Three Tpt Missteps to Avoid! {For the Teachers Pay Teachers newbie!}

Hello teacher!  I hope you have found this post because you hope to improve or start your Teachers Pay Teacher (Tpt) store!  I am a teacher like you.  I do not consider myself an entrepreneur, just a teacher who wants to support other teachers with the resources I create.  I share many free resources, but yes, I do sell some too!  I aim to make high quality resources to help the average teacher save valuable time and energy.

I stumbled into tpt in August of 2013.  I was teaching full-time as a kindergarten teacher in a public school.  On my team of teachers, I was known as a the one who could create whatever was needed.  Need a permission slip for a field trip?  Ask Laura.  Need a chart to track student data?  Ask Laura!  I loved the challenge and enjoyed making resources that were useful, efficient, and beautiful.

I often went to tpt for my own purchases.  Many times, I found myself thinking, “I could do this. I create resources just like this.”  After a while, I pulled the trigger and put a few of my resources up on tpt, as an experiment, for free download.  I was shocked at the amount of downloads and positive reviews I received.  I had a product that was needed in the marketplace.  I was hooked.  I created my store, Miz Riz Elementary Resources, and have been improving it ever since!

I did not dive in head first, though.  I tip-toed in.  I never created resources specifically to sell, choosing instead to share resources that I had already created for my own use and used in the classroom.  Then I knew what I was sharing because I had personally tried it in the classroom.  My store grew slowly, incrementally, and I started selling items in addition to sharing them for free.  It is now five years later, and I am still seeing steady progress.  I am not a tpt millionaire, nor do I aspire to be.  I am not a sales person by nature and I don’t enjoy the process of trying to get people to buy my items.  I prefer to hand a “hands off” approach, where I share and sell, and let it be passive income.

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Here is a screenshot of my sales graph from the beginning.  You can see the steady growth!


That said, you can find tpt millionaires with courses to take to improve your marketing, your creative process, your branding, and so on.  Here, I hope to instead offer some simple ideas to improve your store, if you’re just beginning.  These are tasks that have made a big difference in my store, with little effort.

1. Make a “brand”

I know it seems self-serving or egotistical at first to “brand” yourself.  But it is truly a game-changer.  Decide what you want your store to be called, and make a logo.  You can do this for free with many websites and programs.  I use for almost all my tpt branding. It is worth the investment of a few hours! Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 6.35.00 PM

2. Copyrights

You need to be careful about using other people’s property.  In teaching, we are kind of “scavengers.”  I know it’s true.  We use whatever we can find, for the good of the students.  We have pure motives- supporting student learning!- but our methods can get slightly shady.  Sometimes unethical.  You need to be careful that you’re not stealing anything, and that you’re creating your own creative content.  This can be anything from using someone else’s borders without permission, using book characters without permission, stealing an idea from someone else’s store and re-creating for your own store.  It’s all a trap, anyway.  The best-selling items are always creative, never a copy.

3. Previews

There is a feature of tpt that I was mostly unaware of in the beginning: the preview.  This is where the potential buyer can see a snippet of your work to decide if they want to buy.  I made several mistakes in this area.  At first, I was uploading my entire resource there, essentially giving it away for free.  At times, I didn’t create a preview at all.  I soon realized the power of the preview.  You need a preview if it’s more than a one-page resource!  There are some good tutorials about how to make one.  Make sure that you create a watermark that says “preview” or something similar so buyers can still see the resource, but can’t steal it.

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Notice the BIG GREEN PREVIEW button on the bottom left side!


Those are my first three tips for newbie tpters!  I wish you all the best!  If you’re interested in beginning tpt for the first time, I’d love to walk you through the first steps.  It is such a fun hobby and has potential to be a fun side gig!


#tpt #teacherspayteachers #sidehustle #iteachtoo #teacherlife