This month marks my fifth year selling on TPT. Around this time each year I like to do a post in which I reflect upon my little Teachers Pay Teachers business and try to share some wisdom if I can. My message to you, if you’re considering selling or just starting a store, is that selling on TPT is totally worth it!
Curious about the first four years of my journey? Here are some posts that highlight my big milestones:
- How I Made $1,000 in my Sixth Month Selling on Teachers Pay Teachers
- How One Year of Selling on Teachers Pay Teachers Has Changed My Life
- Full-time TPT: 8 Realities You Need to Consider
What Does It Take to Sell on TPT?
I’m not going to lie. Selling on TPT, at least successfully, takes more time and money than I had ever thought it would. Had I known how much work getting my store up and running would take, I probably would haven’t ever started.
So I’m so grateful I went into the whole process blind!
When I was still in the classroom, I spent anywhere from one to four hours on TPT a day. That was in addition to teaching full-time, working out, and taking care of my dog. Somehow I also found time for my now-husband and friends, too.
I basically ate and breathed TPT. While I drove and worked out, I listened to podcasts. I watched videos online in my bed instead of Netflix. During my prep time, lunch, and before and after school, I was planning my next products, testing resources, or taking pictures of new activities.
I even crawled out of bed early to work on my fledgling business before making coffee for my now-husband when he woke up.
During that period of getting my TPT store off the ground, I hustled as I’d never done before. Every moment was spent getting something done or learning how to create and market my resources.
Is Selling On TPT Worth It? Yes!
Despite the amount of work it took, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The first couple years of my business were probably the most rewarding of my life so far. Seeing my work pay off–literally–and knowing other teachers were finding my resources helpful was incredibly satisfying.
Plus, it filled me with a sense of confidence in my ability to provide for myself that I’ve never had before. For once, I wasn’t reliant on an employer for income. Even though my TPT take home wasn’t very big at first, it was money I made completely on my own. And that still feels great.
So, flash forward to today. I’m no longer in the classroom and TPT is now my full-time gig. Is TPT still worth it?
The Flexibility Makes Selling on TPT Worth It
In the last year and a half, my husband and I have gotten married, moved states, purchased a house, lost a dog, adopted a dog, and gotten pregnant. I have no idea how we would have managed any of this if both my husband and I had had to go to an office every single day.
While my husband worked his 9-5, I prepared our home to sell and met with realtors and movers. I traveled across states to deal with paperwork, meet with wedding vendors, and even attend my own bridal shower.
We bought a home in one of the craziest markets on record, which we could only do because I was free to stalk new homes, make appointments, and coordinate paperwork with the bank and the realtor.
In August, I lost the love of my life–my dog Roy. He was my best friend and a large motivator for making TPT my full-time job–so I could be with him more. (This post was written from his perspective.)
The flexibility of TPT allowed me to put aside my work for the last month of his life and focus on making his last days some of his best. He required midday medication for pain that, had I been teaching, I wouldn’t have been able to administer.
For this reason alone, I’ll forever be grateful to TPT. It allowed me to be present with Roy when he needed me most.
You can’t put a price on being there for the big moments in your life. TPT is worth it because your time and presence are your most valuable commodities in this life.
The Mental Health Makes Selling on TPT Worth It
This is vulnerable, but the past year or so hasn’t been great for my mental health.
My husband and I moved to a state where we knew no one. Going from being fifteen minutes from my family and close friends to having no support system was really tough on me. The sudden switch was hard, and I started therapy.
Losing my dog Roy, however, completely shattered my world. I’m still dealing with a deep, painful grief that can bring me to my knees.
That same month, I stopped taking birth control, so my husband and I could begin trying for a child. (In retrospect, this was an idiotic decision. Do not quit the thing keeping your hormones balanced while you’re in the middle of extreme grief.)
After being on birth control for nearly fifteen years, I was not prepared for the emotional rollercoaster ride I had just begun. Hormonal craziness on top of grief left me a complete mess for several months.
