Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) is an online marketplace that supports educators with the resources they need to teach successfully in today’s constantly changing education landscape. TPT features the world’s largest catalog of educator-created learning content — aka the TPT Marketplace — and tools for digital instruction, Easel by TPT.
Every TPT resource is created by a teacher, allowing other teachers to “tap into the wisdom and experience of other educators.” As a result, students receive “engaging and standards-aligned instruction that’s tailored to their skill levels and interests.”
New York City public school teacher Paul Edelman created Teachers Pay Teachers in 2006 when he noticed that his students learned best when he incorporated teaching ideas in his classroom that came from his colleagues. He realized that when teachers share their work and wisdom, it can have a major positive impact on education at large. That’s when he decided to build a website where educators around the world could share their ideas and resources.
Today, more than 7 million educators use TPT for interactive digital content, standards-aligned teaching resources, differentiated learning, and culturally responsive instruction.
Both free products and paid products are available on the platform. They include Clip Art, classroom posters, color by numbers sheets, Google slide templates, worksheets, activity books, test questions, book reviews and questions, and much, much more.
Joining TPT is free. Those who sign up have immediate access to over 3 million resources — many of which are completely free to download.
How Much Money Can You Make On Teachers Pay Teachers?
TPT describes itself as “a community of millions of educators who come together to share their work, insights, and inspiration with one another.”
It is the first and largest open marketplace where teachers can share, buy, or sell original education resources in various digital and downloadable formats — and that means there is good money to be made.
The Top sellers on Teachers Pay Teachers make up to $1,000,000. But on average, most people make $300-1000 a month. Depending on what you are selling and how many of your own resources that you have for sale in your TPT store, you could earn as much as $1000 per month or more.
There are numerous factors to consider when it comes to potential earnings. But there is definitely opportunity on the TPT platform to make extra monthly cash — and even passive income.
6 Steps to Start Making Money on Teachers Pay Teachers
To get a head start in understanding how to make money on Teachers Pay Teachers, there are some important steps you must take.
1. Choose Your Preferred Product Creation Program
Before you get started selling, you can make teacher resources to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers using any computer program you choose. However, most sellers use Microsoft PowerPoint because it is easy to learn and use. Other options that sellers use are Google Slides (many limitations) and Photoshop (steep learning curve).
What’s important when choosing your product creation program is that you find something you are comfortable with. This is how you are creating your products to sell, making it the most important tool needed for your business.
Tip: Investing in Microsoft PowerPoint is worth it because it is a versatile program that is extremely user-friendly.
2. Choose a Membership That Fits Your Needs
If you’re a TPT Seller of original educational resources, you can choose between two account levels: Basic and Premium.
- Basic Seller Account (FREE Account)— This is a great option for those just getting started. There is no annual subscription fees, and you can upgrade to a Premium Seller Membership at anytime. The payout rate for this membership level is 55% of all sales, and the transaction fee is .30 per resource.
- Premium Seller Account ($59.95 per year) — Premium Sellers pay an annual subscription fee of $59.95. The payout rate for a Premium Seller is 80% of all sales, and the transaction fee is only .15 per resource. Premium sellers also enjoy access to exclusive features and tools.
3. Determine How Much Time You’ll Invest in This Platform
Before you start selling on Teachers Pay Teachers, you should first determine the amount of time you are willing to invest. In the beginning, there is a learning curve that will be time-consuming.
Many teacher sellers put in a lot of time and effort into their lesson plans before they start making extra money. Just like with any business, there is a time and money investment on the front end that can eventually payoff.
When you are trying to increase your income as a teacher, chances are your time is already limited. You should ask yourself a few questions before you get started selling, so you don’t set yourself up for disappointment.
- How much time do I have each week to invest in Teachers Pay Teachers?
- Will I give up other things on my schedule so I can make time to create products to sell?
- Is this a good time to start something new?
4. Create Your Customer Avatar
Your customer avatar is a business concept that helps you identify your customer base. Who your products are for? Who will be buying your lesson plans and activities? Basically, your customer avatar is a fictional representation of your perfect buyer.
Take a moment to think about who would be scrolling through their phone looking for resources online to help with “that class.” When you have a clear image of who your customer is, you can use that customer avatar to understand what motivates and influences them to buy your resources instead of a competitor’s.
