Skillshare: How Much Can I Earn?

WARNING: There’s no easy answer to this question, so I’ve written a long one! 🙂

People often want to know, “How Much Can I Earn On Skillshare?“, before creating content for the platform, or uploading their existing content.

(They usually also want to know, “How Much Do Top Teachers Earn On Skillshare?“, which is an easier question to answer, and I’ve tried, below) 🙂

It’s completely natural to want to gauge how much you’ll earn in advance because the amount will then determine whether or not it’s worth the effort for you.

However, it’s very hard to estimate how much an individual can earn, but with my 3+ year experience on the platform, I can hopefully provide some clues. 🙂

Let’s start with understanding how Skillshare pay their teachers…

Skillshare’s Revenue Split

At many platforms, such as Udemy, when course sales are made teachers get a percentage of the sale depending on whether it was tagged by the teacher, an affiliate, a platform advert, via an app store etc. As a teacher, it can be hard to figure out exactly how much a sale will be worth, but you know you have to make sales to earn money.

Skillshare uses a completely different model. Instead of selling individual courses, students can pay either monthly ($15) or annually ($99) to access ALL classes on the platform. There are about 27,000 classes on Skillshare (about 26,000 premium), covering almost every topic you could wish to learn about.

click here to try Skillshare premium for two months for free!

Because the platform charges for access, teachers don’t have to worry about generating sales. They don’t have to drive clicks, or consider conversion ratios. Instead, teachers earn money when premium students watch their premium classes.

The reason I had to write “premium” twice is that you can get a 100% free account at Skillshare, which lets you watch the 1,000 totally free classes on the platform and also take any premium classes you can get a free access link for. But, free classes and free students watching premium classes using a free access coupon don’t count towards a teacher’s premium minute total.

Only premium students watching premium classes generate premium minutes.

Skillshare Revenue Split With Teachers

From the revenue Skillshare generates each month from premium student subscriptions, they deduct up to 70% as business overheads (salary, advertising, promotions). The remaining 30%+ is known as the “royalty” pool.

Skillshare take the total number of premium minutes watched across all classes in the month, and divide that into the “royalty pool” to generate the value of a premium minute for the month. The pool is then distributed between all teachers who earned more than 30 premium minutes across their classes in the month.

For each teacher, the value of a premium minute is the same. So, if “teacher A” got 10,000 minutes, and a premium minute was worth 5 cents, they’d get $500. If “teacher B” got 20,000 minutes in the same month, they’d get $1,000.

The value of a premium minute changes from month to month, based on Skillshare’s revenue and the total number of premium minutes watched.

Skillshare’s “Per Premium Minute” System

Way back at the end of 2016, Skillshare announced that they were going to change how they paid their teachers. No longer would teachers earn roughly $1.50 per premium enrolment, but instead, we would be paid for premium minutes watched by premium students in our premium classes.

Of course, the change resulted in teachers immediately trying to work out whether they’d be better or worse off, under the new system. 🙂

For most teachers, the new system resulted in them earning less. The teachers who created very short classes, of 10-minutes in length, were significantly worse off, because even if a student watched the whole 10-minute class in full, the teacher would only get 50 cents (at 5 cents per premium minute). Compared to $1.50 per enrolment, teachers of 10-minute classes would get a third of what they used to get, at best. Consider that a lot of students don’t watch classes in full, and the teacher could easily be looking at 50-75% less income.

However, many teachers offering high-quality classes of several hours in length were happier with the new system because while the old system paid them $1.50 per enrolment, a student watching the whole of a 4-hour class now earned them $12! (5 cents per minute x 240 minutes). Of course, few students would watch a full 4 hours, but even an hour was worth $3, double what the old enrolment was worth.

So, as with most things in life, there were winners and losers.

Monthly Changes In The Premium Minute Value

Due to the initial interest in what a premium minute was worth, I started to track it, and called it the “earnings per premium minute” (EPPM). I seem to remember that Skillshare initially estimated the EPPM would be between 5 and 10 cents. Over two years later, we’re still waiting to see an EPPM of 7.0 or above. However, we have seen it fall to as little as 3.8 cents!

Here’s the most recent chart, reflecting the EPPM’s from the first one in January 2017 through to the most recent, February 2019….

As you can see, the EPPM has been quite volatile over the 2+ years since it was started.

I remember the concern when it debuted at just 5.5 cents when Skillshare’s estimate was 5-10 cents. The teachers whose earnings fell significantly were not impressed. However, there was worse to come when the EPPM for March was less than 5 cents (4.8 to be exact). I remember Skillshare actually raised prices immediately afterwards, from $12 per month or $96 per year, to $15 per month or $120 per year. (They have since changed the annual payment to $99, but the monthly remains at $15).

The price increase resulted in the EPPM for the next few months jumping up to 6 cents which assuaged some anger amongst teachers.

In January, February and March of 2018 you can see a fall in the EPPM. That was due to a New Year promotion on Skillshare where students could sign up for free and get a trial premium membership of three months. Not surprisingly there was a huge influx of these new premium members in the New Year which resulted in a lot more premium minutes being watched. However, the new members hadn’t paid anything, so the royalty pool stayed the same. When the royalty pool was split across all the premium minutes, each premium minute was worth a lot less in the first few months of 2018 than in previous months.

Due to the way the Skillshare payment model works, the average teacher, all else being equal, would earn minutes from the new premium members, so the reduced EPPM wouldn’t correlate to an exact fall in income. Some of the losses from the reduced EPPM will be offset by simply getting more minutes. However, the extra minutes wouldn’t totally offset the EPPM reduction because a lot of those extra minutes were generated by new trial members who hadn’t paid anything!

What’s interesting is to compare two months that are a year apart. For example, Skillshare ran the “3 months for free” premium trial at the beginning of both 2018 and 2019. When we compare the EPPM for January 2018 (3.8) and 2019 (4.4) we see that the 2019 EPPM was 0.6 cents higher. Similarly, for February 2018 (4.0) and 2019 (4.9), we see that the 2019 EPPM was 0.9c higher. That’s actually a big difference.

A teacher with 20,000 premium minutes would’ve earned $800 in February 2018, but $980 in 2019!

