A Year’s Worth of Lessons: TpT Anniversary

I can’t believe it! Yesterday was my one year teacherspayteachers anniversary, and I can’t believe how far I’ve come.



I have to confess… I didn’t even find TpT! My hubby did and he encouraged me to post some of the things that I already had created each weekend when I was getting ready for the week. I thought he was nuts to think anyone would want to use, let alone, buy my teaching resources. However, I decided to give it a shot, and boy am I glad I did.

Are you thinking about joining TpT? If so, go for it, but first check out these tips and tricks of the trade that I learned over the last year. Maybe they’ll help you not make some of the silly mistakes I have. πŸ˜‰

10 Things I’ve Learned After 1 Year on TpT

1. 2 Words: Cover Pages. When I first started on TpT, I didn’t have a clue about how it worked. I just uploaded worksheets and activities I had. After checking out the forums, I realized how important it was to create a cover page, or front page, that 1. Included the title, 2. Included your name or your store’s name, and 3. Was colorful and aesthetically pleasing. Going back and adding cover pages was NOT fun, so I’d suggest doing it from the beginning. Here’s an example of (what I think) is a pretty good cover page.

Cover Page Example

2. Protect your work.You do this 2 ways. 1. Upload your files as PDFs, not Word Documents. and 2. Put a copyright on every. single. page. It doesn’t have to be large, in fact it should be very small, but do it. It protects you in case someone copies you. A copyright should look like this:

Copyright Example

3. Pricing. Do not under price your work. Pricing is very hard because you don’t want to overcharge, but you know what’s worse than over charging? Undercharging. Why? it hurts the overall market on TpT and ultimately hurts your sales. When you undervalue your work, people often think there is something wrong with it. Take into account how many pages, what’s on each page, how much YOU would pay for it, how long it can be used, and how creative it is. Also, there is a $3.00 purchase requirement on TpT, so never price anything as $2.99. Check out Margaret Whisnant’s Pricing Guide and Rachel Lynette’s Pricing Guide.

4. Focus. This was one thing I think I did well from the start. Some people hop onto TpT and try to constantly create new products, run a Facebook, start a Blog, and promote on Pinterest right away. I am a firm believer that, if you’re new, you should focus on one thing at a time. Obviously if you already had a blog, that may not be the case. However, I started with my TpT store and creating quality products. After I felt like I had built that up, I started a Facebook page (because I said I was never starting a blog… Ha!). After I was comfortable with Facebook, I started Pinning on Pinterest, and after I had all three down, then I started blogging. It takes a lot of time to do all of those things, and I think starting off slowly helps you to balance all of those things and teaching and family life. Plus, until you have quality products, what can you really promote?

5. Patience young grasshopper. When I started on TpT, I would make maybe 10 bucks a week and thought that was fantastic. I know that a lot of people who came before me had an even slower start. Very few people are “hares” on TpT. There are some, but most of us are “tortoises”. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to stop reading this and go read a book of fables. ;)) It. takes. time. and. work. All of the successful people worked their butt off to get that successful, and it took them months, and even years. Don’t get upset if you’re not an instant top seller. Just focus on creating quality products and celebrating your little success. πŸ™‚

6. Utilize the forums. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Search through the forums and learn from the wise sellers who have already been there. And just a word to the wise, search for what you’re looking for before you start a new topic. πŸ™‚

7. Create products you would or can use. I find my best products are ones inspired by what I’m currently doing in the classroom. If you would use it, others probably would as well.

8. PromoteΒ your store and products, but please don’t be annoying. If you use Pinterest, do not post the same product or a ton of your paid products all at once. Anyone who follows you will get annoyed. Instead, post a paid product here and there, but post more free ideas and freebies. Also, your blog should not just be posts about your products. Those are great, but only do it sparingly. I call blogs like that “adver-blogs” and I steer clear of them.

9. Step away. Sometimes you need a brain break just like our kiddos, and sometimes you need to focus on your other responsibilities. That’s okay, and in fact, sometimes it’s the best thing you can do. Your store won’t explode if you take some time off, and often you’ll come back refreshed.

10. Stop and smell the roses.Β Every once and a while, I stop and realize that people all over the country, (and dare I even say the world?) are using my resources and ideas in their classroom! That is amazing! Even if you aren’t selling that much, look at how much your freebies are being downloaded and think of how many students you are helping. That always puts a smile on my face. πŸ™‚

Friends, I hope that was helpful. If you’re interested in becoming a TpT seller, you can click here. It is my referral link. Of course, you don’t have to use it, but I would really appreciate if you did. πŸ™‚

Happy (almost) Friday!

