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EPISODE 85

How Boom Cards Can Help AI-Proof Your Teaching Business with Rachel Lynette and Cassi Noack

AI-Proof-your-teaching-business

AI-Proof Your Teaching Business

Are you looking for a fun, new way to diversify and AI-proof your teaching business? This solution probably differs from what you would expect! This outside-the-box method has allowed our guests to diversify their income and see incredible growth. 

Today’s guests are the fabulous duo Rachel Lynette and Cassi Noack of Minds in Bloom. Rachel has been part of the TPT world since the beginning, and they have seen a lot of success by focusing their time and energy on boom cards. Whether you are new to digital resources or just looking for a new way to diversify your income, you’ll walk away with some fresh ideas and tips you can implement.

In today’s episode, we discuss boom cards, the many unique features available on Boom, how you can AI-proof your teaching business using boom cards, how this method will allow you to reach a different teacher audience while maintaining your current TPT income, and the best advice for getting started with boom cards in your business.

02:44 Rachel shares her journey to help grow Boom

03:48 What are boom cards and how teachers can use them in the classroom

08:38  The importance of having a diversified income stream as a teacher seller

13:29 – All of the details on Boom’s Premier Publisher Program

25:33 – How using Boom for your resources can AI-proof your teaching business

37:38 – Rachel and Cassi share their advice for getting started with Boom

Our Guests on This Episode:

AI-Proof-Your-Teaching-Business Rachel Lynette and Cassi Noack of Minds in Bloom thrive on helping teachers! By supporting educators with effective and engaging resources, they make learning fun and save teachers time through their resources.

You can visit their website, TPT store, and connect with them on Instagram @mindsinbloom.tpt

Kristen Doyle 0:00
Hey y’all and welcome to another episode of the Savvy Teacher Seller. I’m your host, Kristen Doyle. And today we are continuing our diversifying series with the fabulous duo, Rachel Lynette and Cassi Noack of Minds in Bloom. You might recognize Rachel’s name, she has been around the TPT world for ever. In fact, I believe Rachel has the honor of being one of the earliest TPT sellers. So they have been around for a long time and have recently been seeing a lot of success by branching into more boom cards.

Kristen Doyle 0:39
Now, if you are not familiar, we’ll talk all about what boom cards are. But the short version is it is a really cool digital platform where students can get some self checking activities, lots of cool things going on. And Rachel and Cassi will tell us all about that in this conversation today.

Kristen Doyle 0:55
Whether you are new to digital resources, maybe you’re just looking for ways to diversify your TPT income. I think you’ll really love the ideas that you get from them on how to branch out and start selling some things on boom cards that are a little bit different from the typical TPT resources.

Kristen Doyle 1:13
We are talking about ways that this can help AI proof your business and how it can really help you reach a different teacher audience who is looking for something that is not printable, and boom cards could be a really great way to branch out and add something new to your income streams without hurting your TPT sales because you’re selling something different there. So I can’t wait for you to dive in. Grab your cup of coffee, and let’s get to the conversation.

Kristen Doyle 1:45
Hey, TPT sellers, ready to see growth in your business? You’re in the right place. Welcome to the Savvy Teacher Seller. I’m Kristin Doyle. And I’m here to give you no fluff tools and strategies that will really make an impact on your sale. Let’s get started y’all.

Kristen Doyle 2:06
Hey, ladies, thank you so much for being here today. I’m super excited to chat with you about Boom cards.

Rachel 2:15
Thanks for having us.

Kristen Doyle 2:16
So I know everyone probably listening knows exactly who you ladies are. And Rachel, I know you were pretty instrumental in getting Boom up and running early on. And I’m gonna be honest, I have had this question myself several times in the past. And after talking to you guys, I realized I was wrong. I thought boom cards had kind of maybe had its time and didn’t know if they were still selling well. But you guys are doing pretty well branching out to boom cards, aren’t you?

Rachel 2:44
We are. So I will tell you that until recently, my focus was on growing Boom as a whole, because that’s a whole other story. But that was my focus. I’m a compensated advisor for boom, which means I own teeny tiny, itsy bitsy part of it. But my job was to help them grow and that’s where I focused. In our store, we really didn’t do anything with it. But recently, in the last few months, we’ve really ramped up our store a lot. And we’ve seen a lot of growth. And I’m excited about Boom, they are younger, and they’re active, and they’re really working to get the school marketplace. And I think that’s very exciting.

Kristen Doyle 3:19
Yeah, I absolutely love that, that they were reaching out to schools.

Rachel 3:23
And they’re adding new features and features that are valuable to us as creators and to students and to teachers that makes sense. I know one of the ones that they’re going to be adding later this year is they’re going to make it much easier for us to mark standards, so to tag them.

Kristen Doyle 3:37
So for people who maybe are brand new to this world, can you just quickly explain what are boom cards, and how are teachers using them in their classroom?

