Price: $8.25/month (when paid as an annual lump sum) and $15.00/month (when paid monthly)
Owners: Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong
Overall Rank: 50 out of 100
If you’re here, you’re considering whether Skillshare is worth your time and money as a learning platform. This Skillshare review will analyze Skillshare in depth to show you the good, the bad, and whether or not, I would recommend them as a learning platform.
Prior to completing this thorough review, I had only analyzed Skillshare from my personal learning experience, and I was very happy with it. Despite my experience, I wanted to pull together the good, bad, and ugly for this Skillshare review, so I could tell you with all honesty whether Skillshare is a good recommendation or not.
- 1 SkillShare Overview
- 2 Skillshare Review: The Good & the Bad
- 3 Who is Skillshare For?
- 4 Skillshare Tools & Training
- 5 Skillshare Support
- 6 Skillshare Price
- 7 Does The BBB Have A Skillshare Review?
- 8 My Final Opinion of Skillshare
- 9 Alternatives to SkillShare
- 10 Skillshare Review Playlist
- 11 Skillshare at a Glance…
- 12 VERDICT: WOULD NOT RECOMMEND
- 13 5/2018 UPDATE:
- 14 Now, it’s your turn…
- 15 SkillShare
- 16 Pros
- 17 Cons
Skillshare is an open market learning platform with a monthly subscription model and a 30-day Free Trial. They offer classes in many creative skills including Entrepreneurship, Finance, Analytics, Marketing, Creative Design, Web Design, Photography, Videography, and more.
One of the founders, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, is also the founder of Turing Capital, a very notable startup investing firm with a leadership team that includes Connor Lin (founder of Carbon), Felix Feng(founder of Set Protocol), Jeff Chang (Pinterest), George Lambeth (ex-ConsenSys), and Lane Rettig (Ethereum developer), and others!
Here’s a Playlist on Michael Karnjanaprakorn:
The other Co-Founder, Malcolm Ong also has a very notable background; participating in the startup of Lyft and other very well known brands. He also served as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at 500 startups and worked with 30+ startups thru the company’s startup accelerator program.
A video with both of the founders on Skillshare:
Although I haven’t personally met them, the founders sound like a powerhouse team! Together, they were able to raise 10 million dollars between 2011 (when they started Skillshare) until 2014! They have also been going around to conferences discussing education reform. As said by Karnjanaprakorn, “We want to put learning back into education”.
He says that education has become a “top down” experience rather than a “bottom-up” experience; where the instructor leads and tells the limits of the learning experience. The goal of Skillshare is to allow the students to enjoy learning and to explore their passions, rather than being given a structured course sequence and learning limitations. In essence, Skillshare is creating an education movement rather than merely seeing themselves as a platform to sell or buy courses.
They are a very young company (having just started in 2010, and the founders are also young (Karnjanaprakorn is 29 as of this writing!). They have hundreds (and maybe thousands) of courses on very relevant topics for entrepreneurs and they have very notable teachers such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Barbara Corcoran, Young Guru, Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Mark Ecko, and Jessica Hische. In comparison to other open source teaching platforms, they have some pretty notable instructors.
PRO #1: Many high-quality courses
Many of the Skillshare courses are taught using high-quality videography and video editing skills. Many of the instructors are very knowledgeable on the topics they teach on.
PRO #2: 30 day Free Trial
A 30-day Free trial is a sufficient time to get a feel for the classes, the teaching variations, and whether or not the classes would be valuable for you as a learner.
PRO #3: Very reasonable monthly cost for Premium Plan at $8.25-$12.00
If you pay for Skillshare on an annual basis, the plan will be approximately $98.99 per year, but if you choose to pay month-to-month, the plan will be $15.00 per month.
