In today’s article, we are answering the question, “Is Skillshare worth it?” from the view of both a student and a teacher.
I first came across Skillshare in the fall of 2018. I received a referral to Skillshare from another blogger that I found through Pinterest. That blogger was talking about Skillshare more as a way to make money online rather than a place to initially learn.
I did not know much about teaching online, or even consuming courses online, though I did spend quite a bit of time on YouTube watching videos. But I decided to go check it out.
How does Skillshare work?
If you don’t know how Skillshare works, Skillshare is a lot like Netflix. Most online learning platforms have you pay money per course or per class. Skillshare does a regular monthly or yearly payment, and you have access to the entire course log, as much as you can consume.
Teachers do not get paid per course sold. Instead they get paid per minute consumed by students. Teachers do not have to sign up or pay for the platform, though I think many of them do. I think it is encouraged to become a teacher on the platform to share what you know, and this can be a great way to defray the cost of the monthly or yearly subscription.
The platform is only a few years old, and I don’t know that the model is profitable just yet. Skillshare is frequently running promos where they will give as much as a few months away of the premium membership for free to encourage people to sign up, in the hopes that they will convert to paying customers.
The sign up trial period much longer than most subscription type services, which generally go 7 to 14 days. Skillshare also occasionally runs a promo where they will offer 3 months for the cost of only $0.99.
How that plays out for teachers is that teachers get paid per minute. When Skillshare is running a promo where new users get lots of free access, or they pay only $0.99 for 3 months, the amount teachers make per minute goes down. Paying teachers a bit less to attract new students must defray some of the costs of giving so much access away for free, but it totally dependent upon retaining students after the trial period has ended.
What did I think of Skillshare Premium?
I joined with a couple of free months that I got through the blogger’s link. Right away, I was given access to the entire Skillshare library because the bloggers link gave me two months free of Skillshare Premium.
And here’s what I found.
The library of courses is large, but the number of courses that are high quality is small compared to the total number. I would say that Udemy probably has more high-quality material than Skillshare, and YouTube has tons of high-quality content in general. That being said, I think still sure is doing a great job in building content in areas that are not quite as strong on Udemy and YouTube.
Another thing that Skillshare is really doing a great job of is bringing on new teachers and supporting them through the initial process of getting started and uploading courses. The result is that a lot of people are flocking to the platform, signing up to teach and to learn. This is a great model, because it encourages more of a community and less of a place where people are simply there to just make money off of the people who are there to learn.
The workshops are a unique component of Skillshare that are not available on Udemy or YouTube. You can join a 30-day workshop, and be paired up with a bunch of other students who are also working on learning or acquiring a specific skill.
There are challenges to complete throughout the length of the workshop, and many times there are prizes involved. I participated in a teacher’s workshop, and I found that the structure was really awesome, they really encouraged action and accountability, and then gave a high-quality prizes to people who did manage to stay on task throughout the duration of the workshop.
I did appreciate that there was no advertising (AT ALL) on the site. I love Youtube but hate hate hate all the ads, especially when they appear right in the middle of a video I am watching (and across the room or otherwise unable to come over and skip the ad).
Skillshare is far from perfect
Like anything, Skillshare is still in a period of growth, and is not perfect. One of the things that I like about Skillshare is that it is not difficult to become a teacher, and it is very beginner-friendly.
For someone who is totally new to teaching online, it can be very overwhelming to have to worry about creating their own website, and knowing the technology of taking payments or issuing refunds, and delivering the content through a membership site or funnel. Skillshare handles all of this stuff so if a teacher only wants to teach and does not want to do anything technical, or even market their courses, they don’t have to.
I started using Skillshare today after thinking about it a lot, there’s plenty of lessons I wanna see and I can’t wait to improuve thanks to it! ~— 🌺 Saphir And Rose🌺 (@SaphirAndRose) July 5, 2019
What the downside of this is that there are many beginner teachers on Skillshare. This means that the quality of courses that you can access varies dramatically, from the content, to the sound or video quality, and to language. One of the complaints that I have heard about Skillshare is that you can get as high quality of videos on YouTube, or even better.
