As a mother and freelance illustration artist, Amarilys Henderson wanted a consistent source of side income that would give her creative freedom in her freelance career. “Before teaching on Skillshare, I stressed a lot more about smaller jobs adding up to the amount I needed to hit every month.”
Amarilys started looking into online teaching as a stable source of monthly income, and discovered one of Skillshare’s monthly Teach Challenges. She was drawn to the teacher community and appreciated the deadline-based timeframe the Teach Challenge offered. “I felt like I had a community before launching my first class. Instead of starting a class all by myself, I was creating a class alongside twenty other people.”
She published her first Teach Challenge in August 2015 and earned $1,248 in her first month. She’s gone on to teach 15 additional classes, earning over $70K to date.
“Skillshare has really freed me up to do the projects I really enjoy. Having that foundational monthly income enables me to pursue the kind of projects I’m most passionate about. During the interim of client work, instead of creating filler work for my portfolio, I’m sharing my skills, creating a tribe with others, and getting paid for it. What’s more, my freelance client work and my Skillshare work propel one another. My client work helps me come up with class ideas, and my work with Skillshare helps me improve my craft as an illustrator– it’s really cyclical.”
Not only has teaching allowed Amarilys to focus on the projects she’s most interested in, but she’s also built her own community on Skillshare. “As an artist you can feel like you’re on an island pretty quickly, and receiving comments from students and answering people’s questions, that kind of interaction, really encourages me. I didn’t expect that to be such a huge piece of the teacher experience.”
During Amarilys’ first Teach Challenge experience, she notes that she was hesitant to create her first class. “With my first class, I was a lot more concerned with looking cool and knowledgeable in this field. But after your first class, it gets easier. You let go of some of your ego and you become more comfortable with what you have to offer and who you are. With subsequent classes, I’ve been much more focused on the raw style and techniques and less concerned with creating the perfect, polished class.”