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How to make money with SkillShare, the definitive guide

How to make money with SkillShare, the definitive  guide

I am so excited you stumbled upon this page, because, I promise you if you are looking for the most exhaustive guide on the internet on how to make money with SkillShare, this is it!

How to make money with SkillShare
How to make money with SkillShare

You have found it.

Now buckle up my friend because I have spent innumerable hours researching for this extensive guide which will answer all the questions you have regarding the SkillShare platform. How to start; what tools and expertise you need to get started; can you make decent money on it; where to find inspiration for your classes; how to effectively promote them and much, much more!

Let’s get started then!

What is SkillShare exactly

In case you do not know it, Skillshare is an online learning community for people who want to learn from educational videos. The courses, which are not accredited, are available through a subscription model. As of 2020, it costs 100 USD per year to access the full gamut of the courses on the site or 15$ monthly. However, you can easily get 2 months free to sample the service. Keep reading and at the end of this massive guide, I’ll show you a trick to get a full free year of access to the platform.

The majority of courses focus on interaction rather than lecturing, with the primary goal of learning by completing a project.

The main take-home messages of this guide

You should read the whole guide, if the topic interests you, obviously, but, for the time-strapped, here is a summary of what you are going to learn and short answers to the most pressing questions you might have. So you should be able to assess quickly if this guide is for you and if you can learn how to make money with Skillshare.

  • Can you make money on SkillShare? Yes! a definite and resounding one! There are many people who have found success on the platform and even turning it into a full-time activity.
  • How much can you earn on SkillShare? There is the whole gamut here, like everything in life. From few dollars to full stipends (3000 – 4000$) per month.
  • How long will it take for you to start earning? It really depends on so many things. If you are motivated and possess the right skillset and carefully select the topic of your course/s you can start earning within a month considerable amounts.
  • How difficult it is to create a successful class? The answer to this is a huge ‘depends’ as you will see further down, because of the different types of classes you can create. On average a class takes 15 to 20 hours to create for most teachers however, some teachers have reported that for them the process takes less than 2 – 3 hours!

Alright, now that we have that out of the way I think we can get started for real!

How to get to 500$ a month target

A good way to start is having a clear goal in mind don’t you think?

So I’ll spend a few minutes to show you how to estimate potential earning on the platform and what you need to reach the goal of 500$ a month to start with. Why 500$? It’s not easy but definitely achievable and it’s a good chunk of extra monthly money that can make a difference for a lot of people.

Skillshare pays its creators by the minute. For each minute a premium student watches a class, the creator is paid roughly 5 cents. So in order to make 500$ you will need around 10000 minutes per month or all your classes watched by premium students. Let’s break it further down.

10000 minutes per month equal to about 330 minutes per day. Obviously the more students you have the easier is to get to this number. With only 10 students watching your class every day, the number becomes 33 minutes for each student and with 20 students watching it’s only around 16 minutes every day. Now a class that lasts 15 – 30 minutes is very short indeed. Let’s keep this in mind.

So how many students do you need to be enrolled to achieve these numbers? This is tricky to determine and depends on the subject of the class, its quality, and age but I have a few numbers for you.

Skillshare tells you how many students are watching a class when you go on and watch it so if these numbers are accurate it is possible to estimate the number of students you need to get to the number above.

I have found that on the low end there were a few classes with 500 or fewer students enrolled getting 50 – 100 simultaneous viewers! That’s fantastic! BUT there were also classes with 5000+ students enrolled that were getting only 30 – 50. I hope these numbers excite you because they show that reaching the goal of 500$ per month is absolutely doable if the class topic is chosen with care!

Opportunities and challenges

You’ll find plenty of articles online suggesting how simple could be to learn how to make money with Skillshare, but while there is some truth to it, it’s not as simple as it might sound.

You’ll face challenges and difficulties in your journey depending on your skill level, your passion for teaching and the topics you are willing to create a class on. Let’s outline a few of the main challenges here:

The main challenges

Choosing your topic: The first and most important challenge you will face is the choice of the topic for your first class. There might be topics you are very confident teaching but it doesn’t mean they are going to be your best option to start. This may be frustrating for you.