Rachel 3:48
Boom cards are think digital task cards, they’re interactive, they’re gamified for the students, there is a suite of reporting tools for the teacher, so they can see how long it took the students to complete the card, what their accuracy rate was, and other things about each student. They can even see if they use the ink feature, they can even see what they wrote. So they’re highly motivating for students, they’re great for test prep, they’re great for sort of practice, because you can use a variety of answering, you can do multiple choice, you can do drag and drop, you can do open response. There’s a lot of choices, and kids really love them. And they’re all digital, so no paper. So that’s kind of the gist, if that makes sense. And super easy to create, if you can make a PowerPoint, you can make a boom card.

Cassi 4:34
Teachers also love boom cards. In fact, whenever I was still in the classroom, which was several years ago now, Boom cards was a new thing that was coming out and I got a hold of it and me and all of the other teachers on my team, we just became obsessed with them. And we use them pretty much for every topic that we were teaching. A lot of times we use them as practice or as center activities, or even partner work.

Cassi 5:00
Back then technology had to sort of be shared, this was a year or two before COVID. I think most people have technology now. But back then we were sharing them more. So we use them a lot for our technology stations or our partner work. Nowadays, they have evolved quite a bit. And teachers are doing so much more with them now, than just as practice activities or games, a lot of teaching is going on with them now.

Cassi 5:26
With the different features that they have, you can present some slides as new information and then a couple of slides of practice information. And then maybe at the end of the set of boom cards, you can have some assessments. So just in seeing what other people are doing with their boom card sets, I can see that the whole learning process can happen with one set of boom cards. And people are making games, board games, just classic like time filler, fast finisher games, they’re making escape rooms, lots of stuff going on with boom cards with the new coding that you can do on a set.

Rachel 6:04
And also, they’re fabulous for differentiation, because you can make a card set exactly for what you need. And so you can differentiate up, you can differentiate down, there’s lots of features, like there’s audio. So if you have a reading passage, and you need students that need the support of having that read to them, then that is an option. But maybe you have other students where you don’t want them to have that extra advantage, because it’s reading comprehension. So then you can give them the ones without audio. So that’s really fabulous, too. And also, because Boom decks, you know, they’re small, it’s like generally a quick activity, it’s easy, they’re less expensive. So it’s easy to maybe have a set that’s for one group and another set that covers the same thing. That’s for another set that’s geared down a little or up a little.

Cassi 6:49
And to jump on what Rachel was saying there, as a teacher, you can differentiate an entire set that you purchased. So maybe you purchased a set of 32 practice cards and half of them were a little easier and half of them are a little harder, you can make the set and pick and choose exactly which cards you want in that set before assigning it. And assigning boom cards has become so much better to over the years since I use them in my classroom.

Cassi 7:16
Now, they integrate so perfectly with the most popular learning management systems like Canvas or Schoology, you can even just do a fast play link where you give them a little short link, and they click that and play it right from there. So depending on how you’re using it, teachers can have a whole lot of data of how the students are doing. Or they can just do it for the practice. And for the self paced learning that happens naturally, when a student gets it wrong. And it says, you know, you got it wrong, try again. And there’s a lot of value in that type of practice and learning as well.

Cassi 7:51
So I know that Boom, really is putting teachers and how these products are used at the forefront of their work so that they’re really, really useful. And sometimes I lose sight of that, because I’m more interested in using it as a seller. And so whenever I came on with Rachel, which has now been going on four years, all of my energy went into Teachers Pay Teachers, updating products, adding value to all the products, that’s basically all I did. Well, it did take several years to revamp all of the older products in the store and move all of my products in, that was a long labor of love. And we are pretty much done with that besides optimizing and small tweaks.

Cassi 8:38
And we are getting to a point you know, where we have some more time to devote to other things. So Rachel has always been much, much more passionate about Boom than I was I just was all TPT, all day. But over the last couple of years, we have seen the importance of having a diversified income stream. And one of the things that we hadn’t tried to capitalize on at all was boom cards. So Rachel had the idea with this Premier Publishing Program coming out that she might talk about a little bit later. But that you know, as this is happening, it’s probably a good idea to go in and check our products, update them, make them look a little more modern and then just add to our catalog. Because in our TPT catalog, we have lots and lots of task cards.

Kristen Doyle 9:25
I think I own almost all, all of the ones you had at the point that I left the classroom.

Cassi 9:32
Over the last couple of years, made a couple of 100 new products for TPT. And none of those products were in boom cards. So I just looked at our catalog and I said wow, we have all of these task cards that can easily be revamped and made into a set of boom cards. And so starting around the end of October is when we started thinking about doing this. So all through November and December, I took our task cards that we had in our store and I Turn them into boom cards. And I was able to use most of the resources that we had already made and just do some minor tweaks to make them work better on boom cards.

Cassi 10:10
So we spent a couple of months doing that not really sure it was going to make a difference. We changed all our covers, we just did some housekeeping stuff. And honestly, we thought, well, we can give it a try. Why not. And since we started doing that, the first month, we saw a huge increase. And the next month, we saw another huge increase, I’m talking at our best month before we started adding to it and updating it was double, triple that. So it instantly told me that there is a lot of room on Boom for new sellers or people who have dabbled in it a little bit to put some more effort in there and make a big difference.

