A Closer Look at How Skillshare Teachers Earn Revenue

At Skillshare, our mission is to unlock the world’s creativity, and we are constantly working to dismantle the traditional barriers to learning--and of course the barriers to teaching. We believe that anyone can teach, and there are countless ways in which we empower our ever-growing community of teachers to find success through the Skillshare platform. Today we’re excited to focus on how Skillshare teachers earn revenue.

Why the subscription model?

In order to best understand how teacher royalties work, it’s important to understand where the money comes from. Skillshare operates under a subscription model, which means that, rather than paying per class, students pay a flat monthly fee ($12.00/month with a monthly plan) for unlimited access to our catalog of classes. We believe that subscription-based membership aligns perfectly with our mission for three reasons:

  1. Access. With an affordable, unlimited subscription model, there is a much lower barrier to our catalog of classes.
  2. Engagement. Students are more inclined to make learning a habit by consistently enrolling and engaging in new classes.
  3. Sustainability.  Subscriptions encourage a steadier stream of student enrollments and revenue over time.

Below is a graph illustrating how implementing the subscription model in early 2014 has dramatically increased student enrollments across the platform:

How is Skillshare’s revenue distributed?

Each month, 50% of Skillshare’s Premium Membership revenue goes to our teachers. Where does the other 50% go? Toward investing in our mission of course! Specifically, it helps cover employee expenses (such as salaries and benefits) so that we can build and grow a world-class team to support our community, and technical costs (like server and video hosting) so that we can keep our platform running smoothly and effectively.

How are teacher royalties distributed?

Skillshare seeks to reward teachers fairly and accurately based on their level of class quality and engagement. As a teacher, once you have 25+ students enrolled in your class, you are automatically enrolled in our Partner Program, and therefore eligible to earn revenue. Within the royalty pool, teacher payments are awarded in direct proportion to the number of monthly Premium enrollments and student projects created in each teacher’s class(es). For example, if 5% of our Premium enrollments for the month of June were in a class you were teaching, you would earn 5% of the total amount in the royalty pool for June.

In addition to royalty payments, Skillshare teachers earn revenue through our Teacher Referral Program: you will earn $10 for every Premium Member you refer.

How does this compare to other streaming services?

The graph above compares the average royalties per stream/enrollment between Skillshare and other streaming-based services. On Skillshare, teachers earn between $1-2 per Premium enrollment. This places an incredibly high value on each enrollment.

To put this into context, if a teacher wanted to make $1,000, they would only have to enroll around 500 students on Skillshare, while they would need to reach 167,000 streams on Spotify, or 333,333 on YouTube.

So how much do Skillshare teachers actually make?

To date, we have paid our teachers over $4.5 million, and the graph above illustrates how much individual Skillshare teachers earn: $3,500/year on average, with the top 10 most successful teachers on the platform earning $30,000+/year.

If you’d like to learn more about earning revenue as a teacher, or the other valuable rewards that teaching on Skillshare unlocks, you can check out our Teacher Handbook, or of course email us anytime at teach@skillshare.com.

Looking forward to your next class!