I think there are some niches on YouTube that do really well, specifically the Make Money Online Niche. But I would say the same is true for many other niches, especially many of the niches that are being developed on Skillshare, especially in art and in writing.
If you are considering Skillshare because you want to learn about the Make Money Online Niche I wouldn’t recommend the paid Premium plan for you. YouTube will be sufficient for your needs, or you may want to buy a specialized course in the area that you really want to know more about.
But for writers, artists, cooks, and those who are just generally interested in learning about lots of new areas without having to pay a lot of money, Skillshare can be a good place to get access to a lot of information and a community without the high cost of a community college education, or purchasing a course for $997.
How much does Skillshare cost?
There are two types of membership plans. The free plan, and the Premium plan. Course creators have the option to designate their material as free, or premium. They make that decision, and the platform does not. (I like this…on Udemy, you set the price of your course and then Udemy changes it when it feels like without consulting you)
Someone who signs up with Skillshare on the free plan will have access to all of the videos that creators have designated as free. There are thousands of videos uploaded that are free for people to access, so you could potentially become a Skillshare member and only consume free content.
The premium membership gives you access to everything that Skillshare offers. Currently, (and this is subject to updates by Skillshare so don’t quote me on this), but currently as of the time of writing you can do a monthly plan, or pay yearly.
If you pay monthly, is currently $15 a month. If you are doing the yearly plan, it is close to 50% off, or $8.25 a month. That comes to about $99 a year. In contrast, if you purchase one course a month from Udemy, at the very minimum you can expect to pay $9.99, but in reality, most courses are going to cost dramatically more.
Cross posted content is really common
Here’s another thing that you should know. Many course creators who post on Skillshare, also post on Udemy and vice versa. So if you are considering Skillshare for a particular course or creator, you should go and see if the same material is posted to Udemy or vice versa.
It may be that the course is available in Skillshare, but it’s also for sale over on Udemy for $100. If that is the case, you might as well give that hundred bucks to Skillshare, and get a year’s worth of access to the entire Library rather than just the one course.
Or, you could just do one month at $15 instead of paying a hundred bucks on Udemy. Or, I guess it would be pretty easy to just do the free trial, and then if you don’t like the course and you don’t like Skillshare then you cancel the trial and you don’t pay anything for the course that you might have spent a hundred bucks on over at Udemy.
Now another thing you have to remember between buying a course out right and on Skillshare, is that when you cancel your Skillshare premium account, you lose access to all of the premium materials. So if you buy a course through Udemy, in general you are getting lifetime access to the course. The same is not true with Skillshare, so if you plan to consume the course, but you don’t get around to it, then if you quit Skillshare, you lose the opportunity to take the course.
Is Skillshare worth it for teachers?
I have been a teacher on Skillshare since about October of 2018. Since I am a total beginner to online teaching, and all of the technological aspects of being an online educator, I have definitely gotten a slow start on Skillshare.
This is partially because I am not used to planning presentations, and I am not used to delivering material through a camera and to an empty room. Also, I just don’t have a lot of experience making and editing videos, and I don’t have a lot of the equipment.
But the one thing I have to say that I like about Skillshare, versus starting on YouTube or trying to make money teaching on YouTube, is that there is no threshold to earning. So if you post a course, and somebody consumes it, if they watch even a minute of it, you start to accrue money that will be paid to you. The same is not true for YouTube, which you have to monetize through ads, and you cannot learn anything from until you have reached the threshold for subscribers and yearly watch time.
How much do teachers get paid on Skillshare?
This depends upon how many minutes are watched of the teacher’s premium material posted. The pay per minute goes up the more your content is consumed, though I have found that I am receiving about .05-.07 cents per minute watched. I have not have any trouble getting paid by Skillshare (they are consistent and dependable).
Since I am mostly working on building an online business, I find myself mostly posting content about the areas that I am working on (thinking blogging, Bing Ads, Google Adsense, online marketing, affiliate marketing, etc). I think that the online business niche has a lot of creators in it on Skillshare (we all want to make money online), so I think that is one of the reasons why I don’t earn as much as maybe others do for their courses (aside from the fact that I’m not a great teacher or video maker).
