Refuel & Refocus: Navigating TPT Seller Burnout and Slumps

TPT Seller Burnout

It’s no secret that it’s a tough season on TPT right now. For many of us, sales are way down and that can quickly lead to feelings of frustration, stress, and TPT seller burnout. Trust me, I am experiencing the effects of this as well, with my own sales down.

However, I’m here to provide you with strategies and insights to help you stay motivated and navigate through these difficult times. While our store earnings might not be ideal right now, that doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel. 

There are practical things we can do that are in our control, and our mindset plays a big role in our ability to move forward in business. So, take a deep breath and join me as we tackle the challenges of TPT seller burnout and slumps together.

01:25 A transparent update on where my TPT sales are compared to last year

02:48 Why you need to remember WHO you are serving and impacting with your resources

07:03  A reminder to focus on what you can control (and examples of what these things are!)

10:42 – How to know if you’re experiencing TPT seller burnout and what to do if you’re feeling this way

14:33 – A tip about revisiting your goals

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 sales. Let’s get started y’all.

Hey, y’all, and welcome to this episode of the Savvy Teacher Seller. I’m your host, Kristen Doyle. And before we even get started, I want to tell you that today’s episode is one I am feeling a little bit of impostor syndrome about recording. Because to be perfectly honest, it’s something I am struggling with right now, too. But it’s an important topic. And I know it’s affecting a lot of us. So here we go.

Today, we are talking about refocusing and getting back on track when you’re feeling burnt out and stressed out as a TPT. Seller. It is no secret that we are in a tough season on TPT. Right now, probably the first recession of sorts that we’ve experienced.

And a lot of sellers, maybe even most sellers, are reporting lower than normal sales, so far this year, I’ve heard complaints that the only people saying that are doing well, right now are people like me, who sell courses and coaching to other sellers.

I want to be completely transparent today because I don’t ever want to be that person that you feel like you can’t trust. So here is something I usually keep to myself. At the time of this recording, which is early August, my own TPT sales are down about 15% for the year.

Yep, 11 years in with a long history of very steadily climbing TPT sales, I am feeling the effects of this tough season just like you are. The only other year I have ever been down compared to the year before was 2020. And well, I think we can all probably figure out but that was COVID fault.

I didn’t have a ton of digital resources. So I did not do well during COVID. When I say that, I get it, I get it. But let’s not lose heart, there is still a lot of good in this business that we have all created for ourselves. And today I want to talk about some strategies for staying motivated and some things to do when you are burnt out or when sales are down.

As always, I will strive to be open and honest and helpful. Take a deep breath. And we’ll tackle this tough season together. Let’s talk about what to do when times are tough as a TPT seller.

The first thing that I would encourage all of us myself included to do is to remember your ‘who’. See, in any business especially when it comes to creating teaching resources, it is so important for us to remember who we are serving. Sometimes we can get lost in sales numbers and looking at conversion rates and tracking our earnings and we can forget the human side of our business.

We can forget that we are here to serve teachers and in turn help them better serve students all over the world. As I was outlining this episode, I was reminded of a story from some feedback that I got on TPT about a teacher whose class was really struggling with their ELA testing scores. And their scores went up an average of 10% as a result of implementing one of my teaching units.

There’s another story, I got in an email from a teacher, she was a new teacher and she was feeling really lost about what to do for her first observation. She was super nervous about her principal coming in and watching her teach. And she used one of my lessons.

And she said she was able to knock it out of the park, she got a glowing review from her admin. And my lessons gave her the confidence that she would be able to do that. So it is so important for us to think about the impact that our work is having on students and on teachers all over.

Think about that ripple effect of one purchase. Even if just one teacher uses your resource for one class of 25 or 30 students think about that effect over the years. Maybe that lesson is the one that helps a kid love school again, or helps a teacher stick with it long enough to rediscover her passion for teaching.

You never know what effect your resources might be having on people. When you have a moment where you are wondering why you even bother with all of thism open up your TPT app, head to your dashboard, ignore the earnings for a minute and look at your all time units sold.

This is the number of purchases of individual resources that you’ve had. Now take that number, and multiply it by the average number of students that one of your resources might be used with. So obviously, this is going to be a smaller number in the elementary grades, than it would be in middle and high school because those teachers teach more students.

