If you’re a Skillshare teacher, chances are you already have a good idea of how our teachers earn revenue; if not, here’s a refresher!
Essentially, all Skillshare Partner Teachers earn money each month in two ways:
1) Teacher royalties (based on the number of student enrollments and student projects created each month).
2) Teacher referrals ($10 per new Premium Member referred via your teacher referral link).
What you may not have known, however, is that as a teacher on Skillshare, you are also automatically a part of our affiliate program! Read below for step-by-step instructions for how you can leverage your teacher referral link to share Skillshare content (beyond your own class) . . . and get paid to do it.
Spreading the Skillshare love just got even better!
Boost Monthly Revenue by Sharing Fresh Skillshare Content
Step 1: Locate your teacher referral ID. Simply open your teacher referral link (it’s on the lefthand toolbar of your class creator – more details here). Your teacher referral ID is the number sequence after “?teacherRef=”. You can ignore everything that comes after this number.
For example, if your class referral link is https://www.skillshare.com/classes/design/The-First-Steps-of-Hand-Lettering-Concept-to-Sketch-Lettering-I/389616295?teacherRef=1234567, then your teacher referral ID is 1234567.
Step 2: Identify content. With exciting new classes by amazing teachers like you publishing every day, there’s bound to be plenty you’d like to share on your blog, social media channels, or just with friends and family.
Step 3: Share. Let’s say you want to review Mary Kate McDevitt’s latest class, Cohesive Hand-Lettering: From Single Element to Full System, on your hand-lettering blog. Just take the class URL (in this case, https://www.skillshare.com/classes/design/Cohesive-Hand-Lettering-From-Single-Element-to-Full-System/2106062712) and add ?teacherRef=[your teacher referral ID].
To go off the example from before, the final product should look something like this: https://www.skillshare.com/classes/design/Cohesive-Hand-Lettering-From-Single-Element-to-Full-System/2106062712?teacherRef=1234567.
Step 4: Earn extra revenue. No matter how you opt to share Skillshare content, you will earn $10 for every new Premium Member who begins a free trial via a link with your teacher referral ID. This will be factored into your monthly teacher payment, distributed on the 16th of each month.
You worked hard to complete a class and submit a project, why not show off your skills and enter for a chance to win a great prize?
Share your Skillshare project on any social media channel (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook) and mention @Skillshare to enter. The ten projects that get the most likes on Skillshare from now through September 31st will be featured in a Skillshare email, blog and social media, and the project with the most likes wins a Wacom Intuos Pen and Tablet!
Share your project (or anyone else’s) on social media by 11:59pm EST on Wednesday, September 30th to participate. Contest rules and regulations can be read here.
We’re running a special, limited-time promotion for all first time teachers: publish your class within 60 days and earn $50! If you are looking for help getting started, jump right in to our September teaching challenge for guidance and milestones to ensure you get your bonus.
Teaching on Skillshare is a great way to share your knowledge, build your brand, and make your community a better place. With back-to-school season in full swing, September is the perfect time to create an engaging class and share your knowledge with the Skillshare community.
All Skillshare classes are project-based, giving students the chance to practice their new skills and create something to share with the community. We recommend building a class topic around a class project that will inspire students to take your class and get them excited to create something.
This month, get started on creating your very own Skillshare class by choosing an engaging class topic. We know that finding the perfect class topic can be challenging, so we gathered key insights from Skillshare teachers and put together a few techniques and proven tactics to help you pinpoint the right class topic.
Since all classes on Skillshare include a class project, think about what you’d like to teach your students to create. As Skillshare teacher Jake Bartlett says, “the best way to entice students is through a project that motivates them to take your class.” Focused class topics tend to be the most popular among the Skillshare community, so we recommend thinking up a specialized topic that will teach students a distinct skill and offer a deep dive on a single topic. Here is a great example: Mary Kate McDevitt focuses her hand-lettering class specifically on vintage lettering.
“Class topics come easily—as follow-up questions from students! The most important thing to being a teacher is listening to your students and finding out what their pain points are. Whether you choose to address a question directly in an entire class or answer a question as part of a larger topic, you will be successful teaching a class that is created in response to a student question. If you’re new to Skillshare entirely, listen to questions within your niche. Scour the comment sections in blog posts, videos, and Q&A sites like Quora.”
