This is article #4 in the skillshare experiment.  You’ll find the previous article here. You may find further articles of this series by selecting the tag “skillshare-experiment”.

In this experiment, I take a look at the skillshare platform from a newcomer instructor’s point of view. I want to find out how much effort you need to invest to be successful on skillshare, and what the potential rewards can be. In order to do that, I’m documenting my progress as well as the time investment on this blog.

If you want to compare this newcomer’s view to the impression of an experienced online instructor, take a look at Mark Timberlake’s recently published video.

Teaching Online is Hard Work

Ok, I just need to say it for those who think that teaching online is some kind of get-rich-quickly scheme: It’s not. That should be obvious, but after coming across several discussion in various groups where newcomers were seriously wondering why they hadn’t achieved wealth and stardom, even though they’d already invested 2 weeks, I feel that I should point this out. My investment in skillshare itself isn’t enormous, true, but I also haven’t gotten anywhere with it yet. There are so many activities around an online business (blogging, videos not related to courses, tech setup, etc.) that I feel that the actual course production will always just take up a fraction of my time. The total investment of time and effort into this kind of online business is quite considerable.

Last week I had made a vague plan of finishing most or all of my skillshare class videos this weekend. Well, in retrospect, that was a bit unrealistic. I was busy with work and other projects for most of the week, and Saturday (my usual video-creation day) was split between a bit of barbecue (when the weather is nice in April, you just absolutely have to go outside) and finishing my feedback workbook. On Sunday, I just “quickly” wanted to get the entire feedback topic off my agenda, and so I spent the entire morning finishing up my slideshare presentation and publishing it.

Online Entrepreneur Fatigue

This has probably become an officially recognized condition by now.

When I finally sat down to do videos in the afternoon, I felt completely drained, and I really would’ve preferred dropping it, going for a bike ride (cold weather being back prevented the implementation of that idea) and reading a book. Coincidentally, fellow online instructor Fleur Ottaway just published a blog article about this state that almost every online entrepreneur seems to struggle with sooner or later. Her suggestion is to focus on the one thing that’s going to move your business forward, and to focus on that one thing only. While I feel that she’s on to something there, I also think that when you’re still in your starting-out-phase, there are so many things you need to do. Things are still shifting and moving so much, which makes it very hard to identify what the most important thing is for your business, let alone work on that thing only. The constant multitasking also has its benefits – when you really don’t feel like writing a blog article, create a video. When you don’t want to create any content, fiddle with technology instead. I really like not having to do the same things every day, but sometimes, the constant juggling and pushing for results obviously wears you out.

That’s when plan B kicks in: Having published my plans in public (“I’m going to publish a blog article every Sunday”), I had no choice but to march on, even though I really didn’t want to. So march on I did, plugged in the microphone, pulled up my project files, and started recording.

Week 3 – Small steps forward

It would have gone well this time, if it hadn’t been for a certain project outline we had to submit for milestone 2. Said project outline defined my next video as a 5 minute video introducing Tumult Hype’s user interface.
However, when I was  done screencasting, I ended up with a 10 minute video, with no chance of cutting the length in half. So after 45 minutes of work, I had to delete everything and start over. I’m not sure if I should still file this under “rookie mistake”, or if these things will just keep happening in the life of an online instructor.

The “practice run” did speed things up a bit the second time around, and the second recording went smoothly. I ended up with 6 minutes of video, and with a bit of editing came very close to my 5 minute target (5:09 in the end).

After exporting and uploading the file, I decided to start a (4 hour) weekend, and call it a day to recharge my batteries. I came a small step closer to publishing my first skillshare class, but I’d say I came a lot closer to not sticking to my schedule than I’d like. I’ll need to prioritize this project next week to move forward.

Videos done: 3 out of 9.

Time Investment so far:

  • Week 1: 1h30
  • Week 2: 2h15
  • Week 3: 2h

Total: 5h45

3dsmallInterested in alternatives to Skillshare? Download my free PDF eBook to 19 online course platforms!