Cassi 10:53
So you know, a lot of the things that we’re doing on TPT, and have been doing over the last year and a half or so, we’re doing a lot of work. But we’re not seeing, you know, a ton of growth. Some people are but I think maybe more established stores aren’t seeing 100% growth year over year, like maybe we did it at the very beginning.

Kristen Doyle 11:12
And that’s sort of normal, because you have grown so much for so many years. At some point, you do kind of start to plateau a little bit, and I’m hitting that in my TPT life as well. I love it, this is a way to add another income stream or increase the income you’re getting off of an income stream you kind of already had. But without taking anything away from what you’re getting on TPT. Because it’s a different type of product for a different type of, not necessarily a different market. It’s still teachers, but for a teacher who’s looking for something different.

Rachel 11:43
Exactly. And I would also add if task cards weren’t your thing on TPT, no problem because I’ve taken worksheets, and just taking the questions or taking the passages or whatever it was and just put them on cards and add it and you know, use their format. It’s a little more work than you know, if you just have the card, but you can certainly take content that you’ve already developed, you don’t have to start from scratch.

Kristen Doyle 12:04
You don’t have to think up all the questions and do the math and find the right answers. Because you’ve hopefully already done that on your printable product.

Rachel 12:13
Exactly. So if you’ve got the content, a lot of it can be moved to Boom.

Kristen Doyle 12:17
I’m just over here brainstorming and thinking of products that could probably work on Boom with a little rearranging. I don’t have many task cards, because I bought them all from you.

Cassi 12:28
It feels really good, just to see the growth.

Kristen Doyle 12:31
Yeah, it’s fun to be in a season of growth. And when you’ve been on TPT a long time, and you’ve gotten kind of settled into a routine, and maybe you’re not seeing a lot of growth, because you’ve sort of hit that plateau. It’s fun to be in a new market with new buyers and seeing your business grow in another area.

Rachel 12:50
It’s like the early days, it is I look at my TPT every day just to make sure that we’re doing what we should. But I don’t look at individual products that have sold almost ever anymore. Because I’m not doing data, Cassi does that. But I look several times a day at Boom. And I look at what has sold, I mean specifically. And it’s exciting like, Oh, that one sold. I made that one yesterday. And I get very, very excited about it. Because it’s all new.

Kristen Doyle 13:14
And yeah, it’s fun to see something new take off.

Rachel 13:17
Yeah, there’s just so much potential room for that.

Kristen Doyle 13:19
So you mentioned the Premier Publisher Program. And I know that’s kind of a catalyst for you guys diving into Boom more. Can you tell us a little bit about what that is?

Rachel 13:29
Yes. So I’m going to compare it to School Access, but way better. So first of all, I know there’s a lot of negativity around School Access. So Boom, has done it differently. So the commonality is that the marketplace is schools, and Boom has not started that marketing yet. But they’re ramping up, the market place is going to be schools and districts. So that’s where the commonality and also it’s going to be a subscription program. So that is how it is similar to School Access.

Rachel 13:56
Here’s how it’s different, if you’re a member in School Access, please join us, please be School Access, please come join us. And with Boom, it’s well we set a really high bar and if you pass our bar, you can be part of this program. And some of the things you need to do, there’s some housekeeping things like taking out outside links to other things, but it’s more about you need to be actually qualified to make the cards that you’re making.

Rachel 14:23
If you’re not an SLP, you can’t make those cards. If you’ve never actually been in the classroom. I think it’s three years experience in whatever it is you’re making cards for you need to actually have experience and be qualified to make what you’re making so you’re gonna get rid of all those junk stores that are plaguing TPT right now. And that’s not even a thing on Boom anyway, outside the premiere program. That’s one thing.

Rachel 14:46
They’re really stressing standards based and soon we’ll be able to tag that. They’re really about the research. If you’re doing like primary reading then it’s all about the science reading, they are really into things that you can do to make learning accessible. So if you can add audio great, they have something it’s got to do with the way the cards are, I think our cards just do it. But it has to do with the way the cards cycle, you can use your tab button, I think I’m not very clear. But other things that you can do to make your cards accessible, they really want you to be able to do that.

Kristen Doyle 15:17
That’s good.

Rachel 15:17
And there’s some other things too, and you’ve got to meet these qualifications. And they are checking like human beings, not a machine. So you apply for the program, there is a long process, you have to fill out this big long thing, saying you do these things, and you know, all this stuff, and there’s articles to read, it’s a whole thing, it took me a few days, just to get to that. So at that point, our store was small, and just to get our current cards into compliance.

Rachel 15:41
I mean, I had to go and you know, look at our descriptions, make sure that they are valid, and you know, that they made sense for what we were selling all the things, and then you apply. And then if you get in, and you know, it could be that they reject you and say just, you know, fix this. But if you get in, then they give you a lovely little badge right on your store that says you’re a Premier Publisher with a star. And how nice is that? That defines you from everybody else.