“For my first few online classes, I just taught what I loved talking about without worrying much about if it was ‘the most popular’ topic. That way, I learned the ropes with how to actually teach through video. After putting together a handful of courses, I began to look at the marketplace to see what other courses did really well. I noticed that on Skillshare, project-specific classes do really well. So I started doing shorter after effects-based courses that teach a very specific skill or technique.”
“The class project is absolutely the most important part of having a successful skillshare class. Yes, you should be knowledgeable in the subject matter and able to clearly and concisely teach students, but the way to entice students is through a project that motivates them to take your class. Finding a way to teach a skill students want to learn through an exciting project students want to create, is a surefire way to become a successful Skillshare teacher.”
We’ve put together a list of some of the most in demand topics right now to get you started.
-Working with Clients: How to follow Creative Briefs
-Freelancing for Creatives: How to Effectively Manage Your Time
-Freelance Best Practices: How to find the Right Clients
–Designing a Shopify page in Photoshop
-Squarespace Design Best Practices
-Branding your Online Shop
Animation + Motion Graphics
-2D Animation & 3D Animation
-Game Design in Unity
– Animated 3D Paint Strokes in Adobe After Effects
-Animate a Character illustration in Cinema 4D
-Principles of Landing Page Design
-Rapid Prototyping Using Sketch
-CSS Grid Layout
Photography + Videography
-Film Photography Basics
-LightRoom Retouching Techniques
-Digital/Social Media Photography
Join our September Teach Challenge! With milestones at every stage helpful reminders, we’ll keep you on track and make sure you have the support you need to create an amazing class in 30 days. One Skillshare teacher will be awarded with an iPad Mini and will also be featured in a community-wide email to over 1M students. Plus, every teacher who successfully completes the challenge will receive a free year of Premium Membership. Head to our Teacher Handbookfor even more insightful tips and best practices for choosing a class topic.
“Photography and the Space Around Me”, a project by Skillshare student Joseph Jammal
With all the amazing classes and student projects being created every single day on Skillshare, there’s always something new and exciting for our community members, like you, to share with your friends and followers. That’s why we’re happy to announce that you can now earn money by doing just that!
Through the brand new Skillshare Affiliate Program, our Affiliates will earn $10 for each new member they refer who begins a free trial.
2. We’ll set you up. Once you’re approved, we’ll send you an email with all the information you need to get started (including your special Affiliate ID which we’ll use to track your referrals so we can pay you each month).
3. Start sharing! As an Affiliate, you will have unlimited access to our catalog of 1,600+ classes, and we’ll keep you updated with exclusive early access to any big classes or promotions we’ve got in the works. Just remember to use your Affiliate ID whenever you post about your favorite new teacher, class, or student project!
4. Get paid. You’ll earn $10 for every new Premium member you refer to Skillshare through posts on your blog and social media accounts. We’ll process payments on the 16th of each month via PayPal.
Promoting Skillshare as a member of our Affiliate Program is not only a great way to earn extra cash, but it helps to support and grow our amazing community of creators like you. So what are you waiting for? Apply to be a Skillshare Affiliate today!
Motion Graphic Artist / Animator Jake Bartlett always dreamed of quitting his day job and focusing full-time on his freelance career, but it wasn’t until he started teaching on Skillshare that this dream became reality. Today, with 75% of his income coming from teaching on Skillshare, Jake has the financial stability and freedom to spend his time working on the things he loves most.
In 2013, a hand-lettering class and a MacBook Air changed Jake Bartlett’s life. At the time, Jake was working full-time for a production company as a motion graphics artist. He had dreams of launching his own freelance career, but he was stuck between a rock and a hard place: his schedule with a full-time job didn’t allow enough time to dedicate to freelance projects, nor did quitting his job seem financially viable. Enter the lettering class and the laptop.
