Monday, February 25, 2013

TPT Tips (from an amateur)

I've been wanting to write a post on this topic for some time because of the:

blessings/wealth of information/community of SLPs/friends,  

I have received through selling on TeachersPayTeachers. 
I have held off though because I am in noooo way an expert on this area, and do not want anyone to perceive me as such. There are much bigger sellers out there-ones I will constantly be challenged and inspired by.  However, I was recently told by another seller (Speech Universe) that I made it into the top 100 TPT sellers of the week last week. "What?!" I exclaimed! I had absolutely no idea and had to rush over to make sure she actually saw "Nicole Allison" posted there-lol! Yes, I made it into 99th place last week (if you look now though, it's probably changed!) I ran to my husband and, jumping up and down, told him. And...I want you to know it's all because of you. You have supported this little endeavor since I began. You have left feedback, challenged me, encouraged me, given me inspiration and given me new ideas. Thank you soooo much. Because of this celebration of reaching the top 100 this week, I am posting my evidence-based product "A Unit on Prefixes, Suffixes and Root Words" for free this week, as a thank you. I hope you enjoy. Thank you :-)

Because of this milestone, I also got up enough courage to publish this post. Here's my little disclaimer though: These are what I've found work for me. They may not work for everyone. I hope they work for you though :-)

Tips for Starting TPT:
1. If you think you have a good idea, it's original, and it will help others (like me), then by all means, create a TPT account! I still remember that late August day when I sat my husband down and said "I think I have an idea-it's probably really stupid and won't go anywhere, but I have one. I want to align what I do as a speech therapist to the Common Core Standards and create something that makes it really easy to see." That's how my first product, K-5 Common Core Standards, was born.  It's the Nike idea of "Just do it." It can't hurt and the least you can do is make your own life easier by creating a product you love. On TPT, you'll need to upload your first item as a free item. Keep this in mind because right off the bat, you'll need to have at least two items ready to sell :-)

2. For ideas on how to make materials, see this fabulous post by Jenna Rayburn on Playing With Words 365. I also use PowerPoint for all my materials because you can easily see and navigate through pages. Plus, it's very easy to duplicate a page and then change minor things if you are creating multiple of the same thing.

3. I won't spend much time on this, but please make sure your products are your own ideas and you pay for any clip art you are using. Read all "Terms of Use" documents. I strongly believe that, in any area of my life, if I display integrity and honesty, it will someday be rewarded :-). I believe the same will happen to you. 

4. Once you have your log-in, you'll want to set up your account. Tell people a little something about yourself. Tell us what you do, what population you work with, why you love your job, and perhaps something interesting about your place of occupation. Be personable-we want to get to know you!

Tips for Selling on TPT

1. Okay, that you've set up your account, you'll need to upload your free item. I think some people may rush through this step but, in my opinion, it is huge. Your free item speaks about you as a seller. It tells people "Even though I'm listing this for free and will not make a penny from it, I make quality materials and want you to really benefit from it!" Make sure this product speaks about you and the kind of quality you value. 

2. Once you've uploaded your free item, you'll upload your first selling item-this is where is gets so exciting! My suggestions for this are: 
  • Always write a thorough description. You will want your readers left with absolutely no doubts as to what they are potentially purchasing. This is usually not accomplished by writing a few sentences. Don't be afraid to include details and examples.
  • I always upload a preview. Again, I don't want any doubts. When I am buying on TPT, I always look for this feature as well, as I am very visual and like to see exactly what I am purchasing. 
  • Upload clear, good quality pictures. 

3. Now that you've uploaded your first item for sale, you'll need to promote it. This is always the trickiest part of selling. You'll need to get awareness out there because-hey, you have an amazing product! Here are a few ways to do this:
  •  Enter the blogging world/facebook world/twitter world and promote your item this way. It can be a lot to keep up with but tons of traffic comes through these sites. 
  • Contact another seller or blogger and offer to have them try your product for free in exchange for a review on their site.  
  • Promote your item on TPT. Under "My Sales," if you scroll down, you may promote either a free item or a paid item on TPT. I would suggest promoting a free item for starters because the paid item cost $50 if you are chosen, so you want to make sure your earnings can surpass that hefty fee. Promoting a free item though gives you a spot in the monthly newletter that hundreds, if not thousands consumers read. I'm not sure if this is true, but I do feel that Paul and the people who are behind TPT are more apt to pick starters to promote their items. They like to help the little people like us :-)

4. Definitely take advantage of the monthly email you are allowed to send to your followers. You are only allowed to send one note per month. TPT will not send you a reminder when the 30 days are up so you'll need to keep track of this yourself. I actually schedule it in my calendar because I think communication with my followers is sooo important! 