When you go to Skillshare and you type in the search bar, it will populate the courses they have available, but the search results don’t present enough information that you can tell the course quality at a glance. With other course platforms (like Udemy), you can see how many students have been enrolled, the reviews (1-5 stars), which is bestselling, and more information to help make the purchase decision. In comparison, with Skillshare, after the search results populate, you have to take the additional step to analyze information to see whether the individual course is worth your time.
CON #2: Quality Varies and Teaching Styles Vary
Courses range in length (some as short as 10 minutes and some hours), teaching style, and quality. Since the platform is an open source education platform, you can choose whose teaching styles you prefer rather than Skillshare creating guidelines for the instructors. You may find the variety to be a pro or a con. I think the variation of the courses can be both a pro and a con; depending on the situation.
CON #3: Open Marketplace and Instructors are not Vetted
Skillshare does not vet their instructors, which mean anyone can be an instructor! I have not personally seen issues with the instructors there, but some reviews online mention instructors babbling and so on rather than providing valuable information–this is something to watch out for.
CON #4: Less Business Classes than Competitors like Udemy
Although I haven’t yet done a review, Udemy is my favorite education platform hands down. They offer many more classes, however, Skillshare is a much newer company, and the course offering is growing by the day! Skillshare has several business classes on key topics that entrepreneurs should know and learn.
CON #5: You don’t own the courses
This is the major con for me, but this compares to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other companies who use the subscription business model. Once your subscription is over, you lose access to all of the courses. The subscription model can work better or worse for you. You can have access to watch thousands of courses while only having to pay one small price, or you may like a model like Udemy where you pay for each course and you have lifetime access. It’s a preference. I like both.
Skillshare is perfect for entrepreneurs who want to improve their skills: whether creative skills, business skills, marketing skills, or otherwise. They also have quite a selection on Internet Marketing and design, and web development, and other things.
Skillshare is not perfect for entrepreneurs who have no tolerance for the growing pains of a newer company. I’ll talk more about this later…
In addition to training courses, Skillshare offers a community element. You can communicate with the instructors in the comments, you can also upload the project you completed based on following the course prompts. The project uploads can be nice if you appreciate that additional validation and recognition that you learned the skill the “right way”.
Skillshare has more than one support element: teacher support, community support, and customer support. The teacher support can fluctuate from class to class, however, the teachers are simply supposed to facilitate the learning experience rather than “lead” it.
The community support and collaboration is what the founders seem to place an emphasis on, and according to the founder, 30% of students complete the class project. 30% of project completion is pretty impressive since the platform is self-paced and entirely by choice.
To contact Skillshare with a complaint or concern (such as billing), you would have to contact customer support. The “Contact Us” page is not viewable from the landing page or from the logged on course menu. Instead, you have to go to “Help Center” where there is a question and answer section, then the “Contact” is there.
Their only support option is email support. They do not offer live chat or phone support. This may change as the company grows, however, many companies nowadays are putting more emphasis on product quality than customer service. I dislike that about Skillshare, but that is what they have for now.
With Skillshare, you get 30 days free, then 98.99 will be charged to your account if you’ve signed up for the annual plan, and $15 per month will be drafted from your account if you’ve signed up for the monthly plan. The key is to remember what you signed up for. 12 months is a long time to remember the $98.99. If you don’t want them to continue to draft the payments, you have to contact them and make sure you get something to confirm your plan was canceled.
Skillshare Inc. is the name registered with the BBB. The company is not accredited by the BBB and they have an F Rating. There are 2 reviews and 13 BBB complaints. The main issue seems to be with the auto payment.
One customer signed up for the annual autopayment and did not cancel before the payment was drafted (or could not reach a Skillshare representative). They complained about having difficulty contacting anyone from Skillshare customer service to get help with canceling their membership.
Another person signed up for the annual membership, thought they canceled, and the following year, the $100 was drafted again. They were told by Skillshare that they would not give a refund, so they were upset.
