Are you a homeschool mom looking to make some extra money by selling your original educational resources, lesson plans, or homeschool unit studies on Teachers Pay Teachers? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Selling on Teachers Pay Teachers can be a great way to earn additional income.
In this blog post, I'll give you all my best tips for selling on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Let's talk about finding products that will sell, using your time wisely to create and list products, using every part of your TPT shop's promotional space, keyword research, and building your brand with a blog.
Remember: creating a business from scratch is hard work and you're not going to make much money at first – maybe not even for the first six months! Don't give up!
There is nothing like the feeling of your first sale!
Learn to do product research
Doing product research doesn't come naturally for me, and I had to learn to take my time researching products that sell from other TPT sellers. It is NEVER about copying anyone's products – it's about figuring out what buyers want and creating your own products to serve them.
TPT's search bar is a very helpful starting place. If you put in a search term for a product or theme you're thinking about, TPT will give you suggestions. Here I put in a couple searches for January and Valentine's Day, as that's the time of year we're in when I'm writing this post:
You can see that when you type in a search term, TPT is giving a variety of popular searches.
Tip: if you just click your cursor into the search bar and don't type anything, TPT will give you suggestions on what's trending right now.
Here's another search, and again TPT is giving the suggestions that the most people are searching for.
You can click on any of those and drill down into the results using the menus on the left hand side to filter by subject, price, grade level, or resource type.
Once you've got some filters in place, don't just look for what appeals to you (which is what I did when I first started – “Oh, look! That's adorable!”). Look for products with a LOT of reviews. Usually only a tiny fraction of people leave reviews, so if there's 500+ reviews, that product has sold thousands of copies.
Once you find an inspiring product, get creative. How can you make something with a similar underlying idea but in a totally new way? Again, never ever copy. You're not looking at these products to copy.
You're finding out the kinds of resources that people love and using that information to create something entirely new.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at not cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure for more information.
Find your creative style
Finding your personal creative style won't happen overnight.
You need to start making resources, and make quite a few, before you'll start to find that magical place where your style, what you love to create, and what sells well intersect.
Start by finding clipart artists whose style appeals to you! On Creative Fabrica and TPT, you can follow designers you like so that you get notifications when they release new products. See what fonts match well with your clipart.
Dedicate yourself to making and listing products! You can't figure it out all beforehand, as much as your brain would like you to. I spent years watching videos and taking courses and reading blog posts trying to know all the things so I'd ‘be successful.' If I would have just used that time to make and list products I'd be a LOT further along in my earnings than I am now.
want my complete tpt listing process?
Isn't it frustrating when you go to upload a product and you realize you forgot to make a preview or research the perfect subject categories?
Download my free Teachers Pay Teachers Listing Checklist that includes all the steps I take to research, create, and list new products!
Make products. List them. Rinse and repeat. Find what works. Make more of that. Resolve that you'll spend the next 6 months or a year not focusing on income, but focusing on getting in the habit of product creation and learning by doing.
There's a learning curve: repeat to yourself that everything is figure-out-able. Set goals for your shop: how many products will you list per week?
And come join my FB group to ask all of your questions!
Use all the marketing space that TPT gives yoU
- Video Previews
- Featured Products
- On your storefront: Freebies
- On your storefront: Personal Quote
One mistake I see beginning TPT sellers make is to ONLY use the thumbnails section when listing a product. Instead, you need to think of your teachers pay teachers store like a true business, and use every bit of real estate they give you!
Thumbnails: Create your own. Use Canva to make a template (I make mine 2000px by 2000px). Make a copy for each new product and fill in the details!
Previews: For printables, my previews are simply a PDF of the product. After I download my finished resource as a PDF from Canva, I go back in and add the word PREVIEW in a large font over every page, and download again, minus the answer keys. Then upload that PDF file as the preview, and people can scroll through your product to see if it meets their needs.
Video Previews: I wrote about a couple of simple ways to make video previews in my post on getting started on TPT. You can use free Canva templates and just put pics of your resources in them – simple and quick! For longer resources, you can create flip books and make quick screen videos of them.
