Sharpen or Share Your Small Business Skills with SkillShare

By Andrew Lock | Posted January 11, 2013

Every entrepreneur I've ever met has been a life-long learner. Well, I've found a great website that lets me learn just about anything in my own time, and I can do it locally or over the Internet. It's called SkillShare.com.

Expand Your Brain and Your Brand

This is kind of an interesting concept. Skillshare says that you can "learn anything from anyone from anywhere." Basically it gives you the opportunity to learn from teachers either in your particular local area or over the Internet. Or you can teach classes if you have information you'd like to share with others. Now that might be a great way to build your brand and establish yourself as an expert.

The site offers a range of topic categories, with plenty that would appeal to any small business owner and entrepreneur – from Branding and Entrepreneurship to Technology and Writing. Plus there's room to feed your creative spirit with classes in art, music, and a lot more. Check out the options on the site.

According to Skillshare, "The future belongs to the curious: live long learning." You know they have an awful lot of buzzwords on this website. The tagline is "learn anything from anywhere," and they want to increase the "global passion index by building a new world of education." I didn’t know there was a global passion index, but I'm thinking it must be pretty high. They have a mission – to transform education by "empowering teaching and democratizing learning." OK, I'm starting to sound a little snarky, but really, I'm just being silly. This company's heart is in the right place.

So what kind of courses do they offer? Here's one example -- a class on turning ideas into infographics. It runs for 3 weeks online and costs $15. That’s a great deal, and a good skill for a small business to learn. Or maybe you want to learn how to get media attention without spending a lot of money. Hey, she's not kidding…this class is free.

SkillShare classes

Figure 1: A partial class listing on Skillshare.com.

Now those examples were both online classes, but Skillshare also offers local, in-person classes. You register on the site, and then you can search for your area to see what’s available. At the moment, I'm in the Orlando, Florida area and, under the Entrepreneurship section, I found a class to teach me how to think about design. How cool is that?

Each course lists the instructor, along with his or her credentials, and how many people have signed up for the class. There's even a social media aspect – people can contact the instructor and ask questions in a format that looks a lot like FaceBook. The site lets you add classes to your Watch List so you can receive a notice when the next course takes place.

That's how it works for the learning side of things, for classes over the Internet or for classes taught in-person in your local area. For the teaching opportunities, you can create a class or you can check out the Tips from the Community section to read through profiles of teachers and students, and to get ideas of what kinds of topics people are interested in learning.

It doesn’t cost you anything to create a class, but SkillShare does charge teachers a 15 percent fee on all tickets you sell to your class, which seems fair enough to me.

Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical small business marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."

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