I’m not sure whether this means that Skillshare recruited fewer free premium trial members in 2019, they recruited the same number of trial members but they watched less minutes in aggregate, or Skillshare just took a smaller share of the revenue pot in 2019 compared to 2018!

Here’s a video of me explaining a bit about the EPPM, from its beginnings, to the most recent one in February 2019…

How To Calculate The EPPM

Teachers often ask me how they can calculate “their” EPPM. Firstly the EPPM is the same for everyone, so the quickest answer is just to check the Skillshare Mastermind group where we post the EPPM within minutes of payments being sent. 🙂

However, to calculate it yourself, take the PayPal payment amount, deduct the money for any referrals and divide the remainder by the number of premium minutes for the month.

So, for example, if you got paid $200 on June 16th, and knew you had 2 referrals and 3,500 premium minutes in May, you’d deduct $20 for 2 referrals from the $200 to give $180, then divide $180 by 3,500 premium minutes, which would give 5.1 cents per premium minute.

How Much Will I Earn On Skillshare?

OK, so now you know exactly how the Skillshare payment model works.

It should be fairly easy to see that you need to create high-quality, engaging content so that students want to watch your classes to the end.

You should also encourage any students who take your classes to “follow” you on the platform. There’s a follow button next to your name on each class’ “About” page, another one on your profile page, and also one next to your name beneath the class title, shown below…

You can send your followers an email message when you create a new class, explaining why they should take it and what they’ll learn. Building a follower list and getting your classes off to a great start will help your classes to trend on the platform, which is a mechanism for class discovery by other students. It’s like a “snowball effect” as you build momentum releasing new classes.

Tip: As well as asking your students to “follow” you, also ask for a review. In the past, reviews counted towards a class’ trending score. While I’m no longer certain that’s the case with the new Skillshare review system, it most likely is. On almost any social site, the content with the most positive feedback (views, likes, shares, re-tweets, reviews) wins! 🙂

Let’s crunch some numbers. 🙂

Let’s assume you release a class each week (which is the maximum), and each class is two hours long.

Let’s assume each student watches, on average, half your class, which is 60 minutes.

Finally, let’s assume you get 10 premium students for your first class, 20 for your second, 30 for your third and 40 for your fourth.

Class 1 would earn 10 students x 60 minutes = 600 minutes x 5c per minute = $30

Class 2 would earn 20 students x 60 minutes = 1200 minutes x 5c per minute = $60

Class 3 would earn 30 students x 60 minutes = 1800 minutes x 5c per minute = $90

Class 4 would earn 40 students x 60 minutes = 2400 minutes x 5c per minute = $120

The total for your first month would be $300.

Note, that doesn’t include any of your students who watched classes 1,2,3 or 4 who then go on to watch your other classes. Some students may watch all your classes! After all, they don’t need to pay any extra. 🙂

Of course, the “snowball” effect gets bigger as you keep releasing classes. You may also get students who find your classes via the Skillshare search engine results, and the more classes you have, the more likely your classes are to be found.

Also bear in mind that if you can bring an external audience, such as from an existing blog, social media accounts or email lists, you’ll be able to “jump start” your Skillshare presence.

If you’re starting without an external audience, and are just relying on your Skillshare content to promote itself on the platform, it could take a while to build momentum.

I’d suggest offering free enrolments to your classes. I have a page showing you how to make a free link for a premium class. When you have your free link, post it to our Skillshare Free Classes Facebook group. I’ve run it for a few years and believe it’s the largest Facebook Group dedicated to Skillshare coupons.

Skillshare Premium Referrals

An interesting way to maximise your income from Skillshare is to bring students to the platform.

If you teach on a specific niche, such as water-colouring, and you have a blog or social media on that topic, you can put classes on Skillshare and refer your visitors to Skillshare via a teacher referral link.

If any of your visitors takes a free trial of Premium, you earn $10, which is great, but presumably your visitor will then go on to watch your water-colouring classes on Skillshare.

If they like your water-colouring classes they could watch several of them and the income would start to add up! 🙂

Skillshare’s Audience

If what you teach doesn’t match up with what Skillshare’s premium members are interested in learning, it’s going to be hard for you to make money on the platform. While Skillshare is open to everyone to teach whatever skills they like, some topics are definitely more popular with their students. If you take a look at their most popular classes, you’ll quickly see that there are repeating patterns of topics which do well. Here’s a short list:

Photography, Drawing, Painting, Fonts, Lettering, Graphic Design, Illustration, Animation.

Also, the tools used for digital creations of the above topics do well, such as teaching the Adobe suite of software, or popular apps in the same fields.

If you want to teach on a less-common topic, such as “trigonometry for beginners”, it’s important to note that your potential audience on the platform will be smaller.

Of course, if you teach on a niche topic, you’ll have less competition. Just be aware that the potential earnings will be smaller if your topic is niche, and more so if it doesn’t align with Skillshare’s popular topics.

What Skillshare Say Their Teachers Earn

Interestingly, Skillshare sometimes release statistics saying how much their teachers earn. Here’s what I could find…

“Skillshare has paid out over $5 million to teachers.” (Skillshare About page, at time of writing)

“Top teachers make $100,000+ a year.” (Skillshare Teach page, at time of writing)

“On average, first-time teachers earn $200 in their first month on Skillshare, with top teachers earning upwards of $3,000!” (Skillshare Help Center)

“Our top 100 teachers made an average of $1,300 in February.” (from March 2016 Skillshare blog post)

“An average teacher on Skillshare makes about $200 a month. Top teachers on Skillshare make up to $10K a month.” (June 2017 Skillshare blog post.)

“Evgeniya and Dominic Righini-Brand have earned over $100,000 on Skillshare.” (from September 2018 blog post)

“Peggy Dean earns $6-8k per month on Skillshare.” (from August 2016 blog post)

Note, I don’t know how Skillshare defines “top” or “average”. When they say, “top 100 teachers” it’s clear. When they say, “top teachers”, or “an average teacher”, it’s not.

I think Skillshare stopped giving out precise metrics for teachers’ earnings a long time ago. I could find claims from 2016, and some from 2017, but then it stopped.

Can I Sell My Content On Skillshare And Other Websites?

