Summer Offers the Greatest Opportunity for Teachers pay Teachers Sellers

Summertime is right around the corner and your Teachers pay Teachers sales have likely come to a screeching halt.  The decrease in sales is enough to make you second guess everything you’re doing, but the reality is that June and July are likely going to be slower than any other months throughout the year.  The good news is that August is coming and the customers will be back in full force.

This summer I’ve already put in a plan into place to start pumping out some new products.  That’s not to say that I’m going to put off having some fun also.  There is plenty of fun on the agenda, including a cruise and a trip out to Vegas with my wife for the TpT conference.

If you remember back to my e-book I talked developing a system to achieve your goals.  It’s great to have a goal to create 5 new products this summer, but if you don’t have the system to make that happen then you basically have nothing.

Do you have any products that are almost done?  90% of a completed product is still 0% to a customer.  Get those suckers wrapped up and move on to the next one.

Tips to Streamline Your Product Creation Process

  • Write item descriptions first and then build the product from them.
  • Schedule blocks of time that are specifically dedicated to creating products, and creating products only.  No email, social media, browsing allowed.
  • Batch schedule my social media updates, blog posts, and tweets so that I can free up time to create more products.  In fact, this post was actually written about two weeks ago and scheduled to post on this day.
  • Create units/products that can be bundled together.

How do you plan on spending your summer?  Are you going to focus on TpT?  I would love to hear some of your favorite tips in the comments.

Stay Focused on Project Creation and Write Item Descriptions First

I’ve recently come across a process that has allowed me to create products at a faster pace.

If you’re anything like me then you often stall on bringing your product to market because there is always something that you could add or make better.  I heard a great quote this morning from the LinkedIn founder that says,

If you are not embarrassed by the first

While I want to be sure that I’m providing a solid product to other teachers, I often get caught up in the small things that ultimately don’t matter in the long run.

One of the things that I’ve been doing lately that has allowed me to create products faster is to write the item description for the product first.

When I first started creating products for TpT I would write the item description as a final step in the product launch.  By writing the item description first it allows me to stay focused on exactly what the product is.  It serves as a blueprint for my product creation and the entire process can be done much more quickly.

Try it out the next time you create a product.  I think you will find the creation process is much more streamlined.


Top 5 Business Podcasts That Can Help Your Teachers pay Teachers Store

Over the last couple of years I have been listening to several business podcasts as I commute to and from work each day.

A podcast is simply a series of digital audio files related to a certain topic. There are podcasts about all kinds of topics, but I choose to listen to ones that focus on streamlining my business processes or that focus on motivation, leadership and goal-setting.

I can say that without question these 5 podcasts have been instrumental in shaping my Teachers pay Teachers business.

Top 5 Business Podcasts

  1. Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn – Pat Flynn is most notable for publishing his monthly income reports online.  Last month he had nearly 90k in revenue and profited around 65k.  His down to earth personality makes him very easy to listen to, and I make sure that I never miss an episode.  This podcast is amazing.
  2. Social Media Marketing with Michael Stelzner – Michael Stelzner is the author of Social Media Examiner and discuss all things social media.  He is a master at his craft and I always seem to find great tips from his podcast episodes.
  3. Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield – Amy Porterfield used to work with Tony Robbins and is not considered one of the queens of Facebook marketing.  Her podcast only comes out once a month, but it’s a do not miss.
  4. Entrepreneur on Fire with John Lee Dumas – John Lee Dumas interviews entrepreneurs and publishes his podcast daily…yes, daily.  I can’t keep up with all of the content that he produces, but I do try to listen to interviews that relate to my business.  You should definitely listen to his interview with Angela Watson as she discusses being an Entrepreneur and Teachers pay Teachers
  5. The New Business Podcast with Chris Ducker – Chris Ducker is the master of outsourcing and has a lot of great strategies that I have implemented in my own business.  I’m just beginning to scratch the surface with what he has to offer, but this is another podcast where I try and listen to every single episode.

In order to listen to podcasts on your mobile devices you need to download a podcasts app.  On iOS the app I use is simply called “Podcasts”.  If you have an Android device I recommend reading this article that discusses the best podcasting apps for Android.

You can also stream the shows directly from the podcasters blog or website, but I find that they are much more digestible when I’m away from the computer.

I also have my own podcast called EduAllStars where we interview the difference makers in education.  We’ve interviewed some great guests like Todd Whitaker, Deanna Jump, and Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.  We have talked to some truly inspirational educators.  Definitely give it a listen.

Do you listen to podcasts to increase to help with your business?  Are there shows that should be on the list?  Please leave a comment and let me know.

