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, y’all, I am so excited that you’re joining me today. Since this is the first episode of 2023, I thought what better to share with you than 23 TPT seller tips for 2023. These tips cover everyone from new to veteran sellers. Some of these are things I wish I had known when I first started my store, and others are things that it took me a long time to figure out. Let’s jump right in. These will be in no particular order. Here are 23 TPT seller tips for 2023.
Number one, take holidays off. I know especially when you are still working your TPT business as a side hustle. It is so tempted to spend those four day weekend, and maybe even your whole Christmas break working on your store. But make sure that you are giving yourself time to rest and recuperate from a hard semester or hard months of work. And make sure that you’re taking care of yourself rest is vital, it is important for all of us. So even if you don’t take the entire break off, be sure to give yourself some dedicated time to intentionally relax and enjoy the holidays.
Number two set a social media boundary for yourself. Now when we run a business that relies at least in part on social media, it is very tempting to work on your business and work on social media constantly. But what that usually does is it leaves us drained and feeling like we are constantly working and never have time off. Some things that you could do to set some social media boundaries are maybe to remove social media apps from your phone and only check those sites when you’re on your computer. You could also turn off all the notifications so that you’re not bombarded throughout the day and you only see notifications when you purposefully open the app.
Another thing you may want to do is set some firm screentime limits for yourself. If you have an iPhone, you can use screen time to set a daily limit for each social media app. And it will alert you and make you click a separate step to open up that app again after you’ve reached your limit. And the last suggestion I have for you for that is to move your social media apps to the last screen on your phone if you’re going to leave them on your phone. That way you don’t see them every time you open up your phone to read a text or to check the weather or something like that, you would actually have to swipe over to that very last page to get to those social media apps.
Now number three is also social media related. Tip number three is to unfollow a few TPT sellers. And I’m not going to tell you which ones but you should unfollow any seller who when you see their content, you feel negative things either toward them or about yourself. If they make you feel less than or left out. If it’s someone that you find yourself always comparing yourself to and feeling like you don’t measure up, just unfollow them. You do not have to see everything every TPT seller posts and it can be really good for our mental health to just not know what’s happening, if there are people that make you not feel good when you see their content.
Tip number four is to do the next right thing. I know it can feel when you are talking with other sellers or taking courses and listening to podcasts like this one, like you need to do a million things. But my suggestion to help you cope with overwhelm is to just do the next right thing for your business. Now before that was a song from Frozen, this idea actually originated with Carl Jung, who wrote in 1933 believe it or not, that if you do with conviction, the next and most necessary thing, then you’re always doing something meaningful. So when you feel overwhelmed with ideas or things that you should be doing, just choose the one that’s the next right thing for your business.
Number five, document everything that you do repeatedly in your business. I know it can seem like a lot of extra work to document things but this will be a lifesaver when it’s time to start hiring help whether those are team members or VAs. And it will help you create checklists and systems that can really save you time. Now my favorite way to document is just to record my screen and talk through what I’m doing on a loom video. Loom is a free tool that you can use to screenshare, you can record videos with and without your face on them. So you can record just your screen and don’t have to worry about how you look. But you want to grab that tool and start using it to document those things that you do over and over in your business. Because those are great first things to hand off to a VA or a team member when you’re ready to start hiring help.
Number six, one of those things I really wish I had done from the very beginning. And that is to separate your personal and your business finances, it’s a lot easier to do this than you might think. What you’ll want to do is open a business checking account, and make sure all of your business income gets deposited into that account first. You will use that account to pay all of your business expenses, then you can pay yourself what’s called an owner’s draw to move money from your business checking over to your personal accounts.
Number seven is related and this is another one I really wish I had known about earlier. And that is to take care of your taxes. And I don’t mean pay your taxes. Of course, that’s important. But we’re all already doing that. In the US especially there are so many ways to save on your taxes when you own a business where you do have to set yourself up legally to do this the right way. Things like tax deductions for business expenses, hiring your own kids, and even renting out your own house to yourself or to your business, I should say. Make sure that you hire a tax professional, get some good advice.
Because sometimes there are things other sellers may be doing in their state that won’t work well for you because of specific rules in your own state. So make sure you get some advice from someone who knows federal law, but also knows your state’s laws and ask them to help you legally set up your business so you can take advantage of all of the deductions that are available to you.
