Is Skillshare a Scam? A Review of It’s Pros And Cons.

Quick Report:skillshare review

Name: Skillshare.

Price: Free, but limited access to classes is available. There is a VERY CHEAP premium level membership that is $8.25 a month, but that is ONLY if you pay $99 for a yearly.

Otherwise, it’s $15/month.

Overall Rating: 7 out of 10 stars.

Honestly, this is an amazing program for those seeking education and/or a freelance gig. I have a lot of good things to say about this program, but there are certain (minor) cons I personally see depending on what you seek to get out of this program which, if they affect you, there are better options which I will discuss.

is skillshare a scam

Skillshare explained in a nutshell:

I don’t know about you, but I personally get the feeling that day by day, college is becoming more and more obsolete and ironically at the same time, more expensive. People are looking for cheaper ways to understand different topics and fields that may pay them. 

Enter Skillshare, it is a program where experts in different fields create classes on whatever subject they are experts in. As a member of this program, you can either be a student and/or teacher. 

Overall, this program is quite popular and growing. There are currently well over 10,000 courses available there and it is not uncommon to see lots of people (students) in droves watching a single course. 

The money making potential of Skillshare explained (for teachers):

skillshare explained

There are 4 parts to this opportunity:

First…

As a teacher inside this program, you have the opportunity to craft your own videos/tutorials based on the topic you wish to teach.

However, I believe you first have to be a premium member to actually create a course. And for $8 and change, it’s not something to even think about.

In any case, the amount you get paid within this program is based on 2 things:

  • The minutes someone watches your videos. 
  • The total amount of premium students there are inside the Skillshare network at the month that the money is being paid out. 

Now for the second part, it gets a little confusing…

But basically, the total amount students pay for a particular month is added up and put into a “royalty pool”, then up to 50% of that pool is redistributed among the teachers as earnings.

The other remaining amount, based on what I saw is used to market the site and other miscellaneous things, which is technically good as it raises the potential for more people to be a paid member and increase the money pool. 

But the amount that will be paid out to teachers will be redistributed accordingly to the amount of minutes a student/s watch a particular teacher’s courses.

Therefore, a teacher who has had a student watch their video for a 60 minutes will be paid for 60 minutes, while a teacher who had a student watch their video for 30 minutes will be paid 2x less.

Note: This is fair on one end, but there is a bigger con I personally see which I will shortly discuss. 

Note 2: Here’s an interesting add on to the watch time you need to keep in mind which may affect your potential earnings:

Third option to make money on Skillshare: Being an affiliate.

This program lets you promote it whether you’re a student or teacher, which is known as being an affiliate for them (I am an affiliate for many places and make good money, read my blueprint.). You can earn $10 bucks per sign up (if they are premium), but it is ONE time only. I’m considering promoting this place because I like it, but we’ll see what happens…

Fourth option: Career options to work for the company itself.

There are programming/marketing/content production positions you can sign up for to work for this company directly.

The pros of Skillshare summarized:

  • Free signup available. skillshare pros and cons
  • Extremely cheap paid signup (Less than $10 a month).
  • Anyone can sign up to be a student/teacher. 
  • A completely legitimate program.
  • High quality video editing software available to make beautiful tutorials. 
  • There is an opportunity to make a side/full time income, all from the internet. 
  • Immense freelance opportunity for anyone who has something to teach and wants to work from home.

But here’s some cons I believe this program has:

There doesn’t appear to be any “requirements” to be a teacher. 

From what I’ve seen and stated in the pros, anyone can be a teacher, but this can have a downside.

What if you’re not really qualified and/or what you teach isn’t that good? Perhaps there should be some qualification process or proving you know what you want to teach before you do it. 

The only counter to this con is that there is a rating system to each tutorial, but honestly, not everyone who watches a tutorial will always know if what they are taught is applicable in real life and will work until they do it. 

Your topic may not make a lot of money.

Perhaps the topic you wish to teach isn’t popular or perhaps you won’t get a lot of students. This is all a possibility to consider. And on that note, I have a number of great suggestions:

First, when I reviewed Udemy, which is very similar to Skillshare, I suggested following the popular niche route to help your courses sell more.

And second, in regards to niches, there’s actually plenty of popular ones (like this list of 100 niches I personally wrote up) and you don’t have to be limited to Skillshare or any other site like it. You can actually start your own site and programs like Wealthy Affiliate are great at helping you create niche sites that make money (see my success story).

Now back to the Skillshare topic…

The amount you invest into trying this place out is ridiculously cheap so it’s worth trying if you’re serious, but you need to consider the popularity of what you’ll be teaching as a potential measurement of how much it can possibly make.

I’m pretty sure a class on fitness will get exponentially more customers than a class someone makes on coloring with crayons. It’s just a matter of choosing the right topic and BEING knowledgeable on it too. You need to consider this.

Note: This is not a con I would associate with Skillshare, it is simply a matter of reality. Skillshare will give you the means to make the class, but if the topic isn’t popular, chances are, the profits you make from it won’t be either.