Dealing with Haters, Trolls, and Bad Feedback

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had an online presence for many years.  I’ve started blogs, exposed myself on social media, sold high ticket items, etc.  If there’s one thing that has been consistent throughout the years, it’s that I’ve found that some people just suck.

Just like in ‘real’ life there are people out there that are just miserable souls and seem to have a purpose on spreading their wretchedness far and wide.  This comes in the form of many different things.

  • hateful comments on blog posts
  • disgusting comments on YouTube videos
  • unwarranted hate when they see success
  • negative and unjust feedback for products being sold

These people are called trolls or haters.

If these things have never happened to you then consider yourself lucky.  It seems like it would be an easy thing to just ignore and move on from, but it isn’t.  These comments cut like a knife. What ends up happening is that you spend entirely too much time worrying about what one random crazy person thinks rather than what is best for your audience as a whole.

I could get 100 great feedbacks in a row for my TpT products, but it’s that one jerk that leaves a negative and nonconstructive feedback that I’ll think about for hours.

I found a great video from Derek Halpern of Social Triggers that deals with this issue.  Dereck has his own style that’s possibly over the top for some people, but the message is 100% accurate in my opinion.

The reality is that with success you will have to deal with more and more haters.  It’s kind of a badge of honor when you get your first troll.  It’s a sign that you’re probably doing something right and stand for something.

Michael Stelzner had a GREAT podcast about this exact same thing if you’re interested in listening or reading more about it.

Have you experienced haters or trolls online?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Free eBook – 25 Things I Wish I Had Known as a New Teachers pay Teachers Seller

Over the last few weeks I have been feverishly working on a FREE eBook called “25 Things I Wish I Had Known as a New Teachers Pay Teachers Seller.

I have been very quiet about my TpT earnings until now.  I started Teachers pay Teachers in late October of 2013 and made a paltry $2.55 my first month, but I quickly developed a system that has exploded my sales.  Over the last few months I have consistently been making four-figure paychecks from TpT.

25 Things I wish I had known as a new teachers pay teachers seller

My point of telling you these numbers is not to brag, but to show you that the system and tips that I use on a daily basis do work.  I’m proof that the system works and confident that it can be reproduced by anyone that uses the strategies and techniques that are in there.

I’m wrapping up the finishing touches on the book and you can be notified of the FREE download by providing your email below. I’m shooting for a publication date of 5/15/14. I think that you’ll really enjoy it.

Subscribe to Get Notified About My FREE eBook Download

Before and After Stats for a Featured Seller

A few weeks ago my friends over at Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy were the featured seller in the Teachers pay Teachers weekly newsletter.  Being the data nerds that they are they kept before and after stats so that they could gauge the impact of the event.

They were kind enough to share the information with TpT School so that others can benefit from the data.

The first piece of data that I want to look at is their social engagement.   You can see that each metric was up overall, but the standouts to me are the increase in FB followers, TpT followers, and blog followers.  Each of these platforms allow the girls to engage with their audiences in the future and should convert to more sales down the road.

social media tpt newsletter

The next set of data that I want to highlight is the TpT site rankings.  Again, we can see an upward trend in their ranking because of the newsletter feature.  They are really close to being in the top 500 overall sellers and that is a very impressive feat!  Equally impressive is that they were the #8 overall middle school seller for the week that they were featured in the newsletter.  This was a huge leap from around the #25 spot the previous week.

tpt rankings

The real meat of their data is found within their product numbers.  Both of their featured products have pre and post data associated with it.  The number of views alone is incredible, but many of these views also converted into sales which is obviously the ultimate reward for being featured.

product data

The last graph that we’ll look at is the dashboard chart that indicates sales per day.  You can see that there was a huge spike the day that the newsletter came out and then it tapered off a bit as the week went on.

newsletter feature teacher

It goes without saying that being in the newsletter had a tremendous impact on all areas of Mel and Gerdy’s store.  I want to thank them for sharing this data with TpT School so that we can all learn from it.


Track Outbound Traffic From Your Blog with Google Analytics

One of the main goals for any Teachers Pay Teachers stores should be to track and increase eyeballs on your products. I have a blog over at that I used to talk about my classroom and how I use my own products in it. I knew that there had to be a way to track the traffic that I was sending from my blog to my TPT store and just figured out how to do that.

Here’s a quick video explaining the process. Note that you will have to have Google Analytics installed on your blog to view this data. If you don’t have it installed I would suggest that you should. This is one of my go-to tools for my analyzing how my blog is doing.

Would you be interested in a video showing how to view incoming traffic from Pinterest using Google Analytics? Specifically, which pins are sending you the most traffic.

