What teacher hasn’t considered selling on Teachers Pay Teachers? I know that before I started my own store, I would download a TpT resource and imagine the teacher behind it. Surely she must have had a minor in graphic design, be retired from teaching, and have a background in curriculum design. I truly believed that TpT success was reserved for the lucky few who had managed to secure the perfect skill set, background, and free time.
It wasn’t until I actually tried selling myself that I realized all of the preconceived notions were dead wrong! In this post, I hope to dispel some of the myths around what it takes to be successful on Teachers Pay Teachers and give you the real scoop.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I personally use and love, or think my readers will find useful.
TpT Success Myth #1: Your Resources Have to Be Perfect
The myth: your resources have to be perfect. If they’re not, you’ll never make any money, and you’ll be slaughtered in Teachers Pay Teachers comments. The entirety of the internet will laugh at you and mock your efforts.
The truth: your resources don’t have to be perfect, just helpful.
Think about it–how many times have you borrowed a worksheet from a colleague at the last minute for a lesson that was “good enough”? How many times have you presented a slideshow with great information, but lackluster design?
And, honestly, who hasn’t accidentally ran 200 copies of a document they typed 10 minutes ago, only to notice the typo as that 200th copy finished printing?
Teachers teach imperfectly all the time. Instead of focusing on creating flawless resources, focus on creating helpful ones.
Teachers need resources to help them teach difficult concepts, that save them time, or that make learning more engaging. I’d happily pay for a resource that does all that, even if there is a small typo on page 2.
What If You Do Sell a Resource with a Mistake?
This is easy–you fix it!
The glorious thing about selling a digital product is that fixing it is easy. Simply make the correction and update it! TpT has a built-in update function that even allows you to notify previous buyers that the product has been updated.
My first resource had plenty of typos. Some of the margins were off. I had no idea what I was doing when I made it. I’ve updated it more than any other resource in my store, simply because I made so many mistakes in the learning process.
But you know what? It still has tons of positive reviews and it’s made me thousands of dollars over the years.
TpT Success Myth #2: You Need to Have Advanced Tech Skills
The myth: to be successful on Teachers Pay Teachers, you need to understand graphic design, web development, and several publishing programs. Otherwise, you’ll never have polished resources or be able to market your products well.
The truth: you just need to know your content area well and how to teach children.
When I began creating my first Teachers Pay Teachers resource, my mind was blown to discover the software that many TpT sellers use to create products was…. Drumroll! PowerPoint.
That’s right. PowerPoint has all of the tools you need to create beautiful resources. I have also since learned about a powerful tool called Canva, which is a free online program.
How TpT Sellers Really Create Products
Yes, there are some sellers that use more “advanced” programs to create resources like InDesign or Illustrator. But you certainly don’t have to.
And those beautiful graphics you see on so many resources? Sellers often purchase those (with a commercial license)! Some artists even make their living creating art for others to use in their products!
I honestly thought that every seller created their own art for their products until I actually looked into it. But there are tons of places to buy commercial use art, including the Teachers Pay Teachers marketplace itself.
For years, I thought Teachers Pay Teachers sellers were lone warriors, doing everything themselves. But I’ve learned that in fact, many sellers buy their art and fonts. They hire assistants to help them proofread, create websites, design logos, and so much more.
It’s true that your designs might not be great at first, but they will get better with practice.
If you’re curious to learn more about how to actually build profitable and sustainable TpT success–the brand, the products, everything–check out TPT Profitability.
In this course, I walk you through every step of building your business. I am sure to include several options for crucial steps like logo design–from free to premium paid. Learn more here.
TpT Success Myth #3: You Need to Do TpT Full-Time
The myth: successful Teachers Pay Teachers sellers are all retired (or have rich spouses, so they don’t have to work) and all run their businesses full-time.
The truth: most Teachers Pay Teachers sellers are still in the classroom. Some even make more online than they do teaching, but still choose to teach because they love it (or because they need the insurance).
You guys, I don’t know why I thought Teachers Pay Teachers had to be so complicated, but I really did think a great store meant many, many hours. I would look at a seller’s beautiful products, their social media presence, and think, “Wow. They must do this all day.”
But then I began my own store and started making major progress with just an hour or two a day. (Sometimes less, sometimes more.)
What I learned is that consistent work on your store is far more important than how many hours a day you devote to it.
How TpT Sellers Really Spend Their Time
Honestly, as long as you consistently add new, useful products to your store, you’re bound to see overall growth on your bottom line. In the beginning, you don’t even need to worry about marketing or social media if you’re really strapped for time.
But when you are ready to take on more–product creation, content marketing, and social media–you can always hire out help or invest in a program to help you.
I learned about many time-saving tools out when I started selling. For example, I learned early on that Pinterest was a great way to promote products, but I didn’t have a lot of time to sit on Pinterest all day, especially with only a few products in my store.
But then I learned about Tailwind. It’s a great program that schedules and pins your Pinterest pins for you. As soon as I was earning enough money from Teachers Pay Teachers to afford it, I signed up and have not regretted it for a moment!
I’ve even upgraded my Tailwind account to work with my Instagram account, too. Most of my Instagram posts go out around 6:00 pm, when many teachers are online. But me? I’m sitting down to dinner with my fiance at that time. Tailwind and other schedulers allow you to promote yourself without interrupting your life.
(Curious about Tailwind? Grab a free trial right here! It’s how I got started with it.)
TpT sellers use automation and even virtual assistants to get the most out of their precious work time.
Start Selling on Teachers Pay Teachers
The first thing you need to do in order to start selling on Teachers Pay Teachers is to start believing that you can do it.
Stop making excuses. Stop imagining scenarios that make it more difficult than it really is. I promise you, the hardest part of creating your Teachers Pay Teachers is just starting. The journey is so worth it!
From there, you’ll learn how to create better products, how to streamline your systems, and how to grow.
If you’ve been thinking about starting a TpT store for awhile, but still haven’t pulled the trigger, a course might just be the kick in the pants you need. Often, throwing a little money down gives us the accountability we need to actually stick with our goals.
I designed TPT Profitability to be a complete roadmap for starting a brand new Teachers Pay Teachers store. It consists of four steps: Build a Brand, Create Irresistible Products, Build Your Storefront, and Market Your Products.