However, I will say that when I posted a course about getting ready for law school, I didn’t get a ton of students, but the students I did get watched the entirety of the course, which was quite long, well over 60 minutes. That turned out to be a good investment in my time.
Some folks who are focusing on other skills aside from building an online business can earn massively on Skillshare. There is a gal who focuses solely on teaching student how to make graphics or even wallpaper using digital tools, and she has thousands of students. Her courses are super short (10 minutes or so), but her following is consistently growing. Seeing this, it makes me really think hard about working towards posting in areas that aren’t quite so crowded (or maybe are just more interesting to the crowd that is currently on Skillshare). The DIY folks also do pretty well on there, I think.
Teaching has been 100% worth it to me
Thus, for me, teaching on Skillshare has been worth it for me as a teacher, because it meant that I was able to start earning right away. In the first month that I taught on Skillshare I was able to earn about $20, and each month that number has grown steadily. If I was uploading consistently, (and just so you know, Skillshare only lets you upload a course once a week), I think my earnings would be a lot higher. But even without uploading consistently, I am to the point now where I am learning between 80 and $120 a month, often in months where I have not done any thing with Skillshare or paid attention to it or even logged in to the platform at all.
I would say that if you are already teaching and already creating content, you have nothing to lose by teaching on Skillshare. Since you don’t have to pay to play, and you can earn money without a whole lot of effort or involvement, you’d be silly not to in my opinion, even if it is only a small amount of money. I’m the kind of person who thinks that $50 or even $100 is a lot of money, and I would not turn away someone who was ready to hand me $100 each month for doing very little.
Want to see how good/bad my materials are? You are welcome to check them out through my free trial link, you’ll get access to my catalog. I have NO doubt that you’ll look at what I’ve posted and think, I can do better than that! And if you do, that’s okay with me! I know I’m a beginner, and I’m okay with it. I just hate to see people who don’t get started because they feel like they don’t know enough. The only way to know enough is to just get started, to take consistent action, and when you do those things, inevitably your products improve with time.
Teachers can leverage the Skillshare community to start building their personal brands
Another thing that I think people should consider is how easy it is to build a community on Skillshare. Once you establish a profile and a portfolio of courses, other Skillshare users have the ability to follow you. Once someone follows your profile, they automatically receive notifications when you post courses, and you can actually post messages, sort of like emails to your list, to all of your followers. Your followers get notified by email when a teacher posts a message or begins a discussion.
A lot of people who are on Skillshare, are there primarily to continue to build their brands. Their profiles are heavily optimized to direct people to external websites, blogs, and coaching.
Bloggers can get a free do-follow link with their Skillshare profile
Finally, though I know this is subject to change, if you include your website and your profile on Skillshare, I believe that the link is a do follow link, so this can be a good place to get your first or an easy and no-cost do follow link back to your website from a reputable website. Getting a free backlink from a reputable source can be very valuable to someone who is brand new to building their first blog.
In summary: is Skillshare worth it?
Skillshare isn’t a perfect platform. I’m not going to say that it is. However, I have had Skillshare Premium, I’ve bought courses through Udemy, and I have bought courses directly from infopreneurs and paid $47 and $997 for information. $99 for a year’s worth of access to the entirety of the Skillshare portfolio is a bargain, in my opinion.
You will spend a bit of time surfing through the courses to find the teachers that fit your needs and personality. But given that you’ll have unlimited access, you can also try out courses in areas that you might have NEVER thought about learning more about.
Best of all, there’s no risk to trying it out. You can try it out for two months free through my link, and if you won’t want to sign up after that, you won’t have to.
And I’m not saying this because I want you to click my affiliate link and help me get paid. I don’t care if you use my affiliate link or not. But what I do care about is that you take action. Whatever action, however imperfect it is. Just keep working toward your goals, every day. If Skillshare is a way for you to move toward your goals, then great. If not, then great. Just don’t sit back and let life pass you by.
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