Just a side note (again) before I get to more cons of Skillshare:

Back to the other cons of Skillshare I wanted to point out:

Why not just browse for free informational/education stuff on YouTube?

I’m fairly certain you can find just as high level quality videos and training on whatever it is you seek through Google and YouTube. This is one of those things to consider as actual free alternatives most people may go for instead of this program.

I don’t really like the royalty payout. 

The thing is, the payouts from this program DO fluctuate and that does depend on the 2 factors I stated above (total number of members each month that pay + how many minutes your tutorials get watched). 

But here is an interesting circumstance I absolutely see happening:

What happens if there’s a smaller number of payees in a particular month and there’s the same amount or MORE teachers who are owed money? 

Then the OVERALL amount has to be lessened so everyone gets paid out. In other words, a pay cut will be required in my opinion even if you are a successful/popular teacher. 

This is one of the major cons I see of a redistribution model set up here. It’s like getting a smaller slice of the pie. 

What do I prefer?

This is where I have to slightly suggest Udemy over Skillshare, but above those programs, I again, would suggest the Wealthy Affiliate program which wouldn’t bind you to these programs or their internal rules/payouts.

Final rating: Skillshare

Green Flag

7 out of 10 stars. I think this program is great and while it isn’t the only one like it out there, it offers a lot of opportunities for freelance people to earn money while educating others. However, as I pointed out there are cons, one more I’d like to address in fact…

My final thoughts and one more con on Skillshare:

I mentioned the Wealthy Affiliate program and niche sites above, but I didn’t really get into the details of it. Let me do that now:

So I am personally involved in freelance related work and have been for MANY years. But my freelance work is not what you think:

What I do is, I create websites and run them like a business, an online business really. And I have made much more in the process than I would have had I’d taken my knowledge through Skillshare, multiple times more. Here’s an example:

skillshare1

Now don’t get me wrong.

From a money making point of view, what Skillshare offers in terms of earning is good, but it is limited in my opinion. If someone were to approach me with a passion I think is marketable and ask me what a quick way to make money online would be, I’d refer them to this place and/or others like it, but I would never claim making money with Skillshare is quick, as it depends on a lot of stuff.

I think there is much greater potential in taking knowledge you possess and making money from it, that is the online business approach. 

Now I mentioned how I do it, but let me explain it from a point of view where if you were interested, how you could get started with the alternative I pitch above Skillshare:

Let’s say you have a niche topic and/or the smarts for a particular topic. Here are your options as someone who knows how to monetize them:

1) You can go through a place like Skillshare, make a class on it and perhaps that will make you good money. Their site even claims that there’s people making $40k and even more in some cases. That’s not bad at all.

2) But consider what would happen if you took that same topic and focused your efforts on making a personal website of it and marketing it to the world, not just the inclusive Skillshare member network…

Real numbers and the greater potential behind another option…

You’re looking at a potential of millions of potential customers through having your own business website vs the less than 100,000 currently on that network.

And what you sell to your customers through your website is totally dependent on you, meaning you can choose what to promote, how to promote it and how much you can earn, vs being dependent on a royalty pool.

Through a website, you are essentially doing the same thing you would be through Skillshare, but…

In my opinion, the earning potential is greater long term. 

Now I can’t lie. I will say that when you have your own website, the real drawback is time and that it takes longer to see the rewards whereas with Skillshare, you can potentially start seeing profits faster.

The good news is that both options require very little money investment. The only questions I’d ask you are:

  • If you want to earn from a topic you know a lot about, are you looking to make more money or less? I’d venture to say you’d probably want to earn more. In which case a website and having an online business is the better way to go.
  • Then I’d ask how quickly you want to earn it and obviously, you’d say ASAP right? Well in that case, Skillshare would be better here.

But we’re looking at a trade off. I personally think it’s better to have a personal business you own and are in charge of vs working for another company, even though that company in this case is great. 

can you make money with skillshare

Vs Skillshare, I am certain I would NOT have made that much. Yes I will admit, those websites took some months to start working well, but in the end, they made me more. I find that to be much more appeasing.

With Skillshare, I would ALWAYS be dependent on how many members were there and the overall royalty potential (plus the cons of that system I pointed out). But on the other, I would not be. 

That last big point again:

So my point is, if your intentions are to earn money and make something you know a business, then (again) there is far more potential in making a personal website. This applies to both students and teachers who have something to offer/learn. 

Now even though I recommend that free alternative program, by all means, if the platform Skillshare offers is more of your thing, feel free to join it. I think it’s a wonderful program and has tremendous opportunity with more immediate chances to earn you. 

But at the same time, I would consider the cons I’ve listed and NOT just the monetary limits I pointed out. I’m more of an entrepreneur and helping people take their knowledge and go further with it. With the alternative I offer (making an online business), you can do that, no matter what it is. And finally…

That completes the review of Skillshare. Again, to summarize, I like it, it’s legitimate, and it can potentially be a good earner, but at the same time, it’s earning and reach potential is always limited to the amount of members it has, plus the topic you’ll pick to create training on, and finally with the options of YouTube and Google available, a lot if not everything offered there can also be found free from those sources and in larger amounts.

