Friday, January 2, 2015

So You Want to Be A Teachers Pay Teachers Seller?

I have been a seller on Teachers Pay Teachers for nine months now and let me tell you it’s been quite the journey.  I have gone from being a preschool teaching assistant to a substitute teacher/stay at home mom to a store owner, blogger, social media expert (okay, maybe not exactly an expert !), manager, accountant, secretary all while still being a stay at home mom of a three year old. 
My short journey on TPT has been a busy one.  I have worked day and night creating products, sometimes putting more time in this than I would a normal job nine to five job but to me it has all been worth it.  I have never loved my work more than I do now and the opportunity to create projects for students all around the world drives me to keep on creating.  I also know how stressful it is to be a teacher and love that I can make products that are “time-savers” for teachers.
One of the greatest things about Teachers Pay Teachers is the community of teachers that sell on there.  I have never seen such a sincere community of people who are willing to help one another by giving tips, sharing their ups and downs, their stories, and goals with one another.  So today I’m here to share some of my tips with you in hopes that they will inspire you in your own Teachers Pay Teachers journey.  Without further ado, here they are:
My TPT Tips to Success:
1.        Find your niche.  This may take some time but really think about what you want to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Make it unique.  Make it stand out.  Make it your own.  For me, I’ve been making cut and paste projects for over 10 years, so it was a no brainer.  For others though you may have to do some trial and error to see what sells and what doesn’t.  When you find something that sells well, see how you can incorporate it into other things and go from there.  Sell things you love.  Sell things you put your heart and soul into.  With time, they will sell.

2.       Create products with great content.  First off, I recommend using Microsoft Publisher or Power Point.  I use Publisher but I know most top sellers use Power Point.  Stay away from Microsoft Word as it is not only not buyer-friendly, it’s also not seller friendly.  You will have a much easier time manipulating, copying, etc. on Publisher or Power Point than you would on Word.  My first few products were on Word and let me tell you I’d never go back to it.  The content in your products need to be relevant to classrooms today.  Research common core, state standards, etc.  to see how you can apply them to the products you create.  If you create something teachers can’t apply to the classroom, you are creating something that probably won’t sell.

3.       Make covers that are a “Wow” factor. Make sure you create eye catching covers for every product.  I will tell you right now if your cover doesn’t have cute fonts and great clip art it probably won’t sell.  Teachers love products that not only have great content but that look good too.  For that reason I highly recommend investing money into fonts and clip art.  My first month I spent around $50 combined on both and earned it all back my second month.  It was totally worth it and now I can use what I bought for years to come.  I love KG Fonts as you can buy one font at a time for $5.00 and have unlimited use of it for life.  Once you buy 50, she will even let you switch to her lifetime use of all her fonts.  Totally worth it!  For clip art I just love Scrappin Doodles, Educlips, and Creative Clips.  I myself even dabble a little in clip art at my other store, Crafty Bee Graphics.  Be sure to check all these out!

4.       If you serious about TPT, get the premium membership.   I know at first spending $59.95 on something you’re not even sure will work seems daunting.  My advice on this is to put up around 10 products and if you start seeing that your stuff is selling, upgrade your account.  If your stuff still isn’t selling, create more products or consider tweaking the earlier ones.  Sometimes it takes more products for you to be “seen” on TPT or for buyers to feel confident in your work.  By buying the membership you go from receiving only 60% of your sales to 85%.  That’s a big difference!  And if you continue pursuing your store’s growth, you’ll get your money back in no time and then some!

5.       Realize that everyone’s journey on TPT is different.  Some sellers become instant hits, while others have a more gradual journey.  I myself have had a faster start than most, but I have also been pursuing it full time without a teaching job.  That isn’t the case for most sellers on the site.  Most sellers are full time teachers where as TPT is their side job and they do it for extra spending money and to share their unique materials with other teachers.  Don’t get down if your journey starts off slow.  Stick with it and it will grow.  Be happy for other seller’s successes and learn from them.  Everyone on Teachers Pay Teachers is your friend, not your enemy or competition.  Remember that!

6.       Check out the forums!  This is a must.  Your best way to success on TPT is to check out the forums as there are so many useful tips and tools on there.  It is the BEST place to talk to other sellers, get great tips about what works and what doesn’t, hear success stories, meet the TPT staff, and just become a part of the TPT community.  I can’t tell you enough to check this out as I learned so many do’s and don’ts there.  It will inspire you I promise!  Shelly Rees, Utah Roots, and Mad Science Lessons always have something good to say!

