Skillshare FAQ For Teachers And Students

Skillshare FAQ For Teachers And Students

This post was most recently updated on June 26th, 2018

Skillshare FAQ: How do I contact Skillshare support?

The best way is probably to open a support ticket. Note, Skillshare run a ticketing system where they reply to you via email without quoting your original reply, which makes it a bit confusing if you have multiple tickets open. There’s also no way to see your ticket comments and their replies online. I suggest keeping your own copy of what you type into their ticket form. You can open a ticket here.

 

Skillshare FAQ: How much does Skillshare cost?

At the time of writing this, a Skillshare Premium account costs $15 per month if paid monthly, or $8.25 per month if paid annually ($99/year). For that you get access to all the classes on the platform (over 21,000) and the ability to download classes to a tablet or phone to watch offline, as well as helping pay the teachers!

Note, there are over 1,000 completely free classes on Skillshare, which you only need a free account to watch. You can also get “free access links” for premium classes directly from the teachers and use those links with a free account. I’ve created a walkthrough page for how to get a 100% free Skillshare account.

I’ve also created a page explaining how to get Skillshare premium for free, if you’d like to do that.

Finally, if you use our referral link, you can get a month of premium for free when you start a premium trial. 🙂

 

Skillshare FAQ: If a premium member watches seven of my premium classes, do I get paid seven times?

You’ll get paid for the amount of premium minutes the premium member watched in those seven classes.

 

Skillshare FAQ: If a premium member watches my class in June and again in July, would I get paid twice?

I believe that’s the case. You’d effectively get paid twice if a premium member re-watches a premium class of yours.

 

Skillshare FAQ: If a premium member watches the introductory “lesson”, does it count as premium minutes?

Ahh, great question! I don’t think Skillshare have explicitly said whether the intro lesson counts as premium or free minutes. It all depends how Skillshare is configured. It seems like they count all minutes watched by premium members. If that’s the case, the intro lesson would count as premium minutes. However, everyone can watch the initial video, and teachers can even put them on other websites such as YouTube because Skillshare doesn’t consider the intro lesson to be part of their premium catalogue, in which case you’d expect Skillshare to void any minutes watched of the intro videos.

Note: people have reported “free” minutes being generated without ever handing out free coupons. The only way I can explain that is if the intro video is counted as free, not premium.

 

Skillshare FAQ: Do I get paid more for reviews, project or community participation?

Nope. None of those things currently play a part in your earnings, only the premium minutes generated by premium members watching premium classes.

 

Skillshare FAQ: How many students do I need before a class gets a trending score?

You need 25 students, free or Premium for a class to trend on the category pages at Skillshare.

 

Skillshare FAQ: Do I get paid for a premium member who enrolls via a free access link?

Nope, sorry. This was confirmed by Skillshare in a reply to a question posted during an “Ask Me Anything” session. (update, I don’t think this is the case. I think Premium members generate premium minutes, no matter how they arrive at a class. I haven’t had confirmation of this though)

 

Skillshare FAQ: How can I create a free access link for my premium class?

We’ve got a step-by-step walkthrough with images showing you how to create a free access link, here.

 

Skillshare FAQ: When do I get paid?

On the 16th of each month, for the Premium minutes generated in the previous month. To be precise, it’s usually morning-time in the USA, which is early afternoon in Europe. The minimum requirement for payment is 30 premium minutes, in total, across all your classes, in the previous month, which is about $1.50 in earnings. Skillshare only pay via PayPal, but have been very reliable.

 

Skillshare FAQ: Can I estimate my earnings?

Yes, if you take your headline “premium minutes” total for the month and multiply it by $0.05, you’ll have a rough idea of how much you’ll have earned in that month. Here’s what Skillshare have paid for a premium minute since their introduction in January 2017…

Skillshare EPPM Graph Since Launch
Skillshare EPPM Graph Since Launch

 

Skillshare FAQ: Where’s the “running total” for how much I’ve earned in a month?

There isn’t a “running total” for money, but there is for “premium minutes”. Skillshare pay out a percentage of their income to teachers each month, depending on how many premium minutes a teacher had, so they don’t know how much to pay out until they’ve done the calculations after the end of a month. The value of a premium minute changes each month.

Since they were introduced, the value of a premium minute has been roughly 5 cents. See the chart above for details. 🙂

 

Skillshare FAQ: How should I promote a new class? Is the “post an announcement” link different to making a new “Community” post?

When I launch a new class, I usually do a “post to all followers”, which sends an email to all of my followers.

However, if a class was specifically a follow-up to an existing class, say an “advanced” class for people who had taken the “basic” class, I’d announce it to only students of the basic class. I think making a post on the community tab is the same thing as clicking the “post an announcement” link. Both methods make a community post, and both allow you to also email the existing class students by ticking the “Email all students” box.

