I have broken-down and done it...I started a TPT store.

Yes you heard me right.  I have decided to start a TPT store.


I had many reservations about not starting a TPT.  

For one, as a recent graduate I was constantly trying to find activities that were free so that (on top of all of the supplies) I did not have to spend a fortune.  

Even this year I have spent nearly $300 on TPT for activities and organizers.  I am still trying to figure out a "barter" way for new teachers.  Bare with me on this one.  It is a work in progress.

I have a hard time with "patenting" Ideas.  I mean I have no idea if I dreamed it up, saw it online, Pinterest, a teacher at school.  I am deathly afraid of "stealing" someones idea?!?!?!

I saw what happened to those girls with FARLEY!!!! I would NEVER blatantly plagiarize but what if I did it accidentally?  I would be mortified!!!  :0

Lastly I appreciate the art of collaboration.  Something that I feel in our over consumer world we are losing as a skill.


THEN...
Today Jake and I went to look at a house we wanted to purchase.  

Super cute right.  It is in the perfect neighborhood, is the perfect size, and looks really cute. But then we really sat down and looked at our budget.  It is not in the works.

After I cried for a while at the idea of living in this stupid rental for one more year...I made the decision to bite the bullet.

I am creative.  I am passionate about student collaboration, creativity, inquiry, and hands on learning. I am able to make my own fonts, designs, and activities now since I have had to teach myself.

Why not help out some teachers, make some money from the stuff I make anyway, and feel a little bit better about staying up until way to late adding that last loopy on the boarder for kids that (maybe) do not care anyway?

So I did it.

I am not going to get much up at first.  I have to go buy a few font permissions so that I can sell a few things that I have already created.  Then I have to make a few fonts so that I can change a few things that I do not want to buy the font permissions.

One of the things that I think I am going to work on heavily is a summer program for 5-6th grade.

I have a BILLION few questions though.
FOR BUYERS:
I live in Minnesota.  We do not use Common Core.  I am curious to how often users search for CCSS standards or do you search for the topic?  How important is it going to be for me to align to CCSS.

I tend to stay pretty loyal to a few sellers.  What makes you venture out and look at other products?

I have noticed many of the sellers are elementary teachers.  As a middle school teacher is there anything I can provide for you to help you with your instruction?

What is your favorite thing to buy? Mine is task cards and scavenger hunts.

What is your biggest pet peeves about purchases? I wish that more products were a bit more versatile.  I use task cards like scavenger hunts but have to write on them.  For me.  I wish that a set of task cards, were also turned into a scavenger hunt, and perhaps a set with a qr code.  I get bummed out when it is a one or the other situation. 

FOR SELLERS:
How long did you go as a Basic Seller before you went to Premium Seller?

Do you also use a Teacher Notebook?  What is the difference?

Can you use things from freebies in your products, if in the purchasable product you can?

How do you decide what to charge?

How often do you try to post new things?

Am I getting in over my head?


Can you tell I am the "weigh all my options" sort of gal?


Thanks friends.  I am so happy and absolutely amazed that I have an amazing network of teachers that are already so supportive on my IG account and subscribers to my blog!  Once all my eggs are in a row I can not wait to share this with y'all.

Cheers,


Comments

  1. Jameson! You are going to love being a seller! Like you, I had a TON of questions when I first started. When somebody introduced me to the seller's forums, it helped a ton! Are you familiar with these? Once you sign up for a seller's account, go into those seller's forums and all questions that you would ever want to know answers for are on there! Even questions you didn't know you had questions for will be answered! I love, love, love to talk TPT talk so I would definitely say that you could start there! I think that being a teacher to those older grades is going to be super beneficial to you because there aren't as many sellers out there and the market for these products are increasing so I think you are getting in at the right time! Here's my email address: aolson@frazee.k12.mn.us I would love to connect with any questions you may stumble on. I will do my best to help where I can. We Minnesota teacher/blogger/sellers need to stick together ya know! :)

    Mrs. Olson’s Lucky Little Learners

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    1. Thanks Angie! Yes we do! I was just on them last night so I can see how valuable they can be!

      Thanks for all our kind words and encouragement. I know that is not just "Minnesota Nice" and that it is genuine.