Relying on Skillshare: There are advantages of using Skillshare, of course, but because you are going to rely on a third-party platform you need to be fluent in its language, so to speak. Before starting you need to learn the rules and regulations of the platform and comply with its policy.

You’ll find here all the terms and you will need to go through and read them carefully before starting. Remember they have the right to cancel your classes at any time should you not comply with their terms.

Something a lot of teachers overlook, instead, are the class guidelines, and the community guidelines which you should read and adhere to meticulously if you do not want to get flagged or banned from the platform. No point listing them here as they can, and most likely will, change over time.

The tools of the trade: Finally, you need to have a few tools and software to start with and most likely you will have to join the platform to learn from and connect to other teachers. However, do not fret. Most of the tools needed can be acquired easily or obtained for free (more on this on the tool section of the guide). The most important tool is your passion for teaching and willingness to learn yourself.

Now, let’s talk about the opportunities that will open up to you by following this guide and learning how to make money on Skillshare.

How to make money with Skillshare, the main opportunities

Exceptional earning potential compared to other platforms: Being a relatively new and less saturated platform and offering a truly innovative way of paying its contributors, Skillshare offers wonderful earning opportunities. On average, teachers start their career on Skillshare with earning around 200 – 300$ a month and from there they keep building their portfolio of classes.

There are however inspirational stories of teachers who started with the right attitude, the right skills, and the right topics and were able to quickly entice students and earning up to 2000 – 3000$ a month within the first 2 – 3 months of work. Totally doable.

No marketing need: Don’t get me wrong, with a good marketing strategy in place you can multiply your earnings quickly but the beauty of Skillshare is that it is taken care of for you.

As of 2020 multiple successful teachers have reported they use minimal or no marketing strategy and still see their classes generating good revenue for them month after month. So this is perfect if you are not willing to invest in it and rather focus only on creating great classes.

No interaction with students needed: This is great news for those who seek truth to enhance their passive income streams. Mostly you won’t need to interact with students if you do not want and still being successful and keep earning your royalty on your courses.

For those, instead, who want this interaction, Skillshare offers plenty of options.

4 classes per month: As of 2020 you can not upload more than 4 classes per month on the platform which I think is fantastic. This is a great hard limit to keep the classes coming without diluting the content of the platform and allow teachers to focus on quality rather than quantity.

I think this is all with regard to challenges and opportunities and in this guide, I will provide all the info you need to overcome the challenges and reap the benefits of the opportunities!

Things you need to get started

It’s time to talk about the tools you need to succeed if you want to earn on Skillshare. As you’ll see most of the tools are completely free and what’s left is inexpensive. Now, some of you may not be comfortable with the idea of using screencasting or video editing software however these skills can and should be learned before starting. You can even use skillshare classes for this purpose.

Let’s proceed orderly cause it all depends on the type of class you want to create. Each class type needs a special set of tools.

The screencast class

With this type of class, you present information showing only your screen and talking to your students while you demonstrate a skill or run a presentation. This is potentially the quickest type of class to create.

For this class, you need a screencasting software, a good USB microphone, and a simple video editing software. No need to spend too much, in fact here is the list (mostly free) of everything you need:

The talking head class

With this type of class, you present information standing in front of the camera and talking directly to your students. This is the next step up in terms of difficulty because for this type of class you need a decent camera to record yourself. With this class, you need to be concerned with things such as illumination, how you present yourself and you need an actual space to record without being disturbed.

The beauty of 2020 is that most mid-range phones are capable of producing great quality video and audio if you put a bit of care in preparing the scene. So if you have a half-decent phone you are basically ready to go. Most likely, however, you’ll want a decent mic to go with it. So here is the list:

  • A decent, mid-range smartphone with good video/audio capabilities.
  • (optional but very useful) A tripod to hold your phone, around 10$
  • A decently-lit, noise-free area to record your classes
  • OpenShot video editor – screencasting and video editing, open-source and completely free
  • Lapel clip-on microphone – great sounding and inexpensive, around 20$
  • Google Slides – completely free and perfect to create a presentation
  • Google Docs – for your script

The top-down class

With this type of class, your goal is to show a process. This is perfect if you are teaching a practical skill such as painting or cooking something.

