How To Create An Evergreen Passive Income Source That Pays Monthly

This article was originally published on Avadaphile

In the summer of 2015, I was burnt out.

I had just gotten out of a business that left me financially and mentally bankrupt. Broke and living off credit cards, I moved our family into my in-laws home. Admittedly, it was a rough time, but grateful to have a place to get re-centered. While exploring my next step, it was then that I discovered Skillshare.

Is it really possible to make money on Skillshare? The short, uncomplicated answer is a resounding, YES! In fact, to date I’ve made about $12,000.

It’s certainly not a considerable amount of money, but great passive income nonetheless. If you’re looking for a side-hustle, is Skillshare right for you? Maybe, maybe not. Let me explain.

How Much Money Can You Make On Skillshare?

First of all, anyone can teach and make money on Skillshare. How much largely depends on you. To understand why that is, you need to know how making money on Skillshare works.

How Earnings Are Determined

There are exactly two ways to make money on Skillshare:

  1. The first is by the total number of minutes that premium subscribers watch your videos. Premium meaning people that have actually signed up and paid for Skillshare.
  2. The second way is through link referrals. Skillshare will pay you $10 for every person that you send their way through a unique link you share with others. That’s actually pretty fantastic and can add up quick.

The amount of money you make depends on the overall amount of money Skillshare collects through memberships. Premium membership funds go into a “royalty pool” and that money is divided among all the teachers. It’s estimated that you make about $.05 per minute, but that number hasn’t always correlated to my end of month earnings. This past May I received $110.52 with 2320 total premium minutes watched. Following the $.05 per minute calculation, the total comes up shy.

Keep in mind that royalties are paid out the 16th of the following month. Don’t expect a bi-weekly paycheck. Before you start working on your course, review their Earning Royalties page.

How Much Money Can You Earn?

Let’s go back to my story from 2015. The prospect of creating a class that would perpetually earn monthly passive income seemed like a brilliant idea. On Skillshare’s website they state, “On average, first-time teachers earn $200 in their first month on Skillshare, with top teachers earning upwards of $3,000!”.

Sign me up!

I assumed that if I made one really great class, I too would be a top teacher. In my opinion, my first classwas pretty great. To show you how great it was, check out my first months earnings:

I made exactly ZERO dollars my first month. The next 5 months were pretty abysmal too. I about gave up on the platform altogether.

The morning of January 16th, 2016 I rolled over out of bed and checked my e-mail as I do most mornings. “Holy Crap!” I said under my breath with a bit of bewilderment. The payout caught me completely off guard. Have a look:

$761.27 dollars! Even to today, that’s the most I’ve ever made in a single month. The following months were pretty good as well. Typically, as it’s been for the last 4 years, each summer I do see a drop in enrollments and revenue.

That jump in revenue did reignite my interest to create more classes. I now have a total of 7 that you can enroll in:

  1. Avada WordPress Website Tutorial: A Beginner’s Guide To Creating An Incredible Website
  2. How To Create An Infographic: The #1 Tool That’s Shareworthy and Creates Buzz
  3. The Complete SEO Course Part 2: Optimize Your Content For Exponential Growth.
  4. How To Build A Website: A Step-by Step Tutorial Using The #1 Best-Selling WordPress Theme, Avada
  5. How To Launch A Blog For Instant Success: Blogging 101
  6. How To Exponentially Grow Your E-mail List Using SumoMe
  7. The Complete SEO Course Part 1 — Rank Your Website On Page #1 of Google

Teaching on Skillshare

Creating an online course was something I had never considered. It seemed daunting. Chalk it up to self-depreciation, but I hardly felt qualified to teach anyone a skill. However, I did have a page #1 Google ranked website from the business I left.

Without any formal training, I spent months fine tuning my website. Despite working in a saturated online space, my site shot up in the SERPs.

With nothing but time to spare, that’s when the idea to create an online course hit me. I was going to show people exactly what I did to create and rank my website.

What Should You Teach?

Skillshare is a platform for people that like to create. Whether you’re a designer, illustrator, baker, engineer, or home maker. Everyone has a talent or skill that they do well. Don’t underestimate yourself. What’s common knowledge to you, might not be so common to the other 7.5 billion people in the world. You’ve got this.

My advice? Do a quick category search on Skillshare. See what is being taught. The number of students enrolled in any given class is a good indicator of interest. Some topics are more popular than others. Finding the top trending courses can really help narrow your focus.

For me, SEO and WordPress courses were doing extremely well. Again, it was a crowded segment, but I saw huge success. In fact, I kind of cheated the system.

The first course I published, How To Build A Website: A Step-by Step Tutorial Using The #1 Best-Selling WordPress Theme, Avada , was 2.5 hours long. It included step-by-step instructions to build a website and also included a ton of SEO tutorial videos. The class has done well. However, I noticed a lot of standalone SEO courses that were trending high too. For whatever reason, I had the brilliant idea to create a totally new class with just the SEO videos. It took off and now has double the number of students!

