I’ve been a bit absent from my blog lately. Much of this is due to my job; teaching takes up the majority of my time as Mr. LH can attest! But on top of the day-to-day hours I put in teaching our future generation, I’m also creating a side income stream through TeachersPayTeachers.com. I’ve mentioned this site before, but now I feel confident enough to share the details on the “why” and “how”.

First, the WHY:

Since I’m finishing up a second credential that requires lesson plans and activities (it’s just as much work as my first credential, which is ridiculous!), I decided that I might as well make the best of the tedious work and sell my lesson plans for money. On top of that, I also create activities for my students to engage them in concepts and topics. By putting a little more effort into the activity and lesson, it makes my lesson marketable. It also pushes me to be a super creative teacher and my students benefit.

Now, the HOW:

Setting up a store and selling digital lessons and activities on TeachersPayTeachers.com is really quite easy. It’s just a matter of signing up, creating a logo and store banner, then uploading lessons in the form of PDF or PPT files. After signing up for a free account, I opted for a “Premium” sellers account a couple of months into selling items. It’s an annual fee (I think it was $60), but I profit more on the back-end when I sell a product (meaning TPT takes less of the profit). Most sellers recommend the Premium option.

badge

My Logo

The more difficult part is making the product marketable and promoting it! This is where creativity comes in handy. Since I also purchase items on TPT, I know that one of the things buyers look at when skimming products is a cute cover. The old saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” doesn’t work online. The truth is, if the product doesn’t have a catchy cover, I skip right over it and so do other buyers. So, obviously, the packaging is important. Here are a few other tips I’ve learned so far:

Cute, Catchy Cover

Cute, Catchy Cover

  1. Create a short preview of the lesson or activity. Buyers can quickly judge the appropriateness of the lesson or activity by skimming a couple (2-3) pages of the product.
  2. Name your activity properly. This one I’m still mastering, but if you’re a teacher, you have an idea of what other teachers are looking for, so be precise. It will help with the “search” results.
  3. Explain what’s in your activity. My PDF files often include a “How I’ve used this in my classroom” page with directions, an answer sheet and key (if appropriate), as well as activities that match the lesson. I explain this in the brief description so people know what they’re buying.
  4. Size your cover to be “Pinterest” ready. I only just learned this trick – sizing the cover 11″ x 11″ makes it easy to “Pin” without distorting the cover of the product. The rest of the product can be letter size, but a letter sized cover doesn’t “Pin” very well.
  5. Get active in the forum boards. I’ve become very active in the collaboration board and find that if I pin a few products per day, I see sales. This also builds your followers who receive emails when you post a new product.
  6. Put your name on all your materials. Branding is important as is securing that no one steals your work.
  7. Link back to your store and / or other products in your PDF file and description. This one’s fairly explanatory.
  8. Choose the correct categories for your product. I’m only just learning this trick, but it comes into play for people searching for specific activities as well as promoting your items through TPT. It costs money to promote items on the TPT site and certain item categories are so impacted, there’s no advertising room for them during certain months.
  9. Create activities/lessons in categories that aren’t impacted. This piggy backs off the item above, but if there are not as many activities in classroom management, for example, there’s a better chance your product will appear on the first page of a search.
Cover with item samples.

Cover with item samples.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a start. So far, I’ve been increasing my monthly sales income every month. Not that this says much, as my first month I only made a little over four-dollars! But I’m well on my way to building my income and it looks like it will continue to grow over the next year.

I think this explains my absence 🙂 .