This class presents more challenges than the previous mostly due to the more difficult setup. For example, setting up a camera to record you while you draw something or paint it’s not an easy feat and presents all sorts of challenges.

The same goes for other types of practical skills. To compound the difficulty is the fact that often you might want to take different shots of the process from different angles which can increase difficulty and time required to create a class even further.

So, unless you know what you are doing or have a clear strategy in mind, I would discourage you from starting here unless you are willing to learn the ropes and invest a bit of time to create a good looking class.

You can still get away with a phone on a tripod for this class type but getting optimal results is tough and requires a bit of tinkering.

This approach requires all of the tools I have listed before and more. It is not uncommon for top teachers to invest in extra cameras, photography props, and tools to make the whole process much more efficient and problem-free.

3 Strategies for success

I have shown you that starting out does not require a big upfront investment, it’s time now to talk about THE strategies I am going to present to maximize your chances at creating a successful course.

This is so exciting, let’s get started immediately with an outline of the strategy in the precise order you want to execute it. And remember, you’ll move to the next step only when the previous has been completely fulfilled.

1) Research and validate your class topic

This is so important! Please don’t be like the majority of Skillshare teachers and just assume that what you already know is necessarily the best topic to create a class around. I mean, there is nothing evil about it, but you are just winging it, hoping that what you have to teach is going to be popular. I don’t like to leave things to chance, so we are going to research the topic using three approaches, Skillshare itself, Youtube and Google trends.

The idea is to research carefully these platforms to find very popular how-to videos on subjects you might be comfortable teaching at first.

Let’s say, for example, you are good at making wax candles and you think that you could set up a class teaching the basics of it on Skillshare. Great. Let’s go see if creating wax candles is popular on these two platforms.

Let’s jump on YouTube but we need to be careful and we are not going to assume that if a video has a 1Mil views that are necessarily a demonstration that its subject is popular. The video could be very old OR the uploader might have a big following.

Also, we must pay attention to the quality and subject of the video and the technique used. For example, a video showing how to create beeswax candles with a top-down approach is very different from a video showing making soy candles using the talking head style even if the subject is similar.

So filter by time and pick videos that aren’t older than one year. Here is what I have found:

In this video, lovely Sheri Vegas uses a combination of talking head and top-down to show how to create basic decorative scented candles. The video has been uploaded on the 25 Sept 2019 and has already 80k views, that’s very encouraging! Also, while Sheri has a respectable amount of subscribers, around 30k, they are not enough by themselves to justify the views. This suggests she got plenty of organic views driven by people searching for the subject on YouTube.

A quick search on Google Trends with the keyword “how to make candles” shows a robust, albeit seasonal, pattern of searches.

We also need to look at comments and how people reacted to the video. Sheri got more than 3k likes, which is fantastic, and most of the comments are positive and focussed.

There is potential here.

We should see if this is a fluke or the subject has traction in general. More similar videos on youTube show that indeed this is a positive pattern.

This video for example, similar to Sheri’s, has 140k views and 4k likes. That’s wonderful!

Finally, we want to confirm that the quality expectations of the viewers are not too high which can be the case with a very saturated niche.

I think that in this case, the videos have a mid-tier quality, lighting is ok but not amazing, audio the same, editing is acceptable. However, this does not stop them to be positively received by the community, which is awesome.

Now that we have found an interesting niche on YouTube you should go to Skillshare and search for videos of the same type and see what comes up. This is where you are going to decide if you’d want to pursue this project and create a class on this subject.

A quick search on Skillshare shows something very interesting, there aren’t many videos about making candles on the platforms and the few that are present don’t have a great following. This could be a huge opportunity but you need to find out why no one else has created a compelling class on candle making.

Now, by looking closely at the classes on the platform something comes up as very striking, these classes are very low quality. I am not commenting on the quality of the info but on the quality of the class itself. Poorly lit, voice not very clear, a very short class which suggests a low-value proposition.

There is huge room for improvement here.