Primary Paradise Signature

Primary Paradise

Primary Paradise

I have always had a passion for teaching and sharing with others and look forward to sharing my ideas with you!


  • Cyndie
    February 21, 2013 7:10 pm

    Martha, this is a fabulous list! Congrats on your b’day!

  • Crystal
    February 21, 2013 7:33 pm

    Thanks for the tips! How do you handle fonts and clip art?

    • Primary Paradise
      Primary Paradise
      February 22, 2013 6:15 am

      You’re welcome! I have just recently started using fonts that were created by other people instead of just using standard fonts. I find a lot of my clip art on free websites where the clip art is in the public domain and does not require a credit. However, if I use either clip art or a font that I purchased or downloaded from someone else, I just follow their TOU (terms of use). Normally they just want a credit in your document. On my last page of all of my packets, I have a thank you page with a copyright statement and than any credits. If you would like to see it, just email me (primaryparadisetpt@gmail.com) and I can email you to show you what it looks like. I hope that helps. Thanks for the comment! πŸ™‚

  • Charlene
    February 21, 2013 8:20 pm

    Congratulations on your one year TpT anniversary. I started this fall, and I am loving the adventure. Thanks for all your tips. They are very helpful.

    Charlene/Diamond Mom

    • Primary Paradise
      Primary Paradise
      February 22, 2013 6:12 am

      Charlene, I’m so glad to help. TpT is amazing, you’ll enjoy your journey. πŸ™‚ Feel free to email me if you ever have any questions- primaryparadisetpt@gmail.com. πŸ™‚

  • Teach With Laughter
    February 21, 2013 9:11 pm

    Congrats on your b’day! This is an amazing post πŸ™‚

    • Primary Paradise
      Primary Paradise
      February 22, 2013 6:11 am

      Aw thanks Laureen!

  • Lisa
    February 22, 2013 12:12 pm

    Happy Anniversary, Martha!!!! What a SUPER helpful list!!! Thanks a bunch!!!

  • mybookboost
    February 22, 2013 6:57 pm

    Loved the article!

  • AllThingsElementary
    February 22, 2013 7:29 pm

    Thank you for your thoughtful words of encouragement! TpT is certainly an adventure best taken patiently one step at a time.

    • Primary Paradise
      Primary Paradise
      February 23, 2013 1:36 pm

      You’re very welcome. It is certainly an adventure. The best part is being able to touch so many students and teachers lives. It really is an incredible thought!

  • Susan Powers
    February 22, 2013 8:36 pm

    thanks so much for sharing this….especially the patience part πŸ™‚

    • Primary Paradise
      Primary Paradise
      February 23, 2013 1:35 pm

      You’re very welcome. I always have to remind myself to be patient, even now. So glad it was helpful.

  • Darlene Anne
    February 23, 2013 7:14 pm

    Thanks for the great tips, Martha! I just started a couple of months ago, and I can see this being very helpful information. Congratulations on 1 year!

  • Dawn
    March 15, 2013 7:45 pm

    Thanks for the tips! Very helpful!!

  • Vanessa
    April 17, 2013 7:11 am

    This is great! What an awesome idea for a blog post!

  • The Elementary Professor
    October 4, 2013 6:19 pm

    Great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • rainbowlilydesigns
    October 5, 2013 4:59 am

    Super helpful! Thanks πŸ™‚

  • Summer
    December 3, 2013 11:40 am

    Martha this is a great list. I have been on TPT for about a year and have never had a cover page, but I am seriously going to start incorporating them now. Question: Recently I have had trouble making pages that do not exceed the storage limit even when i reduce file size and make a PDF. Any words of advice or site that might explain how to do this so my graphics aren’t all pixilated and blurred? Thanks!

    • Primary Paradise
      Primary Paradise
      December 3, 2013 7:16 pm

      Hi Summer! Are you talking about your thumbnails or your actual product? Feel free to email me at primaryparadisetpt@gmail.com and I can try to help you out. πŸ™‚

      • Summer
        December 3, 2013 7:53 pm

        My thumbnails. It used to generate them automatically and pretty clear, but as of recent I have had to manually make them and they turn out do blurry that it makes my product look bad when in fact they are crystal clear. You can take a look if it helps. SmartenUp is my name.

        • Primary Paradise
          Primary Paradise
          December 4, 2013 7:36 pm

          Summer, I always make my own thumbnails. I create in powerpoint, so I save each page as a JPEG. They are normally very clear.

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