Playing around in the teacher influencer world, I’ve learned that a popular teacher side hustle is selling products on Teachers Pay Teachers. TPT was created so that educators have a place to share resources that they’ve created. I’m sure when Teachers Pay Teachers became a host for educational content, it wasn’t as easy as it is now to create an online shop. Now, creating a website with an online shop is a relatively simple process. You can make a simple website in just a few days.
Once you start selling your products on your website, you control how much money you make, you can optimize your content so people can find you, and you can build a community that loves your products.
You’ll Make More Money
So you became a TPT seller to make some extra cash. But TPT takes a lot of your money… a lot. With a website, you don’t have to mark up your products to see a profit. As a basic seller, Teachers Pay Teachers only lets you keep 55% of your sales, and if you PAY to be a premium seller, you get to keep 80%.
Y’all! If I spent my time creating products, there’s no way I would want to give someone else money for what I’ve done. For the amount of money TPT Premium sellers spend just to earn more money, they can own a website. And if TPT creators don’t have a website, they are probably also paying for landing pages for a link in their bio. All that adds up…to the price of owning a website. Some TPT sellers are spending a lot of money, and they own nothing.
I use WooCommerce as my shop on my websites, and I use Stripe and PayPal for my payment methods. To use Stripe & PayPal, there is a 2.9% base rate +.30 transaction fee. So for a $12 product, I get $11.35 deposited in my bank account.
You Can Grow Your Audience Organically
Search engine optimization (SEO) is when you make your content searchable for your audience. SEO is how people can find you organically. Using SEO strategies, you’ll have people searching for you! This is where you will have the advantage over those selling solely on TPT. If someone is searching for main idea activities, if you optimize your content, it is possible that you can show up in Google as a search result.
From what I’ve seen, it takes a while to build your business on Teachers Pay Teachers, and many sellers promote their products on social media. The thing with social media is, most people aren’t searching for solutions when they are on Instagram. They are just scrolling. So your ideal customer may or may not see your post about your new product.
When you have a website, your audience can find your products through a simple search on Google or Pinterest if you use SEO.
You’ll Own Your Customer List
When you buy products from sellers on TPT, they don’t share the seller’s contact information or social media handles. They share a link for you to follow them on TPT, but that is it. Teachers Pay Teachers does not make it easy to connect with the sellers off of their platform. And those followers, aren’t yours, they belong to TPT.
But, if you sell your products on your website, you’re able to connect with your customers in various ways. If you have an email list (which you should), you’re able to talk to your audience directly. You can send them emails that show your personality, you can share some behind-the-scenes action, and you can let them know about your latest product/freebie.
Customers who have previously bought your products are the best people to reach out to when you’ve created more. They are your hottest leads! When you own a website and email list, you’re able to communicate with them more efficiently, which leads to more sales.
I’m not saying that teachers shouldn’t use Teachers Pay Teachers. I don’t believe that TPT should be the only place where they are selling your products. Selling digital products can be profitable, but you have to use platforms that will help you make money, not take from you. Owning a website is one way to have more control over your business.
“Seller Fees and Payout Rates.” Teachers Pay Teachers, 2021, help.teacherspayteachers.com/hc/en-us/articles/360044219891-Seller-Fees-and-Payout-Rates.