Probably also would be a little bit larger number if you create four special areas like art and music where those teachers teach their entire school. So think about the average number of students your resource would reach in one year. And multiply that by the number of units that you have sold.

That’s how many students you’ve impacted with your resources. We all know that’s not a perfect correlation. Sometimes, one teacher buys multiple resources from you. But on the flip side, most teachers who buy a resource from you are using it for multiple years too. So that’ll give you a good idea of how many students your resources have reached. And that always helps me to remember why I’m doing this and what I am here for.

In fact, I haven’t done that activity in a couple of years, actually. And I just did it as I was planning out this episode. And, wow, I am just humbled to even think that these activities I come up with and I create, to sell on TPT are reaching so many students in so many places.

The next little strategy I have for you to remember your who is a smile file. Now you probably have one or you had one when you were a teacher. It’s that folder or that notebook where you stick printouts of emails from grateful parents, and those handmade Teacher Appreciation cards and letters from your students.

Make one of those for TPT too. Save especially good feedback, go ahead and screenshot those and save them in a folder on your computer, document your wins no matter how small they are. And then when you’re feeling down, head to your smile file to get a little pick me up.

Our second strategy for combating the tough times and our burnout as TPT sellers is to focus on what you can control. See, no matter the industry, as a business owner, there are always external factors we cannot control. The reality is almost every industry is struggling right now, because of the economy.

On top of that, teachers are probably more burnt out and frustrated than they’ve ever been. And districts are requiring a lot of them to teach that big box curriculum and to implement it with fidelity. I know those are probably every teacher’s least favorite words.

Obviously, we can’t control any of those things. And when we focus on them that can be paralyzing. It can lead us down a path of just feeling helpless and hopeless. But if we shift focus to the things that are within our control the things that we can do, that can really help us to be able to take some action and to keep moving forward in our business.

So let’s talk about the things that we can control. And the first one, don’t hate me for saying it, but it is true. It is our attitudes. We can’t always dictate outcomes. But we can control the attitude that we’re taking toward the challenge. If we choose and notice I said choose because it is a decision you have to make.

If we choose to see this as a season, that is tough, but it’s a season we can get through. Versus having the Chicken Little mentality where we feel like the sky is falling and it is all over, we’re more likely to actually make it through this. Please do not hear me saying we need to embrace toxic positivity because I can’t stand that any more than anyone else.

But there is a big difference between focusing on how to make it through this tough season versus just giving up and feeling completely helpless. Now, in the spirit of honesty, like I said I was going to do in this episode, I have absolutely had days recently where I felt like giving up.

And I was not in a good mindset. And I had to remind myself that entrepreneurship requires maybe even demands resiliency. We have to adopt that same growth mindset that we are always trying to teach to our students.

Another strategy for focusing on what we can control is rather than just spinning our wheels about the fact that our sales are down, can we pinpoint something that needs to change or improve so that we can adjust and adapt to the current climate in the current economy?

Maybe you need to tweak your marketing strategy. Maybe you need to update some of your resources. And see we can’t control how many people are coming to TPT to shop and it is far fewer people right now than it has been in the past.

But we can control how well our products are converting those people into buyers. So focus on that. Improve the products themselves if you need to. Craft better product descriptions, update those old thumbnails. finally get around to making a good quality preview, instead of just relying on reposting the thumbnails talking to myself right now.

Those are all things that are within our grasp within our control. And they are all things that will move the needle on getting more people who are shopping on TPT to check out with one of our resources in their cart. Now, if those two things I just shared are sounding completely impossible to you right now, you might be in a place where you need to take a step back. And you need to practice a little self care.

And I don’t mean taking a bubble bath, although if that works for you go for it. When you’re burnt out, though, sometimes pushing harder, might just make it worse. And I’m just here to tell you that it is okay. And I would even say it is normal if you need to step away for a little while so that you can recharge, refresh, come back with a clear mind and be ready to work on your business again.

Tthat is something I think every one of us probably needs to do at some point throughout our business journey. So if you are feeling like now is the time to do that I am here to give you permission, not that you need it for me. But it’s always good to hear someone else saying yeah, this is okay.

The next thing that we can do, if we are feeling stuck and feeling burnt out is to spend some time reflecting on your TPT journey, and celebrating even the small stuff. Because that reminds us of the progress that we’ve made. Even in times like this, where things seem stagnant, or maybe it even feels like we’re getting behind.

