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Should You Sell Products on Teachers Pay Teachers?

I have noticed a lot of people read a very old post I had done on this topic, so I thought I would re-post about the growth I have seen in my endeavor.  I joined TPT in September of 2008.  I put a few items up which were only one page that I charged $1 for.  Every now in a blue moon one of them would sell , and so I wasn’t very motivated to work hard at this.  Last spring (2011) I started seeing the emails from TPT about Deanna Jump who had made more than her teaching salary.  I thought, “What am I missing here?”  From that point on, I got very serious about selling my items on TPT.  I got software to turn my items into PDF files.  All summer of 2011, I worked many, many hours to put materials up on the TPT site.  I think I sold one item all last summer.  Then August came and I made $11.58.  Mind you previous to this for all the 3 years I had products up, I had only made about $11.  Then September came, and I made $16.74.  It was at this point that I decided to upgrade my account and pay the $60 a year.  Previously I had the basic account where TPT takes a pretty large percentage of your sales however you pay no annual fee.  When you decide to become a premium seller, they only take 15% of your sales–which is totally worth it if you are selling $15 a month or so.  My sales only grew from there and steadily increased each month of the school year until I was making more than $100 a month.  Each time I got an email saying that I had sold an item, it just made my day.  I find it so gratifying that someone actually values the work that I do, and uses it to teach their own students.  I readily share the items with my colleagues at work, but somehow it is different when someone searches out what you did and finds it useful.

I won’t sugar coat the amount of work that went into what I did.  Selling on TPT takes work and patience.  I spent nearly every night sitting on the couch with my laptop after school working on my blog or on my products, and most of the summer that way as well.  I definitely would have made a lot more money with a part time job or doing after school tutoring.  However, the work that I do on making my products as perfect as possible helps me during the day with my ‘real’ job because I use those things with the students I work with. I just make them as pristine as possible to sell at home.  Selling an item on TPT is gratifying because the extra hours I spend working on something are actually rewarded.  I have learned SO much from this venture through blogging, through selling, through the comments on my blog, and on TPT.  I would dare say selling on TPT has given me an edge because I am learning through a world wide community which I hadn’t known was out there previous to this venture.  I am very thankful for this and for friends who encouraged me to pursue this further when I had only a small measure of success.  If you have the time to work outside of school and want to learn a lot from a community of talented teachers, then I would recommend you join the ranks of successful teacherpreneurs, too.

Click to go directly to the TPT site and begin selling now.

9 Responses to Should You Sell Products on Teachers Pay Teachers?

  • Jess says:

    Hello! I just recently joined TPT and will be putting products up this weekend. I’m trying to do as much reading about tpt as I possibly can and came across your blog. You are quite inspiring! So far, I just love taking my lessons and creating beautiful products from them! I can’t imagine how it will feel to sell one, but I looking forward to finding out 😉

    • Ms. K says:

      Wow, Jess! Thanks so much for the compliment! You made my night :)! What is your seller name on TPT? I will look you up. Let me know if I can offer any advice or help you in any way.

      • Jessica says:

        Well, I just crawled out of my tpt cave and now have 3 items in my store! Two of them are free and I just put my first real one (meaning it has a price on it!) on last night! I can’t believe how long it takes me to put one product together, but I love how it makes me think through everything I write. I would love your input if you have anytime to take a peek. My store is under my own name…Jessica Pelka. Please be kind, but tough! 😉

        • Ms. K says:

          I just checked out your store and it looks wonderful! Great for your first products! Your clip art, fonts, and colors are eye catching and your explanations are clear. I even looked at your blog and I love the colors you used on it…so warm and inviting! The only thing I would suggest is to charge for the 15 page freebie because I know that there was a TPT email that came out a while back that said to charge for items that were that large. I forgot the cutoff number of pages, but I know for sure it was more than 10. Also, I have a question about the classroom library one. Are those your own thoughts or are they from another source? I know copyright is a bit to muddle through and I’m NOT the expert, but even if you cite someone else’s ideas in your work, I don’t think it is okay to use them. You will have to check on this by reading the forums on copyright on TPT.