Yes, this is an important point. When you put your content on Skillshare, it doesn’t mean you can’t put it anywhere else online. Skillshare only request that if you label your content as “premium” on Skillshare, i.e. you want to monetise it, you can’t make it freely available elsewhere online. So you could sell the same course content on Udemy and from your own website if you wished.

You Need A PayPal Account

Skillshare have only ever paid their teachers via PayPal, so it’s important know that you’ll need one before you can get paid! 🙂

Minor Points

1: If a student watches a class in 2x speed, the class counts for half the minutes! So be sure your students aren’t tempted to increase the playback speed! 🙂

2: Minutes are counted via both the app (even when offline) and the website.

3: Minutes are published in the “teacher stats” area of the website the day after they’re watched. However, adjustments are made, so if you get 10,000-minutes in a day, don’t celebrate until you get paid!

4: Payments are made on the 16th of each month for the previous month’s premium minutes and referrals.

5: You need 30 premium minutes across all your classes to get paid. At 5c per premium minute, this means the minimum payment is $1.50, which is roughly what an old premium enrolment was worth.

Any Questions?

If you have any questions, check out our Skillshare FAQ, which has over 50 questions and answers. If the FAQ doesn’t help, please post your questions in our Skillshare Mastermind Group and we’ll try to provide some answers! 🙂

PS, Want $50?

If you’d like to start teaching on Skillshare, and would be able to create a short class (10 minutes minimum) within 30 days, just let me know and I’ll pass your details on to Skillshare. They’ll help you through the process. To contact me, just post a comment, below. 🙂

(full disclosure: if you earn the bonus $50, Skillshare will pay me $50 too.)

Skillshare January 2019 Premium Discount Offer

This post was most recently updated on February 15th, 2019

Sorry, this 2019 New Year offer has ended.

The current best Skillshare premium offer is listed on our dedicated page. 🙂

Skillshare - 2019 New Year Offer
Skillshare – 2019 New Year Offer

For The New Year, January 2019, Skillshare will be offering three months’ access to Skillshare Premium for just $0.99.

Start Your New Year With A Bang

When people make New Year’s Resolutions, they often involve learning a new skill such as bakery, painting, a foreign language or something similar, in addition to getting fit and shifting the weight of those Christmas mince pies! Where better to start a New Year’s learning resolution than Skillshare, with their premium membership offering complete access to their entire catalogue of classes, especially when you can get three months’ access for just 99c!

The Best Skillshare Premium Deal

Three months’ access for 99c is the best discount you can get for Skillshare Premium. In 2018 I think the offer was made just three times… once in January, once for a “back to school” promotion and for one day on Cyber Monday. If you miss out on the 3-months deal, you can follow a teacher’s referral link to any of their classes to get 2-months for free, an offer which has been running for over a year.

Is Skillshare Premium Right For You?

Why should you take up Skillshare’s 2019 New Year offer? Well, quite simply, it gives you a long time to evaluate your premium membership and decide whether you’d like to continue after the three months expires.

Some people prefer to learn online by taking a single “masterclass” and paying for it once. While that is an option, it can be hard to know how well you’ll like the delivery style of the teacher in advance, and if you’re going to sit through a dozen hours of tutorials by one person, you really need to enjoy their style of teaching! Also, very few teachers will update masterclasses regularly due to the work involved, so parts can often be out of date. The problem for a new student is knowing which parts are old and which are current!

Another way of learning online is the “buffet” or “all you can eat” approach offered by Skillshare Premium. The classes are usually more “bite sized” than a “masterclass”, you can expect them to be more like 30 minutes long than 12 hours, so you can learn when you have a chunk of time available here and there.

Also, it’s easier for teachers to make new 30-minute classes than create or overhaul a masterclass, so there’s often newer information available from teachers. You can dip in and out of classes by all the teachers on the platform, so you can find a teacher whose presentation style you enjoy before “committing” to watching more of their classes.

Finally, you can learn different subjects by different teachers all for the same monthly cost. There are about 24,000 classes on Skillshare, of which about 23,000 are premium classes. When you’re a premium member, you can choose to watch any of the classes at any time. Obviously, that’s a lot of classes, and a period of three months gives you a decent amount of time to check the quality of classes on offer as well as the depth of the know-how available on the platform.

Advantages Of Premium Membership

The main benefit of Skillshare Premium is that you can watch any of the content on Skillshare, at any time.

Premium members can also leave class reviews for the teacher, post class projects and start class discussions.

If you take the annual membership, you also get access to premium perks, which currently are…

    • 20% off any plan of $50+ value at Shutterstock
    • Save 10% on HD and 4K Video at POND5
    • 25% off annual subscription at Filestage
    • 13% off Adobe Acrobat Pro
    • 20% off Adobe Premier Pro CC
    • 15% off Adobe Creative Cloud
    • 10% Off Your First Purchase at Squarespace
    • $75 Credit at Breather
    • 50% Off Annual Subscriptions at Noun Project
    • 20% Off Your First Purchase at Creative Market
    • Free 6 month Professional license at Invision
    • 10% off Solo plan at Harvest
    • 40% off Freedom Annual Membership

    Premium members can also download classes to their mobile devices and watch them without an online connection.

    Free Skillshare Membership

    If you don’t want to be re-billed at the end of 3-months, you’ll need to cancel your trial of premium. You’ll then become a “free” member, and will lose access to the premium content on Skillshare. You’ll stop being able to leave reviews, post projects and start class discussions. You’ll only have access to the 1,000 free classes on the platform, unless you manage to get “free access links” (commonly known as coupons or codes) given out by teachers of premium classes, which you can use to watch individual premium classes. However, you can teach and earn money on Skillshare, even as a free member.

    Terms Of The New Year Skillshare Offer

    Skillshare have recently introduced new terms for their promotional offers. It’s likely that this 2019 offer will be for new premium members only, so anyone who has previously had a trial of premium won’t be able to make use of the offer. When you join, you’ll be required to enter credit card or PayPal details, and you’ll be billed £0.99 immediately, and then re-billed at the end of the three months’ free access. If you choose to pay monthly, you’ll pay either $15 per month, or $99 for a year (which works out at about half the monthly fee, at just $8.25 per month equivalent).

    What’s The Coupon Code, Or Discount Code?