Maybe the way the video classes were shot does not appeal to the Skillshare crowd. If that’s the case there is a huge opportunity to capture the niche here with an awesomely shot and comprehensive video course on candle making.

But let’s say we are not happy with this result. We then go back to YouTube and look for more ideas. A bit of further search popped this video from the channel Craftcore DIY & Sewing.

This video is about reusing old candle wax from old candles. Now, this might just be our winner. The lovely Angela has a relatively small number of subscribers on youtube and in general on her other social media channels. This means that the 178k+ views she has on this video are mostly free traffic from google and the popularity of the subject. This is fantastic and precisely the kind of video we are looking for.

Obviously she struck a chord with candle lovers and waste-haters explaining why this video got so popular on its own. The video is technically well done, audio and video are clear and in focus, her voice is soothing and the video is edited with taste. All the things you may want to consider if you’d like to replicate it on Skillshare.

SO, this is the basic gist of the technique. You validate your niche before committing to creating anything in order to reduce the risk of creating a class no one is going to watch.

Let’s look now at an alternative approach although a more difficult approach to selecting and validating your topic.

2) Top an already popular class

Another, more direct strategy, consists simply to search on Skillshare, classes you might be interested in teaching and see if they are already popular such as this, for example.

This screencast course by Jason cannon lasts 2h+ and has 3k+ students enrolled, which is a very respectable number (I’ll explain further down how to estimate earnings based on students and course length).

The idea here is simple. If you know Python, would you be able to top or improve upon Jason’s course? Look at the course and think about how you could explain things more clearly, how you could, perhaps, expand upon what Jason has here or maybe approach it from a completely different perspective. Or maybe you could create a similar course on a completely different (but it has to be popular) programming language.

The point is, you start from an already validated idea. You know this subject is popular and if you can create a course that improves upon what’s already there you can bet you’ll have students flocking your way.

3) Be the first to create a course on an emerging topic

This last strategy is tricky and risky but the payoff could be grand. If you catch the rising popularity of a subject you might have the skills (or you might be willing to acquire them) to be the first to create a course wrapped around such topics.

You must think laterally here, things to consider could be linked to the world of video games for example and the huge popularity of certain titles such as Fortnite or Clash of Clans. Now, these two have been obviously out for years now so the competition would be too fierce. But if you found yourself in a position to create a class or a course on a game you think is going to become hugely popular, that could be your chance to capture the market without competition.

Some games, such as Fortnite or Minecraft are so popular that full-time careers have been created around serving such a growing community of fans.

The gaming industry is just an example obviously.

A well-known story is that of Nick Walter of Provo, Utah, who capitalized on the announcement by Apple of a new programming language, swift and saw the chance to be first in line creating a course on Udemy for it. According to the story he dedicated 4 days studying the software and creating a course on Udemy that turned more than 60000$ in few weeks.

How to create a compelling Skillshare class

This is all great BUT, once you have decided on the topic of your class, you can further increase your chances of success by following the advice of veteran teachers on the platform to create a very compelling course.

Let’s see what they have to say with regard to creating a compelling and successful Skillshare class.

  • Enjoy the process: First and foremost if you genuinely enjoy sharing your knowledge and expertise this will seep through your content. Be enthusiastic about what you are teaching and the students will be more engaged and positive when it comes to reviewing your course and assessing their expectations.
  • Create an outline: All great classes start with a solid outline where you write down what you are going to teach. This might seem obvious to some of you but there are many classes on Skillshare that are obviously not using it. Improvising will make you sound like an amateur and it’ll weaken the structure and clarity of your class.
  • Strive for good or excellent video and audio quality: This goes almost without saying but you are interacting with your students via video/audio so the better the interface is the better the class.
  • Read your lesson out loud before recording: Many teachers find that rehearsing the text of the lesson several times makes it sound more natural and engaging. Another trick is to really imagine you are speaking to an actual person instead of into a mic. The point is, try to sound as natural as possible and rehearsing helps.
  • Get inspired by top teacher’s classes: Almost no one does things perfectly the first time. Examine other teacher’s classes and gather inspiration for yours. look at their style, content delivery, and editing style. You do not need to reinvent the wheel.

