Today I decided to share some tips and thoughts from one TpT seller to others.
When I first started selling on TpT and blogging, there were only a handful of us speechies doing so. Now, there are hundreds. Outside of the speech TpT world, there are thousands of educators selling products.
I have been selling on TpT since August 2012. To say I have learned a lot since opening my store and posting my first product, would be a complete understatement. To share with the world materials that I truly enjoy creating has been so much fun and rewarding. I really find it relaxing and therapeutic. I take ideas that I come up with for my own students on my caseload, add fun fonts and clip art, and share them with the TpT world!
The benefit of the speech and language field, we are always getting new students and their needs are never the same each and every year. Therefore, I will always need to create new materials for my students, and in turn share more and more products with you!
Whether you are a TpT seller, wondering why or how we do it, or considering becoming one in the future…feel free to read some tips and unspoken rules. I am always learning more and more each and every day. I am also aiming to follow these tips and rules myself.
- Always strive to be unique. There are now so many sellers. The trick is to offer something different. I try and provide something different and always check first to see if my idea already exists.
- It takes money to make money. I learned the hard way that in order to sell more, I needed to purchase clip art and fonts and A LOT of it! This is truly a business and just like you can tell if a clothing store in your neighborhood doesn't invest in new hangers and inventory, same with a TpT store.
- Feel free to ask questions. Not sure if something is prohibited due to copyright restrictions, ask! I am always asking questions, even 3 years later.
- The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. I obviously mentioned the financial portion of this above. But it also takes time and effort. Although I find creating therapeutic, the promoting, blogging, and technical items take time. I am constantly looking for new tutorials to learn other things I have not known how to do before. I am researching new clip art and font creators. I am watching webinars on speech and language techniques and practices that can help me better create products using evidence based strategies. For each product I post, there is about 20 hours or more behind it.
- Quality not quantity. Yes, I have over 400 items in my store, including freebies. But remember, I have have over 3 years invested. Yes, when an idea hits, I run with it and try to get it to my store so you can experience the excitement with me, but I do not just post to just post. If it isn't done, or if I would not want to use it myself, I do not post it. I have like a dozen products that never made it to my store. Yes, I invested time and energy but I'm not thrilled with the outcome. I also have about a dozen other ideas on my “to do” app on my iPhone that have yet to be completed because I am not sure which direction I want to go and I refuse to spend time and energy on them if I am not convinced it will work.
- Learn the copyright rules. Each clip art artist has rules on their TOU. Many authors of books have copyright rules which restrict TpT sellers to create book companions (yes, I have seen your requests for certain books but I just cannot do it, sorry!). Learn the copyright rules on the other TpT sellers products, do not copy, alter, or resell their ideas. It just isn't worth it to get caught up in the legal craziness.
- Do it if you love it. I have read amazing stories on how and why people have started on TpT. You really need to truly love it to invest so much time, energy, and money to do so. Don't love lesson planning or creating materials, well this may not be a thing for you. But that is OK! It isn't for everyone! I cannot see myself being an school administrator, a presenter at a workshop/college professor, or an athlete. And guess what, I won't be one! It isn't for me! Hey, I cannot even see myself as a general education teacher! It isn't for me! I hide if I think I may be asked to cover a full classroom of 25+ kids!
- Learn from mistakes. We are human. I do not claim to know more about speech language pathology over anyone else. I just like to come up with creative ideas to work with our students. People leave me negative feedback, I learn from it and grow from there.
- What works for me may not work for you. We work for different districts with different types of students. I may say a product works well for 5th grade but your 5th graders are more advanced than mine, that is OK. I apologize for telling you it may be best for 5th graders. Create what works for your students but be open to knowing it may not work for everyone.
Some other things you may want to know about me as a TpT seller?
- How do you have time for it all? I don't! I struggle constantly with how much time should I invest vs. other things in my life. My laundry piles up, I order in vs. cook often, and I haven't seen a gym in years! I have chosen to create products over cooking, cleaning, and working out.
- Who are my favorite clip artists? Creative Clips, Kari Bolt, Graphics from the Pond, RebeccaB Designs, EduClips, and so much more.
- What program do I use? I use PowerPoint. I just switched to a Mac so I am still learning the new buttons and short cuts. I felt that it was a worthwhile switch based on the amount of time I devote to creating products.
- What is my favorite ice cream flavor? Rocky road or anything chocolate!
- When is my favorite time to create? I often create when my daughter is napping or asleep at night.
These are just some tips and things I have learned over the years. I am constantly learning and growing and I cannot wait to see what is in store for my future of Speech Time Fun.