Until, of course, I did end up pregnant, which just caused even more hormonal extremes. Add the fun of pregnancy nausea and exhaustion, and I basically spent the next four months asleep on the couch and questioning all of my life choices.
Except for TPT. Because I was full-time TPT, I had the time and the freedom to wallow in my grief. I could schedule therapy sessions whenever I needed them instead of trying to squeeze them in after work hours. Whether I needed a nap, a cry, or a pizza, I had the time to get it.
Admittedly, this hasn’t been the most productive period of my business, but sales still came. Because I prioritize the important things in my business, the little bit of work I have accomplished has allowed my bottom line to grow–even while I, personally, have been a mess.
TPT is worth it because it allows you to put your mental health first. If I was still teaching full-time, my own personal crises would have had to be lower priorities. I’m pretty sure I would have burned through all of my sick time just trying to survive the first trimester of pregnancy alone.
But with TPT, sales still come even if you’re suddenly unable to work or need to take some time off.
And Yes, The Money Makes Selling on TPT Worth It
Let me preface this section by saying I am certainly not one of those sellers who has become a millionaire from her TPT store. (At least not yet!)
Far from it.
I am still dependent on my husband for health insurance. Without that, I would undoubtedly need to have continued in the classroom. His job also has a solid 401k program, which means even if I’m not saving as much for retirement as I’d like to be right now, we as a couple are still ok.
Basically, I’m only pulling this off because I have an amazing partner who is more than filling in the gaps. It’s more like he’s taking care of everything essential while I work on creating more financial flexibility.
However, this past year was the first year when I officially pulled in more than I would have teaching full-time. Even though I work far less, I am making more than I would have in the classroom.
It took five years of hard work to get here, but it would have taken so much longer–and so many college credits–to get here if I was teaching. And now, as long as I continue to grow my business, I hope to keep earning more at a much faster rate than I would have ever done as a full-time teacher.
Selling on TPT is worth it because, unlike teaching, there’s no ceiling to your income potential.
TPT Can Give You More Options for Your Future
As proud as I am to be where I am in my business, I still have so much further I’d like to go. Years ago, when my husband and I were just beginning to talk about marriage and kids, we had a very frank discussion.
I told him there was no way I could spend all day caring for strangers’ kids, and then come home and give 100% to my own child. If we were going to have kids, I couldn’t be in the classroom. I, personally, am just not capable of giving that much energy away in a day.
This was probably over four years ago–not even one year into starting on TPT for me. I made a promise to myself that somehow, I was going to turn this TPT thing into my full-time income. I had to–for me, for my husband, and for my future family.
Because even if I did have a child and kept teaching, there was no way I could justify paying for childcare. Full-time care would wipe out what I was making teaching. And we can’t afford for me not to work, either.
Being full-time TPT will allow me, when this child arrives this summer, to take as much time as I need to recover, heal, and enjoy my new baby. I’ll have more daycare options: part-time, part of the week, an in-home nanny for a few hours, etc.
And I’ll still be able to earn money while home and being a mom. This has been a goal for over four years in the making, and I’m quite proud that this wildly crazy idea–to generate a full-time income selling PDFs online–seems to have worked out.
I have done everything I can to make sure my husband and I are in a great place when we welcome a child into this world. Now that we’re only a few months away, it feels like I’m completing “Phase One” of my business plan. I’m so excited to see what the next phase brings.
If your future could benefit from more flexibility when it comes to money, then I say yes, TPT is worth it for you.
I think a lot of sellers get hung on up on wondering whether the hours they put into their first resources are “worth it.” The honest answer is that the first few hours you put into your TPT business will generate you pennies–if that.
TPT is a long game. It’s like rolling a snowball downhill. It takes time, consistency, and effort, but making money with TPT gets easier over time. If you’re working to make money tomorrow, then no, TPT isn’t worth it.
But if you’re looking for a way to change your life or your career, and you’re willing to work hard for a long time for the payoff, then absolutely–TPT is worth it!