    There won’t be a coupon code, or discount code for this offer. When offers are restricted, such as only being sent by email, you’ll have to enter a coupon code to redeem them, but this offer is not restricted. It’s going to be promoted by email, but also on the website for anyone to join, without a coupon being needed.

Skillshare Current Deals, Discounts And Offers

This post was most recently updated on March 18th, 2019

Click here for the currently active, best deal (March 2019).


Skillshare 2019 New Year Promo Offer (expired)

New Year (January 2019) Offer. We have full details!


Skillshare Cyber Monday 2018 Offer  (expired)

Skillshare are having a Cyber Monday sale, for today only. This offer is a return of their best offer of the year… 3 months of Skillshare Premium for just 99c.

You don’t need a coupon for this offer. Just click here to visit the Skillshare website and you should see a banner, as shown in the video, saying, “Cyber Monday offer, 3 months Skillshare Premium for 99c, click here to redeem”.

Note there are some restrictions such as previous Premium members can’t use deal, even if they only had a previous Premium trial.

Finally, Skillshare now accept PayPal, so you can pay for the trial with PayPal if you previously had problems paying with a credit card. At the moment, for some reason, PayPal is not available to users from India.


Skillshare Black Friday 2018 Deal (expired)

Skillshare are having a Black Friday sale offer in 2018. Until 11:59 pm GMT (UTC) on 25th November 2018, you can get a 40% discount on their annual membership of Skillshare Premium.

This is actually the same as their Black Friday offer in 2017. However, it appears that the terms and conditions have changed. This year’s offer is not open to anyone who previously had a premium membership… even a premium trial. It also can’t be combined with other offers and isn’t available to mobile plans.

This Black Friday offer, as far as I know, is only available by email. It’s not mentioned on their website or their Facebook Page. So I don’t know if I can share it publicly. What I suggest is signing up for a free account at Skillshare, which only requires an email address, and then hopefully you’ll be emailed about the Black Friday offer or it will be promoted to you at the website when you log in.

Note, with a free Skillshare account you can watch over 1,000 classes at the website, and also watch any premium classes which you have a free access link for. You can get a lot of these free access links at our Facebook Group called Skillshare Free Classes.

If you’d just like a premium Skillshare trial, read on… 🙂


Skillshare Premium Account: Current Offer (February 2019)

Skillshare website: ONE month of unlimited access (which means a 1-month trial of Skillshare Premium).

One Month Free Premium - Skillshare Website
One Month Free Premium – Skillshare Website

Teachers offer: TWO months’ of free Skillshare access (which means a 2-month trial of Skillshare Premium).

Two Month's Free Skillshare Premium Offer
Two Month’s Free Skillshare Premium Offer

Getting two months of Skillshare Premium for free is about the best offer Skillshare make. Only rarely have I seen a three-month offer, usually in January. The offers in January 2017 and 2018 were both actually “3 months for $0.99”, so they weren’t technically free offers.

I’m not even sure they’ll make a 3-month offer again because it absolutely hammered the earnings of teachers. The value per premium minute fell by over a third from December 2017 to January 2018 because so many free trial members started watching premium classes, but hadn’t contributed to the royalty pool from which Skillshare pays teachers.

Value of a premium minute
Value of a premium minute

In other words, a teacher who got 10,000 premium minutes in December would’ve earned $590, but in January those same 10,000 premium minutes would’ve earned $380. Naturally, teachers weren’t very impressed, which makes me wonder if Skillshare will offer a 3-month premium deal in January 2019.

The premium trial gives you full access to over 23,000 premium classes on Skillshare for two months. You can cancel the trial at any time and not be billed. If you choose to continue as a premium member, the cost is credit card billing of just $15 per month or $99 per year. Note, the yearly offer is a huge discount and almost halves the cost of membership, to an equivalent of just $8.25 per month!

Skillshare premium is one of the best-value offers on the Internet, especially when you consider that buying just one course on the website of a large competitor costs a minimum of $10, and it’s often significantly more if you don’t buy during a sale. If you take more than one class on Skillshare per month, you’re getting better value!

Helpful Notes:

Skillshare do not offer refunds. If you don’t want to be re-billed, be sure to make a note of when you need to cancel by.

Skillshare only accept credit cards. I’m not sure why that is. They actually pay their teachers using PayPal, but don’t accept it for membership payments, which is a bit odd. You’ll need a credit card to start a free trial, and to continue a membership afterwards.

Some people claim to be able to offer 3-months of free Skillshare premium. The offers I’ve seen are dated, so I suggest not wasting your time trying to find a working one. Unless Skillshare are offering a unique deal somewhere, the offer on the website and the offer teachers can make are the current genuine ones.

You don’t need to be a premium member to teach on Skillshare, in case you were wondering! 🙂

If you don’t want a free trial of premium there are a few ways to get a premium account for free. Click here for our blog post about the different ways. 🙂

If you have questions about Skillshare, we’ve got a jumbo Skillshare FAQ right here! 🙂

link: https://internetsuccess.com/r/ss8

New Skillshare Review System Explained

This post was most recently updated on October 15th, 2018

It seems that Skillshare are re-working their review system.

In the past, Skillshare reviews were limited to a simple “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”, along with the option to leave a short text comment.

One Of Our Classes With 173 Positive Reviews
One Of Our Classes With 173 Positive Reviews

Under the new system, Skillshare will be asking class students for much more information when they leave a review, but is that a good thing?

The review system has been changed several times over the years. A while ago, free students could take a premium class using a free coupon and leave a review. When that changed, I seem to remember at the time it was called a “bug” that free students couldn’t leave reviews. However, it was never “fixed”, so it seems like it’s now policy that free students can’t leave reviews.

Another change was when some reviews were reported to have disappeared, or not be published. It then emerged that if Skillshare considered there to be a relationship between the teacher and the student, or that the review didn’t accurately reflect students’ opinions of the class, the review may not be shown.

Now, the whole system is getting an overhaul

The New Skillshare Class Review System

New Skillshare Review System
New Skillshare Review System

 

Apparently, each class will have a “Reviews” tab where students can leave a review and view feedback the community has provided about the class. Students will be asked several things when leaving a review, such as…

  • What level is the class? [Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / All levels]
  • What did you most like about the class? [Audio and Video Quality / Organization of Lessons / Actionable Steps / Clarity Of Instruction / Engaging Teacher / Helpful Examples]
  • What could be improved? [Audio quality / Organization of Lessons / More Actionable / More Examples and Tips / Clarity Of Instruction / Video Quality]
  • Did the class meet your expectations? [Exceeded / Yes / Somewhat / Not really]

Students who left older reviews will be able to update them into the new system, otherwise their reviews will be in an “archive” section at the bottom of the new reviews tab.