Kristen Doyle 16:06
Yeah. And even if teachers don’t fully understand what that program is, when you get a badge that says you’re certified, you’re special, you’re whatever, from the platform you’re selling on, it looks good, even if the people who are shopping aren’t 100% sure what that mean.

Rachel 16:23
Exactly.

Kristen Doyle 16:23
There’s a program on Etsy Star sellers, maybe I don’t know, and I don’t know how to become one. But I know if I see that, that means they did something.

Rachel 16:32
Right. They vetted it. I love that. So when you’re a Premier Publisher, you’re hanging out with the best of the best, which was great. And it’s been vetted. And we all know that school districts and schools want that vetting and need that vetting. So that’s super important. Also, they said, you get a nudge in search.

Kristen Doyle 16:49
Oh, well, that’s fun. You know, I like anything that will push you up in search.

Rachel 16:53
but what they’re gearing up for, and I’m not sure when they’re going to launch it is a Premier Program where they will be marketing to schools. So they will be doing the marketing, they will be doing all the legwork. And then there will be a subscription program and it’ll be you know, a pot of money from the subscriptions and Boom will take part of it because they’re doing the legwork. And the rest will be divided among sellers, according to how often various cards in the program are used.

Rachel 17:19
There is no financials for that yet. I can’t speak to that. I don’t know it. I don’t know that they know it yet. But the point being, at some point that will happen. And the idea is to do so much volume that it is happy for all of us, and on. So this is definitely markets that we are not reaching in the marketplace.

Kristen Doyle 17:36
Yes, school districts aren’t buying boom cards right now, but they can be.

Rachel 17:40
One other nice thing when a district is no longer subscribing. Guess what? They can’t get your cards anymore. It is not downloadable, it is not a printable. So that is another issue I know that Access has.

Kristen Doyle 17:51
Yeah, so it really goes away.

Rachel 17:53
Yeah, so it really truly does go away, they need to pay every single year to have access.

Kristen Doyle 17:58
So in that regard, it work a lot more like an Amazon Prime video or Netflix or something like that, where the content is all online, and you can’t access it anymore if you don’t have your account.

Rachel 18:10
Another thing I’ll add is the founders of Boom are Eric and Mary Oemig, who I know personally, they’re friends of mine, I met them through another friend, they also live in the town next to mine. And Mary is an attorney, one of her passions is like she’s a stickler for the rules, like everything is legal, and especially in terms of student privacy, that will not ever be violated. And I know that’s an issue for schools and districts. They never want their students privacy to be violated or any of the rules about advertising to students.

Rachel 18:41
So like you can’t have outside links to videos, I believe on a premier publisher, maybe not at all in Boom. I’m not sure about that, vertainly not a premier. They’re making sure that nothing is going to be compromised there. And so districts will feel safe using them. Like one example I can give is early, early, early on. I mean, it’s just sort of related for sellers. One thing I really pushed Eric, when I was being more of an advisor is you have to protect Clip art. We had a big argument about that. But in the end, he did it. So like you can’t lift Clip art from Boom. So you can’t just copy and paste it off.

Kristen Doyle 19:15
The clip art sellers all appreciate you for that. So can we talk a little bit about kind of what your growth experience has been like, on Boom. And I know Cassie, you’re the data girl. So talk to us about kind of how that growth has been?

Cassi 19:32
Well, I don’t know a lot about the initial growth because Rachel did all of that before I came on. So the boom store has been in existence for several years.

Rachel 19:41
Okay, hold on. I’m gonna talk about one little thing I can tell you that they were cruising right along slow but steady and then COVID it was a hockey stick. It went throught the roof, I mean literally, they could not hire enough people to keep up it was bonzos and what they are doing now is holding steady.

Kristen Doyle 19:59
In this market holding steady is growth. Realistically.

Rachel 20:03
Yeah, so they’re holding steady right now. And I expect they’ll start growing again soon, they have not seen the dip.

Kristen Doyle 20:08
Now, that’s fantastic that they’re still holding at those high level.

Rachel 20:11
Cassi can talk more about the specifics.

Cassi 20:13
Yeah, I don’t know it as a whole just from our store. And I only went back and sort of looked at the year since I’ve been there. We haven’t added new products in years. And the sales were pretty equal month over month, year over year, we weren’t growing, but we were maintaining. Most months, we made about the same amount of money. And it wasn’t until this past October that we started putting any emphasis onto building and improving the store as it is. And since then, every single month, we have doubled or tripled, the highest sale from any month from any year.

Cassi 20:49
So historic highs from putting the effort into it. So we did put a lot of effort into it, it became the bulk of my work. Through the months of November and December, I was putting tons and tons of new sets, I think I played about 80 new sets during those months. And then also made new covers and Rachel changed descriptions and tag words on the older products that already existed. But just that work has tripled sales.

