Create extra revenue to your creative business by teaching
Sharing what you have learned and know within your business, showing how to do something and guiding others on how to acquire a specific skill is not only a great way to get some extra money, it also helps you build your brand and grow your own following. And perhaps even more important, it’s a great feeling to be able to inspire and even help people on their creative journeys.
Ways to teach
There are of course a lot of ways and places where you can provide courses and teach, here are a couple of examples that I know of:
- create classes and publish on established platforms like Skillshare, Udemy and Modeskeppet (Swedish).
- create classes and publish on your own platform using services like Teachable, WordPress plug-ins or Memberspace.
- a third alternative is on-on-one tutorials and coaching on-line, through Skype and Google hangouts.
You could of course also teach by uploading tutorials on YouTube, but unless you are a sponsored youtuber that wouldn't generate any revenue from the first start, which is what I’m focusing on in this list. But posting a freebie on YouTube could be a great way to drive traffic to a paid class on your website for example.
Revenue possibilities for teaching
Quite good. Skillshare quickly explained the money you get paid relies on how many minutes people watch you classes and how popular your classes are, so it can range from a few dollars a month to up to $1000 and even more for some of the top teachers. Revenue at Udemy is based on the same principle.
For some people, teaching even evolves into being the main source of revenue and can even become a large figure income. Ok, that last part is difficult of course and demands a great deal of work, but with today’s platforms it’s totally possible. Hello Bonnie Christine, Jenna Kutcher, Ashlyn Carter just to mention a few of my favourite examples. They have created their own on-line courses and together with strong marketing strategies and large followings they have been able to create huge success.
Does this sound overwhelming, impossible and just making you feel stressed out?
Take a deep breath, because it’s not that big of a deal as it may seem.
My teaching story that could be your story
As you probably know already, I’m teaching pattern design and how to illustrate with markers over on Skillshare. For me it all started with being a student of my own, participating in a workshop with Bonnie Christine (yes, she’s one of my heroes and a big inspiration and you will hear me mention her now and then). On Skillshare you can post a project, sharing the work you’ve done when learning from a class or workshop. One day I got an email from Skillshare saying that they had come across my workshop project asking me if I had considered teaching myself.
I was extremely flattered of course, but thought ”no, how can I”? Because I thought that you had to be known and established in your field in order to teach. And what had I accomplished so far? Gotten less than a handful of patterns out there on real products… How can anyone think that I know what I’m talking about?
But the thought of sharing what I know and can do with others appealed to me anyway, so I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Now, I’m not afraid of standing in front of a crowd and speak. In my twenties I worked as a substitute teacher in Swedish, English and German languages (I know, that’s so crazy, but I guess I was just young, bold and had no boundaries of what I thought I could do…) and arts (duh). And when working at Toyota as marketing project manager I frequently held launch presentations and product trainings for the retail network (speaking to over 100 people for three days, phiew!). So this exposure thing was no issue, only the question of my credibility as a professional.
But I started thinking about if I did create a class about something, what would it be about? What am I good at, to the extent that others would like to learn how to do it too? No matter if I felt professional or not about it.
I knew I was good at drawing, always have been, and to back it up (for myself at least) I had gone to art school, taken a long row of art classes, including one semester at UCLA (while living and working in LA as a nanny in those bold an limitless twenties again). And then I started thinking about what I would talk about and show in a class about drawing.
From there it all just happened. A lot of hard work putting it all together yes, but once started there was never really a question about if I could, should or would anymore. And now I’m really glad I took the chance.
After that first class in drawing and illustration I got some more ideas when thinking about what I would have wished for when starting out with different things. For example markers. When I started using markers I had no clue on how they worked and how to use them properly. I had to google, watch endless YouTube tutorials gathering bits and pieces of knowledge here and there and doing the whole trial and error thing. So it was quite natural that my next class was about the fundamentals of coloring with markers. I wanted to provide all that information and knowledge I had gathered into one easy accessible place and help people save time and getting started quicker than I did.
My Classic Pattern Design classes started like that too. First me studying, learning everything I could about these patterns from all kinds of sources, trying to mimic and copy before creating my own patterns. And then why not share all that I had learned into one sweet class for others to enjoy and learn from?
Teaching may seem far away for you, but as a creative person you already have a lot of skills, know-how and tips and tricks that you use for yourself in your own work. And all that can be packaged into a class - short or long doesn't matter. And there is someone, or a whole lot that would really like to take part of what you know and learn and evolve from it.
”But it has already been done”, you might think. Yes, everything has been done already, but that doesn't stop you from doing your take on it. So even if there is a ton of courses on how to make a repeat pattern in Illustrator, you can share with the creative community how you do that, your tips, process and shortcuts.
There WILL be people who needs specifically your way of how to go about it. And there will be people that are not interested. That’s fine and how it always works.
Support and coaching from idea to publish
If you want to give it a try I know Skillshare will be excited to have you. Their business model is based on constantly publishing new classes for their students so they need your and your skills, tips and tricks on all kinds of topics.
It doesn’t have to be within graphic design, pattern or illustration. Different crafts, business, marketing and technology are popular too. Perhaps that uninspiring office / day-job credits you knowledge or a a skill that other people would love to know about? For example, I probably have a lot of marketing skills and knowledge from my decade in marketing that I could share. What about you? What experiences could you package into a class
If you are interested in teaching here’s a great way to get started
With the link below you can let Skillshare know you might be interested in creating a class and hop on board a coached program they provide for all new teachers. This means that they will take you by the hand and help you from start to finish until you have your first class up and running and making your first teaching salary (unless that day-job is teaching…). Their new teacher program includes workshops, classes and guides on how to create class outlines, script, filming, recording audio, editing with free software like iMovie and similar and how to publish. You’ll even get a teacher handbook to refer to.
By using this link you will sponsor me with a little extra cash too when publishing your first class.