First Class Published!

I cannot believe I finally managed to publish my first class. Video editing was a pain. The only software I have is Windows Live Movie Maker (more on that later) and it kept crashing. I spent an hour trying to convert my ‘Chopping’ project file into a video file that I could upload but I never made it past 70%. Sometimes, the programm would shut down after 2% already. It took a couple of reboots and switching off the internet and my virus programm before it finally worked.

But anyway, away from those negative things. I put together seven videos and uploaded them to Skillshare. All that was then left for me to do was create two documents. In my conclusion video I had promised my students to upload a shopping list they could print out and take to the grocery store and written instructions of how to make the recipe.

Personally, I hate cooking while having to watch a video over and over again so this was a must to include.

If you’re interested in looking at my class, you can find it here:

Cooking for Beginners: Making Your First Meal from Scratch

All I need to do now is promote the class. I’ve gotten advise from David Miller, who also published classes on Skillshare, to keep publishing more classes quickly, while making improvements on them. I think this could work well. Anyone who has signed up for my class will get notified when I publish a new class. That means that over time, I should get more and more followers.

But first, I need to reach 25 students. It’s the number you need to be more visible on Skillshare and it’s all about visibility. If people don’t find my class, then how will they sign up for it?

Do you have any marketing advise? If yes, please share it with me.

Taking Care of Paperwork

Last week, I took care of something incredibly boring. I don’t know how this works in other countries but in Germany, whenever you’re planning on earning money somewhere and you’re self-employed, you have to announce it to the government. Since I don’t have an employer when publishing videos on Skillshare, that meant, that I had to go to an office and fill out a form.

Since it’s a government office, the opening times don’t fit with my regular work schedule. I could have gone there every day from nine to noon but guess what? I have an eight-to-four job which makes those kind of visits impossible. Fortunately, they’re open until six in the evening once a week so last Tuesday, as soon as I was free, I raced there with my bike.

When I arrived, there was a long queue in front of the office. I was lucky, though. It turned out that the self-employment government office is in the same building as the driver’s license office and a couple more offices that I had never heard about.

I’m German. We’ve got to do paperwork for pretty much everything you can imagine and of course, there has to be some kind of office that we have to go to so we can pay money there.

Announcing that I was going to earn money on Skillshare wasn’t free either. I had to pay 26€ which, funny enough, is tax deductible. So I pay it now and then get the money back next year with my tax refund.

Don’t you just love those regulations?

For all the absurdities I had to face, in the end, my visit was shorter and less complicated than I had expected. The guy working at the office was very nice and quickly helped me fill out all the forms.

During the next weeks, I’ll get another form from the tax authorities that I have to fill out. But I don’t have to wait for that form to earn money on Skillshare, they guy reassured me. So I guess that’s it, I’m good to go.

What about you? Do you have any similar paperwork to do in your country? Or am I the only one?

Class Design: Outlining My Class

When I decided on what recipe I was going to teach, I was sitting in a bus to the airport. The first thing I did, just after passing through security, was sitting down at a table and taking out a piece of paper.

I scribbled down my first class outline on the back of a bus ticket.

When I thought of the class, lots of ideas ran through my minds. I’ll need an introduction and a short video in the end to sum it up. I’ll also need to talk about ingredients and equipment and then there are the steps required to cook the meal.

Soon, I had a mess of notes, to which I added ingredients and instructions as they passed my mind.

I think for me, brainstorming was the most important part of my class design. Cooking is very straightforward to teach. I just have to go through every step with my students to make sure they get it right. And I have to think of simple obstacles that I might overlook. For example, is it enough to say that they need one onion? Have you been to a supermarket lately and looked at how many different onions are for sale? How will they know which one to choose?

I’m not sure if I came up with every possible obstacle but I did my best.

Once I was finished brainstorming and was sure that I had all the ingredients and the cooking instructions somewhere on the back of the bus ticket, I put them in the right order. I thought about writing down what exactly I was going to say but then decided against it. I find it easy to tell someone what I’m doing, while I’m doing it.

The introduction and the conclusion videos, on the other hand, were different. I spent the flight writing down a possible version, on the back of my boarding pass because there wasn’t any space left on the bus ticket.

I think I’ll need a notebook to keep things in one place.

But by using only time that would have been wasted otherwise, I managed to outline my class and get an idea of what I was going to say in front of the camera. Skillshare seemed even more likeable to me, at that moment. Up to now, it hasn’t been too much work and I’ve already made a lot of progress on my class. All that’s left is the filming and the editing.

I’ll let you know how that turns out very soon.

Class Design: Which Recipe Should I Teach?

Now that I have decided on a topic to teach about and made up my mind about cooking classes, all I need is a recipe.

Since I’m going to make a cooking class for absolute beginners, it has to be an easy one. I know lots of recipes that I love. There’s a banana curry, for example, that’s one of my favourites. But you have to be very careful with how long you cook the bananas and there are so many steps that it wouldn’t be a good class for beginners.

My first step was to figure out the key components of a beginner’s class.

First of all, the recipe had to be easy.

Second, it had to be short. What if people don’t cook because they think it’s a waste of time? You can easily and very quickly get perfectly fine food if you go to a restaurant and you don’t have to put in any effort. A long and complex recipe would only scare off someone who’s making their first meal.