Cassi 21:21
So, January last year was the lowest selling month that has ever existed. And then this year, it’s ready to be the very, very best one we’ve had. So all of the work that we’ve done is making a difference. And I can say that I have worked just as hard doing the same types of things on TPT over the last couple of years, and we have not at all had the same experience. So I think that just shows that there is so much more room to grow in Boom. It’s not nearly as saturated. There’s a lot of empty space in any given search term. And so it is a great place, if you want to diversify and put some eggs in a different basket. It’s a great one to do.

Rachel 22:07
Another thing we’re seeing as most of our older cards are also on TPT. And most of our sales used to come from TPT. Now more of our sales are coming from Boom, which I think is really encouraging.

Kristen Doyle 22:17
Yeah.

Rachel 22:18
So boom takes 15%, not 20 of your commission. So that’s a nice thing. And also, just because I’m team boom, right now, I will tell you that when buyers buy on TPT, TPT collects that commission, they get all the money Boom gets zero, which made a lot of sense for them in the early days, because they needed people to come to Boom.

Kristen Doyle 22:40
Yeah.

Rachel 22:40
But now we’re really trying to encourage our buyers just to buy straight on Boom, we get a bigger commission for one thing, Boom makes more money so that they can keep putting more money into Boom, which is great. And also, we have way more cards on Boom than we do on TPT. So buy on Boom, it just makes more sense. So we’re trying to push our buyers who are buying on Boom, to buy on Boom, rather than going from TPT to Boom. But you know, it’s nice that they’re there. We have extra cards on TPT. So they’re there, but we are seeing more sales on Boom.

Kristen Doyle 23:10
Would you say it’s maybe a good idea to have some cards in your TPT store so that your TPT buyers know that you exist on boom?

Rachel 23:19
Definitely, I think so for sure. We have not been backwards engineering, we have not been taking cards that we’ve made specifically for Boom, and put them on TPT. There’s extra work you need to do the link, you need to make previews, right. I mean, one nice thing about Boom is that’s all taken care of. So if you’ve never sold on boom, one thing to know is it’s a much easier ramp up, you need to make one cover, it’s super easy. If you have a template, the preview is taking care of for you, because viewers can see the first four cards, they just see the first four. So you don’t have to worry about previews, you don’t have to worry about thumbnails, it’s just done. You’re making a cover and a product and a description.

Kristen Doyle 23:57
And I think the difference there is it’s one type of product, you don’t have to explain in a preview that these are interactive games, because everyone who’s shopping on Boom knows this already. They just want to see what kind of cards these are.

Rachel 24:09
And that can see them and they can play them. So the preview is built in, so if you want to go back and take things you’ve made specifically for Boom and put it on TPT you can totally do that. But you’ve got to do preview, you’ve got to do thumbnails, you have to do a different cover. So probably we’ll go back and try a few of them. But because we’ve been struggling with new products on TPT, they’re just not getting the growth they used to. It doesn’t right now it seems like it’s worth the time. But if you are just starting out, I would do both. I would definitely put them on TPT to get a start because your buyers are on TPT right now. Right? So you want to let them know that you are also on Boom. So definitely put them on TPT.

Kristen Doyle 24:47
Yeah, and for people who are wondering and we don’t have to talk actual numbers because that’s no one’s business obviously. But I am assuming the bulk of your sales overall is still TPT, not Boom. But it’s exciting to see it growing.

Rachel 25:02
That’s pretty much it. I mean, honestly, at this point, because before Cassi was around, I neglected the Boom store. I focused on other things, when I was doing Boom, on growing the site as a whole. And at that point, when TPT was booming, it really made sense for me to focus my energy there. We are a top seller on TPT, it made sense. Honestly, our TPT sales are much, much, much bigger than Boom, but they’re not growing, Boom is growing. And that’s what’s exciting to me and growing at a rate that’s super exciting.

Rachel 25:33
And so to me, I see the potential, I mean, you’re always looking for the future, right? You can’t stay in the now. Oh, and that’s another thing about the future. I feel like, Boom, might be a little bit more AI proof than the general marketplace, because it’s its own sandbox. I mean, yes, people might use AI to actually create card. That’s fine, do that if you want to, I mean, can’t do that and be a premier publisher, unless you’re going to edit a lot. You can’t just spit AI on and expect that to be good enough, because it’s not. But the point being, as far as like teachers going out and making the same thing that you can make the instead of buying your product on TPT, on Boom, they have to actually come to Boom, if they want that Boom experience. So I’m excited about that too because AI really scares me.

Kristen Doyle 26:17
Yeah, I can definitely see where boom cards would be, like you said, a little more AI proof than something printable or even something that we’re putting in like Google Slides. Because it is its own little world. And those reporting tools and things that they have the feedback that the teacher gets, that stuff is all done. And, you know, for an average teacher to hop on an AI tool and create something and then put it in Boom, they would still have to learn how to use the publisher side of the Boom platform, which, as TPT sellers is not much of a learning curve. It’s not too bad for us. But for the average teacher who’s not used to doing that sort of thing that can feel overwhelming. And, yeah, it’s not just something that you can get an AI tool to spit out a worksheet and be the same. So yeah, I can see that.

