Passive income is the “holy grail” of most business owners and entrepreneurs.
Unfortunately, in most businesses, passive income is almost impossible. You can only get truly passive income by growing a business to a large enough size to sustain all the processes of the business while being profitable, and have a management team and oversight by boardroom executives. Even then, if you’re the business owner, you should probably be reading the quarterly statements! 🙂
However, the good news is that entrepreneurs and small business owners can build up assets online that generate “almost passive income“. One such mechanism is building an affiliate website that earns commissions over time. I built a website in about 1999 that has earned affiliate income from one merchant since the year 2000! All I had to do was keep the site running by checking on the server once in a while, and pay for the domain-name renewal fees. Sixteen years later, it’s still making money. (I have to admit, that’s very rare. No other affiliate program has lasted that long for me)
Another way to earn “almost passive income” is to put your saleable digital content on third party platforms. For example, you could put ebooks on Amazon Kindle, training courses on Udemy and teaching classes on Skillshare.
In a similar way to earning money as an affiliate, you’re not actually making the sale on a platform. Either Amazon, Udemy or Skillshare makes the sale, delivers the product to the customer, handles the technical aspect of running the website, deals with customer support and refunds. When you’ve uploaded an ebook or digital course, it’s available for purchase for weeks, months and possibly years, meaning each one can contribute to a passive income stream.
Basically, the way classes are ranked by default at Skillshare is their “trending” algorithm, which allows new classes to rank well. Unfortunately, that means old classes don’t rank so well, and can’t generate much residual income.
However, there are other ways classes can be found on Skillshare, namely keyword searches and the “Best” tab. Those two options give us a much better chance of passive income.
If you can get a class to the top of Skillshare when someone searches, which means optimising your class for specific keywords and gaining high enrollments, you can generate enrollments over time, which equals passive income. In the same way, if you can get to the top of the “Best” tab for your category through positive reviews and enrollments, you can also generate passive income.
Finally, by having multiple classes, you can “cross-pollinate” students from one class to others, thereby amplifying any passive income you manage to generate.
As you can see, it will take a while to build up residual income on Skillshare, but it can be done! 🙂
This post was most recently updated on June 18th, 2018
Here at InternetSuccess, we’re all about achieving success online. To us, that means making money and getting personal satisfaction from offering quality digital products that customers enjoy.
One of the places we offer our digital information is Skillshare.
In face, we enjoy Skillshare so much, we’ve created classes explaining how you can create and make money from your own Skillshare classes.
We called these classes our “Skillshare Crash Course”. Here are the classes we’ve created so far. You can get free access to all these classes at the moment, but that may change at any time.
“How To Start Your First Skillshare Class”…
Sometimes it can seem difficult to know where to begin when creating a Skillshare class.
We’ve been creating “how to” guides since 1997 (nearly 20 years!) and we’ll walk you through the process of creating a Skillshare class, step-by-step.
We’ll show you what you need and then how do do it!
From how to brainstorm a class, to how to record your screen with demos of Camtasia, and the free alternatives Screencast-o-matic and Open Broadcasting Software.
From microphone tips to editing video, from class meta-data to the important first class image, we cover a huge amount in this quality course. Join this class for free!
“How To Earn Money On Skillshare”…
In this class we take a close look at the different ways you can earn money on Skillshare, from premium enrollments to bonus payments and referral payments.
We also look at how much money other teachers on Skillshare are earning, and how much you could potentially earn!
Recently, Skillshare changed the algorithm for calculating teacher’s earnings. Don’t miss out on the latest information… take this class today for free. 🙂
“How To Get More Skillshare Followers”…
The Skillshare platform is built around followers. Every teacher needs to know why followers are so important to your Skillshare success and how to get more followers.
This class teaches you what followers are, why they’re important and several ways to get more followers, from releasing more classes, promoting your classes, leveraging the platform and encouraging engagement.
This class is one of several we’ve created to help you understand the Skillshare platform and be as successful as possible on it.
“Free Promotion For Your Premium Skillshare Class!”
Are you a Skillshare teacher?
If so, we want to help you get more enrollments in your Premium Skillshare class!
Promote your class for free in our Facebook Group, the largest dedicated to Skillshare !
So, there you have it. Our entire “crash course” for succeeding on Skillshare. What do you think? Is there a topic I’ve missed?
One of the things I think Skillshare could do better is have more interaction with teachers and potential teachers. I’ve written about it here… “how to contact Skillshare“. I’ve also written a blog post about how much money you could potentially earn on Skillshare. Interestingly, Skillshare just released new stats. They say that their top 100 teachers earn $1,300 per month, which is about $15,600 per year. That’s not a bad income for publishing digital courses. 🙂
I’ve also published two tutorials on Skillshare relating to succeeding on Skillshare. You can find them here, and here.