A clear, focused customer avatar is a great tool that can help you fine tune the TPT resources you are creating, as well as your marketing efforts. It will also help you figure out why some of your items in the TPT store are selling like crazy. While other classroom materials — that you know are equally awesome — don’t take off.
For marketing purposes, a customer avatar can help you focus your efforts to the areas where you know that your ideal customer will likely see them.
When thinking about your ideal customer, consider the following:
- Name, Age, Marital Status, and Number of Children
- Biographical details: hair color, eye color, weight
- Geographic location — where do they live?
- What schools did they attend?
- What grades do they teach?
- Are they involved in extra curriculars or coaching?
- What is their household income?
- What is your ideal customer’s core values? Their religious beliefs? Political beliefs?
- What is your ideal customer’s views on education?
- What are their likes/dislike?
- Personal interests? Favorite brands? Favorite websites?
- Opinions on social media — do they use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube?
- What are their professional, personal, and family goals?
- What is it they can’t go through the school day without?
- What are the three biggest things your customer worries about, and what could you help them solve?
- What is the worst thing that could happen to your ideal customer if that problem isn’t solved?
- How can you become exactly what your customer avatar needs?
- Will my product make their life easier as a teacher?
5. Consider Branding
When creating your teachers store on TPT, branding must be considered. The first step is to come up with a good name and logo.
A fun store name can make your products instantly recognizable on the platform, but definitely put some thought into it. Could you continue to use the name if you switched subjects or grade levels? Is the name already being used? Is it too trendy or cutesy? Your store name should be something you are happy with for the foreseeable future.
You can choose to list products under your own name, which is a method that many teacher sellers swear by. This is because your potential customers know you are a real person, and that can inspire buyer confidence and loyalty.
However, using your own name also means that anyone searching the internet can find out that you have your own TPT store. Many teachers aren’t ready for their school districts, colleagues, or students’ parents to know they have a side hustle on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Whatever name you choose for your store, just remember that you can always change it.
6. Start Your Career on Teachers Pay Teachers With What You Know and Love
When deciding what to create for your first product to sell in your Teachers Pay Teachers store, start with what you know and love. Starting with the age groups and subjects that you really enjoy will help you narrow down your focus, so you can consider what to create and sell in your TPT shop.
It may seem obvious, but if you hate calculus then you shouldn’t be selling calculus products in your store. On the other hand, if you have degrees and formal training in teaching grade school-level English, grammar, and reading, then the bulk of your products should focus on those subjects and that age group.
Starting out with products that are focused on your passion and the age group that you enjoy teaching is a great strategy for launching your TPT store and getting involved in the TPT community.
As you learn the ins and outs of being a TPT seller and figure out the right direction to go in for your store, you can design resources in that same category or expand to other subjects and age groups. You can also add resources with interactive components, gamification, and other methods for implementing your lesson plans in the classroom.
Fill in the Gaps
Another thing to consider when creating products — in addition to focusing on what you know and love — is to find the gaps in the marketplace. If you need something, chances are someone else will too.
Have you ever been in the middle of planning a lesson and searching for a product that doesn’t exist? Maybe you find something that’s close, but the worksheets aren’t quite right for your students or the PowerPoint doesn’t go into enough depth or detail?
If you have ever found yourself in that situation, then you brainstormed a possible product line. If you can’t find what it is you are looking for, then fill in that gap. If you’ve been searching for it, chances are other teachers have been too.
Use that knowledge and create a product that you can sell on Teachers Pay Teachers. This is actually how many teachers get their start on the platform.
Tips for Making More Money On Teachers Pay Teachers
Easel by TPT
Easel by TPT brings together educator-created resources with the digital tools that buyers are increasingly using, while keeping them on the Teachers Pay Teachers platform so that your resources are just a few-clicks away.
If you don’t have time to create new lessons or learn new tech programs, then Easel by TPT makes it easy to enhance your existing resources so that students can complete them on a device.
Whether for live instruction, independent work, or collaboration and practice, Easel resources are seamlessly flexible and can fit into any educator’s teaching situation.
Easel users have been known to spend up to 3x more on TPT.