Edit: You may have to add a piece of code from Google Analytics to get this working properly.  The following articles explain exactly how to do that.

How to Start a YouTube Video at a Specific Point

Sometimes you want to link or embed a YouTube video to start from somewhere other than the beginning of the video. This can be done very easily by adding a tiny string of text into the original URL of the YouTube video.

1.  Clicke on “Share” from the the YouTube video

2.  Select the check box for “start at”

3.  Enter a time value in the text box next to it.  Your link to share with others will be to the left of the “Start at” checkbox.

Alternative:  You can also append the string #t=xmys to the end of any YouTube URL.  x represents the number of minutes and y represents the number of seconds.  For example. will start at 2 minutes and 2 seconds into the video.







How to  Embed a YouTube Video from a Specific Starting Time

The steps to embed a YouTube video from a specific time are slightly different than the steps from above.  It actually took me a while to find the correct way to do this.

1. Click on Share>Embed from any YouTube video.

2. Add the start string paremeter at the end of url in the embed code.  The value of the start parameter should be the start time in seconds.  The string should look like &start=400 (where 400 is the number of seconds where I want the video to start).


Embed Code before entering Start string:  <iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”//″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Embed Code after entering Start string: <iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”//″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

This is what the embed will look like using the code above.


How to Setup a WordPress Blog in 15 Minutes

I’ve already shared with you my reasons that you need a blog to complement your TPT store.  Here are some instructions on getting a blog setup today.  I truly think it’s one of the most valuable things that you can do as a TPT seller.

The easiest way to make your presence felt on the internet is to start a blog.  They are used to share ideas, reflect on thoughts, promote a topic or business, and can even aid in making money.  Most people don’t realize that setting up a beautiful looking blog is very easy to  setup and this tutorial will show you provide you with a step-by-step process to have your very own domain and WordPress blog setup within about 15 minutes.

In order to setup a blog you need to have three things.

1. A domain name

2. A hosting account

3. A blogging platform.

Before we get started I will mention that there are many different domain and hosting options.  I am only going to be talking about GoDaddy and BlueHost during this tutorial, because that is what I have been using for the last eight years.  You can buy a domain from one company and have it hosted somewhere else, but I recommend that you purchase them from the same place to make it a little easier.

Domain Name for Your Blog

The domain name is what the user will type in the address bar of a web browser (ex.  You can search and purchase a website domain at either GoDaddy or BlueHost.  Many domains are already taken, so it may take some effort and creativity to come up with one that you like.  Keep the end-user in mind when picking a domain name.  It’s much easier to remember a 1-2 word domain than a really long domain like As I mentioned previously, it will be easier if you purchase your domain and hosting from the same place.  I recommend GoDaddy or BlueHost.

Domain Hosting

The next thing you will need is a hosting account.  This is where your website will “live”.  All of the data for your website will be stored on a server in another location and will be maintained by that company.  Just think of it as the cloud.  I personally use BlueHost for all of my hosting needs, but GoDaddy is a great option too.

I should mention that free options exist, but they come at a cost that I’m not willing to put up with.  Free hosting accounts are highly limited and almost always plaster your website with advertisements.  I prefer to be in full control over what is shown on my website.  In my opinion the free hosting options look junky and unprofessional.  See the infographic below (from WPBeginner) for more details.  The biggest drawback for me of the free site is losing control and not being able to work with WordPress plugins which are crucial in my goals for the blog.


WordPress or Blogger

I have used WordPress sites since 2005 and feel that they are superior to Blogger sites in many ways.  Wordpress is hand down superior for more advanced blogger and allows much more control than a blogger site does.  However, you can still have a nice looking blog by setting it up on Blogger.  I would definitely suggest still buying your own domain on BlueHost or GoDaddy so that your domain doesn’t look like  Your domain will be much easier to remember if it doesn’t have the subdomain on the front of it.  It’s a very cheap investment and makes you look a lot more professional.  You can setup Blogger with your own name by following these instructions.

How to Install WordPress on Your Website

Once you have the domain name and the hosting setup all you need to do is install WordPress on the site.  This process used to be reserved for only tech savvy individuals, but most hosting companies now have a one-button install process that makes it very easy.  Wordpress is the blogging platform that is kind of like the skeleton for your website.  It is the structure that makes everything pretty and organized on your site.  Wordpress allows you to focus on the content that should go on your site rather than have to worry about HMTL and CSS.  That said, WordPress is highly customizable, and it  is the blogging platform that many of the top bloggers use.  Here is a great article on the top 10 reasons that you should use WordPress.

I am providing a video that shows you exactly how to install WordPress on your BlueHost site once you have the domain and hosting setup.


