Skillshare Deals, Discounts And Offers

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

Skillshare Premium: Current Offer (November 2018)

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! 🙂


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! (2018)

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

How To Get 2-Months’ Skillshare Premium For Free In 2018!2-months-premium-skillshare-free-1

Skillshare often run free promotions for accessing their whole catalogue of 21,000 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 at the time of writing, they’ll offer you just one free month as an incentive to sign up…


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!


Note, the link gives you access to a trial of Premium, for which you’ll need to add your credit 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?


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

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.


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”.

Linday 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…




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


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”!


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 October 15th, 2018

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!



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

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…

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.


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…

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.
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.

Skillshare – New Teacher Bonus Changes

Skillshare New Teacher Bonus, Guaranteed Payment, Matched Bonus

This post was most recently updated on October 17th, 2018

Do you remember the Skillshare “New Teacher Bonus“? 

In 2016 someone wanting to teach at Skillshare could get a cash bonus of up to $200. All they had to do was create a new class in a specific category along with a few other minor requirements such as post a project in the “Teaching A Great Skillshare Class” class and provide a comment or piece of feedback on a fellow participant’s project in the same class. In addition to the cash prize, new teachers who met the conditions would also get a year of Skillshare Premium for free.

Since then the $200 cash bonus for specific categories was dropped and the reward became $100 cash across all categories. Skillshare then changed the bonus cash to a “guaranteed $100“, meaning they only “topped up” what you earned in your first month to a maximum of $100.

Other requirements were also added, such as referring a premium member and getting 10 premium signups in your new class. Finally, the requirement of being invited was added.
Many people were unhappy that a successful new teacher who earned $100 in their first month wouldn’t get a bonus under the “guaranteed $100” system.

The New “New Teacher Bonus”…

Skillshare New Teacher Bonus, Guaranteed Payment, Matched Bonus

Now it appears that the offer has been changed. Instead of a “guaranteed $100”, Skillshare will “match your royalties” up to $100…

Skillshare Match Royalty Bonus Rules

So, in the past, $5 would be “topped up” to $100, costing Skillshare $95. Now $5 will be “matched” by $5, saving Skillshare $90.

On the other hand, in the past, someone earning $100 or more in royalties would earn nothing extra from the “guarantee” offer, but would now get an extra $100 from the “match” offer, costing Skillshare an extra $100.

I think this probably saves Skillshare money overall. I can imagine many more people earn less than $50 in their first month, than those who earn more than $50, which is the point at which Skillshare would pay out more under the new system.
However, I do like the idea. It rewards those who do well and earn money, rather than preferentially rewarding those who earn less. It will also stop people who were cheating the system by earning $1 and getting it topped up to $100.

Non-Invite Offer

The “matched royalty bonus” described above is only for people who are invited. What if you’re not invited to teach on Skillshare?

Well, you could contact them and ask for an invite. 🙂

Alternatively, you could take part in the “non-invite offer”, known as the “VIP New Teacher Challenge”, which has similar requirements to fulfil, but instead of rewarding you with a “matched bonus payment”, you’d get a “year of premium” for free.

It seems that Skillshare have separated out the cash payment part of the original “New Teacher Bonus” from the bonus year of premium into two different offers. There’s now a “matched royalty bonus” offer, by invitation only, and a “free year of Premium” offer, which is open to everyone.

Thoughts…? Please leave a comment.

To join Skillshare and get 2 months-Premium for free, click here.

How To Watch Premium Skillshare Courses For Free

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

Discover several ways to watch premium Skillshare courses for free…

Watch the video version of this blog post here…

Skillshare: how to watch for free

I’ve been teaching on Skillshare for over a year, and run two of the most popular Skillshare-dedicated Facebook Groups, one for promotion of Skillshare classes using free access links and one for Skillshare-related discussions.

One question which sometimes comes up is, “how can I watch premium Skillshare courses for free“?

I’ve decided to tackle that question in this blog post. 🙂

First, let’s get some basic terminology sorted out.

There are “100% free” classes on Skillshare, which you only need a free account to watch. Roughly 10% of Skillshare’s catalogue are “100% free” classes, which means about 1,600 of the total 16,000 classes will be “100% free” to watch with a free account.

The remaining 90% are “premium” classes which usually require a premium membership to watch. Teachers only get paid for premium members watching their premium classes, which is why most of the Skillshare catalogue is premium. While it’s not as easy to watch premium classes for free, there are several ways to do it!


