Skillshare versus Thinkific, which one is better for you to use today for teaching online video courses and to be a student?
If you have used Teachable, this will have a lot of relevance also instead of Thinkific as I’ve used Teachable, but I’m doing this on Thinkific.
Skillshare vs Thinkific! Income Report for Teaching Video Courses Online!
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If you would like to see my income from each of these platforms and explain it, I will show you that. If you find anything helpful in this video, will you please leave a like on it because you will feel good about doing that and it helps more people find the video?
Skillshare is an online teaching platform where anyone can sign up and start teaching a class today. Skillshare also offers the ability to take 24,000 plus paid classes for $96 a year after a two-month free trial.
If you would like to join Skillshare, will you please use my link at skillshare.com/r/jerrybanfield because you will also feel good helping me earn $10 when you sign up and having access to all the classes as I do today.
Thinkific, meanwhile is an online course hosting platform where you are free to upload, within reason, whatever courses you want to. Thinkific is a self-hosted course platform which means you get total control over what you do with the courses. You get student emails and you are responsible for doing everything. You don’t have any of your own students that could potentially come to you on a third party platform like Skillshare, and Thinkific can also have significant costs.
While I’ve paid nothing to earn the $31,000 I’ve earned on Skillshare, on Thinkific I’ve spent about $5,000 in costs paid to Thinkific to earn the $45,971 I show in revenue.
On top of that, I’ve also paid a bunch in PayPal fees and Stripe fees because the revenue you see here for Thinkific is not profit. Whereas the total earned on Skillshare is the money Skillshare has actually paid me. This means that the income difference between Thinkific and Skillshare is fairly similar.
Now, I’ve not been doing Thinkific as long as Skillshare. I will show you some more detailed looks at each of these here now.
I will tab over and we will take a look first at my Skillshare bio, which you will find at skillshare.com/r/jerrybanfield and it shows that I’ve got 54 classes on Skillshare.
I’ve been putting classes on Skillshare for years and you can see on my About Me page, the top five classes I recommend you getting started with, and this is what you will find when you use my referral link to sign up.
I will go over here to the income for Skillshare and I will make my face a little bit smaller so you can see this better.
On Skillshare, you can see I’ve earned $31,517, which is the actual amount Skillshare has paid me, and I did not have to pay anything to earn that. That’s therefore, total profit.
I have 27,000 students and this is about 10,000 hours people have watched my courses on Skillshare, which is amazing. I have 295 positive reviews and I realize that was up a little bit.
In November, I’ve gotten about 50 hours that people watched my courses so far and 24 premium referrals, which as you can see, by multiplying is $240.
Now, what’s remarkable about Skillshare is I’ve done almost nothing on Skillshare for a year and a half since I started trying Thinkific. I tested out Thinkific and self-hosting my own courses over the last year and I’ve got a great case study I hope is helpful for you today.
When we zoom into “minutes watched,” what we can see is people are still watching a lot of my courses on Skillshare, even though I’ve hardly uploaded any new courses in the last year.
That’s what is amazing to me, you can see these people watching an average of about 50 hours a month.
They are watching my courses on Skillshare even though I’ve contributed almost nothing in a year and a half. I’m getting 50 to 100 new students a month, again, even though I haven’t contributed almost anything in a year and a half.
You can see the earnings by month on Skillshare.
We will go all the way through these.
October 2018, the last payment I just got, you can see $436 earned with $186 in royalties, and 25 premium referrals.
Almost all of those referrals have come off one YouTube video I made, which shows how to get thousands of Udemy classes available for free on Skillshare because many instructors that put their courses up on Udemy or self-hosted teaching platforms also throw them up on Skillshare because of the additional income.
Many of those instructors never mention Skillshare because the instructors want to earn more money on the other platform.
However, I’m banned from Udemy where I earned over $600,000 and I’m disappointed with the performance of my own self-hosted courses in terms of how many students have enrolled and how much money I’ve earned relative to that in terms of each individual student and the best deal for students.
If you sign up on my own self-hosted course website, you only get my courses and I’m no longer willing to sell people on getting up 50 of my courses instead of 24,000 courses available on Skillshare.