 

Skillshare FAQ: How can I change the class cover image?

You can change the class cover image used throughout Skillshare by uploading a new image for the first lesson…

Skillshare FAQ: Change class cover image
Skillshare FAQ: Change class cover image

 

Skillshare FAQ:  If I were to change any of the video lessons in a class, would that compromise my earnings on that course?

I don’t know for sure, but I wouldn’t think so. I’ve never heard of anyone mentioning any monetary discrepancies from changing video lessons.

 

Skillshare FAQ: What does the +sign at the front of your class student number mean? 

Skillshare FAQ: Student numbers
Skillshare FAQ: Student numbers

I think it means you know those people in the class somehow. Perhaps you’ve taken one of their classes, or they’ve taken one of yours, or you’ve both taken another class by the same teacher. I think it’s meant to highlight classes you are more likely to find interesting because you’ve got something in common with people who’ve taken it. The number is just the number of students in that class. 

 

Skillshare FAQ: Can I use the royalty free music from the YouTube Audio Library for Skillshare classes?

Some of the YouTube library tracks don’t require attribution. I think you can select those tracks and use them however you wish (but I’m not a lawyer, so that isn’t advice). 

 

Skillshare FAQ: Is there a way to add PDF files to a Skillshare class so free members can’t access them?

If you put it as an attachment in the class project only premium users will be able to download it.

 

Skillshare FAQ: Do I need to do a “talking head”, or is just a screen-cast and voice-over enough?

Personally, I don’t think you need a “talking head”. If your screencast + voiceover teaches the concepts well, the class will do well.

In my view, a “talking head” is more about connecting with the audience than it is an aid to teaching. That’s why I use the same “piece to camera” in the intro of our classes, to connect with the audience, but I don’t include a talking head in class content itself.

 

Skillshare FAQ: It appears I can review my own class! Is that allowed?

Yes, you can give your own class a “thumbs up”, and from what I remember (don’t accept it as the current Skillshare position!), at the time, Skillshare didn’t have a problem with it. Personally, I don’t see a problem with the teacher giving themselves a “thumbs up” if the system lets them… why wouldn’t they?

 

Skillshare FAQ: Is it worth publishing on Skillshare?

Skillshare is an easy platform to publish to. I’d suggest testing your class by posting it on Skillshare initially and getting some feedback. There’s nothing stopping you also posting it to Udemy, and selling it from your own website too. As you take your online business more seriously, you should start to view other platforms as sources of exposure and traffic to your own website (and email list), rather than sources of income.

 

Skillshare FAQ: How fast I should launch classes? What’s the optimum spacing between classes, to avoid saturating your audience?

There are a lot of variables involved in answering this question. How long are your classes? How hard are the projects to complete? My general answer would be that one class per week would be the “sweet spot” between keeping your audience engaged without overwhelming them.

 

Skillshare FAQ: What’s the difference between students and followers?

Students are specific to classes, followers are specific to teachers. You can have 200 students in a class, but only 100 followers if only 50% of your students have clicked to “follow” you. If you want to contact people, you can either email all your followers at once, or email specific class students by doing a class announcement.

 

Skillshare FAQ: What are the demographics of Skillshare’s audience?

Skillshare haven’t ever said much about their audience demographics, as far as I’m aware. However, Mike Karnjanaprakorn, Skillshare co-founder, has said that, “millennials make up the vast majority of our users, with younger millennials between 18-24 making up our fastest growing demographic.” (forbes website article). Apart from that, we can only go from our experience of teaching and running the largest Skillshare-dedicated Facebook discussion and promotion groups, that Skillshare’s audience is generally young (confirmed), generally female, generally into arts / crafts / design, generally trendy, generally USA-based and probably relatively affluent.

 

Skillshare FAQ: How can I earn money referring people to Skillshare?

There are two ways to earn $10 referring new premium trial members to Skillshare.

As a non-teacher, you can use the ImpactRadius affiliate program and a free Skillshare account. As a teacher, you have to use your own teacher-specific referral links. We teach on Skillshare, so can’t use the ImpactRadius program, hence we can’t explain that any further. We’ve created a class about how to use the three different types of referral links that teachers can use, and you can watch that class here. (It’s a premium class. If you’re not a premium member, you can start a trial to watch the class immediately. Yes, that’s an example of a referral link! 🙂 )

 

Skillshare FAQ: I have video uploading problems. What can I do?

Sometimes the file uploader can be a bit tricky. Simple solutions to uploading problems are… 1: upload one file at a time, not multiple simultaneous uploads. 2: Use something like Handbrake to reduce the file size. If the problem persists, wait a few hours and it may magically fix itself!

 

Skillshare FAQ: Am I allowed to put my Skillshare class on other teaching sites?

