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How to Sell Courses on Skillshare – Getting Your First Students

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Key Takeaways

  • Market research is key: Before creating a course on Skillshare, conduct thorough market research to identify gaps in the creative industry and determine what skills or topics are in demand.
  • Craft high-quality course content: Understand Skillshare’s guidelines and focus on culture, creativity, productivity, marketing, or entrepreneurship when creating course content that adheres to Skillshare’s quality standards.
  • Effective course curriculum: Develop a comprehensive course curriculum with introductory, main, and summary videos, emphasizing a class project to engage students and ensure a fulfilling learning experience.
  • Promotion and earnings strategies: Use referral links, social media, and content creation to promote your Skillshare course, and consider participating in Skillshare Live Sessions or offering 1-on-1 sessions to boost earnings while exploring opportunities to sell the same course on other platforms.

Do Market Research

Focus your market research on gaps found in the creative industry. What kind of creative skills do you have that are not found on the markets yet, or what could benefit students?

Skillshare as a course platform is especially suitable for designers, artists, animators, video producers, musicians, and creatives. You rarely find courses on making money, bettering relationships, or getting fit (the three core money markets).

Ways to do market research:

Research Competitors Courses

The best way to research your competitor’s classes is to sign up for Skillshare and go through their course videos, especially the intro and outro/summary videos, study their course curriculum, and see how many students a course has had.

Things to note from your competitor’s classes:

  • When was the course created?
  • How many students the course has had?
  • What can you learn from student reviews?
  • What kind of projects & resources does the class offer?
  • How is the class named?
  • How many lessons does the class have?
  • What kind of class image (thumbnail) does the class have?
  • What is written in the class description?
  • Do you notice any content gaps (check the class curriculum)?
  • Is the class for which level? Beginner, Intermediate, or Pro.
  • What is said in the intro and outro video?

Create the Course Content

The first thing to do is thoroughly review the Class Quality Guidelines documentation and truly understand what is expected from your course. I made some mistakes (some of which weren’t mentioned or instructed in the class quality guidelines material), and the class wasn’t approved (I got a content strike).

Remember that self-promotion in Skillshare is highly limited, so keep your course content solely on your teaching subject.

Documentation and guidelines you need to read before creating your course on Skillshare:

Skillshare’s primary focus is on culture and creativity, so to sell courses on Skillshare, your course content should focus on creativity, productivity, marketing, and/or entrepreneurship topics.

Create the class curriculum

Skillshare courses always have an intro video, main course videos, and preferably a summary video or an outro video at the end. The course curriculum should fully cover the topic you are about to teach.

The best course curriculums follow a class project. You should complete this project with the teachings you offer in the class. This way, students can start the same project, follow your course curriculum, and aim to get the same results you got.

Filming and producing the course content

To create a professional-looking and sounding Skillshare class, you need professional gear for producing the course content. I used the below gear to produce my course content:

Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Camera:...
  • 20.1MP stacked back illuminated 1" Exmor...
  • Enhanced subject capture: wide 425...
  • Fast and accurate: Up to 11Fps...
  • Multiple movie functions: Make time...
  • Tiltable LCD screen: customizable for...
Blue Yeti X Professional Condenser USB...
  • Customizable LED lighting –...
  • Multi-function smart knob – easily...
  • Four-capsule array – capture legendary...
  • Blue Voice broadcast vocal effects –...

Skillshare classes must be at least 10 minutes long, preferably 35 minutes. Create the course so that each course video is at least 2 minutes long, preferably 6 minutes long.

I suggest producing and filming the course content in 1-2 days and in “one take.” This way, you remember what you’ve already talked about and get a good flow for producing and filming the course content.

When creating your course material, ensure you can re-edit the content if needed. Skillshare’s class reviewers are pretty strict. I recommend editing your course material with Adobe Premier Pro.

Projects & resources

In the projects and resources section, you should include all necessary materials (PDFs, PNGs, etc.), course completion guidance (projects), and resources that help your student get the best out of the course.

Take examples from other teachers on the platform and see where you could improve students’ learning experience.

Skillshare content moderation team (highly) suggests that your class has a project that a student can complete and thus learn the skill you are teaching. Students can also upload their projects to the platform to get your feedback.

Upload the Course to Skillshare

You can upload multiple videos at once to Skillshare. However, remember that once the class is published and if changes are needed to your videos (by the Skillshare content moderation team), do not delete any of the videos. Instead, upload a new one, save it, and only then delete the old/rejected video.

Content strike

After uploading your course to Skillshare, it’s made publicly available instantly. However, at the same time, a review process is started by Skillshare’s content moderation team. If you get a content strike (easily handed to you), your class will be hidden, and students can’t take your class until the issue is resolved.

If you have three classes flagged for violations within a six-month timeframe, it can result in your account being closed.

Promote Your Skillshare Course

One of the best things about Skillshare is that they have organic search traffic, which means your course is promoted for you. Skillshare is a wonderful place to sell courses when you don’t have an audience yet.