Teachers will initially be able to set the Class Level, but when enough students have rated the class, their feedback will be “factored in“, with presumably the possibility of the Class Level changing from what the teacher set.

My Concerns About The New Skillshare Review System…

I have some concerns about this…

Have all the old reviews been invalidated…? I hope not, but saying students can “update” their “old” reviews “into the new system” sound like the old ones are no longer valid. Effectively deleting all the old reviews would be a big problem for teachers who had accrued a lot of positive reviews, and would also lead to confusion for students picking which classes to watch with very few new reviews being in the system.

While more detailed reviews would be great, it will probably result in a lot fewer reviews. People simply do not take the time to leave long reviews. Asking, “what did you most like”, “did it exceed expectations”, “what experience level would you rate it” and “what would you improve”… is probably asking for too much information to get a good number of reviews… especially when Skillshare students are used to a “thumbs up/down”.

Students will be able to select from a “list of options” what constructive feedback to send the teacher. I’m not sure a simple list of options, including “audio quality” and “video quality” would really help me improve my classes, as a teacher getting the feedback. Will students be able to leave personalised comments, such as “the audio is missing from lesson 4, or “the video goes blurry in lesson 8”? That would be useful.

Premium Members Only?

In the early days of Skillshare, free account holders could leave reviews. That was changed several months ago, so that only premium members could leave reviews. Whether or not this new, re-worked, review system will allow free members to leave reviews is currently unknown. If you’d like a premium account, we wrote a blog post about how you can get a two months free trial of Skillshare Premium, here.

What do you think

Getting more feedback from students sounds good in theory, but if it leads to a large decline in the amount of reviews, is it worthwhile?

I actually thought the simple “thumbs up/down” was a very clever part of Skillshare because it made leaving a review very quick and easy. It may not have been hugely insightful, but if thousands of people took a class, and it had a balance of 90% positive reviews, it was probably a good class. If students wanted to leave a quick comment, they could do that too.

I thought it was a good system, but now it’s changing…

Skillshare Premium – 2 Free Months! (2019)

This post was most recently updated on March 22nd, 2019

How To Get 2-Months’ Skillshare Premium For Free In 2019!2-months-premium-skillshare-free-1

Skillshare often run free promotions for accessing their whole catalogue of 27,000 classes, which they call “Skillshare Premium”.

The best offer I ever saw was for 3 months free premium, which was available in January 2018. I think they knew that many people like to make New Year’s Resolutions to learn new skills, so they offered three months free access to their whole catalogue in order to capture the avalanche of people seeking self-improvement in the New Year.

Unfortunately, that offer didn’t last. If you go to the Skillshare website most times of the year, they’ll offer you just one free month as an incentive to sign up…

one-month-free-skillshare-premium

However, as Skillshare teachers, we can offer you a special link where you get 2 free months of Skillshare Premium. 🙂 That’s double what you’re offered on the Skillshare homepage!

skillshare-premium-account-two-months-free

Note, the link gives you access to a trial of Premium, for which you’ll need to add your credit or debit card details and cancel if you don’t want to be billed after the free 2-months.

However, if you don’t want the 2-month premium trial, here’s how to get a 100% free Skillshare account which you can use with free premium class access links and also watch all the 100% free Skillshare classes…

… and here are several options for getting a totally free premium account, from becoming a teaching assistant to winning a year of premium membership as a prize to getting a scholarship, there are many options!

Helpful links:

We’ve been teaching on Skillshare since the beginning of 2016 and run the two most popular Facebook Groups dedicated to Skillshare. We highly recommend getting a premium Skillshare account and obtaining total, unrestricted access to over 23,000 classes.

In this modern age, it’s almost required to continually develop your own skill-set.

If you’re looking to get hired, it’s important to be at the cutting edge of whatever field you’re looking for employment in. Skillshare classes all contain a project, where you demonstrate what you’ve learned in the class, so you prove to yourself, and perhaps to a potential employer, that you have acquired that particular skill.

If you’re a freelancer, then staying up-to-date with the latest techniques, from coding to graphic design, is very important because you’ll want to be able to bid and win contracts on any project within your field.

Unlike the simple transaction of buying access to an online course, Skillshare lets you pick and choose from thousands of classes, so if one Skillshare class gets dated and is unsupported by the teacher, you simply find a similar one which is newer and has active teacher engagement.

Of course, Skillshare isn’t just about business, you can pick up skills in almost any area of life and learn for pleasure… whether that’s baking, drawing, learning French or how to play the guitar, you get access to everything for less than $100 per year. With the 2-months free Skillshare Premium link on this page, you can try Skillshare for free and see whether or not you like it. 🙂

Are Skillshare Search Results Broken?

Skillshare-Search-Results

This post was most recently updated on March 17th, 2019

Skillshare made a significant tweak to their search algorithm recently. We believe the change was made around the beginning of June 2018.

The first reports of the change in a negative sense came on June 3rd, by David who reported in our Facebook discussion group that his premium minutes had “plummeted” since 1st June.

plummet

Interestingly, I’d made a post on June 1st asking if anyone had seen their premium minutes increase over previous days. I proposed that a new Skillshare promotion was driving more signups and premium minutes. Not many people agreed that they were seeing more minutes, and it was mentioned that the new promotion may be targetted to specific demographics. In hindsight, perhaps this was an early indication of the SEO change, because, unlike David, I’ve seen my premium minutes increase.

 

Changes Reported By Skillshare Teachers…

So what information do we have? Well, David said that some of his most popular classes can no longer be found by searching for them (“many of my bestselling courses that had previously appeared top, or near the top, for their particular keyword phrases have suddenly disappeared without a trace – i.e. I am unable to find them with a direct search for the title of the course“).

Mark replied and agreed that he was seeing the same thing, “our courses have disappeared out of search“.

Sergey also agreed, “Yes I seen this happened as well all my best selling classes no longer showing up only newer classes are”.

