Overworked and underpaid. It’s no secret that our teachers aren’t in education for the money. Between working tirelessly to create new lesson plans and classroom resources to meet the ever evolving needs of education, our teachers have jam packed schedules. Not to mention that the compensation for the limitless time spent meticulously curating these lessons and preparing our students is less than satisfying.
What if there was a way to supplement your income simply by sharing those classroom resources and lesson plans?
It’s called Teachers Pay Teachers and it’s an online marketplace that helps teachers supplement their income by selling their resources to other educators globally. Through TpT, teachers have been able to access time saving resources for their classrooms, connect with a community of educators, and supplement their income in life changing ways. Real teachers have made thousands, and even millions, of dollars by selling on TpT, and the good news is, you can too!
We interviewed some of the top selling TpT teacher authors to learn their best tips & strategies for selling on Teachers Pay Teachers. Teachers like Amy Abbott of Music a la Abbott, Melissa Kievit of All For Wisdom Wisdom For All, Kacey Potter of Mskcpotter, and Heather Whetham of Hojo’s Teaching Adventures who have made over $300,000 in combined revenue. We distilled their knowledge into a 90 Day Calendar Worksheet designed to walk you through the daily steps involved in earning your first $1,000 on TpT.
Download The 90 Day To $1,000 On TpT Calendar Worksheet Here (To get the complete step-by-step guide on how to earn your first $1,000 on Teachers Pay Teachers sign up here: https://idealme.com/teachers-pay-teachers)
Step 1: Define Your Goals
Defining your goals will help you decide how best to structure the time you devote to working on your TpT store. The 4 main goals you should identify are:
- Do you want TpT to be something full time or part time for you?
- How much time do you want to dedicate to your store per week?
- How much time can you reasonably dedicate to your store per week?
- How fast do you want to earn your first $1,000?
Identifying your goals can help you adjust your expectations. Starting up your online store, creating resources and promoting them can all be large upfront time investments. If you want to start earning as quickly as possible, you will need to be willing to invest a larger amount of time upfront.
Time upfront = passive income later. The more work you put in each week, the faster you’ll start earning. If you want to earn your first $1,000 in 90 Days but only plan to invest 2 hours per week in your store, you may want to adjust your expectation for when you’ll achieve your $1,000 profit goal. We recommend working on your TpT store for at least 1 hour per day at the start. Remember, this is all time that will pay off in passive income down the line.
In our new Teachers Pay Teachers course, we help you set realistic goals with our Goals Worksheet.
Step 2: Get a Premium Membership
TpT offers two types of memberships: Free and Premium. The premium membership will run you $59.95 per year, but trust us, it’s an absolute must. In our 90 Day Calendar Worksheet within the course, we suggest you set your goals and sign up for your Premium Membership in your first week.
Because with a Premium Membership you get to keep more of what you earn.
Free: You only keep 60% of each sale. With Premium: You keep 85% of each sale.
Let’s say you have a lesson plan priced at $5.00.
With Premium you keep 25% more of your revenue per sale.
When your goal is to earn your first $1,000 in 90 days, you’d be remiss to skip the Premium membership. The sooner you upgrade, the sooner you’ll be earning more. The Premium membership also shows you take your store seriously. After all, it’s a business, and paying for a Premium membership should be seen as an investment in your TpT store.
Step 3: Find Your Seller Niche
TpT is a market that’s saturated with tons of other sellers, so it’s absolutely essential that your store stands out as much as possible.
“How can I do that?”
Well, first you want to start by finding your niche. Your niche is something you specialize in, be it a subject, grade level, resource type like games or lesson plans, or some combination of those. Having a niche doesn’t mean you’ll never stray and create a product outside of that niche, but it does give your store a focus around which to create your resources and brand your store.
Our top selling teacher authors specialize in niches ranging from Elementary Music, Middle School English, Math Games to Middle School and High School Poetry.
“Okay, but how do I find it?”
There are 3 steps to finding your niche.
- What am I passionate about?
This is often the most intuitive place to start. You gravitate towards your passions which can make focusing resource creation around one of them easier. For example, one of our Teachers that we interviewed Amy Abbott of Music a la Abbott was especially passionate about music so she made that her niche focus.
- Where do my strengths lie?
Consider what you’re most successful at teaching. In a nutshell, whatever is working in your classroom will likely work in other classrooms so if you’ve been getting a ton of compliments about your math handouts, consider pursuing that as your niche.