Jake’s wife Jamie, also a graphic designer, discovered Skillshare when she enrolled in one of Mary Kate McDevitt’s classes on hand-lettering. She noticed that many of the top teachers on the platform were everyday creative professionals just like Jake. She started to look more into teaching and found that Skillshare was hosting a challenge for new teachers: that month, the first-time teacher to publish the best class would be awarded a MacBook Air. She told Jake right away.
The original announcement of the teach challenge in October 2013 that led Jake to create his first class
Two years, eight classes, and 10,000 students later, Jake’s life has changed completely. Jake is not only one of Skillshare’s top teachers, but he was able to quit his day job, and attributes over 75% of his monthly income to his Skillshare classes alone.
“These days, the majority of my income come from teaching on Skillshare. This gives me the freedom and opportunity to support my family by doing something that I love,” Jake tells us — and he’s only just getting started. His following is growing every day, and he plans to publish at least one new class every month for the foreseeable future. “I’ve found that posting a new class each month is the quickest way to build a large following,” he explains. “It’s a snowball effect, and it only gets bigger the more often you’re creating new content!” He’s absolutely right; continually teaching on the platform is the best way to maximize your success as a Skillshare teacher.
Jake’s awesome project from his latest class, Hand Lettering in Motion
You can also follow in his footsteps by signing up for our August Teach Challenge. This month we’ll be giving away an Apple Watch to the teacher with the best new class, so there’s no better time to start teaching.
This past week, Skillshare reached an important milestone: we surpassed 1 million students. We see this as an exciting victory not only for us, but for the future of learning as we know it.
At Skillshare, we believe that access to learning is a basic human right. The idea of taking out your wallet every time you want to learn something is an outdated model. There is an abundance of things to learn online, and a curious person will want to learn all of them.
We believe in making that possible.
In the digital content space, we’re seeing a trend towards accessibility. We’ve seen it happen in entertainment (Netflix), in publishing (Oyster), in music (Spotify), and we’re seeing it happen in online learning with Skillshare.
There’s a high upfront cost of creating great content (time, expertise, resources) but as we’ve seen repeatedly across industries, the low marginal cost of delivering digital content drives prices down in the long-run. As the marginal cost of consumption decreases, charging each student as much as possible isn’t sustainable. Fair pricing is where innovation happens and how entire industries get disrupted.
This is a win for students.
Even with marginal costs dropping, it’s still important that teachers (and creators) be compensated fairly for their hard work. This is why we charge $10 a month and why 50% of our membership fees go directly into a royalty pool that gets distributed to our teachers. To date, we have paid out over $5M to our teachers with many more making over six-figures annually.
This is a win for teachers.
We believe strongly that teachers should be compensated for their time and their skills. We also believe in making learning accessible to everyone. The best way to achieve both is to have the cost of learning split across a really high volume of paying students instead of charging a smaller number of students an extremely high price.Lowered student prices have led to an increase in volume for teachers, which results in more teacher revenue and an increase in student reach and access.
This is a win for everyone.
The Wild Wild West of Pricing
Today, online learning is kind of like the Wild Wild West. In the pay-per-class model, teachers get to price their own content, which introduces a wide range of pricing without any clear industry standard. On top of these classes being extremely expensive, it feels arbitrary and confusing.
This is motivated by a strategy around “max pricing”. In a new market, the seller tries to price against the value of their product/service by charging as much as the market will allow. This price holds until a competitor comes through and disrupts their pricing model.
Today, online teachers are pricing digital content against the cost of a college education. With student debt rising and the average private college tuition at $31,231, a class that costs $300 looks like a steal!
Just a few years ago, the most expensive book in the Kindle store was $6,232 (and that included a 20% discount.) Could you imagine paying that much money for an e-book today?
The education model is no exception when it comes to digital content. The most expensive online class I have seen is over $5,000. This needs to stop.
Paying per class is a bad student experience. Putting up a barrier to every possible learning experience undermines the nature of curiosity. Like a lot of things on the Internet, the best learning is serendipitous — happening upon something you might not have been looking for (and so have no incentive to buy) which ends up unlocking a new passion or idea.
We learned this the hard way. The first 3 years of Skillshare were based on an a-la-carte model. But as we continued to grow, the writing was on the wall — a la carte is not the way of the future.