You can see the income has been pretty steady on Skillshare even though I’ve done almost nothing for a year and a half. In fact, some months, earning a shocking $700 on Skillshare when I hadn’t even put up a course recently.
Referrals continuing to come in on Skillshare even though I did not put Skillshare on any of my new videos or mention Skillshare anywhere for over a year on my YouTube channel. Every month, people are still coming in from old YouTube videos.
What I did do after I got banned from Udemy is focus on Skillshare. We will go back to the beginning of the Skillshare income, and then show you going forward.
I joined Skillshare in April 2015 when I was on Udemy.
We did absolutely no promotion for them at all and as you can see, I got no referrals at all on Skillshare until the month I was banned from Udemy. Just like many instructors, I never mentioned Skillshare anywhere until I got banned from Udemy.
In July 2016, then you can see my first referral to Skillshare, and at this point I was earning $500 a month on Skillshare, even though I was literally just putting my Udemy courses on Skillshare.
That was just from Skillshare’s internal earnings essentially. What happened after I got banned from Udemy, I started focusing more on Skillshare.
I started in October 2016.
As you can see, I started actively putting new courses up on Skillshare.
First, I started promoting those on YouTube, and then the income went up to the highest it has been so far with 15 referrals made in the first month.
I put a serious effort on it, and then I started, as you can see, to quickly get $800, and then over $1,000, and in fact in one month, February 2017, $3,000 earnings including 153 referrals for $1,530 in earnings.
What you see is that I was focusing a lot on Skillshare right here with all these referrals. I was putting up a ton of videos referring my Skillshare classes all the time, and I was making very good money doing that until June 2017 when I started focusing on Steem and I launched my Thinkific. I got impatient on Skillshare with the earnings, which seems crazy looking back.
In February, I got $3,000, in March $2,000, in April almost $3,000, in May from basically the previous months. I’ve pretty much stopped contributing anything new or hardly anything new to Skillshare and May 2017, when I launched Thinkific.
You can see the revenue continued to go down although it has not gone to zero, and in fact, I’ve earned something like $5,000 or $10,000 since then just on momentum, when really, I only put about six months of serious attention on Skillshare.
I’m imagining if I had continued focusing so much on Skillshare, I would be making $10,000 to $20,000 a month on Skillshare every single month now, even if I didn’t put out any new courses and if I had continued doing all those YouTube videos with Skillshare in it, I imagine I would probably have been making 300 to 500 referrals a month on Skillshare now.
What I did instead is I got caught up in having my own self-hosted courses. I got focused on having my own self-hosted courses and we will see the results of that.
Obviously, I made some good money with my own self-hosted courses. What I got frustrated with Skillshare is the inability to sell my courses at a higher price and the inability to control things on Skillshare.
What I did after years of using Teachable, I got frustrated with using Teachable and I signed up for Thinkific, a beautiful online course hosting platform.
I’ve since earned, as you can see, $45,971.94 in revenue off of Thinkific. If you subtract all the fees and costs I’ve paid, the actual amount I’ve gotten off of Thinkific is probably anywhere from $35,000 to $38,000, which given that has taken place in a year and a half compared to three years of earnings on Skillshare, that’s a great deal.
However, there is one very important thing I need to mention for Thinkific. A lot of the earnings from Thinkific came in from a couple of different activities that I’m no longer doing, and then are not good opportunities for everyone.
A lot of the earnings on Thinkific, probably at least $10,000 of the earnings have come from people buying a lifetime partner with all courses membership or the formerly monthly plan I had for all my courses.
I was thinking at the time, why get people to go to Skillshare where I have to constantly hustle for minutes watched when I get people to sign up on my own website and pay me every month instead of Skillshare?
Sure, for money in the short term, that worked well for me. The problem is most people don’t want to pay $27 to $49 a month just for my courses when on Skillshare, you could pay half or less of that, $10 or $20 a month on Skillshare, or $96 a year, and you get 24,000 courses plus tons of new ones all the time.
It’s just common sense and what happened is people consistently canceled their subscriptions and recently, I’ve made almost nothing on my Thinkific school which is at u.jerrybanfield.com.
In fact, one of my most recent frustrations, I made an outstanding and one of the first video courses in the world on how to master Facebook live gaming at fb.gg.