Rachel 27:05
I think we are going to be seeing a lot of that, I think we’re gonna be seeing a lot of AI generated, have the sort of lowest common denominator TPT products, worksheets that are very basic drill and kill, but you can’t duplicate that in Boom, because they have all those features, and they are their own sandbox.

Kristen Doyle 27:20
Yes, and even super simple things like practicing multiplication facts, that an AI tool can absolutely spit out a worksheet on might have the answers wrong, because it’s not very good at math. But it could spit out a worksheet on multiplication facts for free, that takes away from the worksheets we sell on TPT. But that does not take away from multiplication fact practice on Boom, because it is like you said, it’s a different animal.

Rachel 27:45
Yeah. And I think when I thought about what about Boom, I was reaching around everywhere, like what can we do? What can we do that will AI prove us that will help us and this was really born out of personalized search, which is gone now. But it’s still a struggle. Just to be clear, personalized search on TPT, just so much frustration. And then in October, that’s when I really started paying attention to the Premier Program and realizing that, you know, this could be a really amazing thing, to have them marketing for schools on our behalf. And so my initial motivation was, let’s gear up for Premiere Publisher. It’s like, let’s be ready for this when it happens. And then we started seeing the bump in sales, big bumps and sales. And that became the primary motivation. Let’s just build our core, because this is great.

Kristen Doyle 28:31
Sales notifications are a great motivator.

Rachel 28:34
Yes, they are.

Cassi 28:35
I’ll add this to what Rachel was saying to answer your question. We also have a WooCommerce store with all of our TPT products on it. And since October, we’ve made more money off of Boom cards than we did in the whole year on our WooCommerce store. And it does get about 2 million views a year. So that’s just why we’re so excited about the potential. I was a little hesitant because we don’t have VAs and teams and all of that. And so I knew that taking on another platform was going to be more work. And would I be able to do that work, on top of all the other things that I have to do. And so I was a little hesitant, but it has proven to be a good decision to focus some efforts there.

Kristen Doyle 29:20
I love that. It sounds like the teacher audience on Boom must really have been growing recently.

Rachel 29:25
Yes. And I don’t know about recent growth. I can say there are currently 3000 schools using Boom like as schools, and that there are 2 million educators using Boom, and so lots of room to grow. But certainly lots of people also using the platform. There’s just so much room to grow. I just keep looking at those tools and thinking what can I use these for? How can I be creative? How can I do something new and different that hasn’t been done? And it’s really fun. I mean, the platform itself is just it’s fun to play with.

Kristen Doyle 29:56
Yeah.

Rachel 29:57
And they do have some new features, they have one where you can collaborate and play like a game together where several people can work on the same card or deck.

Kristen Doyle 30:06
Oh, that’s fun.

Rachel 30:07
They haven’t used but it looks like it’s promising. You can record voice memos, which I guess is good for people learning foreign languages.

Kristen Doyle 30:15
I can see that being good for younger kids learning to read too.

Rachel 30:18
Yes, I could see that too, musical instruments, anything like that. There’s something I was playing around with called chain images. And I was just playing with that this morning. So you can put a bunch of images all together in the same place. So imagine that you’re playing a game or having students do something where they need to pick a card, so they can pick the next card. Or if you’re playing a tic tac toe game, it can go from x to o.

Kristen Doyle 30:41
Yeah

Rachel 30:42
Or you’re decorating something and you can choose different things, you know, different trees that go in front of your house, or whatever it is.

Kristen Doyle 30:49
I can see kids really loving that.

Rachel 30:51
Yeah, it just cycles through the images. So I think that’s kind of cool. And then the one I’m most personally excited about is ink drawing. So one thing I’m really into is reading comprehension, close reading, and now they can underline and circle and they can annotate the text, which is really big, and they can work out story problems. So I think that’s really exciting, too.

Kristen Doyle 31:11
That is, does sound like a lot. I was telling you guys, before we started recording, I’ve only used Boom, when I was homeschooling my son, and he loved it. I think I made one deck. And then I was using other people’s, because you know homeschooling and TPTing. And yeah, there was a lot, there’s a lot going on in 2020. But he loved it. But it sounds like there are just so many more features now even than there were then.

Rachel 31:34
Yes, and they keep adding more. So I’m really excited about that. They’ll just keep adding more, which is awesome. They listen to us, that’s another nice thing. I mean, they’re very responsive, and they listen to sellers about what we want. And they try and put those features in as much as they can. So I think that’s exciting, as well. And just another thing to add. I mean, I think it’s obvious they run on any device. But that’s great because they can run at home. So if you have a COVID outbreak at your school, God forbid, or weather

Kristen Doyle 32:03
Flu

Rachel 32:04
You can assign it as homework, because probably a lot of those kids already have devices at home because of the pandemic.