This post was most recently updated on June 18th, 2018
One of the things that Udemy do well is help instructors via a central resource. Surprisingly, that resource isn’t a Udemy-run forum or chat system, it’s actually a Facebook Group. To be more precise, it’s two Facebook groups… the Udemy Studio for instructors working on their courses (30,000 members) and the Faculty Lounge for instructors who’ve published a course (3,100 members). I’m not really sure what the benefits of having two Groups are, especially when people often post to both and you don’t know which to answer!
Anyway, the Facebook Groups are well moderated and serve as a central place to get help. After asking a question, you often get early replies from other members and an official reply a bit later. It actually works quite well.
However, when we contrast that with Skillshare, we see that the same does not apply. Skillshare has a very helpful community team consisting of Nataleigh, Megan, Nicole, Cara and Danielle, but no central place where you can ask questions. Skillshare support seems to be spread out all over the place.
They have “Teach Challenge” workshops and Teacher AMA’s (ask me anything) along with a standard helpcenter, teacher handbook and ticket system at the website.
This post was most recently updated on March 18th, 2019
[Update: 24th April 2016: We now have a Skillshare class containing all the latest information we could find on earning money on Skillshare. It’s a premium class, so you’ll need to be a member to take it. However, if you use this link, you can join and gain access to ALL Skillshare’s premium classes for 2 months for free!]
[Update: 18th March 2016, Skillshare have just announced that “projects” will no longer count towards instructor’s earnings. Instead, only premium signups will count.]
[Update: December 2016: Skillshare have announced they’re changing the teacher payment model and earnings calculation from premium enrollments to premium minutes watched. We have a full discussion of the changes in a new blog post.
2016 information is below this point!
Beware, it’s probably out-dated, but is kept for reference purposes. For our most recent look at how much you could earn on Skillshare, see our new, 2019 post! 🙂
People seem to be genuinely confused by Skillshare’s revenue share with their teachers. As a new teacher on Skillshare, I’d like to offer what I’ve found out after trawling different websites.
Out-dated Information Everywhere!
The first point to make is that a lot of information from third party websites is out-dated. In the past, you had to garner 100 enrollments to a premium class you placed on Skillshare to be eligible for the “Partner Program” and thereby earn any money. That requirement has since been reduced to just 25 enrollments. Furthermore, you can create a “premium” class and offer free links to people so they can join your class for nothing. That’s what I did, and I got to the 25 target in about a day, so it’s not an onerous task. However, only premium enrollments count towards your earnings. Skillshare aren’t going to pay you for people you got to take your class for free! However, if those people join Skillshare within 30 days of clicking your link, you get a $10 payment per person. I’ve had two people do that already.
Here’s how the revenue share breaks down…
As you can see from the above diagram, Skillshare take 50% of all the revenue derived from monthly subscriptions to pay for their overheads. Interestingly, in their Terms of Service, Skillshare say…
Skillshare distributes at least 30% of its revenue to Skillshare Partners on a monthly basis.
Presumably, the 30% is a “floor” and the current amount of 50% is subject to change.
After Skillshare have deducted their 50%, the remainder is split between teachers who have at least one class with 25 enrollments according the the diagram. Let’s break it down…
Premium Enrollment Earnings
Skillshare say each premium enrollment in your classes earns you between $1 and $2.
On Skillshare, teachers earn between $1-2 per Premium enrollment. (source)
With the revenue-share model they have, they can’t calculate a value until they know their monthly totals, and each month the value will be different, hence the vague $1-2. However, if you take the lower end, you can guesstimate your earnings by checking whether or not an enrollment is from a premium member, and simply add up the number of premium enrollments.
Note, you can create free classes, but they don’t earn any revenue. On the other hand, you do earn multiple times if a single premium member enrolls in several of your classes, therefore it’s important to have multiple classes on Skillshare to benefit from this potential amplification of earnings.
A Revenue-Share Model Similar To Amazon Kindle
This “revenue share” model is a lot like the way Amazon used to pay out for Kindle Unlimited borrows. They’d set a pool size of millions of dollars and authors would get a percentage of that pool based on the number of borrows they had in that month relative to the total number of borrows. Amazon has since moved to a “pages read” model after they were flooded with short books trying to quality for the per-borrow payout because books had to be read to 10% to qualify for a borrow, which obviously favoured books of 20 pages compared to 500-page novels. However, the principle is the same… Kindle authors whose books are in the Kindle Unlimited program share a royalty pool based on pages read of Kindle Unlimited books in addition to direct Kindle sales.