- What niches are out there?
Identify what other sellers’ niches are. Check out top sellers on TpT to get an idea of what kinds of niches others specialize in and try to find your unique spin. Research can help you brainstorm ways to stand out, or you may find areas that are underrepresented that you know you could create amazing resources for.
In week 3 of the 90 day calendar we outline several activities that are crucial for finding your TpT sellers niche. Sign Up For The Teachers Pay Teachers course here.
Step 4: Build a Strong Brand
Your TpT store is your business, and as with all businesses, branding is important! This is what helps distinguish you and helps consumers and other sellers identify you. Your brand is how you want to represent yourself and your store to others.
The key to this step is consistency. You want to have consistent branding, not only on your TpT store, but also across all of your social media accounts and your blog if you have one. Consistent branding helps reinforce awareness of your brand and can help drive traffic to your TpT store.
There are 4 main components to your TpT store branding.
- Store Name
Use either your personal name or create your unique store name.
Brainstorm ideas for creating your store name by identifying nicknames, plays on words, or anything related to your niche. For example, our teacher-author Kacey’s store name is a play on her last name and Harry Potter.
- Logo/Profile Photo
You’ll also need a store image for your TpT page and associated branding. This can be a unique store logo that you create or have created for you, a personal photo of yourself, or a hybrid of the two! Some prefer the professionalism lended by a logo, while others prefer personal photos because they believe that consumers want to know that you’re a real person.
Although a tagline is optional, it’s a create way to communicate what your brand and store is all about. Find this by identifying things you find yourself saying often in your classroom, or by brainstorming what qualities or ultimate purpose your resources have and fulfill.
- Social Media
Create professional business accounts for each social media platform you intend on using. Pinterest is a must because it drives tons of TpT traffic. Use your TpT branding on your accounts for easy identification and integration among platforms. Cross link your social media accounts to your TpT store and to each other. This enables users who visit one page to easily access your other pages, and ultimately, your TpT store.
(Not sure what cross linking is? We discuss this concept in the Teachers Pay Teachers course here. )
Step 5: Create Resources that Fulfill a Need
There can be no TpT store without teaching resources, so you will obviously need to create and upload your own to your TpT page.
“What kinds of teaching resources can I create?”
Everything. Seriously. TpT offers everything related to education and the classroom that you can think of from full lesson plans, games, tests, complete units, and clipart to classroom decorations. If you can think of it, you can probably sell it.
Check out a complete list of TpT resource categories here.
“How Many Should I Upload?”
Try to aim for having between 50 high quality resources on your TpT page. This range ensures that you have a diverse offering of teaching resources to appeal to consumers. We know, 50 sounds like a ton, but trust us, our teachers saw a turning point in terms of increased profits when they reached that range.
Don’t get overwhelmed. If you’re looking for more help you can download our free 90 days to earning your first $1,000 on TpT calendar worksheet here.
You don’t have to have all of those products uploaded at once. Pace yourself and remember your goals. Do you want to earn your first $1,000 in the next 90 days or are you happy to earn it in 180 days? Depending on your goals, your schedule will look a little different.
Adding 5 new products each week is a good number if you’re looking to earn $1,000 as fast as possible. Quality will always triumph over quantity, so don’t focus so much on cranking out products that their quality suffers.
What makes a quality, bestselling resource?
The number one quality of a bestselling resource is that it fills a need.
Ask yourself three questions:
- What do you need in your classroom that you don’t currently have?
- What do other teachers need in their classrooms?
- What teaching resources do you currently use in your classroom that are successful?
Chances are, if your resource is successful in your classroom, it is also needed and can be successful in other classrooms.
Figure out what need each resource you intend to create will fill and curate that resource around that need. Try and find ways to make your resource unique or to fill needs that aren’t currently being met.
Step 6: Promote Products With Freebies, Bundles, Sales & Social Media
Upload a freebie. It’s a necessity…and it’s actually required. TpT requires that your first resource upload be a freebie, and this is actually a good thing.
Freebies act as your calling card. They allow consumers to get a sample of your work and your teaching style, and they can generate interest in paid products. This is why it’s paramount that your freebie be of the highest quality. Buyers will be judging your work based off of your freebie. You want to show buyers that your paid products are absolutely worth it by offering them a great freebie.
Your freebie should also be completely usable as a stand alone product, meaning no additional items should have to be purchased before it can be used in its entirety, and it should be no longer than 10 pages.