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  2. You made the right choice! :) I usually buy from the same sellers, but occasionally find a new seller through items on Pinterest. I switched to Premium after about 6 months. I was making about 15-20 on basic and did some figures, and thought that the premium would pay for itself rather quickly once I switched, and it did. I switched in mid February...March was definitely my best month...a little over $70! I bet you will be surprised at how many sales you do right away because of your blog and IG followers! Teachers are loyal! :)

    Invest in the cutesy fonts and cliparts...I've found that it is worth it. Look for bundles for good causes like this one: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Toris-Tiny-Miracles-Fundraiser

    I started a TN, but never kept up with it...but they're very similar.
    I post as I create and I create as ideas come to me, when I have time, and when I really need certain things for my students. I never create anything that I won't use in my own room.

    Price is something I struggled with a lot, and still do....I always try to think about how much I would pay for it and I have teacher friends look at it and give their opinion, too. I try not to price over $3 unless it is a bundle or has options for differentiation. You can always adjust later on if you see that a product is selling really well!

    Just my thoughts...in a mini novel! :)

    Good luck!
    Lindsey
    The Journey of a Beginning Teacher

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    1. Lindsey,

      I love mini novels and create them myself...frequently. I bought that package a while a go! I actually love doing those bundles because as a SHOPPER I get so much for my money, but as a PERSON, my money is going somewhere good. The one thing that is sad is most of them are only for early grades, or the 3-5 bundles tend to be more for 3 than for 5. That one was perfect because of all of the clip art! I found that it really boosted my potential!

      Thanks for the idea with the pricing! It is sure to help!

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  3. Hi! I started a TPT last summer and it is the best decision I have ever made (ok next to maybe marrying my husband?!) but I have managed to be way more successful than I ever dreamed. Just to answer a few of your questions.....
    It's good that you are worried about stealing other ideas and copyright issues, but don't let it scare you! Just don't do it intentionally and you'll be fine! I went to premium seller after about a month... I read that once you are making about $50 a month then it's worth it. Better to do it sooner rather than later bc you will drive yourself crazy with "the money you could have made!" Yes, I have a teachers notebook but it is not nearly as successful as TPT... Like not even close! I would focus your time on creating a good TPT store. Then you can expand to TN when you feel more comfortable about it all. Figuring out what to charge is the hardest for me. If you search on the TPT seller forums you will find a document that someone created to help with this. I have used it as a guide... It's sort of a formula using the number of pages in the product. But remember you can ALWAYS change the price. If you make it $6 and it doesn't sell... Change the price if you want to!

    And.... No! You are not in over your head! Go for it... And enjoy it! I love it and I LOVE all of the extra money 😃 hope this helps. Goodluck!!

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  4. I've been on TpT for a little over a year now, and have been really happy with the success I've seen. My biggest piece of advice was already given...make things to use in your own classroom, test them out on your kiddos, THEN post them in your store. I made the switch to premium when I reached the point where I was making a few sales a week. It was well worth it. Don't get discouraged by the 1st and 2nd grade teachers that can whip out a product a day and end up making big bucks. Upper grades and middle school products tend to be bigger in scale, more work intensive, but not priced higher... Pinterest (pinning your own products) is your friend...but don't abuse that friendship. I have a teacher's notebook store too..but I make pennies on the dollar on it compared to TpT. I find it better to focus my efforts on TpT. Freebie items that you can use will have a line in the description somewhere that says "for commercial use." Otherwise I'd avoid it. Become familiar with copyright law. No book covers, no Disney owned stuff, no Seuss, etc. Teachers can use anything to teach...but that doesn't mean you can sell it. I don't care what the product is...if I see it has broken copyright I won't buy it as a matter of principal. As for how often do you post new items...that depends. I post new items after I have found the need to make one for my kiddos and then tested it. Don't fall into the trap of not searching for things on TpT (so you won't accidentally steal an idea) and then making your own version of something that is out there in an already awesome version just so you can sell it. Don't make things just so you can "meet a quota" of one item a week/month or something. Some of my products took months to make. With that, are you getting in over your head? Depends on how much you like working! It's easy to see some success with this and then get obsessed with it. I speak from experience. I can spend hours and hours on a product, several nights/weeks in a row sometimes...There are guides for pricing, but I find that the reality is that you have to price it somewhere around what you think people would be willing to pay for it and what you are willing to sell it for. Chances are you'll end up pricing it much lower than it's actual value (especially if you count man-hours spent making it.) But yeah, some (or all!) of that I'm sure you knew/ have heard...but I figured I'd chime in! Best of luck with your new store! I'll be a follower for sure!