Anything you put on Skillshare as “premium” content can’t be shared freely elsewhere, but can be sold elsewhere. Note, the introductory video of a class isn’t regarded as premium, so that one introductory video can be put on other sites to promote the class.

 

Skillshare FAQ: Can I watch Skillshare classes in lower quality than HD?

I think you can download classes using the mobile app, then watch them later. I don’t think you can change the quality though…

 

Skillshare FAQ: Does Skillshare usually run promos?

Yes, Skillshare often run promos. There was a January promo (3 months for free), the current promo (two months for 99c), and there was a 24-hour Valentine’s promo a few days back (25% off an annual membership).

I’d suggest signing up for a free account, then you’ll be able to take the 1,500 free classes at Skillshare and any classes you can find “free access links” for. You’ll also get email from Skillshare with notifications of promos.

Some people get confused over how to create a free account without taking a trial of Premium. I made this quick video showing how to get a free Skillshare account, and another showing you how to watch premium classes for free.

 

Skillshare FAQ: I’m struggling as a new teacher. How can I get more students and premium minutes for my 2-hour course?

Skillshare has a unique student demographic online. If you want maximum leverage from the platform’s audience, it’s important to play to its strengths, which are the topics of arts, crafts, design and photography.

If you don’t have classes which are favoured by students, you’ll have to initially bring in an external audience from your own website, email lists, social media presence etc.

It’s very important for a class to get to 25 students, because at that point it appears on the category trending pages and is exposed to the full Skillshare audience.

Skillshare needs frequent content because they bill monthly, so they’re “geared up” to reward teachers who produce classes regularly. For example, some of your students will become followers whom you can email about your new classes, so reaching 25 students with each new class should become easier.

I’d suggest trying to create a few short classes (10-15 minutes) on different aspects of your class topic and mention your main class at the end of each short class.

 

Skillshare FAQ: I’m posting free coupons to Facebook Groups, but not seeing much benefit, why?

People’s most valuable commodity is time. Even when you post free coupons and links, people have to take the time to redeem them, which means there’s a cost to them. You need to overcome that “cost hurdle” to get students.

Try to get people interested enough in your class topic to want to redeem your coupon. Make your post interesting, attractive, eye-catching, exciting. Try adding deadlines for the expiration of the coupon such as limited numbers or limited quantities, without using hyperbole.

Include tags and hashtags depending on where you’re promoting your coupons to give them a better chance of being found. Think about which words to use as tags… ones people are searching for, but without too much competition! 🙂

The more niche your class topic is, the less likely a member of a generic coupon-sharing group want to take it. For that reason, I’d suggest re-posting your coupons, at least until your class reaches 25 students. (our Skillshare promo group allows one post per class per day, and some people have VA’s to cycle through their classes posting coupons!)

You should also use other promotional methods if your class is niche, such as blogging about your subject, creating YouTube videos, posting tweets and Instagram messages with niche-specific hashtags and posting in any niche-specific forums online. If you have a generic class such as a “for beginners” introduction, it will probably do better on generic coupon sites and groups than a niche class.

 

Skillshare FAQ: I have two courses on a platform that are several hours each. Should I just put them on Skillshare, or split them into smaller segments?

Skillshare used to have a motto about “bite-sized learning”. They suggest that the “sweet spot” for a class is about 40 minutes in length. If you can make natural breaks in your longer courses so that they form standalone classes of 30-60 minutes each, then that’s probably the best choice because you can release a class each week and gain more exposure on the platform with multiple classes your audience can find, enjoy and recommend.

I’d recommend mentioning both the previous and next classes at the end of each class, as appropriate, so that students can easily find each class in the “series” and you’ll accrue premium minutes from them watching multiple classes. Skillshare teachers are paid for premium minutes their students generate, so it doesn’t make sense to split up a multi-hour course into separate parts if people only watch one part instead of the whole.

However, please note that each class on Skillshare must have a project for students to complete. So each class must independently teach a skill which the student can demonstrate in the project. If your current courses spends several hours leading up to a final event such as passing an exam or something similar, you may not be able to cleanly split them into separate, standalone classes and should then leave the course as it is.

 

Skillshare FAQ: I found a Skillshare page which says your Facebook and Twitter followers will automatically become followers on Skillshare if you link your social media profiles to your Skillshare profile. What’s the best way to link Skillshare to FB and get those followers automatically brought over?

I’m not sure this works anymore. If you test it, please let me know! 🙂

Firstly, the link from the page you mentioned to, “connect your profile” gives a 404 error!

Secondly, Facebook has a specific meaning for “Followers”, and it isn’t your friends list! I doubt most people have “Followers” if we’re being precise. I have almost 4,000 friends but no followers because I haven’t turned the option on! 
( https://www.facebook.com/about/follow )

Thirdly, I connected my Fb account and a Twitter account years ago but don’t remember seeing anyone follow me on Skillshare because of it.

