Hey TPT sellers ready to seek 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 there savvy teacher sellers. Today I am talking about something I’m really excited about right now, the upcoming teachers pay teacher’s conference, aka TPT Forward. Registration is still open for the conference. So you might be wondering if this conference is worth attending, whether you are a brand new seller just starting out or a seasoned veteran, or maybe you’ve already registered, and you’re wondering how to make the most of the conference, either virtually or in person. Either way, I’ve got answers for you today. So let’s jump right in.
One of the first questions a lot of sellers ask is whether or not the conference is worth attending. Whether or not it’s right for you in this season of your life or your store will really depend on a lot of factors. But as someone who’s been to every conference, but one, I can say that I always get something out of it.
The first couple of conferences for me were all about the learning, I would take pages upon pages of notes. It was like drinking from a firehose, I learned a ton every single conference for a while. And when I came home and implemented those things, I can confidently say that attending the conference was a huge factor in my store growing exponentially every single year. It was truly incredible the amount that I grew as a new teacher seller from being at the conference and learning all of the things that I did, from industry experts and successful sellers.
As a new seller, you also get some opportunities to connect with experienced sellers, to make TPT friends, and just to learn from the collective wisdom of a pretty incredible group of people. It helps to talk with people who understand what you’re doing, and to develop some strategies to grow your store and overcome those challenges that we’re all facing.
Then around by third or fourth conference, I started noticing that I wasn’t really learning quite as much anymore. And this is where I often see sellers stop attending the conference because they say they don’t get enough out of it. But here’s what I think that’s a mistake. That’s around the same time that you might be hitting a little bit of a mid store life seller slump. And the conference is amazing for reinvigorating your creativity, gaining some fresh perspectives on things. And let’s face it, at three or four years in, I still had a lot to learn about creating high quality products, and treating this TPT shop of mine, like the actual business that it is.
Those middle years, I would say the conference is all about building connections with more sellers to grow your circle of sellers to collaborate with and to learn from and just to be friends with to be honest. But also about growing as a business owner. For the first couple of years, you’re kind of growing in all the areas you’re learning how to create products better. You’re learning tips and tricks about product listings and things those middle years are when I really learned to treat my business like a business and to grow in that regard.
Now today, as a veteran seller who’s been at this for over a decade, I will be perfectly honest and tell you that I attend this conference at this point, mostly to connect with my seller friends and members of Team TPT. I still need a motivational boost, especially in the summer. And the conference is perfect for that. And I always learn at least a thing or two from the sessions that I attend. I’ve had some pretty big perspective shifts in the last couple of years, especially on some of the hard topics that we get into and discuss at the conference. And these are some of the things that make my products that much better, so that I can serve my audience even more.
See, we all have things to learn even those of us who have been around forever, even those of us who might be presenting at the conference. But really the best part of the conference to me now is sitting in the hotel lobby, doing a little co working and talking shop with other sellers that I’ve become friends with. It’s where I get new ideas and make connections that last throughout the year when we’re doing group promos and collaborations and really just where I get to hang out with some pretty amazing TPT sellers and grow our friendships as well. So there really is something to gain in the conference for every seller wherever you are in your TPT journey.
These days, you have two options for attending virtual or in person. So let’s talk about the benefits and drawbacks of each one. Here’s what I think is great about virtual. First of all, you can watch it from anywhere and you aren’t stuck to a particular day and time since the sessions can be viewed through August 31 this year. This means that you don’t have to worry about travel arrangements, or who’s going to take care of your kids and your pets while you’re away. And it’s a very low cost way to learn from all of the amazing sessions that will be at the conference.
The downside of the virtual option is that you don’t have as many opportunities to interact with other sellers and to make those personal connections. Now, the in person conference this year is in Boston, which is one of my favorite cities. So that was definitely a point in favor of going in person for me. But attending in person really is always my preference. And here’s why.
First of all, you do still get access to all the virtual sessions as part of your ticket. So you can watch all of the sessions at your own pace, or go back and rewatch a session if you think you might have missed something in the live event. It also is really helpful for me to be away from home and away from all of the distractions that come with that, so that I can really spend those few days focused on the business. I know when I’m at home trying to watch virtual conference sessions, something always seems to get in the way or distract me. And I don’t seem to ever finish all the sessions I wanted to watch. So being there in person helps me to just turn everything else off for a few days and really focus on the business.
In person, you also get to connect on a whole other level with other TPT sellers. And to me, this is really where the magic of the in person TPT conference comes in. Some of the chance encounters I’ve had in a hotel lobby or at dinner with other sellers have led to incredible friendships over the years and created some great opportunities down the road for both of us as well.