“Master Facebook Live Gaming at FB.gg“ has 25 lessons, it has hours of video in it, there are tons of useful and helpful material on there, and not one sale on this course.
Not one sale on it!
You can see obviously, I put a bunch of time and effort. I probably put 15 or 20 hours into the course itself with a world-class filming studio setup that if you tried to do it on a set up that’s not as efficient as mine, with my no editing process, it would probably take a lot of people 40 to 60 hours to make this kind of a course.
What you can see on this course, there is a lot to it. I even offer a video call with the course, and not one person has bought it.
The course I made before that, “Master of SEO,” the same kind of thing here.
It’s my newest course on search engine optimization, it has got Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, tips to rank higher, there is a lot of good information in this course I wish I’d had on SEO when I started.
Not one person has bought it and that is what stinks about Thinkific.
Now, there are things that are really good about Thinkific. I’ve got 9,000 email addresses on my email list from giving away free coupons to my older Thinkific courses. If you want to build your own email list, then obviously having a Thinkific school is really good for that.
I will show you what I did to earn the majority of the money on my Thinkific school.
What I did to earn the majority of the money on my Thinkific school, over $30,000 of it, I sold a course that I promoted on YouTube.
I sold a course named, “#1 Cryptocurrency Investment Opportunity, June 2017.”
What I did to make the majority of the money on my Thinkific school, I sold this course, “#1 Cryptocurrency Investment Opportunity, June 2017.”
While it is only $27 today, it was $180 at the time.
What I did to sell this course was the following. I made cryptocurrency video tutorials for months on YouTube, nearly a year of cryptocurrency free video tutorials on how to trade. I had invested and promoted heavily in one cryptocurrency, then what I did is I sold out of that and I told everyone.
I said, “Hey I’ll tell you first what I’m buying into next and what I’m about to promote really heavily. All you need to do is buy this video course and you’ll get to know before everyone else.”
Therefore, I did a system where people wanted to essentially beat everyone else who was going to buy in and get excited about it, and that’s what people were able to do when they bought my course.
If you bought my course, as soon as I launched it and you bought the cryptocurrency I said I was about to promote before I promoted it, and then you sold it immediately after I promoted it. You could have doubled or tripled your money doing that and I imagine, based on the relatively low number of refunds and from seeing what people commented on videos, that a lot of people who bought the course did that.
They only bought the course to see which currency I was investing in, they bought the course, then loaded up on thousands of dollars of the currency. Their initial momentum put the price up a little bit right before I went public with it. Then, I went public with it, the price went up two or three times right after that, and that is how I made the majority of my money on Thinkific.
Therefore, from my point of view, I did relatively little in terms of offering true educational value. I did some kind of a get to know what I’m going to buy, some kind of insider trading scheme you could put it, that, “Hey you pay this money, I’ll let you know what I’m going to promote next before I tell everyone else about it.”
I made something like $30,000 from that of my total $45,000.
Therefore, if you think about it, everything else I did, all these other video courses have earned me almost nothing on Thinkific in a year and a half.
The worst part is that despite my best efforts to promote my Thinkific, I’ve done several videos previewing the same style that I did on Skillshare, so the same things that worked to promote Skillshare to get all these thousands of dollars of earnings and referrals. The exact same strategies I did to get those results have got me almost nothing on Thinkific.
Not one sale on either of my two courses with millions of followers online and over 1% of people on earth having seen all the things I’ve created, with 10,000 or so people on my email list, with thousands of people watching every one of my gaming videos on Facebook and me mentioning the course, and me promoting it all over my website, not one single sale on this course.
I am going to provide some suggestions now based on where you might want to be. If you are brand new and you are just watching this and hoping to make some of your own income online, you don’t have any video courses yet, I’m suggesting that Skillshare is a very good place to start out for you.
Skillshare is a place where you can put your courses up for free and you can then refer your friends to Skillshare the platform, you could easily refer at least 10, if not 50 to 100 of people you know, colleagues, associates, co-workers over time just based on the educational value Skillshare has.
You get 24,000 courses for two months for free when you sign up and put in a credit card on Skillshare. Then, it’s something like $96 a year or you can pay monthly to have access to all the courses including all the new ones added.
If you have already got video courses online, Skillshare seems like a good long-term opportunity for me, although the short-term is definitely frustrating.
