Skillshare Review: Is Skillshare Worth The Price?

Published by: Julia

What is Skillshare? 

You may have heard of Skillshare before, but maybe you’re still not exactly sure what it’s all about.

Well, let me tell you.

It’s an online platform where people either a) create courses to share their skills, or b) take courses to learn a skill. 

Affectionately called the “Netflix of Learning” –  you can access their digital collection of various classes any time, anywhere (with an internet connection, of course!). 

skillshare review - is it worth it.

On a high level, here’s the quick and dirty version of our Skillshare review: 

Pros

  • Low price – good value!
  • Various topics – even free version
  • Growing platform – will be even more courses
  • Peer-reviewed – so you know which ones are good
  • Up-to-date
  • Learn on-the-go with mobile app – can download videos
  • Perks – Discounts with Adobe, Pond5, Shutterstock, Squarespace & more
  • Skillshare Original – Official courses with partners like Mailchimp, Adobe, Quirky & more
  • Community – Access to teacher & classmates
  • Expected video features:
    • Watch at different speeds
    • Turn on captions
    • Continue where you left off

Cons

  • Not every topic is covered (yet)
  • Not every course is recorded in a  professional studio 
  • Their customer service team seem to be getting a lot of flack from people who want to cancel their membership
    • Read the fine print – we cover this in step-by-step detail below.

Is Skillshare legit?

Yes, Skillshare is legitimate and not a scam. 9 years after it’s conception, it’s still operating (and growing). 

Their business model is: you pay a fee (monthly or annually – you pick) to access knowledge that can unlock your human potential. 

Here’s a quick history (of how legit it really is!):

Skillshare was founded in 2010 by Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong. Since 2017, it has been lead by current CEO, Matthew Cooper


According to PR Newswire, back in July 2018, they raised another $28M USD in Series C Funding, and are backed by several venture capital firms like Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital, and Burda Principal Investments.

To date, the platform has 6000+ experts who created 20,000+ classes that have attracted a membership base of 5 million+ students. 

Not too shabby! 

The Course Catalog: What Can You Learn on Skillshare? 

There are a plethora of topics on Skillshare. 

While not everything is on there just yet (it’s still expanding, remember?), it’s just about anything you can think of, especially if it relates to the creative field.

Skillshare’s current course offerings are categorized by these 3 groups and subsections:

Create
Here you will find these types of creative classes:

  1. Animation
  2. Creative Writing
  3. Film & Video
  4. Fine Art
  5. Graphic Design
  6. Illustration
  7. Music
  8. Photography

Build
More pragmatic, this second category focuses on these topics:

  1. Business Analytics
  2. Freelance & Entrepreneurship
  3. Leadership & Management
  4. Marketing

Thrive
The latest addition to the catalog, holistic offerings were introduced:

  1. Lifestyle
  2. Productivity

Notable Experts

As Skillshare gained more popularity, certain famed business people started to contribute to the platform too. Here’s a list of some of the ‘celebrities’ we found: 

Marc Ecko Run Your Own Business Lesson from Biggie
  • Gary Vaynerchuk – Discover more about wine or social media strategies with the one and only Gary Vee!
  • Young Guru – Master how to mix music with this Grammy-nominated audio engineer 
  • Marc Ecko – Explore how to run your own business with the fashion brand icon
  • Simon Sinek – Study awesome presentation skills with this thought leader
  • Guy Kawasaki – Learn how to start and grow a venture with this business veteran

My Review On 3 Skillshare Courses

1. Productivity Habits That Stick (Skillshare Original)

Teacher: Mike Vardy, Founder of Productivityist

Course Length: 8 lessons; 45 minutes

My Rating: 9/10 

Skillshare Original - productivity habits that stick

Course Summary:

  • Productivity = Intention (Intend to do those tasks) + Attention (pay attention to those tasks)
    • Most people don’t marry the two, so they do ‘busy work’
    • Tools are good but a framework is foundational – it keeps you on track
  • Quality framework should have 3 things:
    • 1) Simple – you can easily explain it to someone else
    • 2) Durable – survives everything (home or work) you can throw at it
    • 3) Flexible – work in different situations – Eg. easily transfer from paper to digital, can use in every job and every life stage
    • The goal is to write EVERYTHING down so you don’t have to remember it
  • Awareness
    • Foster awareness by consistent use of your framework. How? Capture relentlessly
    • Slow Down = give yourself time to capture your thoughts & brainstorm
      • Goal of productivity is to speed the right things up & slow the right things down
    • Know your bodyclock – if you’re not a morning person, that’s fine. 
      • Don’t spend extra time rewiring your body; just do the basic, low-energy tasks in the morning and save the creative, higher energy items for night time
  • Habits
    • Habits are bite-sized things that help you build a better lifestyle over time
    • Best habits to start with:
      • Time theming – overarching theme for the day
      • Time Chunking AKA horizontal theming – schedule important broader (eg family time or writing) tasks at consistent times
      • Habit Stacking – start with one and add more as they become ingrained (Eg. flossing, then wear your mouthguard)
      • Establish routines – evening and morning routines is a stack of habits that you always do together
    • Don’t use your calendar to schedule your day, the important things won’t stand out 
  • Tools
    • Just stick to a few tools to not feel overwhelmed
    • Don’t use email as a to-do list – it’s not designed for that and constant influx of emails is distracting
  • How to Theme Your Week
    • Look at your week and assess – what are your reoccuring certainties?
      • Eg. if every Monday you have a meeting, then it’s ‘Meeting Mondays’
    • Categorize your responsibilities but give yourself a broad spectrum
      • Eg. instead of “email” call it “communication” so you can include returning voicemails too
    • Group similar work to avoid lost time/energy in context switching – get into that state of flow quicker
    • Delay on PURPOSE to align tasks 
      • If not done podcast stuff on Wednesday, give yourself permission and the intention to delay until next week
    • Try out your framework for at least a week (ideally a month) to get into habit and see changes

What I Liked:

  • Great teacher – clear in his deliver, he’s active in the course’s page and will post/respond to comments
  • Good audio and visual – you can tell it was professionally filmed and edited
  • Case study – he walks you through how he applied the framework to a client and was open about what worked well and what didn’t work
  • Classmates’ Projects – helpful to see how others’ productivity framework look like
  • Consistent messaging – reminded throughout to ‘marry attention with intention to be productive’
  • List of resources and discount on the tool featured in the video

What Can be Improved:

  • Very minor – he said he would cover “what and when to respond to messages” but that must have been edited out in the final cut

2. Run Your Own Business: Lessons from Biggie (Notable Expert)

Teacher: Marc Ecko, Founder of Ecko Unltd

Course Length: 6 lessons; 49 minutes

My Rating: 7/10

Course Summary: 

Marc turned this Biggie Smalls classic into the 10 commandments of business. Here we go:

  1. Rule nombre uno – never let no one know how much dough you hold
    1. It’s not about jealousy, it’s the message to “quit counting.” 
    2. Stop counting your money, the number of likes or followers you have, how many facebook friends you got, how many A’s you get in school…Life is not neatly defined by numbers. Don’t try to get validation from it either
  2. Never let ‘em know your next move…move in silence or violence
    1. In today’s social media world, we don’t know when or what to be silent about. Because we keep posting and tweeting everything on our mind – we become predictable
    2. Violence represents “taking action” – remember that talking and doing are 2 different things
  3. Never Trust Nobody
    1. In business, trust is a valuable currency and is very delicate. Who and how deeply you trust is important.
  4. Never get high on your own supply
    1. Your own supply of HUBRIS – always be humble and listen to others. Don’t drink your own kool-aid into oblivion. 
    2. People confuse fame with success. Fame is not success, fame will allow hubris to creep up on you
  5. Where you rest at 
    1. “Don’t eat where you sh!t” – separate family or home life from work. 
    2. In today’s culture, we are encouraged to not sleep, which is ludicrous. Go to bed, recharge, then wake up and grind.
  6. Credit, Dead it!
    1. Careful who you lend to – not just money, but your time or energy too. Choose wisely who you care about and hang out with
    2. Not saying to not donate or be charitable, but If you lend, have zero expectations that you’d get anything back
  7. Keep your family and business completely separated
    1. Everyone is emotional, and family is the center of emotions
    2. If you do mix, don’t allow/tolerate nepotism – have guidelines & have an end date
    3. Remember “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”
  8. Never keep no weight on you
    1. Do NOT micromanage – let your guys on the field make mistakes, they need to learn
  9. If you ain’t getting bags stay away from [Politics]
    1. Don’t associate your business with politics – it implies an ulterior motive
    2. Don’t entertain office politics either
  10. If you ain’t got the clientele say “hell no!”
    1. Careful who you borrow from – don’t just take money or raise funds for no reason
    2. Focus on partners rather than lenders, so you can evenly distribute risk and benefit

