If you’ve ever expressed an interest in finding a way to make money teaching people a new skill you’ve probably heard of Skillshare. It’s best known for offering a robust marketplace filled with online courses taught by experts in practically anything you can think of.
In the past, Skillshare was a great place to make additional revenue for your expertise. But in 2021, there are a number of more robust platforms to host your online courses.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the best Skillshare alternatives for you to house the awesome content you’re creating. But first, let’s look at what makes an online course successful these days.
What makes a successful online course in 2021?
Successful online courses tend to have a few things in common: transformative content, highly customizable features, and thriving course communities.
Part of learning any skill is the journey you take to get there. The best Skillshare alternatives not only provide instruction to members in the form of digestible lessons, but also pave a road to guide members on their journey. In other words, your online course should offer your members both a path to transformation and clear results at the end.
To do that, you need a platform that will allow you to build your online course and nurture your online community in one place.
Creating a welcoming space is the first step to cultivating a thriving community. Why? Because every member that joins your online course or community brings with them a wealth of knowledge and experiences to share with everyone else.
To make the most of that, your community members should feel comfortable navigating challenges, seizing opportunities together, and connecting with each other. The best alternatives to Skillshare provide options for you to create discussion boards, small groups, direct messaging opportunities, and more so that your students can give you feedback and make connections in the network you’ve built.
Should you choose a “marketplace” or “hosted” platform for your online course?
Online or E-learning is nothing new. In the past, this kind of software was mainly used for Learning Management Systems (LMS) for schools and companies that provided a wide range of training and learning opportunities.
Today, online learning has expanded in ways that serve creators and entrepreneurs like yourself by providing platforms to host and sell your expertise to a wide range of people. Before we look at our favorite Skillshare alternatives we’ll explain the two main solutions for online course platforms: “Hosted” and “Marketplace.”
If you’re not a tech-savvy person, the idea of building your own website, online course, community, and monetization platform might seem like an insurmountable task. Believe us when we say it takes a lot of work, time, and money to pull that off right. Hosted solutions come with the tools and infrastructure for you to sell your course from your own site, without worrying about updates, security, hosting, and maintenance.
When you’re not stressing about that, you can focus all your energy into creating content and selling instead of managing a website. These platforms might not have every possible feature you can dream up, but they do have most of them, and are our recommendation for online course platforms.
Some of the earliest online course platforms were marketplaces like Skillshare. This solution allows you to list your course on their platform for students who are looking for your expertise to (hopefully) find your online course.
Marketplace solutions give you a large index to tap into, but you’re just another small fish swimming in a big ocean. There’s a large amount of competition and you’re paying significant fees or a percentage of your sales to be in the marketplace.
On top of that, you don’t have the ability to collect email addresses and contact info for the people who do take your courses. So while new people might find you, you’re not able to add them to your network for repeat sales.
While marketplace solutions like Skillshare are still popular, there are now many alternatives to Skillshare in 2021. These solutions allow course creators to launch their online courses utilizing their own social media following or email lists. And that means that creators have much more control over how they launch their course offerings.
Where Skillshare excels
Skillshare didn’t become popular for nothing. Their platform is fairly easy to get started with and hit the ground running.
Their marketplace is well-known and set up with creators in mind. Many of their classes are focused on creative skills like design, crafts, photography, and writing. And because Skillshare leans in on creative pursuits they’ve developed a number of features that help members connect with one another to give feedback and support for each other’s work.
That makes Skillshare a good place to get your feet wet for creating an online course. They have a number of support options and a mobile app.
Where Skillshare stumbles
When you start looking at the fine print, however, Skillshare becomes less ideal. As a marketplace platform, it is highly competitive. And it’s hard to set yourself apart from others when you have little control around how you build your online course and no control when it comes to designing your own website.
On top of that, you can’t earn money for your hard work until you’ve got 25 students enrolled in your course, and once you do, it’s only $1-2 per student.
Hold up! Let’s make sure that registered.
You can’t start earning money for the hard work you’ve put in until Skillshare has determined that you deserve it.
Furthermore, it’s harder to add new revenue streams when using a platform like Skillshare because you’re working under their platform parameters.
Since you don’t host your own online course, you can’t grow your network beyond the Skillshare platform because you don’t have any access to your course member’s emails or personal information. This means that the growth of your community is governed by Skillshare’s performance, not your own!
We think you should be paid whether you have 1 member or 1,000. So below, we’re looking at three alternatives to Skillshare that will enable you to expand both your course and your course community.
3 Alternatives to Skillshare in 2021
Kajabi: Best Skillshare alternative for “Online Course and Marketing”
Kajabi is a great Skillshare alternative for those mainly concerned with business and marketing features instead of providing a transformative experience for their members.
