Yesterday marked my 2 Year Anniversary with starting Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) as a teacher-author. I really wanted to make a post to share some tips that have helped me be successful, but it actually turned into a therapeutic experience for me to look back on the experience as a whole.
I’m very serious when I say TpT has changed my life. I think back to when I got my first alert on my phone that I sold something. It seriously sold for 96 cents. I wasn’t even a Premium Seller at that that point yet, so my earnings were 28 cents. Yes, 28 cents! Yet those 28 cents would impact me (and my then boyfriend, now husband) more than words could say.
Hard work here on TpT really does pay off. I’m so grateful for this experience all the support of the entire community. So, here are some tips that I wish I knew about 2 years ago right from the start. And if anyone ever needs help, feel free to reach out! If you are interested in learning about becoming a TpT seller, feel free to read my free TpT Seller Guide or learn more about getting started.
1. Embrace the TpT community. Get involved in the forums. Join some groups. I honestly cannot say enough positive things about you all here. You make everyone feel welcome and accept everyone with open arms. I love giving back by helping people in the forums. So, if you’re new, ask that question you’ve been thinking of! Don’t be shy – there are many sellers that are honestly happy to help you.
2. Focus on quality content. My best selling products are full of rich and robust content that is unique to my store. It takes more time and effort to complete, but the payoff is worth it. When I create something, I like to think, “Would I buy this?”. You are taking your own precious time and effort to make materials, so make nothing less than something amazing.
3. Keep your prices high. You are worth it! Don’t fall victim to thinking people will buy more if you way lower the price on an item. Charge what you truly believe it’s worth is. If it’s a great unique product, buyers will come.
4. Revisit your old products once in a while. It’s amazing how much and how quickly we grow as authors and designers. I just spend several days redesigning covers that I thought were amazing at one point. Since we continue growing, it’s important to take the time and check up on our older products to make sure they are up to par with our current materials.
5. Get on board with the bundles! I always say this is a win-win for both sellers and buyers. Not only do you sell more of your materials, but you are giving people a chance to get more for less.
6. Make the business investments you need to. You have to either think of this as a hobby or a business. Even if you’re just starting, it’s important to invest in what you need: clipart, fonts, computer programs, etc. Then, once you get going, consider other ways that will help your productivity like computer upgrades, Tailwind, having a logo designed, and more. I personally spend quite a bit on clipart and fonts every year. I don’t think of it as buying a new pair of shoes (even if it feels THAT good when you purchase). It’s a smart business investment that’s worth making.
7. Listen to the negative feedback. Some of my BEST products were created out of semi-negative feedback from buyers. Someone recently told me that one of my best selling items was “too basic”. I felt a mix of anger and heartbreak, especially considering all the positive feedback that item has gotten. But instead of ignoring it or feeding into negative emotions, I took that feedback into consideration and ended up making an entirely new (and more advanced) version of the product. A couple have already sold in just a couple days. So, always listen to your critics. They can give you your best ideas.
8. Invest in your brand. You should have seen my first logo that I made myself. It was horrendous and embarrassing. Having a professional logo and website (my website was JUST redone!) contribute to your image as a whole. I also recommend having a TpT designer do it for you- we have so much talent right here among us. Laine from A Little Peace of Africa has done mine and I highly recommend her!
9. Be open to new ideas. Sometimes my husband will tell me he thinks I should change something right after I put something up or think I’m “finished”. I honestly don’t want to hear that feedback, but he’s usually right. A fresh set of eyes can help give you new perspective on your products and store. Similarly, if you’re thinking of trying something new and innovative in your store, be brave. You’ll never know until you try it. Be open to new ideas, both with feedback from family/friends and your customers. We are always improving.
10. Think of your buyers as your friends. I actually learned this from a video I saw with Deanna Jump. It’s true. Your buyers and supporters are what keep you going. When someone has a question or problem, it should be extremely important to you. I do think it has helped me develop more repeat buyers and if nothing else, it’s the right thing to do.
11. Follow your passion! My BEST products have been created out of pure passion and excitement. I keep a list of ideas that I refer back to when I’m drawing a creative blank. Sometimes, though, I don’t even write an idea on the list. I get a new thought that I’m SO passionate about and start working right away. This actually just happened to me last week. When you are truly excited about a topic or project, the creativity just flows. It’s honestly the best feeling.
12. Know when to take a break. Most of us extreme-TpTers struggle with this, I think. I’m still working on it but luckily my husband keeps me in check (well, he tries to). You can’t accomplish everything in one day and if you get to a frustrating road block, sometimes it’s better just to start fresh the next day. Make sure to enjoy time with your family and still give yourself a break here and there.
Thank you all for these amazing 2 years. Dream big, work hard, and never give up!