When I started in October, I got very little benefit from a lot of focus on Skillshare, even though I’ve put a lot of time and attention in Skillshare, I didn’t really start kicking up the income from it until a few months later.
I also ran some ads for my Skillshare page and for Skillshare, which is how I got some of those large numbers of referrals doing some Facebook ads. Most of the referrals, I believe, came for free just on my YouTube videos making free previews of the classes.
If you have already got a few video courses on your own website and you have been taking time to sell them, if you are in certain niche industries where we can easily, for example, in real estate, I’ve seen a lot of people selling courses for hundreds if not thousands of dollars with very ultra-specific things.
Things that might be too niche to even put on Skillshare where almost all your sales are going to be direct word-of-mouth, then those things might work well for Thinkific because you can put the price up as high as you want to and even if you say make a couple of sales a month, that will give you really good income.
Whereas Skillshare is really good for some more of these broad topics. Some of my most successful classes on Skillshare have been about Facebook ads, Google AdWords, and I’ve got classes on all kinds of subjects because Skillshare is good for a broad audience. If you have got something that’s ultra-niche, Skillshare might be able to help you earn a little bit of income, but you are just not going to get that many minutes watched.
If you are ultra-niche as I mentioned, that cryptocurrency investment, that was ultra-niche, very clear specific timely call to action. Therefore, you might be able to do something on Thinkific like that.
If you have an existing business system with an email list and you want to be able to use your courses to build your email list, then obviously, Thinkific can give you the ability to do that. Whereas on Skillshare, it is kind of frustrating, you don’t have the ability to get any of the student information at all.
I can send my followers a message on Skillshare, but I’m not able to get any email addresses and even though I’ve got whatever number of students it says on here, I have very little ability to reach the majority of those students, even with 27,000 students.
I have 7,000 followers, that means when I put out a new course, it only goes out to those 7,000 followers. It doesn’t go out to all 27,000 students, whereas on Thinkific, I’ve got 10,931 signups, unless someone opts out of my email list on Thinkific, I’m able to email them. That’s why I’ve got an email list with 9,000 people from Thinkific today.
Therefore, if you have to have an email list, then Thinkific is the way to go. However, having an email list has an additional cost. I pay several thousand dollars a year for my email list, then I pay additional money to have my friend Michel actually write the emails. Therefore, an email list, if you are getting started, is an expense you may not want to fool around with. It might not even be worth your time and your energy if you can make a lot of classes.
Skillshare limits you to one class a week which my wife says is good, so I can pace myself because I was putting out a Skillshare class almost every day when my income went up a lot.
On Skillshare, you can only put out one class a week. The thing is, Skillshare has organic traffic which means, especially if you are getting started, if you make a class that there is no other class on Skillshare, you have got a chance indefinitely to get organic traffic directly from Skillshare.
I am disappointed with the organic traffic of the courses on my university. Almost no organic traffic at all to my university whereas Skillshare, I think now has millions of subscribers that pay and are premium members.
There are millions of students, I don’t know how many are premium members, but you have got access with the mobile app and a desktop website. You have got access to all those members and the minutes count whether they watch on a mobile app or on the desktop, and the nice thing is, I think Skillshare is the best deal for each of us as a student.
I don’t think putting my own course up on my website and expecting you to sign up there is the best deal for you.
I’d rather you get all my courses plus everyone else’s courses for one cost paid to Skillshare and that’s why I’m focusing on Skillshare now instead of my own website. While I know there is a bunch of potential, I probably have the ability to finagle some other thing like I did that cryptocurrency and make more money in the short term on my website and that’s what lured me into doing that.
I saw the potential to make a lot of money in a short period of time on Thinkific and I did it, but if you look back at the income on Skillshare. If I just had simply stuck with Skillshare, not fooling around with any of that cryptocurrency stuff and just kept teaching courses and kept building my following, I would probably have made more money in the long term than everything combined from Thinkific and everything combined from my cryptocurrency investing.
I kept jumping after all these short-term opportunities.
What I really like about Skillshare is the long-term potential, when I actually focused on Skillshare, the income started to go up pretty good. The income even when I didn’t pay attention to Skillshare at all, continued to come in and still comes in for hundreds of dollars a month.
