When you think of creating an online course do you automatically picture a project that takes you weeks or months to complete? Are you're under the impression that an online course has to be like 8 modules with 20+ hours of content?
Once upon a time, I thought the same thing too! But then I tapped into the niche of high-demand, short online courses and now it's one of my favorite ways of sharing what I know and earning a living!
Skillshare was one of the first places I began selling my courses online. I started with the Skillshare Teach Challenge in January 2015, and it was not only fun, but it gave me the confidence to keep going and create more classes. I made two classes on the platform that year. Though I was happy with my results and the bit of side-income I earned from those classes, I had other money-making ideas I wanted to try so I didn't create a new class on the platform until 2016.
Here's what happened when I returned to Skillshare…
In January 2016, I joined a new challenge for teachers who had already published a class on Skillshare, but needed motivation to create more (aka me). Around this time, Skillshare had just started sharing information that showed the students on their platform actually preferred shorter, bite-sized classes that were 25 minutes in length or less over longer classes.
What did this mean? This meant that as an instructor I could now create valuable content a whole heck of a lot faster by creating a nugget-sized class to meet the demand of the students on Skillshare. Now, this bite-sized content doesn't apply for every online course marketplace. But it just so happened that on Skillshare this is what students preferred. AND SO I ROLLED WITH IT!
I released a bite-sized video class on Skillshare that was only 24 minutes long. Here's a snapshot of the class page:
I wasn't sure how it would play out, but I trusted that Skillshare knew its students better than I did. It's a good thing I took advantage of their expertise and suggestions because my results were better than I could have ever expected! I actually had more students to enroll in one week of this course than I did in an entire year of one of my other courses. SAY WHAT?
Skillshare only shows you data for the last 6 months, so I was unable to go back in and take a snapshot of the actual amount of students that enrolled in that one course, but I do have a snapshot of the payment I received via PayPal for my January enrollments. Woot, woot! Talk about an unexpected win!
To put things in context, my very first month on Skillshare I earned $16–and I jumped for joy and called my husband about that amazing $16 payment (you must celebrate the little things, right?)
I was completely blind-sided by how well this short class did in terms of enrollment and income. No, it was not the THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS of dollars that you can earn when you sell courses on your own website, but who wouldn't love an EXTRA $500 in their pockets right after the holidays???
So, why did it happen?
Why did this little course do so well? I have a few thoughts that may help you if you are considering creating your first Skillshare class for the new year (or any time of year)!
#1 – Clearly keeping the class under 25 minutes was a great plan. If the students want shorter classes, give'em shorter classes. Just remember to add value to their lives. Don't post junk! Not only does it hurt your reputation, but it will get you bad reviews on the platform
#2 – Because it was the beginning of the year, I believe people were more open to soul-searching, goal-setting, and new year “resolutioning”. My course was more of an inspirational business course so part of it was just good timing.
#3 – The beginning of the year is prime-time for Skillshare in terms of student enrollment. Skillshare does a big push in terms of advertising and challenges to get more people enrolled by year end. Thus, you benefit as an instructor because there are even more students browsing for classes to take.
And it's not just me who experienced this success from creating bite-sized classes on Skillshare. I personally know two other teachers that I met via Skillshare who had even BIGGER SUCCESS than I did selling bite-sized courses.
They were gracious enough to let me interview them a few months back. Take a listen to our 15-minute interviews here to get details on their approach to success on Skillshare:
So what's the next step? I highly encourage you to challenge yourself by signing up for the Skillshare Teach Challenge. Like I said before, it's a great way to get your feet wet with online courses if you've never created one before. It's a way to add another revenue stream to your business. It's even a great way to make friends with other teachers and continue to build a relationship for future partnerships.
***UPDATE – DECEMBER 15, 2016*** Today Skillshare announced a new payment model for their teachers that will be based on “premium minutes watched” rather than “premium enrollments”. I will update this post once I learn more, but for now, you can click here to read the Skillshare post for yourself.