As an added bonus, all of that travel is tax deductible and goodness knows we all need the deduction. Bottom line, if you can make it in person, I definitely recommend at least giving it a try once. If that’s not doable, the virtual option is still a great conference experience, especially for newer sellers, or those who might be a little on the introverted side. I know the first TPT conference for me was so overwhelming as a pretty introverted person who really just does not thrive in huge rooms full of people I don’t know. I’m a lot more comfortable now that I’ve gone to so many conferences, and it doesn’t overwhelm me at all. But those early years, it can be a little much with as many people as there are there.
Whether you’re going in person or virtually, here’s some tips for a successful conference experience that doesn’t overwhelm you. First of all, make sure you are setting some goals for the conference, and that you have realistic expectations for how many sessions you will go to. Before the conference starts, think about what areas you need to or just want to be focused on in your business right now. Which areas do you need to grow in, and then prioritize the sessions and the speakers that align with those goals.
If you need to learn marketing, go to marketing sessions. But if you know you’re in a season of life, where you don’t have time to market, then don’t feel like you need to go to a marketing session just because it’s offered and you might need it one day, focus on the sessions that cater to more passive income. Instead, things like SEO and improving product listings. Don’t feel the need to watch or attend to every single session, because that honestly will just lead to information overload and exhaustion. Make sure you’re making time for breaks and some self reflection so that you avoid getting super overwhelmed.
If you’re attending the conference in person, make sure you also take time to connect with other sellers while you’re there. Ask questions during sessions, participate in discussions, step out of your comfort zone a little and go to the social events and the meetups that have happened throughout the week. In general, TPT sellers are some of the nicest, most welcoming people in the world. So don’t be afraid to say hi to someone you don’t know or just to talk to the person sitting next to you as you’re waiting for a session to get started. And when it comes to those sellers that you might have looked up to and you want to meet, walk up and introduce yourself.
I hate the phrase TPT famous, but I have heard it used to refer to people like me who have more visibility in the community because we have a podcast or we do some coaching or have courses, or we’ve presented at lots of conferences. But we are all just real people just like you. And I know most of us cringe at the idea of being TPT famous, so to speak. And we love the chance to just meet and chat with other sellers and make new friends. Don’t forget, we were all new once. So we all know how it feels. So just walk up and say hi, introduce yourself to some people, you might make your best new TPT friend that way, I can tell you that most of my good TPT friends I have met at in person events, either the conference or some of the other in person events that sellers hosts throughout the year. So don’t be afraid to walk up and say hi to a complete stranger because you never know when they might be your new TPT BFF.
After the conference, be sure you take some time to reflect on the sessions that you attended, and identify some reasonable, actionable steps. Now the number of actionable steps you want to identify really varies depending on how much time you have to devote to working on your TPT business. I like to do this in the plane on the way home because I’m usually all by myself and I’ve had a little time to decompress. I have already said goodbye to all of my friends. That’s just a little window of time where I can kind of look back through my notes and make a list of the things I want to be sure I implement when I get home. Make sure you make a plan for when you’re going to start implementing each of those things, and space them out so that you don’t get super overwhelmed.
Don’t plan on coming home the week after the conference and immediately doing all of the things in that very next week. It just overwhelms you and it will lead you to exhaustion and burnout. So space out when you’re going to implement the new strategies that you’ve learned throughout the year, so that you can pace yourself and stay focused and motivated.
And then don’t forget to stay connected to those new people that you met. Whether that’s on Facebook or in Voxer or text messages. Be sure that you touch base with those people and keep building those relationships and friendships. This is how you end up in wonderful groups of TPT friends like some of the ones I have, where when conferences come up or other events throughout the year, I know who my friends will be I know who I’ll be having dinner with because we stay connected all year long. So make sure that you nurture those friendships just like you would an in person friendship.
Whether you decide to attend the TPT conference virtually or in person, there really is something valuable for everyone. Remember, it’s not always just about learning something new. It’s also about making connections, getting inspired and leaving motivated and ready to grow your business again.
For more on TPT forward including a few things you should do beforehand, what to pack if you’re going in person and my recommended sessions for different stages of your business. Don’t miss this week’s STS insiders episode which will go live on Friday. Thanks for tuning in to this episode of The Savvy Teacher Seller, share it with your seller friends and don’t forget to follow the show so you’ll get notified when a new episode goes live. Talk to you soon.
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 Kristen doyle.co/TPT. Talk to you soon.