While many students come to Skillshare to learn tips and tricks of the trade within the creative industry, Skillshare students are also passionate entrepreneurs and freelancers who are scaling their creative pursuits, and want to level up their business skills to find success. They're looking for classes to help them level up their expertise in areas like branding, social media marketing and productivity. Interested in teaching a class for this growing student base? Check out this article for some neat tricks and tips on how to pick your class topic.
Examine your Self-Starter/Side-Hustle Process from Start to Finish
Think about some of the projects you’ve worked on to start your own business or begin your career as a freelancer. Examine that process from start to finish. How did you decide on your side-hustle? What process do you use to define your brand and get your name out into the world? How do you prepare to market your skills to potential customers? What social media platforms do you use to acquire clients, and how do you decide which platforms to focus on? What strategy do you use to define the price for your work? Do you have a system for examining your project’s success? How do you stay organized / on track?
Create a class around each phase! Remember, you have unique insights to share that can help your students expand their own processes and skill-sets. This class by Peggy Dean is a great example of a teacher that created a class on one specific part of her side-hustle process - pricing her work as a freelancer.
Think About What You’re Passionate About and Proud of
Take a step back and identify the aspects of your career or professional life you’re most proud of and excited about! This could be an accomplishment related to your full-time job, or your side project. Our top teachers have seen a correlation between how excited they are about the class topic and how a class performs. Your excitement is contagious, so take a moment and observe what you love most. Is it making pitches with prospective clients? Is it launching a podcast to get your name out into the world? Whatever it might be, take note and create a class around that topic–your enthusiasm will come through your class and resonate with your students.
Think about your class project, and then work backwards
All classes on Skillshare are project based, because we believe that “learning by doing” is the best way to pick up real-world skills. Projects are a great way to motivate students to get excited about taking a class.
Think about a project that would motivate you to learn something new. Would you be pumped to take a class if, at the end, you could create the perfect elevator pitch to land your dream client? Or price your work so that you can finally monetize your creative passion?
From there, think about a class topic that would lend itself well to your class project. Check out this article on tips for creating a great class project for your business class.
Do Your Research
Identify trending topics that might be of interest to students. A great way to do this is to check out our interactive, up-to-date guide of in-demand topics on Skillshare! You can check it out here.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, look at what themes are trending on your favorite blogs, educational hubs, or industry talks/meet ups that are related to your area of expertise. What topics related to freelance and entrepreneurship appear the most? This will give you great insight into what thought leaders in your industry are talking about, as well as what prospective students are interested in. Keep an eye out for themes and patterns, and think about ways you can combine your unique skill-set with what’s trending. For example, realizing that conversational marketing is on the rise, Skillshare teacher Jenny Nelson - a marketing automation consultant - created a class on how to create Facebook Messenger Chatbots to grow your email list.
You can also check out Skillshare Groups for more inspiration. To understand topics Skillshare students are interested in, take a look at Creative Business Owners, Digital Marketers, Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners, and the Freelancers groups to get some great ideas from the Skillshare community.
Use the Class Evaluator Framework
Top teacher Hayden Aube uses a Class Evaluator to determine which Skillshare class he’ll teach next. As Hayden points out, “Rather than base your decisions on something as unreliable as feelings, this simple exercise separates the winners from the losers. Sure, nothing is a sure-fire success, but you can definitely stack the deck in your favour.”
Here’s how it works: place every topic idea on the Evaluator. This will give you a great sense of how many people want a class on a specific topic, and how badly they want it. If there is a large audience for the topic, place it to the right. If the interest level is high, place it on top.
Remember who your (potential) students are. Skillshare is home for lots of folks who are ready to learn new skills, cultivate their passions, and figure out how to turn their creative pursuits into their full time profession. As many of our students think about growing their freelance and entrepreneurial ventures, they are hoping to level up their business skills to take things to the next level.
Answer some of these questions to determine the relevance of your class topic, and the potential audience size it will attract. If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you know you’re on the right track!
Would this class topic help a student launch/improve their freelance career?
Would this class support aspiring / current entrepreneurs?
Would this class help students build their brand, or build their business?
Would this class help students get more done in less time?
Would this topic be of interest to someone that has a creative passion or interest?
Would this class help someone looking to make a career change?
Would this class appeal to a broad range of students, irrespective of their industry?
Sometimes a great class topic comes to you instantly. Other times, you need to work a little harder to figure out which topic is right. In those cases, be patient with yourself! If you’ve got any doubts, don’t rush into an idea. Take a moment and see if your class topic checks out against the tips above. And if you feel stuck, reach out to us - we’ll always be here to help you figure out your next big Skillshare class idea. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!