Kristen Doyle 32:11
We have more devices than people in my house. So exciting. Sounds like just a lot of opportunities. And one thing that I have kind of learned from just chatting with you guys about Boom, I had this idea in my head that Boom was for little kids. And I don’t know why because I knew that you guys were involved. And like I said, Rachel, I use your resources forever ago when I was teaching fifth grade. So I know it definitely there for upper elementary to or you wouldn’t be doing it. So just good to know kind of that there is a market there for different grade levels. And I believe you said even after high school?

Rachel 32:47
I think so. I mean, okay, so yes, it’s great. You can put in clipart and make it really cute, but you don’t have to. I mean, why couldn’t you like biology, right? You’ve got to label parts of a plant or brain or whatever it is, I mean, that’s super easy with drag and drop, or even just having them fill in. And if you want them to write it themselves, you can have you know, your diagram, and they can drag the terms there. That’s a high school activity. There’s no reason you couldn’t, I could see a million ways to use it in high school, just don’t make them cute, you know, and put more text on the page and you know, make it geared for high school. Why not? And you know that to market that probably needs to be grown. But isn’t that what we do we grow our markets.

Kristen Doyle 33:26
It is, that’s what we’re here for.

Rachel 33:29
And honestly, that’s an opportunity, isn’t it? I mean, that is not saturated. If you’re a high school teacher, you might look at Boom, and say, yeah, nobody using know your school. Well, guess what, that’s a wide open field, you’ve got blue ocean there. You know, like, make it and then bring the people.

Kristen Doyle 33:45
And that might be somewhere that you create those resources and you do some education on your social media, or through your blog posts or emails, teaching your audience that this is an option and that their students are gonna love it and learn from it.

Rachel 34:00
You know, as entrepreneurs that is up to us, I mean, it’s not build it and they will come this isn’t a field of dreams, you actually do have to bring people to your resources, especially when there’s not already an established marketplace. But like you said, we’re good at that. And Boom, looks really good on a video, just saying, you know, it’s very happy to put on video, looks good on pictures, makes great webinar. So educate your audience, and you got wide open field out there.

Rachel 34:25
And even in the lower grades, it’s not saturated. And since Boom cards are fairly easy to make, and they consume pretty quickly, you could choose a topic and then make that for every holiday. You know, every season, every grade level, well within your grade level. I saw one seller that literally had in her store, like two concepts, but she did it, like at every holiday, everything. She had this and she was meeting the needs for everything, but only had like two things she was doing.

Kristen Doyle 34:55
Well and there are those topics that we’re working on with our students all year long. And we do need fresh activities and new games and something to keep them excited and interested.

Rachel 35:07
Or like just something current.

Kristen Doyle 35:09
Yeah.

Rachel 35:09
I made something about volcanoes, because volcanoes are big now. There’s one erupting in Iceland. So I made reading passages about volcanoes, you know, if something happens in the world, and it’s student appropriate for your age group, why not make a product.

Kristen Doyle 35:22
And even just using it as kind of the background content for a product.

Rachel 35:28
Exactly.

Kristen Doyle 35:29
The theme, if you will, or whatever, just to bring in those things that are fresh and current that people are talking about and thinking about right now.

Rachel 35:36
Exactly. This is always something that excited me about TPT, is where can I go? What can I do that has not been done? Or hasn’t been done much? What can I do that’s new and unique and special? And how can I take the tools that I have to like, make something really cool and unique that other people haven’t thought of yet. And there’s a world like that, for Boom. And that’s exciting.

Kristen Doyle 35:57
I just love it. And I’m so glad that we talked about Boom, today. In fact, when I reached out to see about talking about diversifying, Boom was not what I thought I wanted to talk to you guys about. And I’m so glad that we did, because I think it’s something that we aren’t talking a ton about in the TPT community. And it really does sound like something that would be fun to try. I’m excited about it, I’m already thinking about things that we’ve created that are worksheet type activities that probably would do so well on Boom, and maybe we should give this a try. I’m gonna have to go figure out what my login is.

Rachel 36:30
Well, one thing I would just say too, is, I don’t understand the Boom search at all, like, I do not understand it. But like, if you’re new, make a bunch of different products, like, try different things, different formats, different topics, just try a bunch of different approaches, you know, put them out there and see what sells and give it time. I’ve noticed products will sometimes sleep for a month or two and then they take off. I don’t know why, I really don’t. I would love to understand the search algorithm. And I don’t, I think that’s by their design

Kristen Doyle 37:03
Maybe that’ll be the next thing I figure out is the Boom search algorithm.

Rachel 37:07
Maybe, it will. You can share it with us. But the point is, don’t give up if things don’t sell right away. Just like try something different. And just keep watching it and bring some buyers and see what happens.

Kristen Doyle 37:17
Thank you, ladies so much for being here today. Can you tell people and I don’t think I prepped you for this question. So think on your feet. Can you give us an action step? If a TPT seller is listening right now and they’re thinking, you know, I think I want to try Boom? What would you suggest that they do first?