Lindsay saw the same thing… “If you type in graphic design you do not come to one of my classes until 50+ rows. I used to have two in the top 10 (older class) so it looks to be an algorithm change that pushes older class lower (except their top teacher and their produced classes).”

David gave further details

“Up until the 1st June my Beginner’s Guide to Merch By Amazon course was top of the search results (as it has been for over a year, ever since I released it) and was getting new students every day. Now, the course is ranked 224 for the key search term, Merch By Amazon, and is actually ranked directly below a class with ZERO students called “Hand Made Creations Part 3 Amazing Fish”.

 

Skillshare’s Response…

Subsequently, Mark made a new post, proposing that Skillshare search was “broken” and including a response from a Skillshare community manager…

Hi Mark,

First, I’d like to confirm that I’ve double checked and your class is open and viewable to students.

We are constantly making updates to our search algorithm, which may affect where your class appears on Skillshare. This algorithm is machine-learning based and takes into consideration a variety of factors, such as current trending popularity, course topic, category, and length.

Let me know if you have any additional questions about this.”

In response, I noted that, “because of their business model, new classes are constantly required by Skillshare. This search change seems to be weighted towards new (or popular) classes, even to the extent of sometimes beating classes with titles matching the search terms. It’s interesting to note that, in their reply, Skillshare actually listed the factor “popularity” before “course topic” for determining result positions!”

 

David replied, agreeing with Mark…

“I totally agree with Mark. The search is broken.

I totally understand giving priority to new classes (and to a lesser extent “popular classes”), BUT at the moment it appears the topic does not even feature in the algorithm, which is ridiculous.

For example, I could sort of understand if my Merch By Amazon class was listed last of all of the Merch By Amazon classes because it is the oldest (although I would not agree with that policy). However, coming below classes that have ZERO students and nothing in the slightest to do with the search query (apart from 4 letters in a different word within the title), just because the class is new, makes the Search function a complete farce.”

 

The Facts…

So what do we have here?

Firstly, there was a definite search algorithm change recently at Skillshare.

Secondly, that algorithm change reduced the visibility of some, but not all, classes which were previously ranking well.

Thirdly, while the age of a class may play a role in the demotion of some classes, and it does make sense that Skillshare, who charge members monthly, should promote new classes over old ones, age is not the only factor, because there are still old classes ranking well.

Fourthly, while the popularity of a class may play a role, David said that his “Merch By Amazon” for beginners had ranked well for over a year, “and was getting new students every day“. So, it was presumably a “popular” class, getting clicks from the results pages, new video views, new students, reviews and premium minutes. If not, why would David say, “I am losing quite a bit of money each day as a result” (of the algorithm change)?

So, if it’s not the age of a class, or the popularity of a class, what changed?

It’s hard to say. let’s dig deeper…

 

Interesting Insights…

One interesting insight is a search Sergey ran. He searched for his own name, and only one class was immediately shown at the top of the results, followed by other teacher’s classes…

 

seo1-sergey

 

When I checked, I found a block of twenty-eight of his classes near the end of the search results!

seo2-sergey

That sounds much more like a ranking penalty has been applied to those classes than a SEO algorithm tweak.

But, if Skillshare have started giving out “shadow bans”, where teachers aren’t removed from the platform, but their classes are almost impossible to find in the search results, why would one of Sergey’s classes rank at the top of the same search? Having 28/29 classes rank badly, and one rank well, makes very little sense to me. Furthermore, David, Mark and Lindsay produce great classes and I would struggle to ever see them getting a demotion.

It’s also interesting to note that, in the past, Skillshare did a “sweep” of their catalogue of classes and outright deleted many classes. There was no chance to edit a class to make it compliant. If it was gone, it was gone. I expect Skillshare was swamped with customer support tickets after taking such action, so it does make a lot of sense that, if they did another sweep, they’d institute a kind of “shadow ban” which the likes of Instagram use to suppress accounts who break their rules. When a shadowban happens, the account holder is not informed, so they’re much less likely to complain and thereby start a long dialogue exchange taking up a lot of community manager’s time. However, while this is an attractive idea, it doesn’t explain why quality teachers would see their classes demoted.

Asking Some Questions…

  • Why does a search for “Sergey Kasimov” return 373 results?
  • Why does a search for another teacher, “Alex Genadinik”, return 265 results? Neither teacher has that number of classes.
  • Why does a search for “Social Media Marketing Masterclass” return 3434 results, but “Social Media Masterclass” returns only 1593?

The answer is that, unlike most search engines, Skillshare uses the “OR” principle when searching their database. They return results for “Sergey OR Kasimov”, “Alex OR Genadinik”, and “Social OR Media OR Marketing OR Masterclass”, hence the huge number of results for that phrase! Almost all other search engines will narrow search results by using “AND” instead of “OR”, so you get fewer results with more complex search terms.

Not only do Skillshare use the “OR” functionality, they go further… they will truncate keywords to about four letters, so “Merch by Amazon” can return results by classes containing, “Amazing Fish”!

Conclusions…

Could it be that Skillshare recently made their search algorithm more lenient? Classes which used to rank well are now ranking less well because Skillshare are simply returning a bigger pool of results…? Have they sacrificed a degree of precision in the search results in favour of more results?

It certainly seems so.

What do you think…? Please leave a comment below, and share this post if you think others will enjoy it! Thanks! 🙂

Helpful links:

Update: October 2018: Skillshare didn’t revert the new search engine change, so it can only be assumed that they’re happy with the way it’s working.

5 Best Watercolor Classes On Skillshare

This post was most recently updated on March 17th, 2019

Finding The Best Watercolor Classes On Skillshare

If you search Skillshare for “watercolor”, there are 899 results at the time of writing this blog post!
watercolor1

filter watercolour classesThat’s a lot to sort through! You could narrow them down by which ones are free to take (31) compared to premium (868), how many are over an hour long (145) compared to less than 15 minutes (89). I’m not sure what watercoloring concept can be taught in under 15 minutes, but with classes being as short as 10 minutes on Skillshare, it’s possible to take a few classes in your lunch-break if that’s something you’d like to do! 🙂

If you want new classes, you can check out the 39 watercolor classes released this month, or just the 18 released this week!