Finally, I’d encourage you to check the teacher handbook published by SKillshare with a wealth of info on the topic!

Successful Skillshare courses examples

Let’s look at some inspirational classes, shall we? I have selected the following classes as an example of immaculate shooting, great class flow, and structure, loads of value to the students! Be inspired!

In this free class by lovely Mimi Chao, you can see an example of an outstanding presentation for what is basically a screencast class with a bit of top-down added to create interest and variation. Audio/video is both excellent and the actual content of the class is vibrant and beautifully presented!

In this lesson, Linsday Summers talks about creative writing. It’s basically a talking-head type of lesson however is shot with a couple of camera variations (so it needs two cameras set up), beautifully lit and scripted to sound very natural.

In this lovely guide, irene introduces handwriting techniques. This class is a top-down type with nice editing and titles added for visual interest. Video and voice quality is fine but not excellent still the class is super popular.

The rest is up to you. Learn to love the platform, get acquainted with the different styles and choose one that resonates with you the most and you feel you would be able to achieve. Always strive to improve in some way if possible and add your personal spin to it.

How to promote your SkillShare class

As you have seen, learning how to make money with Skillshare is not such a complicated process. If you have followed this guide you now have the tools to create a course on the platform that could potentially start generating money for you straight away. There are always ways though to improve further your chances of success.

I am obviously talking about promoting your course once you have created it. As I explained before, this is not so critical because Skillshare has a clever way to promote new courses to its premium audience but if you have the inclination and maybe a small community of fans you could leverage you should consider it.

Marketing and promotion are a subject on its own right so I can’t possibly be exhaustive here and if you want to dig deep you can find many excellent courses on Skillshare itself or other platforms. I will present here three effective options used by many successful teachers on Skillshare.

Option n.1 Facebook Groups

One of the main staples of marketing is presenting your product to the appropriate audience so this is going to be the recurring theme of this section. Many successful Skillshare teachers use Facebook groups to advertise the launch of a new course.

There are two types of groups I would consider, generic groups for Skillshare members and niche groups specific to your Class topic.

The strategy is simple, join the groups and when the class is ready to post an update to entice potential students in. The Skillshare groups are numerous on Facebook and there are groups that are only for premium members. Niche groups are obviously for people highly interested in your topic.

Option n.2 Instagram posts/shoutouts

In the old days getting a shoutout by an Instagram influencer was a bit of a pain (and can still be) however nowadays you can use platforms such us Shoutcart to order a shoutout and advertise your new shiny course. This will cost you though.

A free option (but requires time) is to build an Instagram audience on a niche topic that matches your course topic and then advertise it there.

Option n.3 Offer free enrollment to your new course

One of the stumbling blocks of new teachers is getting the momentum going with anew class and overcoming the dreaded 0 students. After all, seeing that a class has lots of students it’s a reason for a new student to check it out. Many teachers then offer free enrollment vouchers to new students on the various platform in exchange for a post or a like or share to get the ball rolling.

However, don’t get yourself wrapped into the scary world of marketing. The most important thing is creating a compelling course that people want to follow, do your homework and research the topic deeply before committing. This is the main way to boost your chances.

Let’s put it this way, no advertising strategy is going to save a shoddily made class so focus your efforts where it really matters!


We are finally at the end of this massive, massive guide on how to make money on SKillshare. There is nothing better on the internet, you are welcome. Now my partying gift for you.

A way to get a full free year of Skillshare by creating your first class!

Every month or so Skillshare holds a contest for new teachers who are beginning their journey on the platform. The contest is very generous and if you follow the guidelines and reach certain goals (which are not very difficult) you can get a full year of Skillshare Premium for free (99$) and if you are lucky and created an outstanding class, a trip to NYC!

Once you have joined the platform (as a teacher) you will be able to enter the challenge from your dashboard. You must absolutely check it out and if you weren’t already convinced to try your hands at creating a class this might very well tip you!

Wow! I am happy and exhausted, this guide turned out to be massive. I hope you enjoyed it! leave a comment down below and let me know what you think!



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