From the beginning of my blogging career, 3.5 years ago, I taught myself everything online. It meant watching hundreds of YouTube videos and reading correlating blog posts and it was truly a lot of work. I still do this, but as my blog grew I started to outsource things I couldn’t figure out (and didn’t have the time to research it for hours online)… BUT I hated it. I love doings things myself! I’m a little Type A like that. So, Skillshare was a great option for me. In case you don’t know, Skillshare is an online learning website with more than 16,000 classes on anything you’d want to learn, including lessons on photography, graphic design, marketing, and blogging!  You pay a tiny monthly fee then have access to all of them!

The information is divided into modules and has everything you need in one place so you literally watch the video and do it alongside the video rather than scouring the web for ages. Not just anyone can make videos on Skillshare, only the top pros. It’s amazing because now I can just search what I need and watch a Skillshare video rather than going on YouTube and watching 5 videos trying to sell me some course until I finally get one that will tell me what I need to know.

Skillshare is usually $10 a month, but for a limited time, they’re giving Hippie in Heels readers two FREE months of unlimited access to stream their more than 16,000 online classes. Just click here to start your two free months.

Getting Started on Skillshare

I have a to-do list and there are some items that never get checked off because I simply don’t know how to do them. Eventually, I will hire someone to help but many are things I really need to do myself (especially ones that are not one-off tasks but something I would need to do once a month and the cost of hiring would add up).

I got started on Skillshare by first searching specific things I wanted to learn. Rather than just choosing random things, I looked over my to-do list to get ideas.

  1. Start a monthly newsletter
  2. Write an eBook
  3. Hire someone to teach me manual setting on camera
  4. Edit photos better

Numbers 1 & 2 have been on this list for over 3 years. I’m being serious. Numbers 3 and 4 were added last year when I got my mirrorless camera and wanted to learn how to use it better. I decided to focus on these things in Skillshare and see if I could find courses to help me. I wouldn’t be surprised if these tasks are getting cobwebs on on other bloggers’ to-do lists as well.

Start a Newsletter with MailChimp

I know the basics of MailChimp. I set up an RSS that goes out weekly to my email subscribers 3 years ago and haven’t logged in since. But, I needed to know how to set up a pretty newsletter and put in links to posts as well sections for other fun things I want my readers to know about each month.

I watched the video MailChimp for Beginners. My previous work with MailChimp started to come back to me, so I used the function to watch the video at 2x speed (I know, crazy) so I could fast forward without missing anything important.

While this was directed toward beginners, the last module was really helpful and it inspired me to start my newsletter immediately. She talked about “segments” and creating new lists so you aren’t sending it to your whole master list. I realized that is what I needed to do as so many subs don’t open my emails and I only have a certain amount I can send out each month (I have the free MailChimp account). I worked on it as I watched the video.

I decided I would make a segment for people who open my emails at least once in the last 60 days and send my first newsletter to them. I used the videos tips to help decorate and set up my newsletter. In the end, it took me around 25 minutes to watch the video and an hour to make my newsletter. Now I’m kicking myself I put this off for YEARS! It made me excited to try the next Skillshare class and see what else I can learn.

I also checked out this class which had the biggest takeaway being I really should be offering something “free” as an incentive to sign up to my email list (and that email lists are great for marketing, not just updating your readers).

Check out my newsletter for July, which should be out by the time I hit “publish” on this post.

Update: about a year after writing this, I switched to Mailerlite for my emails instead of Mailchimp, as once you get over 3,000 subscribers on Mailchimp it is really expensive. I pay a lot less for Mailerlite and it was easy to switch over. I suggest using them from the get-go if you don’t already have an email newsletter going out. You can get $20 off with my link.

Write an eBook

When I searched for videos on ebook, it wasn’t really to see how to write. I have written 800+ blog posts and probably 300+ freelance articles over the years. It was more to get inspiration to start and possibly see some kind of eBook outline. It’s been on my list for so long, what was mostly holding me back is that it seemed like a HUGE project that I just didn’t have time for since I’m always traveling.

I found the course The Step By Step Process For Creating Quick And Simple eBooks. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but there are no classes yet on how to write a destination guide ebook, specifically. This did show me how to set up a table of contents and adding important steps like making the book responsive, or clickable to the chapter inside. Watching this very quick video where the guy was enthusiastic about popping these eBooks out like it’s a piece of pie, made me see that every other blogger seems to have written one and there’s no reason I should have delayed for so long.

As for marketing the book and getting the book actually into a PDF, although there are many classes on this I believe it will be over my head and will likely hire someone for the next part! Plus, I’m pretty sure after I write this, I will want it live straight away and not have the patience to learn more, lol.

I took the first steps in Downloading iBooks Author, choosing my template, and setting a deadline for myself including daily and weekly deadlines. I won’t share the title/topic of it as I don’t want to jinx myself but I’m sure you can guess.

Learning to Edit in Lightroom

I’m not a total idiot at editing in Lightroom but I did teach myself (with a few extra tips from Silvia while on a press trip). I feel like my images are okay, but there’s a lot in Lightroom and maybe some things that could make them way better, save images I think are not useable and speed up my time editing (like can you edit in batches? I bet so!)

I started with the 4 set of classes Workflow Like a Pro, but I skipped class 1 as it was how to set up Adobe (although I did skim it and if you are new to Adobe, definitely watch it first!). I started with Class 2 Importing & Culling in Adobe Lightroom. I know how to import but culling is something I struggle with.

How this woman culls her images is LIFE-CHANGING! I mean, there are so many shortcuts I never knew about, and one in particular at around the 3 minutes mark is basically the best thing I’ve learned all year.

It’s called “survey mode” and it’s the perfect example of something so basic and easy on Lightroom but you won’t know to use it unless someone tells you. It will probably cut my editing time in half.

Class 3 was Lightroom Editing in Develop Module which had the basic tips I already knew except did teach me how to do batch edits (yay), and the last class Advanced Lightroom Editing & Exporting which had new editing techniques with tools I hadn’t used.

I used this to edit all my Florida photos. I had over 1200 images from my 8 days there and it took me FAR less time to edit these using her techniques, so I am really grateful for this class!

Next Up: Shooting in Manual Mode & More

There are many classes for shooting in manual mode but the one I have saved is from the How to Work It series. It’s a series by the same girl who did the editing. I loved those classes, so who better to teach me how to shoot in manual? The first class is aperture which is a great place to start since I know a little bit about it.

This is next on my list of classes to take, but it’s definitely not the end. I’ve recently gotten more into handwriting (I blame Instagram Stories) and have a lot of lettering classes saved like brush lettering and faux calligraphy. Although there are language classes, there are not yet Hindi classes or I would certainly be taking some.

Another couple I’m excited about are how to make gelato and how to draw cute animals in 3 steps. I mean, I’m useless at drawing but it’s worth a shot. It has over 5,000 people who watched it and a 100% rating so if those people can do it, so can I! The ratings are really helpful when choosing classes.

Overall Opinion of Skillshare

I feel like when I got to watch the videos on how to edit, it was like watching someone just do their job and being able to copy them. There have been so many times I’ve seen great images online and thought to myself “If only I could see the settings they use to edit…” These videos allow you to do that.

The website itself is categorized well and very well-curated in that you know the videos on there are not just random people who feel like blabbering online. While it used to take me 10 minutes just to find the right article or YouTube video, I can now be finished with some classes in that time.

Skillshare is usually $10 a month, but for a limited time, they’re giving Hippie in Heels readers two FREE months of unlimited access to stream their more than 16,000 online classes. Just click here to start your two free months.

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