Earn up to $3,000 a Month for Teaching Your Passion Online

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Posted by The Savvy Retiree on June 2, 2020 in Make Money

Amy Stewart has written 11 books, four of which were New York Times bestsellers. But recently, she has found a new way to make money from her talent: teaching her passion online.

In 2001, Amy published her first book, a memoir about growing a garden. A year later, she signed up for an oil painting class with a local artist. She’s been committed to the art form ever since and now sells her paintings through her website.

At the start of this year, Amy’s dedication to improving her painting abilities led her to the online teaching platform, Skillshare. “I signed up so I could take a class from an artist I admire and realized that the format really appealed to me. The lessons are short, the focus is on teachable skills, and every class is project-based, which means that the students learn how to do a concrete project by taking the class,” she says.

Founded in 2010, Skillshare hosts a vast number of classes across all manner of topics, from animation and music to photography, web design, and marketing. Anyone can create a class there for free, and courses encompass everything from practical instruction in specific software programs, like “Adobe Photoshop CC—Essentials Training Course,” to more abstract lifestyle guidance, such as “Everyday Minimalism: Find Calm and Creativity in Living Simply.” The site states that first-time instructors can make between $300 and $3,000 a month.

Amy had previously given in-person writing and art workshops, so teaching was not new to her. But before stumbling across Skillshare, she’d never thought of using these skills to earn online. After completing the course, however, she realized that it provided the perfect format to share her knowledge, so she sat down and created her first class, “Start Your Book Today.” 

The course is structured into five- to seven-minute segments. To create these, she first had to write the script for each and then record them word for word using a teleprompter. “My first course was based on blog posts and newsletter articles I’d already written,” she says, “so creating that script was easier than if I’d been diving into a brand-new topic.”

According to Amy, her investment to produce the classes was minimal. The only thing she needed to buy was a $60 microphone. The main skill you need to learn is video editing and this can be done on iMovie (a free Apple app that comes with the iPad and iPhone) or other such software. “They all operate pretty much the same and it’s ridiculously easy,” she says.

Amy started with one class in January and by May was offering 11 courses on Skillshare: six with an art theme, four on writing, and one on “creative business.” That’s a production rate of more than two a month, all while working on the latest installment in her series of crime novels.

“I weirdly feel like I should apologize for appearing to be too busy during the shutdown,” she says. “But I’m the kind of person who needs to stay busy in a crisis.”

Currently, Amy is earning about $250 to $300 a month from Skillshare. That’s not enough to pay the bills, but it does translate to thousands of dollars in new passive income a year…all for sharing her passion. “I like the immediacy of teaching online,” she says. “Writing a book is a long project that can take up to a year, whereas I can produce a new Skillshare course in a week.”

Written by Louisa Rogers