          Looking at your fabulous work reminds me again how much I need to go back and fix my own products that I originally posted…they need a makeover, for sure!!

  • Katie Young says:

    Thanks for sharing… I thought I would try TPT just for a change of pace but have been a bit frustrated especially with lack of feedback or “thank-you’s” after downloading a free product ha. Thanks for giving me some motivation and reminding me it takes some patience.
    2nd Grade

    • Ms. K says:

      Katie, you know I don’t have ONE single response or feedback on my free item which is a very cute smart board lesson that I worked very hard on. It has 1311 downloads at this time. I would appreciate a comment, but I really don’t think about it because I don’t pay much attention to how many times it was downloaded. I just put most of my energy into thinking about the items that do sell, making the ones that are already up better, and thinking of what I can make next. I think the majority of people that download don’t leave feedback on free items because they aren’t listed when you go to your downloaded products like the items you buy. Also, they are probably in a hurry like all busy teachers are. When I first started selling, TPT didn’t give credits for leaving feedback on your purchased items so comments were very few and far between. Since they have started giving credits I get feedback more often. Of the products I’ve sold, about 20% of them have received feedback…so definitely don’t get discouraged. There are so many new members now that your chances of selling items is better than ever! How long have you been selling? I will check out your blog 🙂

    • Ms. K says:

      I just checked your blog out! I love the bright colors and how you incorporated kids artwork into your header. It looks like you’ve only been blogging about a month. Definitely don’t get discouraged about that. A friend of mine –not a teacher– told me about a non teacher blogger who made a living at blogging and said it takes about 2 years to get a blog off the ground. My blog is just over two years old and somehow the amount of content that you accumulate over a two year period seems to bring enough traffic to get recognition. I just recently (this year) started getting a lot of comments and a couple of companies wanting me to do product reviews. Pinterest brings me the most traffic outside of Google so putting pictures on your blog is the best thing you can do. As far as TPT, I would suggest putting cover pages on your items that are bright and colorful. Look at your competition. A brightly colored page gets more attention beside a black and white one. Also, amazingly my best selling items are my most expensive and largest files. The money unit I have sells better than anything else. I worked very hard on it too and have revised it. I still have some products with no cover sheets that I started out with and you can easily see those are ‘blah’. My intention is to revise those…but I just haven’t gotten to it yet. I am not very proud of them, but they are some of the first products I posted. TPT buyers are looking for convenience so I think that is why the larger items sell better…I hope these tidbits help you. Katie, your ideas definitely look great on your blog! Just hang in there. You’ll learn more about what to do to make your items sell. You will find out what buyers are looking for and then you will make more of that type of item. Then your sales will have a snowball effect!

      Also, I think the best thing you can do with your free products is to put your name or blogs’s name at the bottom. That way it is free advertisement. Someone leaves it in the copy room, another teacher sees it and looks you up= more traffic to your site = more sales eventually. This is great advice! I need to do this more myself LOL! 🙂

  • Robert Berkman says:

    I find publishing on TpT problematic, to say the least. It seems to me that if you are truly attempting to do something interesting and innovative, you are going to be relegated to the backwaters. I’ve sold a few things, but it pales in comparison to the “early adopters” who have tens of thousands of followers and who get publicized over and over and over again on the homepage. Even though I have 41 products in the store, each of which looks much different from anything on TpT, I will not get featured until I sell a certain amount of product, which, at the rate I cam going, could take years. TpT was originally supposed to give little people like me a forum for sharing out work, but now it seems like the top 25 people do 90% of the sales.

    • Ms. K says:

      I am sorry you feel that way. Don’t get discouraged! I look at the fact that there are top sellers like a goal to achieve. It encourages me to know that I could sell more than I’m selling now. I wouldn’t have taken posting my products so seriously if those top sellers hadn’t done so well. What grade level do you target? Do you use social media to help advertise? If your products are innovative, I am sure people would be interested, but maybe they just don’t know how to search for them. If you blogged about them perhaps that would help??? I think a lot of the top sellers are kindergarten teachers because there aren’t that many good resources out there for k. I also know they worked very hard to do so well by posting products, blogging, responding to comments, and networking. I am sure it didn’t come easily.

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