With those cons, I think someone who is willing to create training on their hobby or passion can get a lot more from it by going through it the online business route. I’ve personally done this and would be more than happy to teach it to you as well.

Skillshare

Free.
7

Skillshare Score

7.0/10

Pros

  • Their $8 a month plan is a pretty good deal to make courses.
  • I do believe if you possess niche knowledge that is popular, you can make money with this program.

Cons

  • 1 of the main cons is their pool distribution. I don't really like that.

12 thoughts on “Is Skillshare a Scam? A Review of It’s Pros And Cons.”

  1. Thank you for the article, I had never heard of skillshare before this. I like the concept but if anyone can teach you might have to sift through the trash to finally find something good.

    With Udemy is there any way to preview the course before you actually pay for it?

    Reply
  2. So I didn’t know that this even existed. I’m now out of college but i’ve been thinking of taking a class or classes somewhere because, well, I like math.. I want to further my linear algebra knowledge and other math related knowledge. My question is, is there really no way they screen teachers at all? Could, for instance, some nut want to make a class on flat earth and actually teach people false knowledge without any way of keeping those who are signing up as a teacher in check? If so that seems like a very big con to me.

    Reply
    • Well I’m fairly certain there’s at least SOME sort of “vetting” involved with instructors there so if someone wanted to teach outrageous things, they would be prohibited from doing so, but at the same time, it would come from students who would complain about it. 

      I would say that if you tried to create or take a class in a place like Udemy, you may find stricter guidelines for instructors, thus making it a more confident place to learn from and teach in, although Skillshare is rising in popularity and i would attribute that to them having high quality instructors.

      Reply
  3. So I have actually never heard of anything like Skillshare before but it is actually a pretty interesting concept. Less than 9 dollars per month definitely sounds like a great price for someone who is on a budget.

    I also feel like this may possibly be a good route to look into if you are someone who for example may not be able to afford college depending on what it is you are trying to learn.

    I definitely agree with you on the fact that it’s crazy how there are no qualifications whatsoever in order to be a teacher. Someone can easily claim to know how to do something and convince others that they know what they are talking about.

    It sounds like if you are going to use this site to learn something, you will definitely want to be cautious in order to insure that you are learning legitimate info.

    Thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely have to go check it out.

    Reply
    • I agree with the fact that people may look to try these courses vs the ones colleges offer and it may also be a good way for them (college students) to become instructors to make some money to pay their tuition, but again, if the central problems of good, qualified teachers at Skillshare isn’t addressed, it will lose it’s reputation.

      Reply
  4. I haven’t tried Skillshare yet, but I have used other online sources to learn a variety of skills that make me money. I’m to a point now where I’m deciding between teaching on an online platform like Skillshare or do it myself on my own site! There is a great need for sites like these!

    Reply
    • Hi Nicki, I would evaluate where your efforts would pay better. If you need money more immediately, perhaps Skillshare would be a good place to start, but do keep in mind their compensation model and that compared to a successful site you can have, that a page can potentially pay more.

      Reply
  5. Hi Vitaliy.

    I’ve been looking around for a program like this and so far all I can see is people trying to make themselves some cash offering almost a false service as you can get most classes online for free and if you can’t then you’d expect a proven quality of purchase.

    The idea that anyone can be a teacher is great for someone who has some knowledge to offer to make some money doing so but I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable making a purchase on SkillShare.

    I found another program just like this called Udemy Online Courses and similar cons came to light.

    Reply
    • Hi Jamie, funny you mentioned Udemy, because I just reviewed them as well. Honestly, in this article I did write how monetary wise, Udemy was better for instructors, but the central issue on instructor quality applies to both programs. However, I am quite certain both programs have some sort of regulation/s in place to help with this. I’m also certain that people just wouldn’t find the courses interesting or talk highly about them if a lot of them were garbage.

      Reply
  6. Hi Vitaliy,

    You are absolutely right in that there’s no market for Skillshare if YouTube is still around. That’s the first thing that came to mind when I started reading this. Especially if there’s no verification process with the teachers.

    While this does seem like a good way for teachers to make some extra money; it does seem like once again our educators are getting played. The payouts should be way more than 50%… especially if the teachers are creating their own content.

    Or they can just share their own content on their very own website.

    Diana

    Reply
    • Hi Diana, we certainly have some similar thoughts about Skillshare, especially on the payouts and some kind of “vetting” for instructors. But we do have to consider the fact that this program HAS grown A LOT, in spite of YouTube being available.

      I do believe they are using the same type of business idea that Udemy is, but overall, YouTube, free content will still have the advantage. 

      I think where we both agree is that instructors who truly have high quality stuff to offer may really benefit in keeping their own work/content on their own page, at least then how they are compensated is up to them and the prices they have a right to charge.

      Reply

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