspiration from someone else’s class and copying. Gleaning inspiration is when you look at the work of other’s in your field to be inspired or to come up with new ideas. You might even see what you can do differently or better.
Copying which is what TH does is creating a class on a topic that he knows very little about. One class of his that I took, he attempted to explain a screencast software that he clearly does not use. I know that because I use the software and can tell that he does not.
TH has over 100 classes on Skillshare, he turns out bad and dishonest courses as a way to cheat the system.
Essentially he slaps on a fancy looking class image, writes a course description that is enticing and Skillshare members quickly enroll in the class.
One or two minutes in the class and you quickly discover that the class is a rehash, contains other Skillshare teachers material and so many other things that make the class not worth taking.
This teacher is not alone is this shameful practice. There are several teachers on Skillshare that are quickly churning out bad classes and making money doing so.
UPDATE: I take my entrepreneur hat off to Skillshare for making this update.
Skillshare changed it’s “trending” algorithm. Many teachers like TH classes lost visibility because of the new trending algorithm.
Trending, points, student enrollment are all intertwined into your payments. The only thing that you need to know as a newbie or seasoned teacher on Skillshare is this.
Listen up because this is crucial.
Create a good class that students are engaged in, are inspired to review and create a project. There will be tons of classes with similar topics as your class. It matters not. People can’t steal you! They can’t steal your unique perspective on the topic. They can’t steal your teaching style.
When you want to learn a new topic, you most likely use several sources because one teacher might explain it in a way that is better suited to your learning style of they might include different information.
TH can come along and copy your information, but he can’t copy you and your rich knowledge on a topic.
So that’s it. That’s really the secret to Skillshare success.
Oh, and don’t forget to engage in the ongoing marketing of your class. I’m surprised by the number of teachers who put up a class and go bye – bye. You cannot go bye – bye. Marketing your class should be ongoing.
There are many factors that determine how quickly you can create a class on Skillshare. Helen Bradley a respected teacher on Skillshare whom Skillshare uses in some of their marketing material stated in a blog post that it takes her between 6-7 hours to make a 20-40 minute class.
From what I can tell after taking a peek at several of her classes is that she teaches one topic relating to Photoshop, and she covers various parts of the program. If she didn’t teach on that one topic, it probably would take her longer to create a class.
With the first class, I put on Skillshare it took me doing something every day of the 30 days that I participated in the Teach challenge. My class is on nonfiction book writing, and I know that topic very well. However, there is a big difference in knowing a topic well and teaching a class online.
The class that I created that landed in the #1 spot on Skillshare topping over 7,000 classes took me just a few hours to create. Wow, I know. That’s because I was so excited that one of my classes hit over 1,000 students, and the other one hit over 500 students.
I was inspired and shared my story in an authentic way. The material poured out of me. It was a beautiful experience.
The other classes after that I created took me a few days to complete. I’ve since gone back in and spent more hours tweaking the classes with more plans to do additional updates. I can’t imagine any scenario where you can create a good class in 30 minutes.
Not only have I taken a couple of classes by TH, but I have taken classes by others who churn out classes and the classes essentially rehash what others have worked hard to create. With Skillshares trending algorithm changes if you students don’t watch the majoring of your class and create a project, you class won’t trend.
After the change, I’ve since checked on TH’s classes, and none of them are trending.
In short, what does not make a good class is copying or stealing other’s work
What makes a good class in learning by taking classes and practicing.
SKILLSHARE VS. UDEMY
My comparison of the two sites is not to convince you that one site is better than the other. I like both sites for different reasons.
Length. Udemy courses are longer than Skillshare classes. A Skillshare class can be as short as 10 minutes, and a Udemy class can be as short as 30 minutes. Skillshare reports that 10-25 minutes classes are an ideal length for a class. I hear that Udemy classes that are at least one hour do best.
Also, because Skillshare courses are bite-sized you mostly nibble on the topics. As an example, if you created a course on Self-publishing nonfiction books on Udemy your course would be from A to Z and start to finish. From idea to outline, to writing the book, to editing the book, to publishing to marketing.
With Skillshare each part of the process would be broken up into bite -sized chunks as an example my class.
Side note: It seems Udemy refers to their “courses” as “courses” and Skillshare refers to their classes as “classes”.
Navigation. There is a learning curve for both sites and any site for that matters, but I find Udemy site to be much easier to navigate.
Course Approval Process. When you attempt to publish a course on Udemy – the way the process currently works with Udemy is that you have to submit a test video, and it will either be approved or declined for a variety of reasons like content, sound, and video quality.
Udemy offers assistance and lots of resources to help you create a course that meets their standards. Early on like a good number of people I had problems getting my test video approved by Udemy. After several attempts, it was approved.
There seems to be an easier approval process for classes on Skillshare.This does not mean you can put up a low-quality class or one that violates Skillshares rules because when you create a class for Skillshare, it does not go live immediately, instead there is a pending process.
I believe Skillshare staff enrolls in your classes anonymously. I believe this because of several enrollees to my classes, I am unable to track. Also, Skillshare sends you a message if your class does not meet their guidelines and they will remove or halt the class.
Udemy runs an OFFICIAL Facebook group where instructors can ask questions about everything from equipment to what kind of mic one needs to things they just can’t figure out, and network. I have learned a lot from the group.
Skillshare does not have an official Facebook group, but there are several unofficial groups which I list in my Skillshare Cheat Sheet.
Also, Skillshare runs online Q& A’s called AMA (Ask me anything) where the staff is helpful.
Cost. Udemy is an a-la-carte model with classes costing between $20 & up to hundreds of dollars. Skillshare is all you can eat model, pay a yearly fee and take all the classes you want.
Both sites offer free classes.
In a way, I like Skillshare’s membership model over Udemy’s pay as you go, model. However, the drawback with Skillshare’s model is that you’ll find yourself collecting classes that you might never get around to taking.
My cyber bookshelf already groans with books I haven’t had a chance to read, and I don’t want my cyber course shelf to end up the same way.
As mentioned earlier, Udemy site is way easier to navigate. In fairness to Skillshare there site is not complicated once you get around that learning curve, and they are always making tweaks.
Types of classes. While both Skillshare and Udemy have the usual array of classes everything from business, graphics, website design, cooking, writing and some of everything in between. Skillshare seems to lean heavily towards artsy classes like calligraphy, quilting, painting, crafts, etc.
Skillshare types of classes
Illustrator for lunch
Doodle Arts Basics
Pen and ink illustrations
Depth & Dimension Design
All things “Instagram” seems to be popular right now
Of course, there are other types of classes in all every industry imaginable that do well. People love learning about how to make money online.
Udemy type of courses
All things Entrepreneurship
Habits and personal lifestyle
Excel & other software
Dropshipping, Drop shipping, or Drop-shipping
Social Media Marketing
Passive income. There is no such thing. Well, there is if you are able to obtain traffic for your course or class organically.
Even so, marketing is ongoing, always. Most of us know this. That’s why it’s important to freelancers and entrepreneurs to diversify our income.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and allowing me to be your tour guide on the beautiful Island of Skillshare and Udemy.
I realize it’s NOT perfect as I scrambled to update it. With online learning platforms, business, etc., things change constantly. I originally wrote this blog last month, and there have been countless changes on both Udemy and Skillshare.
My number one goal is to be of service to those who want to learn and teach online.
Finally, if you have any questions for me – please don’t hesitate to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you. I love helping freelancers and entrepreneurs succeed.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY OUT ONE OF MY CLASSES FOR FREE? Simply drop me an email and I’ll send you a free link.
What class will you create for Skillshare? Do tell in the comments below???
Here’s to your Skillshare Success!