7.       Write thoughtful descriptions, add previews, and link your products.  Think of your description of your product as a preview of what you’re selling.  If your description is vague a buyer might feel that your product will be the same way and not buy it.  Therefore take the time to write clear and informative descriptions that will make buyers comfortable purchasing from you.  You will also want to add a preview of your work.  The more and more TPT grows, the more buyers will want to see a preview.  I am telling you now, take the time to do this on every product as it will help your products sell.  Would you buy a product without seeing a preview?  Lastly, link your products to one another.  By doing this a buyer will have the opportunity to see other products you are selling which can lead to more sales!

8.       Give credit where credit is due.  When using fonts or clip art from other TPT sellers or outside sources provide a link or credit to them somewhere on your product.  I like to do this by creating a credit page that goes on the back of all my products.  It’s a simple way of thanking the wonderful artists who provide you fonts and clip arts to make your sources look as good as they do.  They deserve the credit for their work as do you!  

9.       Understand copyrights and protect your work.  It is of the utmost importance that you put a copyright/watermark of some kind on all of your work.   That means every page folks!  If you don’t do this you are giving buyers an easy way to claim your work as your own.  Nobody wants that as all the time and effort you put into your products should be credited back to you.  YOU did the work, so be proud of it and own it!  So please, listen up, and do this right from the start.  You don’t want to have to go back and correct your products later.  Once your store gets going you’ll be too excited about creating products to want to go back and correct errors.

10.   Get up to date with social media.  After you’ve successfully made 20 to 30 products start considering ways you can get yourself known.  I started slowly by making a Facebook page and now have a blog, pinterest, and instagram for my store.  It’s A LOT to manage so start with one thing and when you feel like you’re ready to take on more try another.  I have had a lot of success on Facebook, but many sellers love getting their resources out there on Pinterest.  A blog is great for writing and discussing your products but it can’t just be that.  It needs to be a place to share and give great ideas to other teachers.  I myself still struggle with this as I do not have a classroom of students to write about.  It can be done though, just create your own voice!  I love reading Amy Lemon’s blog, “Stepping into Second Grade,” as she has found just the right amount of product, personal life, and teaching in her blog.

11.   Don’t worry about followers!  Focus on reviews, not followers.  Reviews tell you information about your products and whether or not buyers like what you’re selling.  They are a way to know if your products are working in the classroom or if something needs tweaking.  Don’t get down about a less than 4.0 rating, instead learn from it!  When it comes to gaining followers, it happens slowly and will gradually happen faster as your store grows.  Don’t waste your time asking people to follow you; instead concentrate on great products and then the followers will come on their own.  Trust me, you want real followers!  Ones that want to come to your store to buy over and over again.  Not ones that are simply there because you asked them to be.

12.   Have fun!  If you aren’t having fun on Teachers Pay Teachers then you are doing it wrong.  This is a site to be passionate about.  A place where you can create fun and meaningful products.  A place to be yourself and show your creativity.  A place to find a sense of ownership of owning your own store.  A place to find pride in yourself.   The top sellers on here love what they do and you can see it in their work.  Do the same and you’ll be successful.  This is a place where you can love what you’re doing. I haven’t met one seller on here yet, who doesn’t love the site just as much as I do. 

If you are interested in becoming a seller on Teachers Pay Teachers I would be more than happy to mentor you.  I can answer questions you might have, talk to you about my store, give you tips, etc. and just guide you as you start your own TPT journey.   I am an open book.   All I ask is that you use my referral link when you sign up so I can get credit for referring you to the site.  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Signup/referral:catch1356  Teachers Pay Teachers is a full time gig for me, so I am easily accessible if and when you have questions.  Please email me at lb.craftybeecreations@gmail.com if you'd like to hear more.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Big Thanks to The Moffatt Girls!

A big "Thank you," to Annie of The Moffatt Girls for listing me as an up and coming TPT Teacher-Author.  My mouth literally dropped to the floor this morning when I saw my picture and Owl Freebie listed on the Teachers Pay Teachers Blog under her post.  Annie, the owner of "The Moffatt Girls," just became the 3rd Teachers Pay Teachers seller to reach one million dollars in sales.  I hope to someday follow in her foot steps and am honored and overjoyed that she selected me as one of ten sellers who she considers "up and coming" on TPT.  Congratulations Annie, I won't let you down!  Be sure to check out the TPT blog post here, this girl is truly an inspiration to all us "newbie" TPT sellers out there: The Moffatt Girls Reaches One Million in Sales!
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