Rachel 37:38
First of all, check out Boom, like look at people. I mean, clearly do not copy. Do not even be you know, tightly inspired maybe very, very loosely inspired is okay. I mean clearly check out what other people are doing so that you understand, play some decks, play previews, play free decks, experiment on the platform yourself so you understand what you’re getting into.

Rachel 37:59
But then go mine your TPT store, like what do you have that you can just move over. And also watch videos. So Boom has a whole ton of videos on their YouTube channel. So watch videos, a lot of people use PowerPoints as their backgrounds. And that makes things really easy. A lot of really easy ways to move existing task cards to Boom or just to work on PowerPoint. There’s a lot of nice tips and tricks.

Cassi 38:24
I was gonna say the exact same thing. The first step would just being during your TPT product listings. We created a Google sheets with all the products and then added a check list column and just put a check by everything that we thought we could turn into boom cards.

Rachel 38:39
And by we, we mean Cassi by the way, Cassi is being generous. What Cassi means is I. Cassie did that.

Kristen Doyle 38:45
Cassi doesn’t give herself enough credit for a lot of things.

Cassi 38:49
Awe, thank y’all. You’re so sweet. But then I just took that spreadsheet and that’s what I worked on during the months of November and December. I just went in order next, next, next and by going in order sometimes I was like oh my gosh, that one was so easy and I was so thankful for an easy new product and then maybe I would get one that was more difficult to translate into Boom, but we got it done.

Rachel 39:14
I have one other piece of advice. I would say that if you can make it self checking with either multiple choice or drag and drop, do it. So for a lot of things that we had open response, I made answers, I made multiple choice answer. Specifically for Boom, so they would be self checking or if it was easy for them to write it in but it was a right or wrong like, but an open response where it’s non graded. That’s a tougher sell. You know some things you have to, but if you can make it self grading do it because that’s what teachers need. We all know they are crazy overworked, there is not enough time. Give them a break and make it self rating.

Cassi 39:52
And the reporting features of Boom are one of the best selling points because it will integrate with your Schoology account and all the grades go directly into your gradebook. So it’s very helpful for teachers.

Kristen Doyle 40:05
That’s nice to have those grades just flow into the gradebook without even doing anything. I’d have used a lot of boom cards when I was teaching if it was done. Boom cards were just getting started when I left the classroom.

Rachel 40:19
Yeah, and they came off running, which was great. But like, I mean, one of the things I had to do was clean up our boom cards, or Cassi did because it was the 1990s websites. Like I used all the things. They were horrible, they were an offense to your eyes. So now they’re cleaner.

Kristen Doyle 40:35
Yeah, all my old products were offensive to your eyes, too. It’s all been it. It’s okay.

Rachel 40:42
But yeah, if you haven’t looked at Boom in a while, it has come a long way. And it has a much bigger audience and marketplace now. So take another look, I was surprised I learned new things. So it is exciting.

Kristen Doyle 40:54
Thank you so much just for giving us a little inspiration around kind of what’s possible, and a new marketplace that we might want to reach out to I like I said, I’m feeling inspired.

Rachel 41:06
Oh, I’ve got one more thing to add. I’m so sorry. On Facebook, me and Trisha Hyde, I think is her name. We started a Facebook group specifically for Premier Sellers. So when you are a Premier Seller, you can join that Facebook group. We’re all sellers. It’s not sponsored by Boom. So we can talk about all the stuff we want to talk about. But we use Premier Sellers, basically as a bar for people who are serious about their stores. So when you’re a Premier Seller, come find us on facebook and join our group. And there is also a Publisher group for everybody, that if you are new on Boom, go join that group, you can get all your questions answered.

Kristen Doyle 41:44
Okay, awesome. And we’ll drop links to that in the show notes to make that easy for everybody to find, so that they can join if they’re starting to sell on Boom. Thank you again, so much for being here. This is a super fun conversation. And I hope everybody else was as inspired as I am.

Rachel 41:59
Thanks for having us.

Cassi 42:00
Thanks so much.

Kristen Doyle 42:02
What a great conversation with Rachel and Cassi, thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. It was so inspiring for me just to see how they have added on this extra income stream and taken something that Rachel has started quite a long time ago, but started putting more effort into it now and are really seeing this grow and become a good income stream for them. And I just love supporting teachers in a way that is really creating some engaging and some fun learning experiences for their students as well.

Kristen Doyle 42:32
If you are like I am intrigued by the potential of boom cards and you want to learn more, then definitely check out the links in our show notes to connect with Rachel and Cassi and explore their resources. Keep in mind diversifying your income stream is such a smart business strategy for long term business health, and maybe boom cards is your next big thing. Talk to you soon friends.

Kristen Doyle 42:59
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you did, please share it with another teacher seller who would also find it helpful. For more resources on Growing Your TPT business. Head to Kristendoyle.co/TPT. Talk to you soon.

 

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