I imagine now that I’m focusing on Skillshare again, the income will quickly go back over a thousand dollars in a month and I imagine I’ve only earned a small fraction of the long-term potential on Skillshare.
I imagine I will continue promoting Skillshare consistently again on my YouTube channel because it’s so easy to make referrals to Skillshare because it is truly a good deal. It’s a way better deal than buying courses on Udemy. It’s a way better deal than signing up on people’s individual websites, and I think like Netflix, that had this kind of critical mass. I was one of the first people who was a Netflix member and Netflix early on just had a bigger collection of DVDs than Blockbuster.
Netflix at first, it didn’t seem very profitable, didn’t look like that great of an opportunity, especially when they tried to do streaming videos, and now Netflix is so massive that almost everyone I know either has Netflix or has had Netflix at some time.
It looks like to me Skillshare is going in that direction for online education. I’ve seen one YouTuber I follow doing an awkward Skillshare promotion in the middle of one of his zombies videos, and then several of my business partners have said they have seen people doing the same thing promoting Skillshare.
I think Skillshare is finally starting to get critical mass. I heard another instructor has over $10,000 a month on Skillshare himself with a similar following as I’ve got and a similar number of courses created online.
Therefore, I’m focusing again on Skillshare and I’m actually dropping my Thinkific. I’m going to drop down to the lowest-cost plan. I’m not going to promote my Thinkific anymore.
My Thinkific, in terms of income, has already withered into nearly nothing, and I’m simply starting to send everyone over to Skillshare again.
I hope this information is helpful for you today.
I know that I love researching and getting some guidance on anything like this from people who have been there and done that. I’ve been there and done that on Skillshare, on Thinkific, on Teachable, and on Udemy.
If I would have started out directly on Skillshare instead of doing so much on Udemy, I think my Skillshare income in the long-term actually would have done more than even Udemy because I brought tens of thousands of students to Udemy.
If I had brought those tens of thousands of students to Skillshare instead, I would have earned about the same amount of money as Udemy, except I’d have a massive following on Skillshare and all of my new courses whatever shot to rank number one on Skillshare with that huge following.
I think in a long-term, I would have made even more money if I just had started out straight with Skillshare and went in on that from day one. That’s easy to say today, but I think that because things that tend to be the best deal for the consumer tend to succeed.
Paying $10 and having to buy courses over and over again on Udemy is not the best deal for a student. Having a subscription where you can get 24,000 courses, that is the best deal for a student.
Buying courses for hundreds of dollars on Thinkific or Teachable self-hosted, that is not usually the best deal for the student either. It’s not to say some people can do that, what I’ve noticed is I very rarely buy courses like that whereas it’s very easy for me to just watch courses on Skillshare today.
I appreciate you being here.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you found anything useful in this video, will you please leave a like on it because you will feel good doing that if you are like me?
I feel good when I leave a like on someone else’s video, I feel like I’ve given something back. If you would like to participate in the discussion, will you please leave a comment because there is a chance I will read it?
If you would like to join us on Skillshare, “Oh, Jerry, this whole video has just been a pitch to give me to sign up for Skillshare.”
Maybe, maybe not.
Maybe it is. That’s fine.
If you would like to join me on Skillshare, will you please go to skillshare.com/r/jerrybanfield, because you can get in on the fun we are having on Skillshare?
You will feel good helping me earn $10 when you sign up and you will love being able to get all my courses without ever having to pay me specifically anything. You can just watch all my courses all you want on your mobile app or on any desktop devise or tablet, and you can watch everyone else’s courses too, many of whom put their courses up on Thinkific or on Udemy also. You can watch them on Skillshare.
One of my friends says, “Don’t tell anyone my courses are on Skillshare because then people are just going to go watch there.”
That’s how it is.
Get in on Skillshare, skip paying $10 on Udemy or $180 on Thinkific and join us.
At the same time, I realize I don’t know what’s right specifically for you. You might be able to do great with Thinkific, I don’t know.
Thank you very much for being one of the few to make it to the end.
I love you.
You are awesome.
I imagine I will be seeing you again soon.
Don’t say anything dumb at the end or look awkward.
Edits from video transcript by Michel Gerard at www.michelgerardonline.com.