5. Still on the topic of the monthly email-make sure it counts! This is your one shot to communicate with your followers for the month. You'll want to grab their attention and inform them of new products you may have listed. You'll want to thank them for their support. Be concise but informative. As a buyer on TPT as well, I always make sure to read the letters others send me. Many of them contain 1 line stating that they are throwing a sale but do not state what products they are excited to have added or any new updates. One of the nice things about the monthly letter is that you can insert hyperlinks. This makes it easy to link back to specific products, your store or your blog. You'll want your consumers to remember you and this is an easy way to make that happen. 

6. Stay in touch with TPT. Read the weekly newsletters and keep tabs on the new items posted from people you are following. Read the forums. TPT has a "Seller's Forum" where you can communicate with other sellers about all sorts of topics. This is my go-to place on any question I have about selling. 

7. Refer others. TPT is growing exponentially but there are still those who do not reap its benefits! My mom is a high school math teacher who has always created amazing lessons for her students. I referred her and now receive 5% of whatever she makes (the 5% comes off of TPT's earnings, not the seller's). It's not much, but it is definitely a great feature (and one I would definitely not turn down should you start and would like to say I referred you -shameless plug!)

8. If you have a question or issue, don't be afraid to submit a ticket for help. When I was first starting, I had absolutely no idea of what to do, so I submitted a lot of these. The staff is always helpful and usually gets back to you within 24 hours, if not that same day! Definitely utilize the support!

9. Display great customer service. There is a section for buyers to ask you questions. When you receive an email that you've been asked a question, promptly answer it. I always try to answer mine within 24 hours of asking. It shows that you care about your buyers and your products. 

10. Always display grace. Let's face it, somewhere along your TPT journey, you may stumble across an unhappy customer. Poor feedback may be left, harsh words said. As a seller committed to my products, I completely understand that this hurts. It's hard not to take this personally, with how much time and devotion goes into making the treasured product. However, take an honest look and re-evaluate it. Is there something you could have done better? Respond graciously to the feedback and ask if there is anything you can do to improve the product or make up for the disappointment. This tells other shoppers that you stand by your products and you want buyers to be happy. 

TPT has been such a rewarding experience. Even if I didn't make a single dime from selling, it makes me a better therapist and educator. I sincerely wish you the best and hope it does the same for you. 


  1. Congratulations on being in the top 100! That is really a great accomplishment! I agree with all your tips, but I do have something to add. As a seller, I find the seller's forum to be really helpful and educational- I would encourage all sellers, old and new, to check it out and get involved! Keep up the great work!

    Everyone deServes to Learn

    1. Thank you! I definitely agree with you about the forum!

  2. Thanks for a great post on getting started on TpT! I am going to share this with a few teachers at my school who are thinking about getting started. Thanks for the little shout out too! :)

    1. That's wonderful! Definitely share and tell them they should!

  3. Thank you for posting this! My first 3 weeks on TpT have been successful thanks to you and other SLP bloggers who have been willing to share! This community of online SLPs has been a great resource! I am so excited I took the chance to get started!! As you said "JUST DO IT!"

    1. Yay! So happy for you! It really is a great community of SLPs!

  4. Love this post! I wish I had read something like this when I was first starting on TpT! I would also encourage people to sign up to be a Premium Seller! It may seem like a lot of money upfront, but hte rewards are worth it!

  5. Great post! As a new seller on TpT, I am still learning the ins and outs of the site. I hadn't looked at the sellers forum until you mentioned it. And I'll need to start sending the monthly emails! I would love it if you checked out my store and let me know what you think :)

    Schoolhouse Talk!

  6. Thank you for posting this. I have been busting my brains trying to get started making some of my own materials for themes etc. that I use each year. I am so glad that you shared your tips!


Nicole Allison