What I liked: 

  • Biggie – enough said.
  • Topic was common-sensical and easy to remember as it’s from a classic song
  • Sound and quality of the video – professionally done
  • He introduced his businesses, which was interesting and gives him credibility on the course topic
  • The teacher was engaging, real, has street-cred.

What could be improved:

  • Lecture-style – reminds me of college
  • Would have liked more concrete examples of those 10 rules in action from his own experience
  • Felt like not ‘enough meat on the bones’ – didn’t talk about the concept in-depth enough

3. How to Critique Any Design (Staff Pick)

Teacher: MJ Troung, Meyer Innovation Factory Head

Course Length: 16 lessons; 37 minutes

My Rating: 8/10 

Skillshare - How to Critique Any Design

Course Summary: 

  • Art is not design. Art is expressive and design is functional.
  • What is a Bad Critique?
    • 1) Saying a subjective statement and just leaving it like that. Eg. I don’t like orange”
      • Instead explain why or come up with suggestions Eg. “I don’t think these colours are on brand” 
    • 2) A vague statement Eg. this design isn’t attractive
      • Instead describe why you don’t find it attractive. Eg. It’s a too top heavy and reminds me of an elephant on stilts”
    • 3) No context to statement Eg. This top is too shiny
      • Instead say “the shiny top reminds me of cheap items at the dollar store. Perhaps matte or satin is the way to go for a more high end look.”
  • Meaningful Critiques in 4 steps:
    • Compliment
      • Be kind and genuine, designing is a creative act
    • Describe what the design is achieving with concrete descriptive words
      • Eg. “rectangular, glossy” instead of “ugly, cheap, strange”
    • Frame the critique with goals and misses
      • Reiterate what the goal of the design is Eg. adhere to brand style or better for users/customers 
      • Eg. not “these headphones are uncomfortable” but “after using it for 30 mins, my ears were a bit sore, so consider a more flexible head band or softer ear padding”
    • Offer practical suggestions on how they can address these goals/misses
      • Suggesting does not mean to give them a solution – they can figure that out themselves
  • 3 Common Functional Problems
    • Doesn’t meet the goal 
    • Create more problems than it solves
    • Doesn’t solve the problem
  • 4 Common Aesthetics Problems (this one is more subjective):
    • Distracting – overly complex, too much contrast, too many colours or different fonts, inconsistent, secondary elements are overemphasized
    • Not suitable for the design goal, brand or user
    • No emphasis AKA flat design – a good design helps draw attention and helps move the eyes through the design 
    • Unintended connotations – accidental associations (functional or cultural), or looks cheap
  • One simple advice – always think before you speak, it’s better to use more collaborative words, no matter your rank

What I liked: 

  • Even though it’s not professionally made, it didn’t distract from my learning
  • It’s geared towards design BUT the advice is broad enough to apply to giving feedback in general – I think everyone should take this course
  • She did 3 walkthroughs (a book, a wine label & kitchen tool) on how she critiques – very useful to see live examples
  • Great introduction into the design world and how to work with designers

What Can Be Improved: 

  • Lots of design jargon that the average non-designer may not understand
  • Sound quality is a bit soft, but it’s fine with headphones 

How Much Does Skillshare Cost? 