And third, I wanted a recipe that didn’t need much equipment or many ingredients. I have a wonderful book on my shelf by Jamie Oliver. In it, there are a lot of recipes that can, in theory, be completed in fifteen minutes (it usually takes me longer than that but they’re still quick to make). But I soon realised that I can’t make half of the recipes because I don’t have the necessary equipment – and I already think I have a well-equiped kitchen. Plus, they always require lots and lots of ingredients, like one spring onion, half a cucumber and a pinch of some exotic spice I don’t own. What do I do with the leftovers? Soon, my shelves will be overflowing with them.

So I knew that, in order to avoid scaring off people who might be interested in my class, I would have to keep things simple. Few ingredients, little equipment, not many steps involved in cooking and it had to be quick.

It soon brought me back to a recipe that I learned almost 15 years ago, back when I was still living with my parents. My brother had an awesome cooking book that was aimed at students and we used to make the chicken pineapple curry over and over again. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s tasty.

And therefore, it’s the perfect recipe for my first class.

Headlines and how to Use the Discussion Forum

What in the world are headlines? Whenever I clicked on Skillshare, it would tell me to add a headline.

I had no idea what a headline was. Fortunately, the August teach challenge has a nice ‘Discussion’ forum where I could ask.

Unbenannt

I got the answer very quickly. A headline is what’s written underneath your name. That wasn’t too hard. Picking one, on the other hand, wasn’t easy. As you can see above, I asked that question 21 hours ago. It took me until now to figure out which headline to give to myself.

‘Cooking teacher’? No, that sounded as if I was some kind of professional cook – and I’m not. Definitely not. While I think I’m good at cooking, I’m nowhere near being perfect.

‘Passionate cook’ might have been good but once again, I thought it would make me look like a professional. And there’s nothing worse with someone trying to come off as someone they’re not, so I went with ‘Crazy About Cooking’, which I think is going to fit my course well.

If I had designed travel classes, I would have gone for ‘The World is my Playground’. I’ve been dying to use that one for ages. But as I mentioned in my last post, it’s not going to be about traveling but about cooking.

Something else occured to me while I thought of a headline. Everyone on Skillshare is extremely nice. I’ve made a post to introduce myself and got a few replies. I’ve replied to others as well and I love reading about their projects. It’s a great community.

Spending time there and getting to know the others might help me with marketing my class. I see this as an added bonus to getting to know everyone else who’s doing the challenge with me. And once I’ve published the class, I’ll see if that Discussion forum can be useful to help me get my first 25 students.

First Challenge: Finding a Class Topic

My first challenge was to find a topic that I was passionate about. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things I love doing. Most of them are travel related, especially when it comes to exotic places. I know that the definition of ‘exotic’ is different for everyone, depending on where you live, but what I mean are those far-away places (and no matter where in the world you are, there will be places that are far away for you). The ones that nobody you know has ever gone to. The ones that are so far off the beaten track, you’re not even sure of how to get there.

Too bad I had no idea how to make a class out of that. Besides, what was I going to teach? Should I make classes for every location I could think of? That’s far too much effort and not enough profit involved. Nobody’s going to watch it.

There’s always the travel hacks that people want to learn about. But you know what? I don’t know anything about them. I live in Europe and it’s not the same for me. Collecting credit card points and using them for free flights won’t work since I’ll still pay a fortune in taxes and fees.

Since travel was out of question, I went back to the August teach challenge description and read through it carefully. And there it was. ‘Publish a crafts, culinary or design class and you’ll receive a $200 new teacher bonus.’ Perfect. I don’t know any crafts that I’m comfortable teaching, I don’t know anything about design but I’m good at cooking.

Recently, I had read about how many people don’t know how to cook and I had quickly found my target audience. There are so many out there who have a kitchen in their home but don’t use it because they don’t know what to do with it. And think of those college kids who are left without a clue of how to prepare their first meal.

This is why I’m going to teach a cooking class for beginners. I’m going to call it ‘Cooking for Beginners – Making Your First Meal from Scratch’ and I’m very excited to get started.

Becoming a Teacher on Skillshare

I can’t remember the first time I heard of Skillshare. The site name had shown up a couple of times on the internet when reading blog posts related to passive income. It always stood next to other sited, such as Udemy, which was the first teaching site I ever took a look at.

Udemy seems like a huge site. Classes there can sell for a lot of money and I figured that I wouldn’t be able to put one together by myself. ‘Maybe later,’ I kept telling myself, but we all know what that means.

And then I finally looked up Skillshare. With their monthly teaching challenge, they made it seem very easy to put together a class. I was instantly hooked. As it was the end of July, my next chance to participate would be in August. I couldn’t wait until the first of the month. I thought of a class theme, mentally began to structure the lesson and signed up on the morning of August 1st.

During the last days of July, I did a bit of research online. What is Skillshare about? What tricks do I need to know to be successful? How will I get many followers? And, a very important point to consider, how much money can I expect to make?

Let’s face it, that’s what Skillshare is about. Everyone who puts up their class dreams of making some money. You’ve heard of passive income, haven’t you? It basically means that you get money each month and you don’t have to work for it. The perfect dream.

While I don’t believe that passive income is as passive as some make it sound (there is always a lot of work required, either before you start earning or while you’re earning), I do like the concept of it. Once I put up a class on Skillshare, it’s going to be there forever. Every time someone signs up, I’m going to make money. I expect most sign ups to happen in the first weeks after publishing the class. But if more people enroll in a year or two, I will still make money. And all I have to do is create the class now.

Since I couldn’t find too much information on the internet from people who are successful on Skillshare, I’ve decided to start a blog. I am now starting out. On this site, I will share my journey with you. I’ll talk about obstacles I have to overcome, how long it really takes to create a class and how much money I earn. If I find any useful strategies, I’m going to share them with you.

I can’t wait to begin.