Best ways to promote your Skillshare course:

  • Referral links
  • Social media
  • Through content creation

Pro tip! Before promoting your class too much, ensure it gets fully approved by Skillshare.

Referral links

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You can get referral income by promoting and sharing your personal referral link.

When your class/course is approved on Skillshare, you will get a personal referral link, which you can use to promote your course.

Every student who signs up using your referral link gets one free month of Skillshare. In return, you get 60% of their first payment (which might or might not happen after the free one-month trial period). The referral revenue is paid to you on the 16th of every month.

You can earn roughly $100 per paying customer through your referral link.

Social media

Insert your Skillshare referral link to your bio and anywhere else you can so fans of your content can further explore your offering. Even if you don’t have an audience yet, you can still slowly but steadily build one on social media.

Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are some of the best platforms for promoting your Skillshare courses.

Remember that creating content consistently is key to building an audience and a following on any platform.

Content creation

Content creation is all about creating additional content surrounding your area of expertise. Social media, website, Substack, Medium blog, etc. are some of the platforms you can create content on.

In between content creation, you can promote your Skillshare courses with your personal referral link.

Check out: How to create a website to sell digital products

Increase Skillshare Earnings

There are a few ways you can increase class earnings in Skillshare, and one of the best ways to do that is to be part of the teacher corps community or become a top teacher.

Skillshare live sessions

Skillshare Live Sessions offer an exciting opportunity to engage with your students in real time, introducing a dynamic format for interaction and learning. These sessions can involve collaborative creation, discussions on trending topics, extensions of your existing classes, or in-depth exploration of specific skills or techniques.

To participate, students can easily sign up on your Skillshare profile or class pages via our integrated Eventbrite platform.

In the initial phase of Live Sessions, your earnings will be determined by a variable revenue-sharing model, which depends on the source of the ticket sale. If you bring in the student who purchases the ticket, you’ll retain 90% of the revenue, whereas if Skillshare generates the sale, you’ll retain 75%.

Skillshare 1-on-1 sessions

Skillshare 1-on-1 Sessions are exclusive, private video calls designed to offer personalized support to your most dedicated students, covering areas like portfolio feedback, career guidance, marketing coaching, and tailored instruction.

To explore how it works, take a look at how Ohn Mar Win is doing 1-on-1 sessions on Skillshare. Students can easily book 1-on-1 Sessions through your Skillshare profile or class pages using our Cal.com integration.

Currently, you retain 100% of the revenue paid by your students for 1-on-1 Sessions, with a minor deduction for the Stripe transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30. In the near future, Skillshare plans to introduce a revenue-sharing model where you, the teacher, will receive 90% of the revenue, while Skillshare will receive 10%.

All Top Teachers and Teach Corps teachers are eligible to sign up to start hosting 1-on-1 sessions.

Skillshare Teacher Corps And Top Teachers

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When you get a positive review for your class, you can earn an extra $100-$250. To be eligible, you need to be part of the Skillshare teacher corps.

When you’ve published a course on Skillshare, you might get invited to an exclusive Teacher Corp community. The idea of the community is to get support for your next course idea, get a personal course reviewer (so your class won’t get rejected so easily), and as a monetary benefit, you will receive $100 (Teacher Corps) or $250 (Top Teachers) for a positive review your course gets.

The “downside” of being in the community is that you need to create a new course every six months. Otherwise, you will be kicked out of the community. This will ultimately lead you into a course treadmill.

Increase watch time and engagement

You can increase Skillshare earnings by making a longer class. The more minutes your students watch your class, the more money you make. Skillshare operates under a subscription model, and you are paid through the Skillshare Teacher Fund.

The amount of money to be shared among teachers is always changing, and your share of that month’s total minutes watched as compared to other earning teachers determines how much money you make.

Engagement, such as positive reviews, will also increase your overall revenue on the platform.

Offer multiple courses

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You can offer multiple classes on the same topic.

The more courses you have on offer, the more minutes students can spend with your courses. You can also offer courses that complement each other, creating a natural learning path for students.

Example: Video editing with Adobe Premier Pro, Advanced video editing with Adobe Premier Pro, Premier Pro Lumetri, etc.

All of the mentioned classes create a learning path for the student.

Sell the same class on other marketplaces

Skillshare does not restrict the class content to only be available on Skillshare (and neither does any of the below-mentioned marketplaces). This means you can sell the same course and class on other marketplaces like Udemy, Artstation, Gumroad, Creative Market, Creative Fabrica, etc.

Pro tip! Create the class curriculum by following the Udemy course creation guidelines. This way, you can publish the same course on Udemy as soon as it’s approved on Skillshare. Do not publish your course on Udemy before it’s approved on Skillshare. If you need to edit the Skillshare course, you won’t have to re-upload course material to Udemy.

Check out: How to sell courses on Udemy

While this strategy isn’t specifically how to increase sales and earnings in Skillshare, it is a wonderful way to increase your overall course sales.

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Okuha

Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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