The Skillshare Experiment

I guess it was about two years ago when I first uploaded a course to Skillshare – May 2015. I took my bestselling Udemy course and uploaded it. Then promptly did nothing about it and left it alone for a year.

You might not be surprised to learn that I earned nothing on Skillshare in that year. A big fat goose egg. Zippo. I had some enrollments, but you need 25 enrollments to qualify for “premium instructor” status, and so I didn’t even get the $3-$4 per month I probably earned in that time. Oh well.

That same course had earned more than $20,000 on Udemy in that time. (I always found it odd that a course that was very successful on one platform went unnoticed in a place that was cheaper for students.)

So then in the middle of last year – June 2016 – after Udemy had done some pricing changes of its own, I decided to turn attention back to Skillshare to see what it was about. Many of my friends were very excited about it, so why not? Step 1, was get the 25 enrollments. So I gave out some free coupons and quickly got to the level where I could at least qualify for payments.

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

$11

$6

$1

Under the 2016 payment model, I could earn $1.35 for each paying student that signs up. On Udemy, I was making at least $10 for a student. So I quickly realized that I could not put my Udemy courses on Skillshare. I would not accept only $1.35 when I was easily getting $10 for that same student.

The other thing was Skillshare seemed to want courses of 10 to 20 minutes long. My Udemy courses were many times that. So, what to do?

But perhaps I could create special courses for Skillshare. I had a lot of ideas for lessons and courses that would not fit well on Udemy. So every once and a while I would take a couple of days to create some videos for Skillshare and uploaded it to the platform. I posted the free coupons to the usual groups and watched my income soar.

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

$64

$14

$41

$40

 

 

I was not terribly impressed, but to be honest, I wasn’t using Skillshare to make money. I actually enjoyed using the platform.

In 2016, Skillshare represented a place where I could create things “for fun” and make a bit of money on the side. No pressure. Hundreds of hours not required. Have an idea, create, publish. A simple yet powerful model similar to blogging or Youtube.

In January 2017, they changed their payment model. Now it’s hard to tell whether that was a good thing or a bad thing, but they were now paying ~7.5 cents per minute instead of a ~$1.35 per enrollment. Most instructors felt that it would be a 20% income drop. I calculated that you’d have to make 40 minute long courses to break even in the new model.

My take? Skillshare wanted to offer their students, for $9 per month, unlimited access to “Udemy quality” courses.

This, of course, will never work out in instructors’ favor. If you’re going to create Udemy quality courses, you might as well put them on Udemy and get paid for them.

But, let’s see how January works out.

January 1

January 2

January 3

0 minutes watched, $0 earned

0 minutes watched, $0 earned

0 minutes watched, $0 earned

 

 

On January 4, I emailed Skillshare and asked them to unpublish my courses. Today, January 5, they did.

For me, the Skillshare experiment is over.

Status: failed.

It’s better for me to focus on platforms that either make me significant money or have the potential to make me significant money. OR free platforms like Youtube where I can provide value and gain exposure to a huge audience. Skillshare doesn’t have that potential yet. I see no scenario where Skillshare would drive a reasonable amount of income to me for the effort required to maintain it.

Maybe they’ll grow and in a year they’ll have a bigger base of students from which to get revenue and do a better job making good courses earn money consistently every month. I hope they do. Right now, I don’t see the point creating several courses per month, with dozens of hours of work invested, for the hourly rate that it would generate.

The company itself doesn’t even have an instructor forum so that they can interact with instructors. That’s crazy actually.

 

About the Author

Just a guy happy to share his knowledge with people willing to listen.

61,000 students, in 174 countries.

“You can have anything in life that you want if you help enough other people to get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

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