Look for “free access links”

Free access links are also known as free enrollment links and free coupons. For every premium course, the teacher has the option to create free access links and give them away. If you can get one of these links, you can watch a premium course with your free account.
Why would teachers give away free access to a premium course? Well, there are a few different reasons, but mainly it’s to build awareness of their content on Skillshare. To be successful on the platform, it’s necessary to build a “following” of people who want to know about your courses. One way to build that following is to offer free access to your class. If the person taking the class likes it enough, they may take a free trial of premium. Referring people to the premium free trial earns the teacher a $10 bounty, but also means that teacher will have someone likely to take their future premium classes.

Here’s an example of us offering free access to one of our premium Skillshare classes… (if you want to access the class, click here)

The best place to find fresh, free access links is probably our dedicated Skillshare promotional group on Facebook.

(There are other similar groups on Facebook, but most accept both Skillshare and Udemy free coupons. You’ll need to check before clicking the link that it leads to Skillshare if that’s the link you want).

If you want free access to a specific class, it may be worthwhile trying to contact the teacher online, via social media or their own website to get a link. If the teacher doesn’t know how to create a free link, send them to this page where we explain how to create a free link for a premium class. 🙂

Take up Skillshare’s offer of a “free trial of premium”

A premium trial lasts for two months and will unlock all 16,000 classes on the platform. While this is an easy way to access all classes, it’s not possible if you don’t have a credit card because the free trial requires you to input your card details. Note, unless you cancel your membership within the two months, you will be charged after the trial expires. To start a free trial and access all 23,000 Skillshare courses for 2-months, including all of ours, click here.

Look for “contests” and “challenges” run by Skillshare

Some of Skillshare’s contest offer a year of premium as a prize. In the past, qualifying for a year of premium was as simple as signing up for a free account and creating a class. Nowadays there are more restrictions, such as referring a premium member and getting your class watched for a specific number of premium minutes. However, as long as you track the requirements and complete them, this is a great way to get a whole year of premium membership for free.

Here’s where you can check the current contest and challenges.

Become a “Teacher’s Assistant”

If you’re willing to put in time and be helpful on the Skillshare website, you could apply to be a “Teacher’s Assistant”. The “TA” program at Skillshare comes with a complimentary premium membership.

“As a Skillshare TA, you’ll partner with Skillshare’s Community team to help make Skillshare the most engaging and rewarding place to learn. In exchange, you’ll get a free Premium Membership, special recognition as a TA, and first access to all the cool new things happening here at Skillshare.”

Here’s where you can apply to be a TA.

Grab a scholarship

Another option to access premium Skillshare classes for free, or at a reduced price, is to take advantage of the scholarships Skillshare offer. At the moment, there are three types of scholarships available.

The first is a pool of $100,000-worth of premium scholarships available in conjunction with Mailchimp, which presumably means Skillshare and Mailchimp together are offering 1,000 year-long premium accounts.

– A small business owner, working at a small business or as a solopreneur. A small business is defined as having between 2 and 150 employees.
– First-time Skillshare premium member (you have never purchased a premium Skillshare membership before)
– 13 years of age or older
– Create a Skillshare account (email address only)


The second is a student scholarship with a 50% price reduction.

“To celebrate 500,000 class enrollments, Skillshare is offering $500,000 in Scholarships to eligible students around the world.”


Scholarships will be given out based on financial need and potential for making a creative impact on the world. Eligible students will receive a 50% discount on a year of Premium Membership with unlimited video access. Scholarships are awarded on the 1st of each month, and selected applicants will be notified via email.


The third is a 1-year premium membership scholarship donated to students in need on a 1-for-1 basis.

“For every annual Premium Membership purchased, one is donated to students in need. If our Premium Membership is out of reach, apply for a one year scholarship.”


– 13 years of age or older
– Create a Skillshare account (email address only)
– Needs financial assistance




So there you go… that’s quite a few ways to watch either individual premium courses on Skillshare for free, or to get access to the whole 16,000+ database of Skillshare courses for a period of time. These methods are all totally legitimate and within Skillshare’s Terms of Service. We teach on Skillshare and do not condone any attempts to watch premium Skillshare content without the permission of the content creator and the Skillshare platform.

15th October: Updated Broken Link. 🙂