Two years ago, photographer Tabitha Park taught her first Skillshare class through the Teach Challenge. Today she’s a Top Teacher who uses Skillshare to land dream clients and pursue her passion full-time.
We interviewed Tabitha to learn how she started teaching and grew her Skillshare classes into her career.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I live in a suburban neighborhood just outside Salt Lake City with my tech-savvy husband and our cat named Smallcat. I spend my time editing photos, working on projects, and planning our next adventure. I’m passionate about creating and working with my hands. I love gardening, sewing, and going 80s dancing with my friends!
What do you do? What role does Skillshare play in your career?
I started my photography business when I was 19, right after I got married. My dream was to photograph plants and food but we had student loans to pay so I started out photographing anything I could! I had tons of friends in their early 20s getting engaged and having babies so weddings and newborn sessions filled out my weekends. I stayed busy with portraits and personal projects for about 5 years.
In 2017 I started teaching on Skillshare and landed my first big dream client. I was promoting my newest Skillshare class (about Moody Chocolate Photography) on Instagram when they found me. They reached out to see if I’d be interested in contract work photographing their chocolate. Um, YES!
Bringing Skillshare into the mix has given me the opportunity to make new connections and do the kind of work I’ve always dreamed about. Each new class gives me a chance to sharpen my skills and experiment.
How did you get started teaching on Skillshare?
In June 2016, I signed up for the Teach Challenge and published my first class on painting galaxies on canvas shoes. Six months went by and I was seeing $3 – $10 monthly payments. It was super exciting so I published my second class on DIY lightboxes for studio photography in January 2017.
I was featured on the site and my next royalty payment jumped to $250. I experienced such an exciting shift in my career and began creating more photography classes and fortifying my photo-focused channel. I took a break over the summer and saw a notable drop in engagement and it made me realize that I need to stay consistent to be able to rely on this income.
Since then I’ve published a new class each month and my channel’s reach has been substantial. I became a Top Teacher in December 2017 and it has been such a whirlwind.
What tips would you offer someone thinking about teaching on Skillshare?
You should do it! Everybody has their own unique perspective to share. Your first class may not take off… but what if your second or third does?
My top tips for success are:
- Cultivate a consistent publishing schedule. Each month I build a production timeline for my next class. I block out 4 days on my calendar for planning, 4 days for filming, and 4 days for editing (fitting these days around everything else I have going on). Start with that and adjust as you go.
- Interact frequently with your students and followers, answering questions and leaving personalized feedback.
- Find ways to make each new class even better than the last. Improve audio quality, create strong visuals, and practice what you’ll say so you sound more articulate when you hit ‘record.’
- Don’t coast off past success! If things are going well, keep working hard to catapult your momentum even further.
- Be patient with yourself. With any new endeavor, the beginning is the hardest part. At first it really is SO WEIRD to record yourself talking into a camera and messing up a bunch of times but the more you do it the better you will get, I promise!
I love Skillshare for its subscription model. I can binge-watch classes without paying for each one individually. I have the flexibility to jump in and learn at my own pace. The community on Skillshare is filled with lifelong learners and positivity. If my students have questions, they feel comfortable asking! I love that I can interact with other amazing creators on the site and stay inspired.
What’s next for you?
Skillshare and photography have become my full-time job. For the past 7 years my husband has been working the daily grind to get us where we’re at. I’d love to see Skillshare become a big enough portion of our combined income that he can afford to pursue his passions full-time too. I have such a love for teaching and the flexibility it offers me. I can’t wait to see where 2018 takes us!
Anything else you’d like to share?
When I posted my first class I had no idea if I was “teacher material.” I wasn’t sure if people would care about what I had to share or if I was organized enough to present these ideas in a way that would help anyone. What I discovered is that everyone learns in their own way and THAT is what makes Skillshare so great. It’s not a competition or an elite club of world-renowned experts, it’s people sharing what they know and growing together. It’s exhilarating to see students show off their work and say, “I finally get it now!”