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Skillshare Review: A Scam or Legit Way To Learn Skills?

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There are several ways to earn a passive income. From taking surveys to watching videos. But you can also earn a passive income by selling courses online.

With Skillshare, you can pretty much create any kind of course that suits your fancy, whether that’s teaching someone how to fishtail braid or thread eyebrows. New courses on new topics are constantly being generated every day, so don’t be afraid to contribute whatever you want to teach.

Skillshare is a great source to use to get your teaching modules out there to the public. In this review I’ll share the details about Skillshare, specifically for those interested in become instructors. I’ll walk you through how to get set up and ways you can utilize Skillshare to make passive income.

What Is Skillshare?

“By teaching the skills needed in tomorrow’s world, Skillshare empowers people to advance their careers, improve their lives, and pursue the work they love.” Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Co-Founder of Skillshare

Skillshare was started in November of 2010 and the website went live in 2011. In a nutshell, Skillshare is an online learning community.

There are thousands of classes available from design to data science to photography and a whole lot more. It allows students to fine tune any specialized skills that they may have.

Currently over 22,000 classes are offered and 4 million students are signed up around the world. In 2014, Skillshare created a new platform that allowed anyone to become an instructor. As an instructor you’re responsible for your own work and video content, including the frequency of uploads.

As a Skillshare teacher you’ll be able to contribute to the number of classes offered and earn money at the same time. Some of the top Skillshare teachers make $100K annually!

The key to making money as an instructor is by gathering a large following of students, uploading classes and videos regularly, and sharing your teacher referral link for students signing up for premium access.

How Skillshare Works

For students, Skillshare works by allowing students to pay a single flat monthly fee or annual subscription price for premium status that will basically let them access their registered courses for life.

For instructors, Skillshare works by paying teachers based on the number of times their video is viewed and the number of students that follow a specific teacher and register for premium account access.

How to Get Started With Skillshare

To sign-up with Skillshare as a teacher is free. The first step in getting started with teaching a course via Skillshare is to figure out what you want to teach.

If you already have a background in a particular field or something, then great, you’re on your way to getting set up. You do not need to be licensed in anything to teach a course on Skillshare.

If you’re not sure what you want to teach, I’d suggest searching on the web for some ideas or take some free courses on a particular subject through Udemy. Your videos will only be interesting and relevant to your students if you have a strong grasp of your subject matter.

When you choose to get started with Skillshare, keep in mind that all of the hard work will come at the beginning. This involves planning your content and creating an outline, recording your videos and any voice overs, and then taking care of final edits.

You’ll want to keep your content fresh and interesting so that you attract more students. Once you have everything set up, you basically get to sit back and let people watch your courses and keep your fingers crossed that they come back for more.

Most classes are not very long and the best classes are usually at a peak run-time of one hour. Next to creating your content, and this includes any Power Point presentations that you’ll want to use, the most time consuming work as a Skillshare teacher will be creating your videos.

That being said, there are a few items that may be beneficial in investing in if you decide to pursue work as a teacher and produce quality content:

These tools are not required to work as a Skillshare teacher but they will definitely be helpful when it comes to making your videos.

What Course To Teach

As I said in the previous sections, the first step when getting started with Skillshare comes down to deciding what to teach. Keep in mind that certain subjects are more popular than others. Popular subjects will generate more income as they’ll have more views.

Thankfully Skillshare regularly publishes a list of class ideas and sends out emails to prospective teachers to potentially collaborate on a certain class topic or idea. In general, here are some of the more popular subject areas:

  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Photography
  • Animation
  • Music/Film Production
  • Writing
  • Fine Art
  • Entrepreneurship

From these categories, things are broken down even further into subcategories like Adobe Photoshop (Graphic Design) or Aperture (Photography) or Cinema 4D (Animation). As you can see, they really do allow for a wide range of courses to be taught.

Loading Your Class and Creating Your First Video

Keep an eye out for Skillshare’s 30 Day Teaching Challenge that provides new teachers with ways to create classes. There are prize incentives to encourage you to publish your first class quickly and easily.

The current challenge is already halfway complete, but you might be able to reach out and get some notes from the challenge or wait for the next challenge. If you happen to miss the challenge, that is okay, you can still create your content for Skillshare.

After deciding on your content, you can move forward with setting up your class and creating videos. You’ll want to keep your video educational, your videos at least 10 minutes or longer (up to an hour), design a class project (these can be really simple) and you’ll want to follow the community guidelines.

Teachers are allowed to upload one class a week and within this class, your videos will be published. Classes average 20-60 minutes in length and video lessons can be 2-5 minutes in length, but have to total a minimum of 10 minutes. This means that you can focus your content better by keeping your videos short and married to a specific point.

As an example, if you were teaching a class about creative writing, your first video could be about creating a strong plot, while your second video might cover character development.

Keep in mind that this is a online teaching tool, so the simpler you keep things, the better. Plus by keeping the videos short, a student can click on the one that interests them the most versus needing to watch a longer video that covers multiple areas of the subject matter.

