How Illustrator Charly Clements Grew Her Instagram Following by 17K Followers Through Teaching

Freelance Illustrator Charly Clements taught her first class, Fun With Faces: Create a Stylised Digital Portrait through our monthly Teach Challenge. In just the first two months of her class going live, 3,600 students took her class and Charly’s Instagram following grew by 17,000 followers!

We caught up with Charly to learn how teaching on Skillshare has helped her more than double her Instagram following and earn enough income to focus on creative projects she loves. Read on to learn how she decided to teach and her tips for first-time teachers.

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Tell us a bit about yourself!

I'm a greeting card designer and freelance illustrator from the UK. Since leaving University I decided to pack up all my belongings and travel the world armed with only my iPad and sketchbook. 3 years later and I'm lucky enough to be working remotely as a freelance illustrator - it’s been such an adventure!

How did you decide to teach on Skillshare? Did you have any apprehensions prior to teaching?

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I took my first ever Skillshare class 6 years ago and I still remember how inspired I felt. Since then it became my dream to teach a class that would hopefully inspire others the same way. I wanted to create a class teaching what I’d learned over the years and Skillshare seemed like the perfect fit.

I attempted the Teach Challenge last year, but my limiting beliefs prevented me from following through with it. A couple of months ago my friend Sean Dalton had told me about the success he had with his classes on Skillshare and encouraged me to create my first class. I think that was the final push I needed!

How did you get started teaching on Skillshare?

I decided to give the Teach challenge another go and approached it the same way I would any other project on Skillshare. This helped me break the class down and structure it in a way that felt less overwhelming. I was also able to get great honest feedback from the community which was invaluable. Having a tight deadline to stick to definitely helped!

What tips would you offer someone thinking about teaching on Skillshare?

  • Don’t let self doubt hold you back! Putting myself out there has not only helped raise my profile as an illustrator but it’s given me the financial freedom I’ve always dreamed of. Sometimes you have to take risks. Things don’t always work out, but when they do it can be the most rewarding feeling in the world! What do you have to lose?

  • Create something different to what’s already on Skillshare. Really think about unique ways your class can stand out from the crowd. What do you have to offer than no one else has?

  • Feature student projects on your social media platforms. This is a great way to celebrate their work and to encourage students to finish their class projects!

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Tell us about the reaction to your first class

I’ve been blown away by the reaction to my first class! I won first place in the March teacher challenge and it even started trending on the front page. In just over 2 months my Instagram following has increased by 17k and I’m currently at 3600 students. (I still can’t quite believe it!)

Since it was my first class, I wasn’t expecting the paycheck to be big. But it exceeded my expectations and more. I now have enough passive income coming in each month to support me while being able to focus on creative projects that I love.

In just over 2 months my Instagram following has increased by 17k and I’m currently at 3600 students.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on my next class which will hopefully be finished by the beginning of next month. I can’t wait to share it with you guys!

I also want to improve my teaching skills and continue growing my Instagram. It’s so important to me to use my platform to inspire and encourage others to follow their passion.

Anything else you’d like to share?

For anyone doubting whether they should become a teacher, I’d say go for it! It was the best decision I ever made and I wish I’d done it sooner!

I’m so thankful to be part of the teaching community at Skillshare. It’s been an amazing few months and I’m more excited than ever to continue creating classes - watch this space!

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Curious to learn how you can share your creative passion and grow your online presence through teaching? Head to the Teach page to get started!