Their slogan is, “if you can dream it, you can monetize it,” and they do a good job at delivering on those promises. But we think building an online course should mean more than making money off of your members. The most successful online course platforms emphasize the importance of building a community that expands your network and brand value.
Pros of Kajabi
Kajabi offers a wide range of tools such as online subscriptions, gated content, and membership sites. Their automation features give you control over how and when your online course content is delivered to your members.
In addition to offering a variety of features to build your online courses, Kajabi has a lot to offer for marketing your courses with email campaigns to replace services you might be using like Mailchimp.
Cons of Kajabi
While Kajabi is doing a lot of things right when it comes to providing awesome online course tools, they fall short in what they offer for their prices. The “Basic” plan starts at $119/month. And despite the steep pricing, that tier is pretty restrictive of your growth potential: There are caps on how many members you can have, restrictions on support options when things go wrong, and more.
Their community options are also lackluster compared to some of their competitors, especially given the price. On top of that, their privacy levels for gated-content are limited, either members have all-access or none at all. There are more affordable options on the market that give you more bang for your buck.
Mighty Networks: Best Skillshare alternative for “All-in-One” Course and Community Platform
Mighty Networks is a new major contender in the world of online courses and a great alternative to Skillshare. With a Mighty Network, creators and entrepreneurs can cultivate thriving communities, memberships, and courses in one place, instantly available on the web, iOS, and Android.
Pros of Mighty Networks
On top of amazing online community features, Mighty Network enables creators to build premium online courses. From there, you can offer those courses on their own or as an additional bonus to their membership within their community.
Mighty Networks is a great alternative to Skillshare because of its flexibility in offering you tools to create a website, online courses, community, premium groups, and more in a variety of different angles. Mighty Networks is revolutionizing e-commerce for digital subscription services in the same way Shopify did for physical products.
On top of all that, Mighty Networks provides three distinct ways to deliver your online courses:
- A content-only online course. This option directs students into a single community in the main Mighty Network and offers your online courses as a benefit of their membership.
- An online course with a dedicated course community. In this configuration, there is a separate community only visible to the members of that online course, allowing you to address your various members’ needs more specifically with added privacy.
- A course delivered “live.” The last option is the most interesting one, especially for instructors creating their first online course. With this alternative, the dedicated course community is front and center, with course content being created and added as you go. This is a great way to experiment when you’re just starting out, and again, allows your community to help shape the path they’d like to take.
If it’s not clear yet, Mighty Networks allows you an immense amount of possibilities in how you approach building, delivering, and managing your online course and community.
Cons of Mighty Networks
While Mighty Networks offers a wide range of great features for building your online course, as well as interacting with your online community, we don’t have native live video features across all of our services yet. Fortunately, that is changing quickly. (Update: native live video is available for online courses now!)
Thinkific: Best Skillshare alternative for “Course only”
Remember how we said that Skillshare is a great place to get your feet with online course creation? That might be true but Thinkific is a wonderful Skillshare alternative because of how beginner-friendly it is.
Pros of Thinkific
If you’re just starting out, Thinkific lets you build your online course for free with unlimited students, quizzes and surveys, and more. Instead of having to work in a confining framework, Thinkific is a great alternative to Skillshare because they have flexible and customizable tools that let you build your course how you’d like it.
Cons of Thinkific
Thinkific is a solid course content building platform, but it falls short when it comes to community building and management. If you’re looking for a Skillshare alternative in 2021 then choosing one with robust community-building tools is a must. Thinkific doesn’t provide live events, Q&As, in-person coaching, or any major event-based learning options. This severely limits the growth of your online course.
When the community features are lackluster, that means there are less ways for your students to interact. Remember, you aren’t just bringing people together to listen to your lectures. You’re building a network of value. That means your students need a robust set of features to interact with one another, share their experiences, and master something interesting together.
Thinkific is a good place to start, but not to grow. Most creators will eventually outgrow their limited features and be forced to look elsewhere.
The winner for best Skillshare alternative: Mighty Networks
When you choose Mighty Networks you’re not only choosing the most cost-effective option of the bunch. You’re also investing in a platform that grows with you: Each new member that joins your online course or online community is providing additional value to your members. While Kajabi and Thinkific both are doing solid work in their own spaces, Mighty Networks is clearly the best choice.
Wrap it up already!
Don’t get us wrong, Skillshare is a great place to try your hand at delivering an online course. But by design it’s a platform that won’t grow with you and your skills in scalable ways. We believe that the alternatives to Skillshare that allow you to house all your awesome content and your growing community under one network will be more beneficial in the long run.