I have also included a video for GoDaddy hosting and WordPress setup.

Change Your WordPress Theme to Make it Shine

Once you have WordPress installed in your hosted website you’re ready to start having fun!  Login to your WordPress control panel.  This will look like www.domainname/wp-admin (replace domainname with your domain name).  You will use the user name and password that were provided to your after you installed wordpress on your hosting account.

The first thing that you will probably want to do is to change your theme.  Themes are the look and feel of the website.  There are thousands of themes available and many of them are totally free.  Here are some of the more popular themes.

From within the wordpress admin panel you will go to the Appearance menu option on the left>Themes>Intall Themes.  From there you can search for themes and chose to intall them.  You can easily switch from theme to theme and not lose any of your posts.  They will show up in the newly themed format.  Here is a more detailed post on installing themes.

Create Your First WordPress Blog Post

We’re all set to share with the world!  It’s time to write your first blog post.  From the left hand side of the WordPress admin panel you will choose Posts>Add New.  You will then be prompted to write a title and post.  Once you have completed the post you can choose to save it as a draft of to go ahead an publish it to the internet.  Here is an excellent starting point for WordPress.

Essential WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins extend the functionality of WordPress.  These are some of my favorite WordPress plugins that I install on all of my sites.  Here is a tutorial of how to install them.

SEO Yoast  – This plugin allows you to Search Engine Optimize (SEO) your site.  Long story short, it allows for search engines (namely Google) to find you easier so that it can put you into organic search results

Akismet – This plugin does a great job of blocking comment spam which is a problem for many bloggers.

Google XML Sitemap – This plugin provides a map for Google to use when it crawls or indexes your site.  It helps with search engine rankings

Google Analyticator – This plugin allows you to see how many people are visiting your site along with a ton of other analytics that will help you find out how people use your site.

Get started now with a WordPress blog with GoDaddy or BlueHost .

Benefits of Being in the Teachers Pay Teachers Newsletter

Back at the end of December I landed one of my free products in the newsletter. At the time I captured some stats and posted some analysis on the forum, but wanted to re-share that with you here on TPTSchool.

You should definitely consider submitting a free/paid product each week to Teachers Pay Teachers. You can do that by logging into TPT and then going to My TPT > See it in the Newsletter.

The first post I made was the evening after making it into the newsletter.


OK, here are some initial stats from being in the newsletter today. I’ll do another one at the end of the week. I just happen to be awake at 4am because I couldn’t sleep and that is when the email came in. I took a snapshot of my dashboard right away so that I could compare some things.

My free science product is geared for middle school, but definitely appeals to elementary teachers also.

Views: Before – 594 Tonight – 4617 (whoa)
Wishlisted: Before – 4 Tonight – 115
Downloads: Before – 202 Tonight – 2639 (another whoa)
Sales: bleh. Horrible time of the year for sales. I’ve had a couple, but nothing abnormal
Follows: Before – 45 Tonight – 103 (fantastic)
Feedbacks: Before – 4 Tonight – 34
FB follows: I doubled the 10 that I had smile I’m just getting started there.
Blog: above average blog traffic, but again it’s only been live for about a month or so.

I also advertised some of my other paid products inside the freebie and within the description of the freebie. Those numbers are up, but I was expecting some sales from that. Again, brutal time of the year for sales.

Here’s the best stat though.

Number of times that I’ve submitted to be in the newsletter: 1 I guess I need to go to Vegas. Pure Luck.

All in all it’s been a fun day watching numbers and getting feedback emails. I think the biggest win is the 50 extra followers that I now have. I don’t ever follow anyone if I don’t genuinely have an interest in their products, so hopefully some of those follows are potential customers also.

This next post was on 1/5/14 and was at the end of the week after being in the newsletter.

I just wanted to post some final numbers after having my freebie in the newsletter for a week.

My free science product is geared for middle school, but definitely appeals to elementary teachers also.

Views: Before – 594 Tonight – 9733 (whoa)
Wishlisted: Before – 4 Tonight – 206
Downloads: Before – 202 Tonight – 5642 (another whoa)
Sales: best sales week but most of it came from new products I posted this week.
Follows: Before – 45 Tonight – 170 (crazy)
Feedbacks: Before – 4 Tonight – 51
FB follows: 28 new follows

In summary, being in the newsletter has really helped out. I think the biggest benefit is having the additional 130 targeted followers that now are potential customers every time I post a new product. I posted 3 new products this week and all of them had sales on them almost immediately because I have people that follow me that know and trust that my work is solid.

It was lots of fun to watch. It’s time to get back to making some killer products in preparation for my next appearance.