Compared to a single class at university or a community college, it’s negligible. 

Skillshare has 3 membership plans to choose from:

FREE 

This is what you get with the free plan in exchange for your email address:

  • Access to all the free courses (a few thousand of them!) on your laptop or smartphone
  • Create projects and join in on discussions

Premium

Cost: $99 per year or $15 per month – you choose the payment plan

This is what you get:

  • Access to all their classes (over 20,000!), including projects and discussions
  • Curated online workshops – hosted by Skillshare employee so you can start and finish the class with others at the same time
  • Perks on products or services with partnered brands
  • Able to download videos on mobile app for offline viewing

Team

Cost: $99 per year per user, up to 19 people. Geared for businesses.

You get:

  • Everything that premium membership offers, PLUS
  • One account that you can legally (and ethically) share with your teammates
  • Able to invite teachers for on-site workshops or events 
  • Work with your assigned Program Designer to build customized learning programs
  • Exclusive access to industry experts
  • Analytics on your team’s learning and engagement

Skillshare 2 Month Free Trial

If you’re interested in trying out the premium membership, you can start your 60-day Skillshare free trial here!

Can You Download Skillshare Videos? Yes, Here’s How!

Before you forever learn on-the-go, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You cannot download on a computer
  • There’s no bulk feature, so you’d have to download one video at a time


Ready? Here we go:

  1. Sign up for Skillshare Premium Membership
  2. Download the mobile app – they have both Android and iOS 
  3. Log into the app and toggle on the “Download Class” button
  4. Wait for the video lesson to download.
  5. Enjoy offline viewing whenever, wherever!  
Skillshare mobile app

How to Cancel & Refund Your Skillshare Membership

Tried it out and decided it’s not for you? No worries!

Cancel Skillshare

Here are a few things you should know beforehand.

If you bought the membership on iTunes or Google Play, Skillshare isn’t able to cancel or refund for you. You’ll have to contact the app store directly for help.

Even after you cancel, you’ll still have access to all the premium content until your monthly billing cycle ends.

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Log into your account 
  2. Go to Account Settings > Payments > Cancel Subscription

Skillshare Refund

The same notes above apply here too. 

In addition to that, Skillshare also:

  • Does not refund monthly payments – you would cancel your subscription, and they’ll stop billing you the next month.
  • Does not refund annual membership after 7 days of the charge being processed 
  • Only allows one refund per customer. This means, after you refunded, you can sign up again later, but they won’t give you another refund. 

After reading the above, and you still qualify for a refund, do this:

  1. You don’t even need to log into Skillshare. Just contact them directly by submitting a request here

3 Alternatives to Skillshare

Checked out Skillshare and decided it’s not for you? Or, maybe you just want other options to compare it with. 

There are many alternatives out there, but rather than give you an exhaustive list, here are our top 3 choices: 

Natalie-Portman-Masterclass-Review-1
  1. MasterClass: 60+ classes from celebrity-status masters in the field. Get your all-access pass here!
  2. Udemy: 130,000 courses on a wider range of topics than Skillshare. Their interface is a bit outdated and clunky, but they’re still a good resource. You pay by the course; there are both free and paid courses.
  3. CreativeLive: 1500+ on-demand classes taught by leading creatives. Your Time Ferris, Mel Robbins & Nigel Barkers of the world are your teachers.
  4. BONUS: Class Central – 400~ FREE online courses taught by the 8 Ivy League schools – Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, UPenn & Yale. A great initiative that aims to make top-level education available to everyone around the world!

Skillshare Review FAQ

Q1: Is Skillshare really free?

Yes, Skillshare has a free membership. Sign up with your email and get instant access to all their FREE classes. 

But if you opt for their premium membership plan, you get ALL content – that’s over 20,000 classes – and you can start off with a FREE 60-day trial here! 