Alternatively, you could go for the classes Skillshare ranks as best in their search results.

The top search-result class has 5,454 students and is only 10 minutes long. It’s actually a totally free class called “Watercolor: Basic Techniques” by Sandra Bowers.

watercolor-basic-techniques
Watercolor Basic Techniques

To get the most from Skillshare, you will probably want to access their premium catalogue, which makes up about 90% of all classes on the platform. Premium classes are ones that generate revenue for the teacher when they’re watched by premium members, which means they’re generally of better quality. Premium membership costs $96 per year, or $15 per month, but you can get two months for FREE by following this link.

Some of the best longer, Premium watercolour classes on Skillshare are by Ana Victoria Calderon…

ana-victoria-calderon
Her beginners class is called, “Modern Watercolor Techniques: Beginner’s Level“. Clocking in at 2 hours and 20 minutes, and with nearly 20,000 students, this class should give you a really good foundation in painting with watercolours.

watercolor-techniques

Ana describes the class as teaching…

“both basic watercolor techniques and fun new ways to use your paints mixed with other mediums and house hold supplies, such as salt and bleach. I will give you an in depth look into my favorite art supplies and how to use them properly. Watercolor can be intimidating, but I promise I will make it easy and fun with these tips and tricks. You will be amazed with the results you can obtain with my simple direction!”

She must be doing a good job, because the reviews are excellent. Of 1,853 reviews, 1,839 are positive, a whopping 99.2%! Some feedback includes..

“As the title says, it has exercises for the beginner that I think are going to come on handy!” Enhoe Paola

This class is awesome. The teacher makes a detailed explanation of her amazing techniques and shares unique secrets! Can’t wait to see what else I can learn from her here :)” Elizabeth Martinez

“I wanted to get a fresh perspective of watercolor and I had always dismissed it. I liked the title of this class “Modern Watercolor”. I respect those who can paint landscapes but landscapes aren’t how I want to express myself. I loved the video production, the atmosphere in the instructors room, and the demeanor of the the instructor. Not only were the instructions clear but the projects were beautiful and doable. I couldn’t wait to get back to the next instruction. I can’t wait to take more classes from Ana. High quality class.” Danine Robertus

People seem to like the class project which is to, “paint a fun, starry night, galaxy  or universe watercolor painting using transparencies, gradients, detail, pulse, precision and mixed media“. One of the 413 submitted projects is this beautiful nebula…

watercolour-nebula
Watercolor Galaxy / Nebula project by Tina Trimble Belliston

Ana has other popular watercolouring classes on Skillshare, such as, “Watercolor and mixed media“, which is 2 hours 45 minutes long, with nearly 6,000 students and 470 positive reviews.

watercolor-mixed-mediaThis class shows you…

“how to achieve great results painting in negative space, using either your pulse and precision skills, or masking fluid, as well as techniques for using white paint (ink or acrylics) over you watercolors.

I also demonstrate a variety of paintings I have created and explain why and how I used certain techniques.

I addition, we will dive into experimental watercolor even more, using different mediums and household supplies, including masking fluid, acetone (nail polish remover), thick grain salt… to name a few!

By the end of this class you will be able to complete an AMAZING watercolor illustration, using the various techniques we have learned. You will also begin to train your watercolor brain to think in layers and sections.”

A third class by Ana is called “Watercolor textures” which lasts for 2 hours 3 minutes, with 5,630 students and 436 positive reviews…

watercolor-texturesIn this class, Ana teaches how to create…

“AMAZING watercolor paintings using these simple tools and applying them to your ideas and a final work of art in mind.

We begin by practicing our textures is this really fun activity I like to call texture swatches. Through this activity I will bring you into my creative process and experience how I come up with new ideas.

I will also show you examples of fantastic artists I admire and analyze how they apply textures into their works of art.

By the time we get to our final project you will be a pro at textures and will have the confidence to jump into a final illustration with full commitment. Our final project will be painting an animal and/or the environment surrounding it. I promise you’ll make something beautiful! :D”

Just to round out the top-5, Ana has a class called “A guide to watercolour paints and brands” at 3 hours 48 minutes, with 1,317 students and 68 positive reviews.
watercolor-paints-brands
In this class, Ana describes…

“a BUNCH of different watercolor sets I am eager to share with you today. We will compare and review different brands, including quality, vibrance, lightfastness, transparency level, grain, presentation and pricing. My goal is for you to discover new types of paints and figure out which is the best brand for you!

We will go over pan sets, watercolor tubes, liquid watercolors, metallics and even neons!

Your final project will be creating a watercolor guide of your own. The project gallery for this class will end up being an awesome library of every type of watercolors if we all work together 😀 So feel free to share information with the rest of the class, this will be a great place to go back to.”

Important notes and tips…

Note, in the past, Skillshare counted anyone who signed up for your class as a “student”, whether they were free students or premium students and it was easy to pad your student numbers. Now it’s much harder to inflate the student numbers because people have to watch half of a class to be counted as a student. So classes which are older may have higher student numbers than those which are newer. Also, classes which are longer will have fewer students than those which are shorter. That’s just something to bear in mind when choosing which classes to watch.

One thing Skillshare doesn’t do on the search results pages is show the reviews a class got. You can’t tell whether a class got a lot of positive reviews, a lot of negative ones, or a mix. Only when you visit a class landing page can you see the details.

Another way to narrow down which classes to watch is to consider using a tighter search term. Do you want to paint watercolor flowers, learn about different watercolor brushes, or get started with some easy watercolor projects? By including more keywords in your searches, you can get a smaller list of possible classes, but those classes will be more likely to teach exactly what you’d like to know.

One other tip is to consider taking a quick class by a teacher you’re interested in learning from, rather than start with a class over two hours long. If you enjoy learning from the teacher’s short class, then you can check out their profile for the other classes they teach. Similarly, if you don’t like a particular teacher, it’s better to find that out after a 10 minute class than a two hour marathon! 🙂 Sandra actually uses this technique from a teacher’s point of view. The “Watercolor: Basic Techniques” class is only 10-minutes long, but is actually taken from her “Watercolor Florals: Orchids” premium class which is 1 hour and 16 minutes long.  Sandra is effectively offering the first 10 minutes of that class for free, hoping that you’ll then take the premium class, which will earn her some revenue. By contrast, all of Ana’s classes are over 2 hours long, so there’s no way to take a quick class by her, although you could just watch the first ten minutes of any of her classes and see if you like them.

