Thursday, July 30, 2015

Is there really a big pot of gold at the end of the TPT rainbow? - Business Side

One of the most common questions I hear is:  Do you actually make money selling products on Teachers Pay Teachers.

The simple answer . . .  YES!

The extended answer . . . it depends on many factors:

What is your definition of success?  Some teachers make hundreds of thousands of dollars selling products on TPT.  Some just make a few dollars.  How do you define success?  If your aspiring for a million, yes it's possible, but not likely.  If your happy with a little extra spending money to help pay the electric bill then your in the ball park.

How much time do you have?  Some sellers have quit teaching to sell.  It is hard for a full time teacher, blogger, TPT seller, working mom to compare themselves to a single, stay at home, entrepreneur when it comes to sales.  It is ok for TPT to be a part time job.  It doesn't need to consume your whole life.

How creative are you?  There are thousands of sellers on TPT.  Will your products stand out?  If you copy what already exists you will have a hard time standing up to the competition.  However, if your products are unique, desirable, and saves teachers time, your products will sell like hot cakes.

Do you use social media?  I truly believe social media (i.e. Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, etc) are a huge part of my success.  You need other teachers to be able to find your products.  Once they have found it, you need them to know what it is and want it.  This can be easily done with great photographs of your products in use, posted on social media, with links back to your TPT store.

Do you like to collaborate?  A huge part of TPT success comes with collaboration.  Finding and connecting with teachers all over the world to edit and revise each others products, to share ideas, and to exchange valuable information.  TPT has a wonderful forum for sellers.  Check it out.

What TPT Membership is right for you?  You can sell items for free using a standard membership.   It is perfect for someone who just wants to get their feet wet.  You can upload a fee products and see if they sell.  However, if you are serious I strongly suggest you upgrade to a premium sellers membership.  Why?  Although you receive 60% of your sales with the standard membership, you lose an extra $0.30 for each transaction.  However, with an upgrade to a premium seller, the transaction fee is waved (when the purchaser spends at least $3) and you earn 85% of your sale price.  Doesn't seem like much at first, but it really does add up.  It costs $59.95 to upgrade your account.  When I first started it only took a few weeks to earn the money back.  It is a yearly expense but now that I have been selling for four years, it takes less than a day to earn that money back.  Not bad!

There is no scientific algorithm that I can give you that will say if you will or will not make enough money on TPT to consider yourself successful.  However, one thing is for sure, whether you upload one product, or one thousand products, teachers all over the world will access your work and you will touch the lives of children everywhere.

Here is a graph that I created in Excel that illustrates my sales trends.  Every year my sales have increased.  You can see patterns, such as summer being the slowest months and August through November being my strongest.  So, if you are just starting to sell, don't be discouraged.  Things will pick up if you stick with it.

Another major point I'd like to make is success did not occur over night.  It took months for me to fill my store with worthy products and for other teachers to find and purchase my products.  But the wait was worth it.

In my fourth year I consider my profits successful.  In my slowest summer months my TPT income (minus taxes) could easily pay my car payment for the month.  In my most profitable, back to school months, my TPT income could pay my mortgage, school expenses, and part of Natalie's daycare costs.

Although I occasionally dream of making one million dollars, I know that is not my reality.  However, the real pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is that this is the best paying "part time job" I could ever find.  I can work from home, at my pace, and everything I make can be used in my classroom or by my own daughter one day.  I've met many new teacher friends through TPT and social media and I have kept current with educational trends.  The positives are endless.  The extra cash is really just a bonus!

You can do it too!

Are you considering joining TPT?  Use my referral link here.

Tune in next Thursday to learn if you really have to pay taxes on your TPT earnings.

Have a question about selling on Teachers Pay Teachers, blogging, or running a small business?  Comment below and I will try to answer all of your questions over the next few weeks!

1 comment:

ithappenedin3rd said...

Thank you for this post. I just started out, and I keep telling myself I chose the worst time to do so! Thanks for all the info and I'll be sure to check back for the rest of the series.