Thinking About Starting a TpT Store?
Teachers Pay Teachers has been a life-changing experience for us. Not only because of the financial gains we have experienced through our TpT store, but because of the genuine appreciation we have received from our customers and the relationships we have formed with both buyers and other TpT sellers. To know that you have really helped save a teacher time is an amazing feeling.
If you are thinking of starting your own store on TpT, but are still undecided, here are some things that you may want to consider.
You are going to spend more time in this venture than you can possibly imagine. You may be thinking that you have already created a lot of materials in your teaching days, and that putting them up on the TpT platform will be quick and easy. Think again. Creating a product is one thing – if you are lucky enough to have a bank of materials from your teaching days, then that is great, but you are far from prepared to get them in “TpT form.”
Once most people realize the huge time commitment TpT actually is, they give up on their stores and move on to other things. The more time you can put into TpT, the more you will be rewarded. So if you have the time to devote to your store, you can then consider…
Willingness to Learn
You must be willing to learn, and being able to learn quickly definitely helps. TpT has an extremely steep learning curve. Once you have learned something new, it helps to immediately implement this knowledge. We made several mistakes when we started our TpT journey, but because we were able to quickly bounce back from these blunders, we found success. We have been on our TpT journey for over two years, but still learn new things every day. If we had not been willing to learn and grow, we definitely would not be where we are today.
You can put in hours, and we’re talking HOURS, on TpT before you make a sale. Imagine putting in 40 hours-worth of your time before making a measly $1.70. Sounds rough, right? Yep, that’s exactly how our TpT journey started. To put that nose to the grindstone and work without seeing results can be very discouraging and causes many sellers to cease trying. You need to be willing to delay gratification, especially at the beginning. Many new sellers will attempt “tips and tricks” to gain followers and ratings – these tactics don’t work in the long run. It takes patience to see your store grow. You need to consider if you have the patience to see it through.
Extreme Highs and Lows
Since teachers drive sales on TpT, expect there to be frenzies of panicked buying (back-to-school being one of them), along with periods of crickets (winter vacation, pretty much every Saturday). If you are looking for a reliable, steady stream of income, you may need to look elsewhere. Certain months on TpT are much slower than others, and these months can vary depending on the types of products you sell. You need to be willing to take the good with the bad and just keep going.
There are many areas on TpT that are highly saturated – lots of sellers, lots of sellers who have been around for a long time, lots of sellers with tons of followers and ratings – you get the drift. If you sell Kindergarten ELA products, you may have a harder time getting noticed than if you create only interactive NGSS science notebooks for middle school. Knowing your niche and finding your tribe, along with marketing yourself appropriately can help you get noticed. Consider what you have to offer other teachers. Make your products unique and stand out in a way that will get you noticed.
Connecting With Others
There may be a successful seller out there who does not regularly connect with other sellers, but this is not the norm. TpT has an extremely helpful, friendly community. Connecting with other sellers is easy if you put yourself out there. The TpT forums, Facebook Groups, local MeetUps, and the annual TpT conference are all great venues for connecting with (and learning from) other sellers.
TpT sellers give real, helpful, and positive criticism, to help you move your store to the next level. They will promote you, congratulate you, and commiserate with you. It is hard to learn all of the things you need to learn in isolation. Before you start on TpT, consider whether or not you are willing to connect with others – it will make a huge difference.
Most TpT sellers are full-time teachers looking to earn a little extra on the side. Most TpT sellers are not bringing in thousands of dollars each month or quitting their day jobs to be full-time TpTers. Be realistic about your TpT journey. If you are willing to learn, connect with others, put in the time, and be patient, you too can experience success on TpT.
If you want to take the plunge with starting your own store, and would like some help along the way, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com, or through our “Contact Us” page.