How To Get A Free Skillshare Account

This post was most recently updated on November 12th, 2018

How To Get A Free Skillshare Account

Watch our video describing, step-by-step, how to create a free account at Skillshare.

Why would you want to do that?

Well, they don’t publicise it much, but Skillshare have about 23,000 classes in total, of which about 1,500 are totally free to watch, all you have to do is get a free account.

When you go through the sign-up process, Skillshare will naturally offer you a premium account, where you get access to all 23,000 classes. However, if you stop the sign-up process at a specific point, you’ve created a free account and can take the free classes. In the video I also show you how to find the free classes.


Teachers on Skillshare can create “free access links” to their premium classes, which you can use with your free Skillshare account, so if you see a premium class you’d really like to take, it may be worth asking the teacher if you can have a free access link.

Alternatively, you can visit our Free Skillshare Classes group on Facebook where we post several free links each day to Skillshare premium classes.

Finally, you may also be interested in the different ways we found to get a Premium Skillshare account for free, or how to get access to premium classes for free. 🙂

 

Finally, if you’d like to try the full Skillshare Premium experience, you can use our teacher’s link to get a 2-months free trial of Skillshare Premium. That’s double what Skillshare currently offer on their website! 🙂

Skillshare Review 2018. How Useful Is Skillshare?

This post was most recently updated on November 12th, 2018

It’s January 2018! We’ve been on Skillshare for almost two years, have taken many classes as students, and have taught dozens of our own classes. Here you can see when we joined…

Skillshare Welcome Email

 

 

We also run two of the most popular Facebook Groups dedicated to Skillshare on Facebook. (Feel free to join us at “Free, Premium Skillshare Classes” (promotions), “Skillshare Mastermind” (discussions), or both) 🙂

Skillshare Facebook Groups

In our Skillshare review for 2018, we look at whether a Skillshare membership makes sense from the point of view of a student and a teacher…

Not many people know you can get a 100% free Skillshare account by going through the signup process, but not entering credit card details (watch our walkthrough video, here). With the free account, you can take any of the thousands of free classes at Skillshare, and redeem free access links to premium classes given out by teachers.

Getting a free account may make sense to you, or you could take advantage of the current “3 months for 99c” offer to become an immediate premium member which unlocks access to the full catalogue of 18,000 classes on Skillshare.

Teachers can earn money publishing their classes at Skillshare, which can be as short at 10 minutes, providing they teach a skill. In return, teachers earn a share of the Skillshare royalty pool, which is equivalent to roughly 5 cents per premium minute. It’s a great way to get started teaching online.

Note, you don’t have to be a premium member to teach on Skillshare, so getting a free account would also let you start teaching on Skillshare.

My recommendation is to sign up, either as a free Skillshare member, or taking the premium trial for free, and see if you like the platform as a student or a teacher.

Good luck! 🙂

PS, there are legitimate ways to get a free, premium Skillshare account. If you’re interested in those, click here.

Skillshare Premium Referrals… Over $1,000 Earned In 2017!

This post was most recently updated on November 12th, 2018

In 2016, Skillshare paid teachers per premium enrollment in their classes, which was effectively paying teachers about $1.50 per student up-front.

In 2017, Skillshare switched to paying teachers per minute watched, effectively paying teachers only what their classes were worth based on view-time.

(learn more about the changes to Skillshare in 2017, here. We also suggested ways to adapt to the payment change, here.).

The payment system change made sense, for Skillshare.

Unfortunately, Skillshare had “trained” its teachers to create short, bite-sized classes of about 20 minutes in length, with 10 minutes being the minimum.

A class which was 20 minutes long, could only generate 20 “premium minutes”, maximum. Skillshare estimated that they’d pay 5c to 10c per premium minute. For the first few months they struggled to pay 5c, which meant a 20-minute class would only earn one dollar, even if it was watched fully. Of course, not all classes were watched in full, so teachers of bite-sized classes were looking at a 50% pay-cut. In fact, earnings falls of 70% were reported in our Skillshare Mastermind Group.

So, back in January, I thought it may be a good idea to look at the other way you can earn money at Skillshare. You can refer people to Skillshare’s Premium Trial, and earn $10 for each person who starts the trial.

Unlike the royalties program, Skillshare actually made it easier to earn money via premium referrals. They changed the trial from, “3 months for $0.99”, to a 1-month free trial. Subsequently, they changed it again, to a 2-month free trial. Human psychology tells you that people are much more likely to start a free trial than one which charges them… even if the difference is only 99 cents!

We started to drive free traffic to the Skillshare premium referral program from different sources such as blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook group posts, Instagram posts and Twitter tweets.

Could we improve on the 7 referrals, and $70, we got in January?

Here’s the data…

Monthly premium referrals
Monthly premium referrals

As you can see, 7 referrals in January had jumped to 22 in April and May, and 21 in June. July has just finished, and we set a personal record of 23 referrals, worth $230.

By comparison, a premium member would have to watch 76 HOURS of our premium content to generate the same $230.

Referring people to the premium trial at Skillshare is, in our opinion, much easier than earnings premium minutes as a teacher.

Here’s a graph of how our royalty earnings shrank as our referral earnings grew…

Royalties vs Referral Earnings
Royalties vs Referral Earnings

If you’d like to know more about how the Skillshare Premium Referral program works, and our specific tactics for generating hundreds of dollars per month from referring new trial members using only free traffic, please watch our new Skillshare class. (you can get a 2-month free trial of premium which unlocks our class and the other 23,000 on the platform!)

Here’s the video intro from the class…

Update, Jan 2018:

We have just added up our total for premium referrals in 2017, and it came to 360 referrals worth $3,600. We have been paid for each month except December. Here’s the full breakdown…

premium referrals 2017

You can see how we’ve managed to double the level from the summer, which was roughly 20 per month, to about 40 per month currently. September was our record, with 54 premium referrals worth $540, or about 10,000 premium minutes!

We’ve just created a Skillshare review for 2018, looking at how useful Skillshare is to teachers and students in 2018.