A couple of strategies there are to focus on your growth over time, compared to where you started to where you are now. So even if your sales are down this year, maybe they’re up compared to the year before that. My sales, like I said, I am down for 2023 as compared to 2022. But I’m making more than I did in 2021. And I’m making way more than I did in 2020. So I am still up compared to some years.

And that means that over time, I’m still doing well. And it’s okay to remind ourselves of that. Every now and then you need to pat yourself on the back for the things that are doing well in your business for the things that you have accomplished. So don’t be afraid to treat yourself, to tell your spouse, tell your friends, tell your TPT people about the things that have gone well for you, even if it doesn’t feel like a huge win.

Maybe it’s a personal milestone that you’ve set that you meet, or an improvement over your sales a couple of years ago that you’re proud of. And if someone else, one of your TPT friends tells you about something that’s going well for them, be happy for them. Even if you’re struggling. I know sometimes that can feel hard, but be happy for them.

Because we all need that positive reinforcement and that external motivation. Another important way that we can celebrate those small wins, and that we can put everything into perspective is to stay involved in the seller community, whether it’s through Facebook groups, and I’ll drop a link to my Facebook group in the show notes, through memberships through virtual meetups, anything like that where you are getting connected with other sellers can really help you keep your perspective in order and remind you that you’re not alone in this.

In fact, the reason that I know that we’re all struggling is because I’m involved in the seller community. And if I were not involved in the seller community, and I thought it was just me, I think I would feel so much more distraught, so much more worried and stressed out about this than I do knowing that this is something we’re all going through.

The fact that I’m involved in entrepreneur communities outside of TPT helps me understand it’s not just TPT. It’s every one right now. And so that points to this being an economic issue. This being a burnout issue, this being so far beyond just TPT. And having that perspective is really what helps me be able to remind myself of the positive and push through some of the really tough days.

And my last tip for you is to take a little time to revisit your goals. See, overtime, our goals, our priorities, our passions can shift. And sometimes we need to reshape our goals, especially when we get partway through the year. And it is not looking like we’re going to meet them.

Because just like anyone else, just like our students, sometimes when a goal has been set And it looks like there is no way that we can meet it, it is very tempting to just give up. And instead, maybe it’s time for you to set some new, achievable short term goals that lead up to that bigger vision that you had. It is absolutely okay to change your goals for the year.

See, when you set your goals at the beginning of this year, I bet you were not expecting any of this. And if those goals now feel completely out of reach, set some new ones, and just be okay with that.

There we have it friends. If you are feeling the stress right now, like everyone else, remember your who. Focus on what you can control, celebrate your wins, and revisit your goals. Here’s the action step I would like for you to take this week. Spend a few minutes reflecting on everything we’ve talked about.

Maybe jot down some thoughts in a journal or type them out in your notes app on your computer. What resonates the most with you? What feels like the path that you need to head down right now? Whether it’s taking some time away for some self care, or improving your product listings, or just reminding yourself of the amazing impact that you’re making on students and teachers, decide on that path of action that feels right for you, and start to take it.

This season on TPT is tough, no doubt. But so are we. That resilience, your creativity, your passion, all of those things that brought you to where you are today are the same traits that will guide you through this season and help you come out on top on the other side.

Keep in mind that your unique contribution to education matters. We are changing the way students are educated, we are changing the way that teachers are teaching. So hold on to that. Stay connected to this community. And don’t be afraid to adjust your vision a little bit.

Thank you so much for listening today. I appreciate every one of you, and I’m here cheering you on in the midst of everything. If you found this conversation helpful, I would love for you to share it with fellow TPT seller who might need a little boost right now. I really do believe that we will all get through this together. And we’ll all be better for it in the long run. Talk to you soon friends.

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 Kristindoyle.co/TPT. Talk to you soon.

Ready to see growth in your business? You’re in the right place.

I’m here to give you no-fluff tools and strategies that will really make an impact on your sales. We’re talking SEO, improving product listings, leveraging your website, and more. 

About Your Host

Your host, Kristen Doyle, has a decade of experience selling on TpT and has made all the mistakes so that you don’t have to! As a web designer and the go-to SEO expert in the TpT world, she loves helping TpT sellers stand out in the crowd & grow their businesses with passive income strategies.

Tune in to hear Kristen cover all aspects of running a TpT business – from leveraging SEO, to improving product listings, to effective TpT seller strategies for your store and website.