Fourthly, if I followed someone on social media, then got email from them via Skillshare (because they’d connected their social media account to their Skillshare account, and I have a Skillshare account), I’d be a bit surprised!

 

Skillshare FAQ: How can I increase my Skillshare premium minutes watched?

Create more classes! Skillshare always need fresh classes because of their subscription model… look at how Netflix are pouring out quality content, and Spotify always has new songs because that’s what musicians do. Of course, your classes must be great to get people to watch them in this ultra-low-attention span age. Creating great classes has other benefits too… students will positive review them, Skillshare may help promote them, students will complete the projects, and they may also follow you and watch your other classes leading to more minutes.

 

Skillshare FAQ: Can I create my class videos with watermarks (with the free version of screen recording software like screencast-o-Matic)?

Good question! I don’t think it’s specifically ruled out. I have an unobtrustive watermark in my video lessons. I guess it depends on how large/distracting it is…

 

Skillshare FAQ: Where do “free” minutes come from in my teacher’s stats area?

Either you’ve given out free coupons which have been used, or it could be the “intro” lesson of your class which is available to everyone and so probably counts as free minutes.

 

Skillshare FAQ: What happened to the “groups” section of the Skillshare mobile app?

“Groups” was removed from the mobile app, re-worked, and added to the website.

 

Skillshare FAQ: Is it allowed to include affiliate links in a class? For example, recommending a product and putting my affiliate link?

Yes, it’s allowed, as long as the class teaches a skill which the student can demonstrate in the project. In other words, the affiliate link must be ancillary to the class, not the reason for it. For best practice you may want to disclose that the link is an affiliate link when posting it. I’ve seen classes where the class description contained a wall of affiliate links with no disclosure. I would suggest that eventually Skillshare will remove such classes, and if you don’t want yours caught in the sweep, be sure to use affiliate links sparingly, with disclosure and without them being the reason you created the class!

 

Skillshare FAQ: How do “Featured Classes” get chosen? Are featured classes chosen at random and promoted for a certain time or are there any qualifications in order to be featured?

Featured classes are chosen by Skillshare and are often classes Skillshare co-created with the teacher, however, sometimes you can win a featured spot as a prize in a Skillshare competition for teachers. See an example of the “featured classes” at the top of the “Fine Arts” category page…

skillshare-featured-classes-example

 

Skillshare FAQ: What are “Skillshare Teams” and can I use them to give my VA access to my account without sharing my personal account info such as payment details?

Skillshare Teams seem to be a way for businesses to provide all of their staff with premium accounts at Skillshare but with just one point of billing. So, if you ran CompanyX and wanted all 1,000 employees to have access to all the premium catalogue of Skillshare classes as a company expense, you’d contact the sales people at Skillshare and, presumably, negotiate a big discount on paying for 1,000 individual premium accounts. I don’t think “team” accounts are a way to manage VA access to an individual premium account, although that would be a great suggestion to send to Skillshare!

 

Skillshare FAQ: What’s a “Staff Pick”?

In June 2018, Skillshare are starting to award “Staff Pick” badges to only 60 classes initially, then they’re adding a few each week. They say, “The Staff Picks badge is a way for the Skillshare team to highlight exceptional teachers who go above and beyond to provide students with a valuable, engaging experience”. Interestingly, only classes created in 2018 are eligible.

The name “Staff Pick” probably came from Vimeo. Michael Karnjanaprakorn did an interview with Vimeo in 2017 where he said, “Internally, our video team turns to Vimeo Staff Picks for inspiration all the time. At least once a week, you’ll find our producers and videographers sharing links in Slack and calling out perfect transitions and scenes that can fuel their own work.”

 

Skillshare FAQ: How can I make my class a “Staff Pick”?

You can’t, at least not directly. Skillshare chooses the Staff Picks, but they gave pointers for how they make the selections in a blog post. They describe how they look for classes which are,

  • Demystifying: provides information that is insightful and accurate
  • Actionable: how to use their new skills in their daily life or work
  • Organized: presents ideas in a structured way
  • Personal: engaging and authentic
  • Clear Value Proposition: sets clear expectations and delivers on what it promises
  • Polished: the teacher has invested effort and is a trusted guide.
  • Relevant: covers a topic that is relevant to a wider industry or audience conversation.
  • Compelling: engaging and inspiring.

 

Skillshare FAQ: What are “Skillshare Originals”?

“Skillshare Originals” are classes filmed and edited by Skillshare, with the teacher providing expertise in their field. The new label will be applied to, “all classes produced by Skillshare’s in-house content team. In support of our mission to increase access to a variety of teachers and topics on Skillshare, we are proud to partner with world-renowned creators, influencers, and industry leaders, creating unique and innovative classes for the Skillshare community.”

skillshare-staff-picks-skillshare-original

 

 

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