And the next few tips are from some TPT sellers in my group coaching program. These are some established experienced sellers who have a lot to share. So I’m excited to share their tips with you as well.
Brianna from Liana small world says find a community you cannot figure this out alone. Or at least she says I can’t. And I can’t either, join a mastermind, Facebook groups or whatever but find some TPT seller besties who can help you.
Number nine great to have a loop says choose a store name that can grow with you. One you can see yourself using for many years. Choose one that represents your niche but leaves room for it to shift or expand over time. And her example was a store name with a single grade level in it versus a broader name and I think she is probably speaking from experience on this one.
Number 10. Katie from the wolf pack says don’t get complacent with your store, stay informed and keep active. Now I would suggest some ways to stay informed and keep active. Obviously, you are already listening to this podcast so you are involved in listening to podcasts and learning from other sellers.
But make sure that you are also reading the TPT seller emails and watching the town halls. I know sometimes they can feel frustrating, but this is one of the best places to get information straight from TPT. When it comes to town halls, make sure you sign up for them so that you can watch even if you don’t watch live you can always watch the replay on 2x speed if you need to and still get the important information.
Number 11, Whitney from glitter and glue for k2 says do it right the first time! Add the preview, make your own thumbnails, take the extra time to print your resource and photograph it in good light or else you’ll be spending time redoing hundreds of resources and she said …like I am. Lots of us have learned from experience and are happy to pass on our wisdom to the rest of the seller community. So thank you Whitney for that.
Number 12 is from Brianne from busyness BB. And you might think this is the opposite of what Whitney suggested, but I think that they can go together. She says, don’t get stuck on the details and trying to make everything perfect. It’s better to make a mistake and learn from it than to just stay stuck and go nowhere.
So while I definitely agree with Whitney that you should do it right the first time, add the preview, make the thumbnails, take the photos. I would also say it is better to make a mistake and learn from it than just to not do anything. So weigh those two against the situation and decide which piece of advice fits for the current situation.
Number 13 is to start an email list. This is another one of those things that I feel like it is never too early to do. Your email list is the one place that you own your subscribers that you can get in touch with them no matter what happens on any other platforms. Even if a platform like Facebook or Instagram goes the way MySpace did and no one is using it anymore, you will still have your email subscribers and be able to get in touch with them.
Now, I just finished a podcast series last fall on your email list. So make sure you go and check that out if you’re getting ready to start a list. Or if you just want to improve on the one that you already have. We’ll put the link in the show notes.
Number 14 is to finish the resource. I know once we finish creating a resource, we are so excited and ready to post it that is very tempting to skip out on some of those last finishing details. But make sure that you finish the resource out. Have it edited by someone other than you if at all possible. Take the photos, create the cover thumbnails and preview. Do your keyword research and write a good title and description. Don’t just save the PDF and then post it and hope that it takes off.
Number 15 will help you with finishing the resource. And that is to create and save templates for everything in your business that you can. These save so much time and they can just help you get over that initial looking at a blank screen and not knowing where to start can make your decision making much faster as well.
Here’s a handful of templates that I use regularly in my own business. I have templates for my covers and thumbnails for product previews. I save a product file starter template in Keynote, because that’s what I used to create. But you could also do this in PowerPoint or Canva, or wherever I save one product file starter for a vertical portrait orientation product and one for a horizontal product. It has my copyrights on it, it has the general layout I use for table of contents and teaching notes, lots of things to just make my product creation faster, and also keep it looking consistent from one product to the next. I also use templates for social media post product descriptions, and so many other things. So think of those things you do repeatedly and see if you can make templates for them.
Number 16 is to use consistent font colors and clipart. In your products, in your social media, all over your business. This is good because it builds brand recognition. But it also makes your product creation process much faster. Because you are not spending 45 minutes or more going down the rabbit hole of looking at new clip artists or scrolling through your 400 fonts trying to decide which one is perfect for this product.
Number 17, don’t be afraid to invest in your business. Teachers tend to operate out of a scarcity mindset. And that’s not at all our fault. Our districts kind of forced that on us because we never have the money for the things we need in our classrooms. If you are anything like I was as a teacher, you’re probably saving scraps of already cut construction paper because you never know if you’ll be able to get more and you may run out and need it. Work on breaking out of that in your business. Keep in mind that money is a renewable resource.
It’s one of the things that we can always get more of we create more products, we promote things and help boost our sales. But money is a renewable resource. So invest in things specifically that help you save time or learn something new that will grow your store.