It’s also free to submit them to be featured in the TpT Newsletter. Having a product featured in the TpT Newsletter is a great way to increase store exposure and traffic, and drive sales.
Creating bundles and throwing sales are great promotional tools to help boost sales. Bundles are great bestsellers because they offer more value for the price. Create a bundle by grouping multiple resources that are similar and offer them for a cumulative price that is less than what would be paid if each included product was purchased individually.
Throwing a sale about once a month is also a great way to generate traffic and encourage users to purchase your resources. Select certain resources and mark them up to 20% off. Then, make sure you advertise your sale through TpT ads, on your store banners, and on your social media pages.
Using social media can help boost exposure, sales, and gain a following to help build brand loyalty. Use social media as a promotional tool, but don’t use it as the sole source for TpT related advertisements. Post content that provides followers with value. Post, pin, and tweet blog posts from other educators, educational articles, DIY ideas, or personal photos and stories of activities in your classroom. Social media is first and foremost for engaging with your followers. There are 3 key items to keep in mind when using your TpT branded social media.
- Post fewer promotions than you do other content, and integrate them among your other posts. For example, our experts advise that no more than 10% of your pins on Pinterest be your own content (i.e. your TpT resources or blog posts).
- Promote Strategically: When you do promote your own resources, try to curate an engaging post instead of just advertising. Post a photo of your resource being used in the classroom or being created. Write a blurb about how much your kids love this or that resource and upload the cover image with a link. There are ways to link your product while still engaging followers. Try to post regularly to boost exposure. We offer a Social Media Calendar with daily post recommendations in our Guide, but overall we recommend pinning on Pinterest everyday and posting to everything else a few times a week. Try a social media scheduler to pre-schedule pins and save time so you don’t have to manually post every day.
- Consider sponsored posts: You may also want to pay for social media advertisements to boost sales. Pinterest is a great platform to do this on. Our experts saw a noticeable boost in traffic from Pinterest when they paid for sponsored pins.
We discuss throwing a sale and other promotional strategies in week 6 on the 90 days to earning your first $1,000 on TpT Course here.
Step 7: Track Sales Data
Tracking sales data & traffic data is such an important aspect of a successful TpT store. Analyzing which of your products are selling well and which aren’t can provide you with invaluable insights that help you make the most educated decisions moving forward. Luckily, TpT’s Seller Dashboard provides all of your sales & traffic data for you. In our 90 Day Guide we suggest you start tracking your sales data by Week 4. You can choose specific date ranges, individual products, or any combination of products to analyze. You just need to know what to pay attention to.
- Conversion Rates: These show the percentage of people who viewed a product and also made a purchase. This is valuable data because it can show you which products are selling well and which aren’t, and can help you make price adjustment decisions.
What is a good conversion rate?
Anything below 3% and you might want to consider lowering the price or refining your offer to fit your audience better. Anything above 10-12% and you might want to consider raising the price.
- Traffic Click-Throughs: Traffic data like your click-through rate can help you understand where most of the traffic to your TpT store is coming from. You might see that the majority of your traffic comes from Pinterest and your Blog. In that case, you want to maintain or even increase your activity. You might see that virtually no traffic is coming from Twitter. Then you can make a decision about whether or not you want to adjust your promotional efforts on that platform. Click-through rates can also help you measure the effectiveness of ads you place. For example, say click-through data showed that 18% of your traffic came from Pinterest before your ad. By tracking your data you can measure whether that rate increases and by how much once you’ve paid for sponsored pins.
You can also track your sales and profits which can help you keep your earning goals in check and inform future decisions.
So, there we have it: 7 Steps to Earn Your First $1,000 on Teachers Pay Teachers Within the Next 90 Days. Go forth and sell up a storm, and start spreading your own awesome resources throughout classrooms around the world.
Interested in getting your hands on the 90 Day Calendar with weekly task recommendations and timelines? Make sure to download the PDF below or sign up for the full course here.
EmarieMay 30, 2017
Amazing post about earning on teachers pay teachers! What do the chapter numbers and pages refer to on the 90 day calendar?
BrittanyMay 31, 2017
Thanks Emarie 🙂 We sell a detailed ebook on how to earn with Teachers Pay Teachers so it’s referencing where to find more information on that chapter!
NeilNovember 6, 2021
I LOVE this post. I noticed that this was posted a few years ago. Do you still go by the 3-12% conversion rate rule? If not, what new percentages do you go by?
Thanks a bunch!