Skillshare keeps everything focused on content, so you don’t need to do anything fancy to upload your video. For each class you can expect to do the following:

  • Upload a video (Skillshare helps with this, but how you record your video is up to you)
  • Create a video title (Make sure it relates to the content and is catchy)
  • Select a video cover photo (something relevant to the content)
  • Come up with a class title (Consider keywords that students may search for)
  • Write a class description (this is what will draw students in so make it good!)
  • Create a class project (give your students something to do based on what you taught)
  • Set up a category and subcategory (helps students find you easier)
  • Decide on the class type (premium means you’ll get paid per minutes watched)
  • Determine the level for students (beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc)

Ways To Make Money With Skillshare

Unfortunately, teachers do not receive a flat rate for every video that they publish. As a teacher, there are two main ways to get paid:

  1. You can receive a $10 commission for every premium subscription referral you send to the platform via your personal referral link.
  2. Receive a portion (88% in fact, Skillshare takes the other 12%) of the profits for every premium minute a student watches your videos.

Those are the two best and quickest ways to make money as a teacher on Skillshare. Another way to help boost your earnings is to build your following. By making your classes very focused and detailed, you can attract a certain audience and increase your video viewing foot traffic.

As a Skillshare teacher, you are going to want to be pretty good about self promoting. Keep your profile page up to date and interesting to attract students to you. Having a good profile and consistent teaching strategy will keep students coming back.

Plus, you don’t just want to publish one video and sit back…though you can. Some teachers make about $50 a month off of a single video and if that sounds good to you, then great! But, if you publish a few more videos, that $50 a month can easily stretch to $100 or $150 in passive income.

How Do I Get Paid?

Skillshare pays their teachers via Paypal. When you set up your account, it is a simple matter of linking your PayPal email with your Skillshare account.

Teachers get paid monthly, usually on the 16th of every month and the amount earned is based on the previous months earnings. That number will be directly related to the number of premium views your videos have recieved plus any commission earned from referrals.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

The earning potential on Skillshare can be a very wide range. It all depends on how many videos you post, how popular your subject matter is and how large of a following you can gather.

On the low end, regular, active teachers can make approximately $3,400 a year or nearly $300 a month. On the high end, and this isn’t happening for everyone, active, teachers can make $100,000 a year.

You may not fall into either of these categories and may only cap out at $50 a month. If this happens then it’s probably time to reevaluate your content and maybe see what other classes you could offer that will get you more students.

If you really want to up your monthly earnings, you’ll want to make sure you are putting your teacher referral link out there for new students to see and use to sign up for their premium accounts. At $10 a referral, you could make an easy $100 if just 10 students sign up.

Also, while you can post a few videos and sit back and relax, it is best to keep your account and content active by posting new material regularly. This will help make sure you are at least getting regular views of your videos and therefore a little cash every month.

Pros and Cons of Skillshare


  • Free to sign up
  • You get to craft your own videos and tutorials
  • No prerequisites or degree needed to teach
  • Available to anyone who wants to teach a skill
  • Can choose to teach on any topic or subject
  • Can work from home or anywhere
  • Quality video editing software available for your use via the website
  • No time constraints, post a class and videos whenever you want
  • Totally passive way to earn income
  • No fancy recording equipment needed
  • Great support network for teachers
  • Great community overall for teachers and students alike


  • Your topic may not make a lot of money
  • The royalty payout for views is shared throughout Skillshare, so the amount per minute of video watching will vary from month to month
  • Only paid through PayPal
  • You may feel a bit weird at first recording a video
  • May need to invest in some quality recording equipment if you want to create better videos

Is Skillshare Worth My Time?

Well, clearly the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to teaching on Skillshare! Skillshare is definitely worth your time if you’re interested in making a passive income by teaching others something you love. Since you don’t need to make super fancy videos, the actual work you put in isn’t that time consuming.

If you are not camera shy, I would suggest checking it out, if you think you have something to teach others. Even if you are camera shy, it shouldn’t be too hard on you as you aren’t recording in front of a live audience, so you can have as many takes as you like until you get it right.

What I find to be the best part about teaching for Skillshare is that anyone can sign up and teach a course. You don’t need a professional background in anything (though that can’t hurt). And there’s no fault to you for trying.

If Skillshare doesn’t work out for you, you can always cancel your account later and pursue other options that allow you to work from home. But, if you give it a chance, Skillshare might just let you quit your office job and work full time from home.

Additional Options Similar to Skillshare

Skillshare isn’t the only platform out there that allows you to teach. Others include Take Classes, iTalki and Wyzant, which is a tutoring platform. For additional places to check out I highly recommend you read this FFL article or this one details ways to make a passive income.

Final Thoughts

For anyone looking to get their feet wet with teaching, Skillshare could be the right place for you to start. If you’re just someone looking to make a little extra cash on the side, then I’d still recommend checking Skillshare out.

It’s free to use, there’s no specialized skills or training required, and recording and uploading videos is fairly easy and straightforward. If those sound like things you can handle, then go for it.

If you have used Skillshare in the past or are currently using Skillshare as a way to teach and earn money, let me know your experience in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading and happy frugaling!

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