I’m officially a seller/solopreneur! I’d already planned to spend my summer break dedicated to this goal, which has culminated into my first two products on my Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) store! While I haven’t made any money yet, my free R.A.C.E. Paragraph Writing Strategy has been downloaded five times at the time of this post. Baby steps people. Starting a side business takes work!
I have to admit though – it’s been an intense three weeks. I’ve researched WHAT to make, WHAT programs to use to make products, the WHY and HOW of marketing, etc. I’ve wanted to blog throughout my process, but I’ve honestly been so overwhelmed. I found myself starting to research and work on one product, and then I’ll remember that I need to research something about Pinterest, and then pop on over to pore over the TpT Seller’s forum…needless to say this has been more labor-intensive than I had anticipated. In Safari I have about 15 different tabs for all of the various tasks I need to get done. It’s still kind of a mess, and while I’m sure there are graphic organizers for starting your side business, that would entail yet another open tab!
It seems that there are two ESSENTIAL components to being a successful TpT seller – quality products and strategic marketing. Creating quality products that teachers will spend their hard-earned money on takes time and patience. You can’t just slap on a bunch of text boxes in MS Word using Arial font and think it’s going to sell. I’ve seen many dead products on TpT that have this exact format. After trying out various programs, I finally settled on the Adobe Creative Cloud (CC). This suite of programs include Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat DC, to name a few. I’ve only used these four programs so far, and with the help of online video tutorials from TastyTuts, I’ve finally gotten the hang of creating products that are visually clean yet interesting!
Adobe CC has allowed me to use higher-quality images and fonts and add them to my products. For example, in my Personal Coat of Arms Project, I have free vector art for the shields, animals, banners, crowns, etc. I can easily resize and edit them in Illustrator, and then link them to the layout in InDesign. If I have to adjust something to that art in Illustrator, I can easily update it in InDesign without having to cut and paste that object again and again!
The other struggle is marketing. I honestly HATE the idea of “selling” myself and my products, however it’s necessary if I want to make the educational world aware of what I’m doing and have a successful side business! From what I’ve read, Pinterest is the best platform for promoting my products. So what was once just a fun way to research recipes, hairstyles, pictures of kittens, etc. has now become a promotional product. I have to admit that it’s frustrating and overwhelming since I’m not used to using it in this way, and I’m not sure how much time I should spend on marketing vs. creating. I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually!
I’d love to hear how other veteran TpTers and newbies made it past this first hurdle! While I know that there are many paid guides out there, I really want to traverse through this journey with the help of the TpTing community! Leave a comment if you have any helpful advice!
I just want to say, thank you for posting about your journey to become a tpt seller! I’m thrilled to read about your experiences “from the ground up”! I’ve wanted to start selling on TPT but have felt I’m too late in the game, especially being only moderately techno savvy. So thank you for sharing your start and I look forward to folliwing your journey. As you know, creating a unique product can be very time consuming, but add in sprucing up for marketing and a new hurdle abounds. I’ve read that creating in PowerPoint or Publisher is ideal, but wanted to ask if you’ve found using Adobe CC covers more bases? Does using this program help cut down on the need for purchasing the fonts, clipart, and border that’s widely seen in tpt products?
Again, thank you for inspiring me to continue my pursuit of learning to become a tpt seller. Even your blog is so amazing and I’m encouraged by all of your work, so please keep posting! You’re amazing!!!
Kim Lepre says
Adobe CC itself doesn’t come with fonts, clipart, and borders, however it makes manipulating those much easier. With Illustrator you can edit vector images, which are high-quality and don’t get pixelated if you blow them up into poster size. You can also layer effects over those images, such as watercolor patterns, textures, etc.
A free vector image site that I like to use is Vecteezy. However, I did also purchase some font packs and vector image packs from Creative Market and Design Cuts. I recently purchased this font pack from Creative Market. You can also get free fonts from https://www.dafont.com. I know that not everyone wants to purchase this type of stuff, but just like any business, I feel like I have to invest in quality images and fonts if I want to drive my business!
Thanks for the encouragement!