Earning For Completed Class Projects
Skillshare also say that the number of completed student projects contributes to your earnings. I’m not sure how much a completed project is worth. As some categories of classes (photography? painting?) will have a larger percentage of students submit projects than others (build a website? write code?), it doesn’t seem particularly fair to just take the raw numbers of completed projects, so perhaps the numbers are modulated in some way. However, this is largely “hand waving”, as we have no way of knowing, although I’ve just emailed someone at Skill Share to ask, and will update this blog post if I find out more. All we do know is that the number of completed projects by your class students relative to total completed projects forms a part in your overall earnings.
Update, 18th Feb 2016. I got a reply from Cara at Skillshare who said…
I would say that enrollments are most important for your payments but projects are still significant for more than one reason. Each project shared in your class gives you 10 trending points — the more trending points you have, the higher your class is listed on the Trending Classes page, the more students discover and enroll in your class.
And we definitely do not give weight to different categories. We fundamentally believe in meritocracy, so everyone has the same chance to succeed.
So, let’s take the second point first. As all categories are treated the same, instructors really need to try to find a way to make their class projects as easy to complete and submit as possible. If an instructor creates a project to write code, or build a web-site, they are probably going to have less completed projects compared to a photography class where the project is to take a picture of a sunset and upload it. As projects are not graded for difficulty, an instructor who posts a difficult project will simply see less earnings.
As for the first point, while the “10 trending points per shared project” was interesting, an indirectly will affect revenue as a class trends and presumably earns more, I was hoping for a more direct value of a completed project, seeing as it’s included in the revenue equation.
If you refer someone to Skillshare and they join the premium membership, you get a $10 bounty. I think it even applies if someone signs up for a free trial, but that seems open to abuse so I can’t see it continuing for long.
At the moment, there’s a promotion whereby if you submit a class and reach the 25 enrollments target within 30 days of starting the class, you qualify for $50, or $250 if it’s a “culinary” class. As my class reached the target within 24 hours, I believe I’ve earned that $50.
“Video View” Earnings
In their Terms Of Service, SkillShare say…
The algorithm used to determine your monthly share as a Partner is based on the total number of new students enrolled, new projects created, and video views each month across all of your Membership classes.
I don’t know if that’s accurate, but video views are not shown in the revenue breakdown image shown above. So either the quote isn’t actually a reflection of how earnings are now calculated or the graphic is not completely accurate. I’ll try to contact Skillshare and get a clarification on whether or not video views play a role in determining the teacher’s earnings.
Update, 18th Feb 2016. I got a reply from Cara at Skillshare who said…
As to the Terms of Service, I will definitely take a look and make an update there. Views do not count toward revenue.
So that’s pretty clear… video views no longer play a part in the revenue calculation for instructors.
How Much Do Others Earn?
I haven’t seen many people reveal their Skillshare earnings. I don’t think teachers are forbidden from doing it, as far as I can tell. One person who has shown his earnings is Rob Cubbon who earned $3,124 in 2015, which I think was his first year on Skillshare.
Rob has 2331 students, and all his courses are premium, so unless he gave away free sign-up links (like I did), he probably signed up about 2,220 people in 2015, which would be $1.42 per enrollment. It could also breakdown as $1 per enrollment, worth $2,200 and $900 from ninety people signing up for a premium Skillshare account through his referral link. We don’t know as I don’t think Skillshare explains the breakdown in that level of detail.
How Much Will You Earn?
How much you will earn on SkillShare obviously depends on several factors such as…
How many courses you put on Skillshare
How good your courses are
How much competition there is in your niche at Skillshare
Whether you have an established audience you can refer to Skillshare for bounty payments and enrollments
Skillshare say that the “average” teacher earns $3,500 per year, and that the top instructors earn $30,000+. They also say they’ve paid out over $5 million in total.
Your earnings will be roughly $1 per premium enrollment, plus $10 for every person who signs up as a premium member via your link, plus some kind of payment for completed class projects and possibly “video views”.
From that, you should be able to have a fairly accurate guesstimate of your Skillshare earnings breakdown.
If you’ve created instructional video courses, my advice would be to put them on Skillshare in addition to Udemy and perhaps your own website. 🙂
What do you think?
Will you be publishing on Udemy, Skillshare or somewhere else? Are you already a publisher? If so, how’s it going…? Please leave a comment below… 🙂