Pro Tip #1

If your course is longer than 30–45 minutes, consider creating multiple courses instead.

So what should you teach on Skillshare? What do you do on a daily basis? Do you have a hobby you lose track of time doing? Perhaps there’s something you’ve already created? Repurposing old lectures or Power Points, for instance, into video format can save you a significant amount of creative time.

As you can see from my published courses above, some have done well and others not so much. There’s really no telling until you put it out there.

What You Need To Get Started

Creating your first course is not that difficult. Per Skillshare’s guidelines, there are a few key requirements:

  1. Videos need to be a minimum of 10 minutes and no more than 60. From experience, creating a 10 minute class is extremely easy to do.
  2. Design a class project. It’s basically homework for your students. I believe the idea is that it drives involvement and interest in not only your course, but time spent on the platform. It’s very easy to do. For example, my first course was about creating a website. For my project I asked that you post your new website for everyone to see. Super easy.
  3. Add value and be educational. This is not YouTube, so no spam, self-promotion, pyramid schemes, or rickrolling.

Beyond that, a general adherence to their Class Guidelines is expected.

Course Creation Recommendations

Take my advice, keep your videos simple yet professional. If you’re not careful, your creative process can become stifled by an influx of excessive ideas. Remember, what matters most is your content. It should be interesting, well thought out, and informative.

Video production can be done one of two ways, either Talking Head or screencast or a combination of both. Talking Head is the shoulders up video style (think news cast). Screencasting is simply recording your computers screen as you overdub your voice explaining what you’re doing. I personally prefer screencasting, but if you’re going to shoot video, make sure it’s shot in the highest resolution possible.

Here are the production tools I use:

  • Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone: For the small price, this microphone delivers big! It has solid build quality and records silky smooth vocals. With over 3700 reviews giving it 4.5/5 stars, it’s a good buy. Alternatively, I’ve heard great things about Blue Yeti too, but comes in at a higher price.
  • Screenflow: For Apple only, Screenflow is a fantastic screen recording/editing program. Like any new software, there is a small learning curve. They do offer a free trial.
  • Camtasia: Compatible with both PC and Mac. Camtasia is similar to Screenflow, but with a higher price tag. Since I converted back to PC, it was the logical choice.

Keep in mind that it’s a small investment upfront to create a class, but one that will payoff over and over.

Publishing Your First Course: Best Practices For Maximum Results

Producing an engaging, carefully crafted course does not necessarily guarantee success. There are several ways to not only improve your student enrollments, but exposure too.

Improve Your Profile

You may think it sounds silly, but think of your profile page in terms of a dating app. First impressions do count. If you want people to swipe right on your class, dress it up.

Find the best picture possible for your profile. Add intriguing copywriting. Write a biography that assures potential students that you’re an authority on the subject matter.

Skimping on content here would be a huge mistake.

Pro Tip #2

Whether it’s a course description or your profile page, link back to your website if you have one. The extra visits are a great way to gain an audience and potentially help your SEO.

Class Descriptions

Much like the profile page, dedicate a bit of time here. Again, you’re trying to make a great first impression. Your descriptions and titles should illicit action.

Spend some time on Canva creating clever video cover photos. Don’t opt to have Skillshare create them for you. I’ve actually spent some time doing A/B testing with two different cover photos. I would leave each up for a time and check my enrollment rates. It makes a difference!

Don’t forget to use keywords. Using specific words or phrases can help people discover your class.

Interact With Your Students

As your enrollments increase, send out e-mails of encouragement or gratitude. I would do this periodically and got some great feedback. I’ve also seen a strong connection between engagement and sign ups.

I can’t verify this for sure, but I read somewhere that more “active” classes can be promoted in the search results.

Conversation with your students is a surefire way of establishing yourself as an authority in the Skillshare community.

Encourage Reviews

This is a no-brainer. Positive reviews influence sign ups. Encourage reviews whenever possible. Through e-mail, updates, or at the end of your videos.

Studies suggest that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Promote Your Classes

It’s in your best interest to promote your classes whenever or wherever possible. Pace yourself though. The more positive exposure they have to you the better.

Adding subtle invitations on your website, newsletters or even in your e-mail signature are helpful. Your efforts aren’t always immediate, but long-term will pay off.

Final Thoughts About Making Money On Skillshare

Yes, making money on Skillshare is possible. If I were honest, I’d say I never utilized the platform to its fullest potential. In other words, I never made it a full-time commitment.

Can I make more money? Yes I believe I can and you can too.

Consider this, the last class I published was 2 years ago. To this day, I still receive a monthly check from Skillshare. That’s with no involvement whatsoever, just pure passive income.

On occasion, I do think about creating another course. For the time being, I’ve been so involved with other projects it likely won’t happen anytime soon.

If you’re serious about earning more money or even a side hustle, Skillshare is still a sure bet in my opinion.

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