How does Easel by TPT work? First, you make your existing resources device-ready by adding interactive elements like answer boxes, images, and movable pieces. Or, you can create auto-graded formative assessments from scratch.
Next, add your Easel resources (an activity or assessment) to the product listings in your store with just a few clicks. The best part about using Easel is that any future updates are automatically added to your listing, so there is no downloading or re-uploading required.
Once you publish, educators can easily search, discover, and use your device-ready resources. Buyers can easily make a purchase and assign the activity to their students — and it’s all done on the TPT platform.
Is Easel by TPT free?
Yes, Easel’s basic membership tier is available to all teachers for free and there is no trial period. A basic membership will always give you access to the TPT suite of digital creation tools, allow you to assign and review student work online, and create interactive activities from scratch.
Learn From Your Mistakes
When you are starting out on Teachers Pay Teachers, you will probably make quite a few mistakes. This is extremely common and will probably happen to you, so the best thing you can do is learn from those mistakes. Making money on the platform is a learning process and it takes time.
If you don’t streamline your selling on Teachers Pay Teachers, you are leaving your sales to chance. Creating a system can bring efficiency to your process, and it can be replicated, repeated, and run again and again.
Create Eye-Catching Graphics
Many teacher sellers use Canva software to create eye-catching graphics, and printables like planners, trackers and artwork. Canva is free to use, and has many free elements available. The pro version is affordable, and will allow you to create folders of your designs and download PNGs with a transparent background.
When Teachers Pay Teachers first started, sellers could get away with simple products with limited graphics. But today, creating eye-catching graphics will help you sell your product by making it more appealing.
However, don’t create a product without knowing the basics of copyright and intellectual property. A commercial license is required for many graphics and fonts that you may wish to use in your store.
It’s important to get proper copyright licenses (if necessary) for any of the designs you want to sell, especially if you are selling digital based items like graphics and fonts.
Consider What Others Are Doing and How
When selling on TPT, you are responsible for sales, products & services, clients, finances, advertising, web content, and business strategy. It’s a lot to learn. But if done correctly, it can lead to a fantastic income.
To be successful and make more money on Teachers Pay Teachers, consider what others are doing and how they are doing it. There are successful TPT sellers sharing their stories online to help you become successful on the platform. Do your research!
Get Involved With the Teachers Pay Teachers Community
The Teachers Pay Teachers community is a great way to find out what others are doing and how they are doing it. It would be difficult to find a more supportive, encouraging community of businesspeople than the sellers at Teachers Pay Teachers.
Once you join, there are many sellers who are willing to point you in the right direction or give advice to help you increase your sales. For the most part, Teachers Pay Teachers sellers actually want to help others succeed.
Create Your Own Blog
If you want to increase sales in your TPT shop, then consider creating a beautiful website that features your own blog. Instead of creating a simple blog, opt for a website so that it can grow along with your TPT business.
Even if your website starts out as a simple blog, it can evolve into a custom website that links to your TPT store, your social media, and houses additional products.
Starting a teacher blog is a great way to get more eyeballs on your TPT products.
Both new and experienced teachers have been known to use Google to find a solution when they have a problem in their classroom. If they find your website with your amazing blog post that gives them lots of helpful advice, they are more likely to click on your referral link to your TPT shop and purchase one of your products.
Yes, you can use your website/blog to sell your products for you. The key to being successful is writing posts with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques. Using the proper keywords make a big difference in making just a little bit of money on TPT, or being so successful you have the option of selling on the platform full time.
Many teachers have started out using TPT as a side hustle, but it ends up surpassing their teaching salary and they become business owners.
Use Social Media to Promote Your Products
It should come as no surprise that social media is an excellent way to market your TPT resources and your small business. To make more money on TPT, consider making Facebook or Instagram Reels, starting a Facebook group, or creating a Pinterest business account with new boards for each category of content you create.
Each social media platform has marketing tools that can help you grow your teacher brand and sell your TPT products.
Selling products on Teachers Pay Teachers is an excellent way for teachers to earn extra income while sharing their great ideas. Many sellers have found great success on the platform, and you can too.
It does take an investment of time and there is a learning curve at the beginning, but many educators (both new teachers and veterans) have found that the TPT community is a fantastic tool for sharing their knowledge and making some extra cash while doing it.