    -Nick
    Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason
    Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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  5. Hi, Jameson!

    I was skeptical/concerned/wondering about many of the same things you have asked about. The forums on TPT are very helpful and you have a pretty big blog following, so I know you'll be able to find help with anything you need.

    As far as searching TPT goes, I usually search by topic. I don't think I've even attempted to search by standard since that was added to product information, but I think that since most states use the common core, I would at least keep that in mind, if I were you.
    I think one of my pet peeves as a buyer is when a product I pay a pretty (or not so pretty) penny for doesn't quite meet all my needs for whatever I searched for to begin with. I never like having to create something to supplement my supplement.

    When I started my store last year, I switched to Premium after about a month (after I had made the Premium fee in profit). I think you will find yourself switching over pretty quickly due to your social media following.
    I always question my pricing, so I'm not an expert, but my general rule is 20-25 cents per page. Of course there have been a couple of exceptions to that rule. I prefer lower cost, affordable products because, like you, I don't have a lot of extra money to spend, I love teacher collaboration, and I never want to feel like I'm all about the money. I try to make sure I am regularly posting freebies.
    Every time I create a product, it's because of a need in my own classroom or for a colleague. I never create something just because I haven't posted in a while or to fill some quota. I want them to be genuine, and I already have more than enough to do outside my TPT store. I don't need more added to my to-do list. Enjoy it!
    I once asked a couple of my SLANT friends about starting a Teacher's Notebook store, and they gave me the impression that it really wasn't worth it unless you are one of the top sellers because you make so much less. It's been a while since I discussed that with them, but I think one of them said the TN profit is a tenth (or less) of their TPT store.
    Finally, I think the saddest thing is when a teacher blogger becomes all about their products and loses touch with what blogging is all about. I think most blog readers/blog stalkers would agree that we mostly care about your classroom experiences, ideas, and advice that we can use in our own classrooms.

    Good luck! I hope this is a successful adventure for you! Hopefully, it can lead to the purchase of that cute house (or another equally cute one). I think you will be pleasantly surprised with this experience. I know I have been.

    :) Sarah

    from Mrs. Jones Teaches

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  6. I am so glad to have found your blog! As another MN teacher looking into selling on TPT this post and all of the replies were really helpful. Best of luck with the house!

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  7. Hi there, I'm a 2nd year teacher in Nevada- teaching 5th grade at a large middle school (we have 20 classrooms of JUST 5th and 6th grade!), and we do use Common Core here. I just stumbled upon your blog randomly. I've been thinking about making lessons to sell as well, so I've been researching all I can.

    To answer your buyer questions (I've bought 200 lessons in the last 2 years, so I can definitely give you the consumer scope)... First of all, the majority of states are using common core, so I would try to relate everything to that- and in the western states (including California)-it seems like Math is a "greater concern" than ELA right now, so my first tip is to develop your math line first.

    I ALWAYS type in "common core" when I am searching for a new product. I've noticed that the successful sellers put it at the end of their title in parenthesis. blah blah blah blah blah (common core aligned). Gotta sell to the majority right?

    I shop for these main activities: task cards (but I look for more than just a problem written on a card), word problems, projects and power points. I love powerpoints for social studies and science as an "end of the day" treat for my kids, so I've bought a lot of those. Here's what I think TPT is lacking: cross curricular- higher level thinking (DOK 3) projects. I've found a few here and there, but they are rare gems. I also look for "report" templates and reading comprehension supplements.

    Sometimes, I'm just bored at lunch... after lunch we teach math/science/social studies, so I randomly look up a topic- I end up buying it if 1. There are good ratings on it. 2. The preview looks cool. 3. The thumbnail looks like *my* style and 4. it is priced between 3-5 dollars. Some people seem to think that making these gigantic books with answer keys are the way to go, but I shy away from anything over 25 pages, it's too much printing when I have to share a printer with 5 other people. Anyways, good luck! thewordgirl22@yahoo.com

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