We quickly shifted our model to subscriptions to realize our mission of providing access to every single person on the planet. We believe that subscription-based membership aligns perfectly with our mission for three reasons:
Access. With an affordable, unlimited subscription model, there is a much lower barrier to our catalog of classes.
Engagement. Students are more inclined to make learning a habit by consistently enrolling and engaging in new classes.
Sustainability. Subscriptions encourage a steadier stream of student enrollments and revenue over time for our teachers.
Impact of Network Effects
There are two key innovations that have happened in online learning over the past five years. The first is that there are classes online, which makes previously inaccessible learning now accessible to anyone regardless of location. This is awesome.
The second (more interesting) innovation is that the lecture is no longer the central node of the learning experience. Instead, the most valuable learning happens when students connect with one another. This means the quality of the learning experience increases for each student with a higher volume of overall students.
In the past, the more students in a class, the worse the learning experience would become. Obviously, a model that asks students to pay per class de-emphasizes volume in favor of high-value transactions, which undermines not only the community value of learning, but also learning in general.
Skillshare is different because our core learning experience works through our community. More questions, more students sharing, giving feedback, more content created — it’s incredibly powerful. Today, we have over 60K student projects created by our community.
Building a Mission-Driven Company
Our vision is to unlock the world’s creativity, and we are constantly working to dismantle the traditional barriers to learning to provide access to students all around the world.
Today, we offer over 1,500 classes across many different creative skills, including design, photography, and business. For $10 a month, students get unlimited access to any and all classes. If $10 is inaccessible, we offer annual memberships to students through our scholarship program.
Skillshare is a community for lifelong learners, and we will continue to dismantle all barriers to making that vision a reality for students around the globe. It’s just a matter of time before the rest of our industry catches up.
Top image credited to to Nu Bkds for her project “Blooming Smells” in the class, Pattern Design I: Creating Inspiring Repeats with Elizabeth Olwen.
Marketing your Skillshare class once it’s published is one of the best ways to ensure you’re successful as a teacher. Based on Skillshare’s trending algorithm, classes have the highest potential to trend during the first two weeks after publication; so if you’ve recently published a class, or are in the process of creating one now, this would be a great time to start thinking about your marketing plan.
Trending classes on Skillshare! With a solid marketing plan in place, your class could be featured here.
Promoting your new class to your existing networks and followers is a smart place to start, but what about those first-time teachers who are still working on growing their following? We haven’t forgotten about you! Here are some tips and tools to help you market your class and grow your following:
1. Use your teacher referral link: You can find your special teacher referral link in the lefthand toolbar of your class creator. By sharing that link with friends and followers, you’ll be promoting your class, while also earning extra revenue! You will earn $10 for each new paying member you refer. You can also track your referrals to date through the button that says “View Referral Status” underneath your referral link. Read more about how Skillshare teachers earn money through referrals here.
This is what your teacher referral link will look like in your class creator view.
2. Make your class (temporarily) free: Because classes have the highest potential to trend in their first two weeks on the site, this is an ideal time to lower the barrier to enrollment by making your class free. To do so, just head to the “More Details” section of your class creator and toggle your class to “Free” under “Class Type.” You can switch it back to “Premium” once you’ve reached 25 students, or whenever you’d like. Read more here.
3. Reach out to blogs: Send a short message to 10-15 blogs or publications to see if they’d be interested in featuring your class to their readership. Make sure to target your list of blogs to reach out to based on your class topic and audience! Check out this example of Skillshare teacher Jennifer Coyle’s class being featured in Creative Market’s blog.
4. Incentivize others to share your class: When reaching out to blogs or other external networks, include a special free enrollment link for their readers/followers as a nice bonus. You can create your free enrollment link in the “Links” section of your class creator, and set the maximum number of redemptions to whatever you’d like. While these free enrollments will not be factored into your monthly royalty payments, they will help your class to trend. Plus, for every new member that signs up through that free enrollment link, just like with your teacher referral link. Check out how the Besotted blog used Skillshare teacher Bonnie Christine’s free enrollment link to promote her class!