Other complaints all sounded similar: customers signed up for the trial, tried to contact support, were unable to reach anyone, were charged, and had a hard time getting refunds. If you’re considering Skillshare, keep this in mind that they may have customer support issues. You have to give your card information before you can begin the trial, but if I were you, I’d try my best to contact support at the beginning of the trial to see if the customer support has improved.
Out of 13 complaints over the last 3 years, 11 of the complaints were billing/collections issues, one was a problem with the product or service, and one was a delivery issue.
If you adamantly would not want to deal with billing issues like this, I’d recommend sticking with a reputable company like Udemy.
I’ve had a good experience with Skillshare, however, I can’t overlook the BBB complaints of people who have not. I know there are many students who enjoy Skillshare because you can see thousands of people enrolled in many of the courses, so 13 complaints in comparison with the current enrollment is a small percentage.
Be careful of the customer support. You may have to be persistent with them because it seems that maybe they may not have the best support situation. Hopefully, they cleared that up because most of the complaints were prior to 2018, but there is one complaint (without description details) in February 2018.
I still think Skillshare is a valuable place to get inexpensive and high-quality education. In my opinion, their 30-day free trial is still one of the best deals online for free online business classes. Many of the courses are university-equivalent courses (in my opinion), so $100 to access thousands of courses for one year in comparison to $1000 to access one University course for 8-16 weeks is a MEGA DEAL!
- Wealthy Affiliate – (Top Recommendation) Wealthy Affiliate offers training on Internet Marketing, social media marketing, content marketing PPC, and more topics. The membership includes tools like hosting, two free websites, training on how to add more revenue streams thru affiliate marketing. They also have a solid reputation and a highly engaged community of 1.4 million members! The greatest benefit is you can CREATE A LIFETIME FREE ACCOUNT HERE and decide if premium membership is good for you at any point.
- Udemy – Udemy is an open marketplace with thousands of courses on similar topics as Skillshare and more. Many of the instructors have loads of experience on the topics they teach. Topics span from Coding to Mindset and many things in between. BROWSE THE COURSE INVENTORY AT UDEMY NOW.
Hopefully this Skillshare review playlist can help you evaluate Skillshare from other vantage points:
Price: $8.25/month (when paid as an annual lump sum) and $15.00/month
Owners: Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong
Overall Rank: 50 out of 100
VERDICT: WOULD NOT RECOMMEND
I was hoping the BBB reviews were tainted, but they’re right. I’ve been trying to cancel my Skillshare account for two months, and they have not stopped billing me. When I send a message to their support team, I get an automated reply saying my message has been received. No one has contacted me, and no one canceled the transactions from going thru on my account. I have to go thru the fraud department of my bank to report unauthorized charges because their customer support is nonresponsive.
Unfortunately, even though Skillshare has good courses and a good mission, the billing issue causes a lot of havoc, so I can’t recommend their service. They’ve been in business long enough to regulate the billing better than this. The BBB reviews were over the course of years, and my experience is 2018, they should have fixed this. You’d get a lot better experience, more course selection, and better customer service at either Wealthy Affiliate (my #1 recommendation) or Udemy.
If you are still interested in trying out the 30-day FREE trial of Skillshare (even after hearing my bad experience and the bad experiences of others), you can create your FREE account HERE. If you want to hone your professional skills, check out Wealthy Affiliate or Udemy. You’ll be likely to have a better experience there.
Now, it’s your turn…
Hopefully, my Skillshare review helped you make your decision on whether Skillshare is worth your time. Let’s see if others can chime in and share their thoughts…
Have you tried Skillshare? What are your thoughts? Do you think it’s a good learning option? What do you think about their mission to reform education? Leave your comments below.
- Quality courses
- Celebrity instructors
- Great affiliate program -- They pay for free trial signups and paid memberships
- Several customers complain that they won't stop billing and THIS HAPPENED TO ME TOO!
- Could display student feedback for individual courses better
- The affiliate program may distort the reviews, so people are being dishonest to get paid