Like many full time creatives, Ana Victoria Calderon was living off of the combined income of a few separate sources when she got started teaching online – sales of art prints from her Etsy store, licensing artwork to companies like Hallmark and Papyrus, and teaching in person workshops. “I knew that I wanted to start teaching online, but YouTube was difficult. People had a lot of questions but there was no way I could answer this stuff in the comments section.”
After reaching out to a few Skillshare teachers, she finally decided to make the move. “I met Elizabeth Olwen at a trade show, and I knew that she had a Skillshare class so I asked her how her experience was. I also emailed Mary Kate McDevitt, and they both said great things about the platform. They said they each got nice payments for their Skillshare classes, so I decided to go for it.”
Very quickly, Ana felt right at home. “I liked the way the classes were structured with a comments section and the project gallery. It was much easier to navigate and helped me have engaging interactions with students. I wanted my content to feel accessible yet private, and I felt much safer putting it on Skillshare."
After her first month, she was delighted to receive her initial payment. “I read about how Skillshare does payments, but I still wasn’t expecting it. My first payment came and it was $3000, so I thought wow I should really teach again. Now every month it’s about another $1000-2000.”
For Ana, the most valuable part comes from interacting with her growing body of students. “My favorite part about teaching has been connecting with all the different students. Skillshare really lets me grow a much wider audience. I check in on my classes every two days to see who uploaded something new. It doesn’t take that much time, you can answer all the questions and I love providing students with specific tips and seeing like, “woah, I’m teaching 8,000 people!” I’ve met Skillshare students who come to my classes in Cancun and Mexico City, and I’ll announce to my online students when I’m traveling for workshops -"Hey I’m coming to Miami this month, come meet me!""
Ana has a few specific words of advice for creatives with Etsy shops and other sources of income: “If you’re just getting started, try teaching a specific technique. Have a large framework but encourage everyone to develop their own style. If you’re an artist and sharing your technique, I think some people are afraid too, they don’t want to reveal their secrets. But sharing is really important – you’ll develop new ideas and new creativity, and you’ll find that it feels really good to share with your students.”
Skillshare has become an important part of Ana’s monthly earnings. “Skillshare’s a great way to grow your creative business. I’ve had months where my income on Skillshare is 3x higher than my Etsy earnings. When you’re an independent artist, you usually piece together a few different sources of income. For me, Skillshare’s been a big piece of that pie.”
Interested in adding to your own creative income? Join this month’s Teach Challenge and get started today!