Okay, TPT sellers, ready to see growth in your business? You’re in the right place. Welcome to the Savvy Teacher Seller. I’m Kristen 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.
Hey, y’all, and welcome to today’s episode of the savvy teacher seller. I’m your host, Kristen Doyle. And today’s topic is one that I have been getting more and more questions about over the last year. And that is how to diversify in your teacher business.
Now, I know diversification sounds like a big business word, but it really just means putting your eggs into more than one basket. And we’ll talk about that more in a minute. But before we even get into this conversation about diversifying, I want to be clear on something. I almost didn’t even record this episode or start this series, because I don’t want anyone to take this and turn it into me saying something I am not saying so let me just be clear.
I have been selling on TPT for over 10 years. It is the bulk of my income from my chalk and apples business by far. I never like to speak in absolutes. That was an absolute, I know. But barring anything crazy, TPT will always be the cornerstone of my teacher business. And I think IXL’s investment and purchasing TPT is a good sign.
Because now TPT has access to their whole team that’s been just extremely successful in the EdTech world for so many years now. I think there is still plenty of room for you to grow your business on TPT. And let’s just be honest, you cannot beat the fact that they deal with all the customer service for us. So when I start talking about diversifying, I want to be clear that the goal of diversifying is not to replace your TPT income, but to add additional income streams to your business.
Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into a conversation about diversifying. First of all, let’s talk about why it’s important. Diversification is a way that you can manage risk in your business, by spreading out your income instead of just relying on one single income stream. See, when all your eggs are in one basket, if something happens to that basket, you’re out of luck.
Let’s talk about kind of what what might happen to our TPT basket. Not that any of these are going to happen. But what if you accidentally of course, because you would never do this on purpose, you accidentally step on somebody’s trademark and they sue and your store gets shut down because of it. What if at some point for whatever reason TPT decides to close up shop, the reality is TPT is their business, and we are not in charge.
Now, I want you to very clearly hear me say I do not expect any of that to happen. But that’s what risk management is really all about. It’s taking steps to protect your business in case something crazy and unexpected does happen. Because those possibilities are always out there, no matter how unlikely they are.
Diversification also has some benefits in that it can help you reach new markets, those districts who might have banned TPT, for whatever reason, maybe haven’t banned all outside curriculum. So if you have a membership or you’re selling on your own site, then those teachers may still be able to access and use your materials that way. It can also really help you to be seen as an expert, people who branch out from selling on TPT to present at conferences, write and publish books, deliver PD training, all of those sorts of things are signals of your expertise.
When we talk about diversifying, there are three main types of diversification that you can do product, market and channel diversification. So let’s talk about what each of those might look like for a TPT seller.
Product diversification is when you add different products to what you’re currently offering, or you might add services to what you’re currently offering. So as a TPT seller, maybe in addition to your TPT products, you create a course or write a book or sell physical goods. I know I’ve seen lots of sellers start to sell things like teacher planners or teacher T shirts or things like that. So those are some good examples of product diversification.
Market diversification is all about reaching different groups of people. So in that regard, maybe you branch out and what grade levels or subjects you’re supporting. Or you create a membership specifically for a certain group like homeschool parents or something that branches out your market. If you are a seller who primarily sells to a US audience, maybe you start creating things with alternate spellings so you can expand your market to other countries that use British spelling.
Channel diversification might be the easiest for us as TPT sellers, because that is all about selling the same things in different places. So you might branch out to other marketplace platforms like Etsy or some of the other teacher platforms that are out there, or you might decide to sell on your own website. Those are all examples of channel diversification.
I think it’s really important for us to talk about the number one rule of diversification, and that is never jeopardize the golden goose. Now, this comes from the story of the Golden Goose and Grimms Fairy Tales. You guys are teachers, so you’re probably familiar with it. But a quick refresher, the goose lays a golden egg every day. And this egg provides a consistent valuable income for its owners, they’re able to sell it and make lots of money.
But the owners get greedy, and they decide they want to get all of the golden eggs at one time instead of waiting for one every day. So they kill the goose and cut it open. Well, turns out Surprise, surprise, the inside is just regular old goose guts. And now they have destroyed the source of their income.
In business, the golden goose is that one thing that is the most profitable and consistent source of income that you have. So for most TPT sellers, that is going to be your TPT store, especially if you have been doing the things that I teach, and you have a solid SEO strategy in place that is bringing in regular passive income. This is where you regularly get sales and you earn most of your income. It is so important for us as TPT sellers not to get short sighted, jumping on new business ideas and then end up neglecting the golden goose.
See, as we start thinking about new things, it’s easy to pour all of our time and energy into that new thing. And let the golden goose kind of fall to the wayside. While I think it is completely wise to diversify your income streams so that you can spread out that risk. You always want to do it in a way that does not jeopardize what you have worked so, so hard to build on TPT.
The goal of diversifying is to add sources of additional income while you keep your TPT income still growing and consistent. The problem is if you let your TPT income die off, because you’re too focused on the new shiny objects, then you actually haven’t diversified at all, you’ve just moved all of your eggs from the TPT basket to a different basket. And you’re still in the same problem with this risk of something happening to the only basket all your eggs are in.
So make sure as you’re thinking about ways to diversify, you’re thinking about sustainable ways that you can add income streams rather than new things that will take up all of your time and energy away from TPT, which probably is your golden goose if you haven’t diversified yet.
Now, I have already kind of mentioned these throughout this episode. But I did want to go over just a quick list of ways that TPT sellers can diversify your income. You might choose to sell your TPT resources on a different marketplace platform. Now, the only one I’ve personally had success with is Etsy. But I know that there are sellers selling on lots of other platforms. Made by Teachers is one that comes to mind that I’ve seen a lot of talk about, and there are some new ones popping up as well. There are definitely other platforms if you primarily sell resources for teachers outside the US as well. So you might want to look into other marketplace platforms.
You might also want to sell your resources on your own website. And the two most popular places to do that, of course, are WordPress or Shopify. Another option might be to create a membership around your core content areas. And if that’s something you’re thinking about, definitely tune into next week’s episode where I talk to somebody who has done this very successfully.
You might consider creating a professional development course. This not only helps set you up as an expert in your field, it can also provide an additional source of income and assuming you create it around the same topic that your TPT resources fall under. This can also help you sell more of your TPT resources.
Another good thing to do if you are trying to establish your expertise and want to bring in a little extra income is to write a book. Books typically are not the most lucrative because the amount of money that you make off them is nowhere near the amount that we make off of our TPT products percentage wise, but they are so good for establishing your expertise.
If you’ve been thinking about diversifying, or maybe just wondering what’s even possible as a TPT seller, then you are in for a treat. Over the next few weeks, I will be interviewing several TPT sellers who were already successful on TPT and then have added additional income streams to their businesses, all while still protecting their golden goose. You are going to love these conversations and learn so much from their stories. Whether you’re trying to diversify, you’ve just maybe started thinking about it or it’s not even really on your radar yet. There are things to learn for everyone in these conversations.
If this episode has the gears turning in your brain, then take a second to screenshot it and share it with a fellow TPT seller. Until next time, I’ll talk to you soon friend.
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.