This is where you’ll be able to create a free enrollment link to share with whoever you’d like!
By combining the tactics above, you’ll be well on your way to marketing your new class and gaining new followers as well.
P.S. Haven’t gotten around to teaching your first class yet? Head to our Teach Page for more info to get started today.
Skillshare hosted a 30-Day Logo Design Challenge in June in which students completed projects for three classes on logo design over the course of the month. We were absolutely blown away by the projects students created, and want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the top three challenge participants!
Today, Mary Kate is one of the top teachers on Skillshare, enrolling nearly 50,000 students in her hand-lettering classes. It’s hard to believe that just two years ago, she didn’t think she could teach.
“My first thought was who am I to teach?” Mary Kate McDevitt tells us. It took Mary Kate six months to finally abandon that initial concern and decide to teach a Skillshare class in the fall of 2013. At the time, she was a freelance designer based out of Brooklyn, and though she was by no means famous (yet), her unique hand-lettering style had caught the attention of some very loyal fans, including the Skillshare team. Today, Mary Kate is one of the top teachers on Skillshare and an icon within the graphic design community. With almost 50,000 students in her classes, a substantial income from Skillshare’s Partner Program, and plans to teach a class at her own alma mater next spring, it’s safe to say she answered her own question.
Despite having never formally taught before creating her first Skillshare class, Mary Kate was always a teacher at heart. “I had previously done a bunch of workshops in Portland,” she explains, “and I always had such a great time engaging and sharing with people. Eventually I realized I could do the same thing every day, with a lot more people, by teaching on Skillshare.” Overcoming her original nerves around teaching was challenging at first –”It took a while for me to even be able to watch my own class”, she recalls — but she made it work; Mary Kate’s first class, The First Steps of Hand-Lettering: Concept to Sketch, enrolled 28,000 students, making it the top Skillshare class of 2014.
Mary Kate teaching her first class, which became an overnight Skillshare sensation
Mary Kate’s success didn’t stop there. As her first class became more popular, she decided to create three more classes to continue engaging her students and growing her following. The success she’s found through teaching on Skillshare has changed Mary Kate’s life in more ways than one. Her huge student base on Skillshare has led to new speaking and freelance opportunities and more visibility for her brand. Teaching 50,000 students has also meant an additional source of revenue to complement her design career. But to Mary Kate, the biggest, most important change has come from the actual experience of teaching and having an impact on the lives of her students: “Feeling comfortable with teaching, realizing people are connecting with my process, and then seeing how they take it and start their own careers – that’s the best part,” she tells us.
Today, it’s no secret that Mary Kate is a great teacher; in fact, her own alma mater, the Tyler School of Art, recently asked her to come teach as a guest professor, and she’ll be joining the faculty next spring. On Skillshare, the level of engagement from her students speaks for itself. Altogether, those students have created over 1,300 projects in her classes.
The truly special part, however, is what comes after those projects. We tracked down one of Mary Kate’s biggest fans, graphic designer and long-time student Lesley Zellers, who was excited to describe her experience with Mary Kate’s classes. A project that Lesley completed for Mary Kate’s first class ended up launching her career as a hand-letterer; that particular design has sold thousands of prints in her Etsy shop and was even picked up by her local West Elm store. So naturally when Lesley learned that Mary Kate was visiting her own hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma to give a talk, she made sure to attend. When she introduced herself to Mary Kate afterwards and told her about her project’s amazing success, she was delighted to learn that Mary Kate already knew all about it. “She had actually seen my print in a store, and recognized it as my project. That was one of those magical moments that seems too good to be true,” Lesley tells us. Lesley credits Mary Kate with arming her with the confidence she needed to move forward in her career – more so than the years she spent in graphic design school.
Lesley Zellers’ project that later helped launch her career
When asked about her success as a Skillshare teacher, Mary Kate responds modestly, “I don’t know how this happened.” However with thousands of students just like Lesley Zellers, whose lives and careers have changed as a result of her teaching, it’s not hard to understand exactly how.
At Skillshare, we believe anyone can teach. Yes, that includes you! Follow in Mary Kate’s footsteps and sign up to teach a class of your own today.