Featured Products: Use the “Quick Edit” menu from your product listings page on TPT to select your 4 featured products. I update these monthly – or more often when there's a holiday or event coming up. You can also put your best sellers here!
Freebies: You always have a free product featured for your shop. You can use that space to create a new freebie monthly or seasonally. Overdeliver on your freebie so that those who download it get a real picture of the value you give with your products.
Personal Quote: This is TPT's strange name for the banner area below your store name. You can use it to highlight your new product, seasonal products, new freebie, or anything you like.
Make use of ALL the tools TPT gives you to increase your brand visibility and convert those clicks into sales.
Learn basic keyword research
Did you know TPT products get listed in Google search results?
Yep, they do.
Keyword research is made out to be super complicated, and lots of online business gurus edge over into trying to game the system and Google results. Don't go there, and don't get wound up in knots over finding perfect keywords with high enough searches and low enough competition and hours and hours of time.
keyword research for tpt products
Just like doing the product research that I talked about above, use TPT's search bar to do keyword research. The suggestions they give you are keywords!
Then dig into the first couple pages of results and take note of what words top selling products are using in their titles and descriptions. And again – never copy, just compile data and use it to create your own unique titles and descriptions for your products.
Then do the same process at Google. Enter your product idea or theme (for instance: Valentine's Day printable) into Google search. See what pops up in the drop down suggestions as you type. Those are keywords.
Google gives you TONS of information and ideas in the “People also ask” section – click those down arrows and you'll get more and more added – and in the “Related searches” section. Now, Valentine's Day crafts (the search I picked for this example) is obviously very broad, so you also want to find more descriptive, niched down keywords to include. See those related search ideas?
Everything you're seeing are keywords! Take all those suggestions and put your thinking cap on. You could create:
The ideas are endless. Don't fall down the rabbit hole – just find a handful of good keywords and get to creating and listing your product.
want the easy button for keyword research?
There are paid tools for keyword research. I've used quite a few of them when I used to listen to some of those online biz gurus I mentioned above. Some of them are very expensive and very complicated.
Simpler is better.
I use an affordable keyword tool called KeySearch. It's intuitive, easy to learn, and color codes the keywords for you so you can see what to use at a glance.
I can do keyword research in a couple minutes and come up with a list of 5-7 keywords to include in my product titles and descriptions. That's really all you need. See how I put the term in the search box on the left, and then sorted the list on the right by score?
All those green keywords are winners! Not all will be directly related to my original search (that's how the tools work) but I can just scroll through and find the most relevant ones and weave them into my title and product descriptions.
tips for selling on teachers pay teachers:
Consider starting a blog
There are a lot of TPT sellers who have great success just by growing a big shop on Teachers Pay Teachers and relying on TPT search to sell products. However, it can be a risky decision to trust all of your monthly income to TPT's algorhythm. Last year TPT changed their search and many high-earning shops lost income as some of their formerly top-selling products weren't at the top of search anymore.
So, I'm a big advocate of setting up your own blog to grow brand awareness and market your products. Blogging doesn't have to be super complicated or scary, either.
My coach and mentor Sadie Smiley has a Facebook group called Passive Income Pathways and also super accessible monthly memberships that will teach you how to set up a blog on WordPress from the absolute beginning – super friendly for people who are tech challenged. 😊
She'll also teach you to write engaging blog posts quickly with a focus on helping people and serving your customers.
Creating a blog post for each new product, or grouping of products, you create is a great way to get more traffic to your listings over time. Blogging isn't a quick-win strategy – it's a slow build strategy that multiplies the more you write and the longer your blog lives on the internet.
Consider your blog your brand's home base. Customers and potential buyers can get to know you as a person and have even more in-depth information on your products and your creative process!
You can also – and here's the major uplevel of having a blog – grow an email list so that you can communicate with your buyers regularly. TPT only allows you to send notes to followers on their platform – you don't get any buyer information or emails.
When you grow your own email list of customers, you can share your new products, give them freebies and incentives, give them peeks into your life, and build relationships. And, your blog and your email list are yours. If TPT suddenly disappeared or your shop gets shut down, you still have your blog and your list and can keep growing your business!