Q2: How much is Skillshare monthly? 

Skillshare costs $15 per month. However, if you get their annual membership, it’s $99 for the entire year. 

Let’s do some math. 

If you choose the annual membership, the monthly cost would only be ($99 /12 months =) $8.25. 

skillshare monthly price

In one year, you’d save…$81 – that’s a 45% saving! 


$15 x 12 = $180 

$180 – $99 = $81

81/180 = 45%

No-brainer, right?

Q3: What can you learn on Skillshare?

You can learn many different things on Skillshare. From mixing music to drone photography to starting your own business.

The platform is only just growing, so I predict that it’ll have more classes in different fields very soon.

If you want a taste of what the classes look like, you have 2 choices:

  1. Check out my review of the 3 different courses I took above, or 
  2. Start your FREE 60-day trial here

Q4: Can you make money on Skillshare?

You certainly can make money on Skillshare. There are two ways:

  • Teach

Oversimplifying it here, but the concept is to: sign up to be a creator, decide what you want to teach, film and upload your classes. 

You get paid by the number of minutes your course is watched. Each minute equates to $0.05 to $0.10. So, if you get 100,000 minutes a month, that can be a $5000 to $10,000 paycheque a month. 

Not bad at all!

Just remember to always interact with your students, listen to their feedback and adjust your course to make it better!

Learn more about how to become a teacher here.

  • Refer

This one doesn’t require as much effort as teaching, so it’s a popular choice.

You can refer 2 types of people:

  1. Student – For every person you refer that signs up for a premium membership, you get $10
  2. Teacher – You can $50 per sign up

Q5: Does Skillshare give certificates?

No, Skillshare does not give out certificates after you finish a course.

Why? Well, because it’s not an accredited educational institution. 

Maybe one day it will be, but for now – education is still education, regardless if you get a piece of paper to prove it or not. 

Q6: Can you cancel Skillshare after free trial?

Yes, you can cancel after your free trial if you feel like you don’t get any value from it.

Just make sure to do it before your next monthly billing kicks in. 

Just follow these steps:

  1. Log into account 
  2. Go to Account Settings > Payments > Cancel Subscription

Q7: Can you share a Skillshare account?

While this is heavily frowned upon, I haven’t heard of Skillshare enforcing it. 

If you want an account that you and your team can share, consider getting a team plan instead.

Q8: Is Skillshare free for teachers?

As a teacher, it’s free for you to publish your courses on there. If you want a Skillshare premium membership, unfortunately, you still have to pay for it. 

Q9: What is the purpose of Skillshare com?

The purpose of skillshare is exactly what the name means – to share skills. It’s a learning platform for people to share their knowledge and experiences with others. 

If you want to learn a skill, I’d encourage you to start your free 60-day trial and poke around! 

If you want to share a skill, I’d encourage you to sign up to be a teacher, contribute to the online society, and (of course) make some money while you’re at it!

Final Thoughts – So, Is Skillshare Worth It?

Without a doubt, absolutely! 

Staff Pick on Skillshare

For $99 a year (that’s $99/12 = $8.25 per month!), you get access to 20,000+ classes on a variety of different topics. A single course at the local community college is probably 3-4 times as much!

Sure, they don’t have every single topic under the sun, but it’s quite a range already. They have classes that teach you:

  • How to Create – Animation, Film, Design, Music & Photography
  • How to Build – Entrepreneurship & Leadership
  • How to Thrive – Lifestyle & Productivity 

Also, it’s still growing, yet it has attracted top experts in their field. Some are famous, like Simon Sinek, Gary Vee & Young Guru just to name a few. 

The classes are peer-reviewed and the latest from the field. You can learn on-the-go from your phone, and there’s an online community of classmates that can help you if needed. All you got to do is reach out! 

If you’re knowledgeable in an area, you can sign up to be a teacher and make some money by sharing what you know. 

So, what are you waiting for? 

Sign up here for your free 60-day trial today!

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