It was summer of 2016 and an online friend told me about a platform she was using to teach others how to make homemade wine, cheese, and more. Enter Skillshare.
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I have always enjoyed teaching others how to do something, but up until that point it had been in person or through my books and articles. I was both intrigued and terrified by the thought of teaching online.
After some persuading on her part, I bit the bullet and published a class titled How to Spin Your Own Yarn. (Update March 2022: this class was unpublished by Skillshare due to it no longer conforming to their guidelines. I chose not to record a newer version.)
That class still earns me a few dollars a month, and I only had to do the majority of the work once. Of the 62 months since I first published, there have only been 9 months where my payments have been $0.00. I don’t consider that terrible, since I haven’t really done anything to promote my classes. The majority of the students found my classes through the platform’s search feature.
I only have two classes published at this point, the other being Make Your Own Weaving Sticks (also unpublished due to same reason as above). I tried to teach my Creating and Selling Nonfiction course but was not happy with the format, so left it as a digital download in my Etsy Shop instead.
Are you a teacher at heart?
Whether you’re camera shy or not, teaching others is doable on Skillshare. In fact, because you do the videos yourself, you can do as many takes as necessary to get it the way you want it.
The lessons consist of short videos so your students can consume them in bite-size pieces. There’s nothing worse than trying to go back through a video that’s an hour long to find a segment you want to replay. By having several short videos your students can rewatch a step they may have not understood the first time, or missed because of a distraction.
Recording the lessons can be done with your phone, a camera, or webcam. I recorded mine using either a digital camera or my phone; I honestly don’t recall which it was now. You don’t have to have top of the line equipment; as long as it gives you a clear picture and audio you’re set.
Classes can be anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours long. They must be structured, have an introduction (this is basically where you tell your potential student what the course is about and what they will learn when they take it), as many lessons as it takes to teach the subject, and a conclusion.
As I write this I am using a 5+ hour class for a reference. One thing I have noticed is none of the teacher’s lessons are over 20 minutes. The average lesson ranges from 5 to 15 minutes, with more or less time for some of them. His entire class has 31 videos, which includes the introduction and conclusion.
Skillshare has a wonderful reference section, as well as a teacher handbook. They explain how to structure your classes, how to optimize the description with keywords, and how to record and edit. The handbook also covers class promotion, earning revenue, building your channel, and more.
As you can see in the photo above, the Teacher Handbook is full of information to help you record a great class. Plus they want you to succeed. If you do well, they do well.
Are you in?
You don’t have to teach classes about spinning or making weaving sticks like I published; you can teach anything you wish. From A to Z, any topic you pick, chances are there’s a class on it. And if there isn’t, then you can be the first to teach one!
The best part is you can sign up for a free trial and take some classes, set up a teacher account, and earn some extra cash for as long as your class is published. Like I said earlier, I have had only 2 classes published for the majority of the past 5 years and I earn a few dollars almost every month. If I promoted my classes more, I know my earnings would be much higher.
It’s nice to get the email from PayPal mid-month saying “Skillshare has sent you $$$.$$.” It’s one side hustle I really haven’t put any time into once the classes were published. It’s almost a set-it-and-forget-it type of deal. However, it’s better if you engage with your students and followers regularly. (I need to practice what I preach in this regard.)
(Update March 2022: In addition to earning as a teacher Skillshare also has an referral program, which I still belong to and endorse. I need to brush up on my recording skills and add another class or two; but don’t foresee it being within the next month or two.)
Let me know in the comments if you are currently a teacher on Skillshare, or if it’s something you’re considering. And if you teach on another platform, which one?
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