Number 18 is specifically for the newer sellers out there. And my advice is become a premium seller today. I see the question all the time about whether or not it’s worth it and when should you become a premium seller? And my answer is if you are making at least $59 a year, that’s the cost of the premium seller membership. Then, you should be a premium seller. And I did not say a week or even a month I said $59 a year. This is a must because you keep significantly more of each sale and you will increase to your earnings exponentially.
In fact, I did the math because I am a numbers person. I had been on TPT, two or three months before I became a premium seller. And when I did the math of how much money I had lost by not spending that $59 on day one, it was really disheartening. I wished I had just done it from the very beginning, so the time to become a premium seller is as soon as you can afford $59 in my opinion.
Number 19 is to get comfortable on video. This is one that has taken me a very long time to do. But unless you are trying to stay incognito for school district reasons or some other personal reasons, you need to get comfortable with video. It’s how people like to interact with content now and I have seen firsthand the power of using video content, rather than just text and images alone. Now I know that maybe is funny listening to on a podcast episode.
But many of you arrive at the podcast episode because you see my video content, you see short clips of podcasts, on Instagram reels or on YouTube. So whether you want to do Instagram reels, Facebook, lives, YouTube product videos, it doesn’t have to be hard, you don’t need to be perfect. Believe me, I know I am certainly not perfect in my videos, but try to get comfortable on video. And I’m here to tell you that the longer you make videos, the more comfortable you are and the easier it is to do them.
Number 20 is to learn from those who are a step ahead of you. There are tons of free resources out there like TPT seller, Facebook groups and podcasts such as this one where you can learn from sellers who have been there done that. So when you’re in those groups or listening to those podcasts be open to learning from those sellers, many of us have made a million mistakes. So be open to learning from our mistakes so that you don’t have to repeat them in your own business.
Number 21. Diversify. This is a big business word. And it’s something we’ve been talking about a lot lately in the TPT seller community as well. There are lots of ways to diversify. And all that means is to spread your business out across some different platforms so that if one is struggling, the others can make up for that income. Some ideas for you open your own store or sell on some other marketplaces. You could also sell something else like teacher tees or classroom door signs or anything like that, that you create. Lots of sellers also create memberships or courses for teachers to bring in additional income. Whatever you decide to do to diversify your business, take a step to do that. Because it is just not wise to keep all of your eggs in one basket, especially when it is a rented basket, like a marketplace platform.
Now, number 22 and number 23, I have saved what I think are the best for last. These pieces of wonderful advice come courtesy of my children.
So number 22 is pilot your own life. Now this sage advice came from my five year old who actually told me just a few nights ago that you just have to pilot your own life, Mommy. Now, it was a funny conversation that we were having during dinner. But here’s what I think it means for us as TPT sellers stop the comparison game, stop worrying about who’s doing better than you, or why you haven’t made some specific milestone, you have a goal for yet.
Focus on your own store. Compare your growth year over year instead of comparing to others. And then decide what your path is regardless of what other sellers might be doing. Just because someone else is creating a membership doesn’t mean you need to if that’s not the right choice for your business. Just because someone else is doing Instagram reels doesn’t mean you need to even though I just told you it was a good idea. Pilot your own life and create a business around what you want your lifestyle to be.
Now, number 23 comes from my 10 year old and he says do it scaredly. Now granted, he was probably five or six when he started using this phrase, he now has better grammar. But there are always things in our business that we have thought about doing that feel big or scary. But keep in mind that growth does not happen in your comfort zone.
Some examples from my own business are starting to make Instagram reels, starting this podcast, coaching TPT sellers. Every one of these was something that I resisted for a long time. And I might have told myself lots of reasons that I was resisting. But the bottom line is that underlying reason for all three was that I was scared of different things. But those have been some of the best moves for my business and they’re now some of my favorite parts of what I do. So don’t wait until it feels easier. Sometimes you just have to do it scaredly.
I hope you got some really actionable tips from this episode. I always like to leave you with an action steps. So today’s action step is to choose two of these tips to put into motion right away. Some of them you could do in the next five minutes. Others of them you might need to put some plans into motion for but choose to to get started on today.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it and got some wonderful tips for your business share this episode was a TPT seller friend who would benefit from it as well 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 Kristendoyle.co/TPT. Talk to you soon.