What Should I Sell on TeachersPayTeachers?
If you’re here, then you’re probably wondering, “What should I sell on TeachersPayTeachers?”
Maybe you’ve been thinking about opening a TpT store, or you’ve recently opened one, but you feel like you’re all over the place with what you’re selling.
You’ve heard TpT Seller coaches, podcasters, and you’ve even watched YouTube videos that tell you to “pick a niche” for your store.
But it’s so hard!
I’ll bet you’ve asked yourself at LEAST one of these questions:
- What if I pick a niche, then end up changing grades?
- What if I create all kinds of resources?
- What happens if I choose a niche, then end up wanting to change later?
- What if I want to help more than one kind of teacher?
- What will happen to the other teachers if I just focus on just serving one group?
So often, we get ahead of ourselves when we haven’t even answered that first question, which is,
What should I sell on TeachersPayTeachers?
Read this whole blog post to get clarity on your TpT niche, and how you can stand out in a saturated market with your unique nano niche.
Prefer to watch instead of read?
Every week, I share a video with math teaching tips.
And throughout the summer, I share encouragement and support for helping you grow your TeachersPayTeachers business!
So You Want To Sell On TeachersPayTeachers…
That’s great!! I’m so excited for you, and I bet you have a ton of questions.
If you’re still deciding whether or not you want to sell on TeachersPayTeachers, check out these episodes of the Learning to Love Math Podcast!
You’ve likely wondered, “Is it worth it to sell on TeachersPayTeachers?”
If so, I’ve got you covered with this episode:
Or maybe, you’ve wondered, “How much does the average seller on TeachersPayTeachers make?”
I talk about that in this episode of the podcast:
Throughout the summer, in addition to weekly math teaching tip episodes, I share bonus episodes to educate and encourage teachers who want to sell on TeachersPayTeachers!
So if that’s something you’ve just recently started, or if it’s something you’re looking to do, subscribe to the podcast and follow it!
Math teaching episodes drop every Monday, while the seller episodes come out on Thursdays.
What should I sell on TeachersPayTeachers?
The short answer?
Anything you want to create, that sells well and solves problems.
But sometimes, having too many choices can actually be stressful!
So I find it helps to have some kind of guideline.
If you find that helpful, have whatever you create meet these three criteria:
- Solves a specific problem for a particular teacher
- Meets the needs of students in a unique way
- Gives you joy to make or create
Let’s start with that first one: solving a specific problem for a particular teacher.
Prefer to listen instead of read?
Check out Episode 36 of the Learning to Love Math Podcast, where I share more tips and examples to help you figure out what to sell on TeachersPayTeachers.
What is a niche?
And how does that affect what I should sell on TeachersPayTeachers?
If you’re here, you might have heard me talk about the importance of having a nano niche.
But to first understand that, we need to know what a niche is.
What is a niche in biology?
Teachers tend to be familiar with the definition of niche in biology, so let’s take a second to look at that.
In biology, a niche is the match between the traits and requirements of a species, with the environment surrounding it.
In business, education, and in the world of TeachersPayTeachers, it’s honestly kind of the same!
What is niche teaching?
In the world of education, there’s a trend towards the idea of niche teaching – which is where a teacher focuses on a particular subject, topic, or even a subset of learners.
This often allows them to be more effective, and their students to be more successful – because there’s a better use of resources and instruction during that time.
If you teach high school, this usually naturally looks like the grade and subject you teach.
Sometimes, even just the subject if it’s specific enough.
Here are some examples of secondary teaching niches:
- 10th Grade Earth Science
- AP Biology
- Algebra 2 (no grade, but very subject-specific)
- High School French
- Dual Immersion English Teacher
- U.S. History
- World History
If you’re a middle school or junior teacher, your teaching niche might be a bit more nuanced, though you’ll usually benefit from the similar setup of high school teachers if you only teach 1-2 subjects.
Some examples of these could be:
- Ancient Civilizations for 6th-8th grade
- 6th Grade Social Studies
- 8th Grade Math
- Middle School English
- Middle School STEM Projects
- 7th Grade Science
It gets really tricky for elementary teachers, though.
If you want to find your teaching niche as an elementary teacher, you’ll first want to figure out which grade or sub-section you want to focus on.
The grades are pretty self-explanatory, but let’s look at some of the categories with the grades:
- Upper Elementary
It’s usually easiest if you can narrow down your niche to just one grade, but I get that this can sometimes be tricky – especially if what you create meets the needs and standards of students in multiple grades.
In this case, your teaching niche might not even be grade specific, but more-so focused on the topic or skill (more about that in a minute).
If you don’t want to focus on grades, or groupings of grades, your teaching niche might look something more like:
- Whole Brain Teaching for Primary Students
- K-5 STEM
- Project Based Learning Units for Elementary Students
- Systematic Phonics-Based Instruction for Upper Elementary Students
- Classroom Management for Primary Teachers
Or, you could classically make your teaching niche whatever you do primarily for teaching every day.
This might look something more like:
- 3rd Grade Math
- 5th Grade Writing
- 2nd Grade Science
- 1st Grade Reading
- 4th Grade Reading Workshop
- Math Workshop for Grade 1
This section might be showing you that you already have a teaching niche. And if so, great!
But don’t get discouraged if you don’t have one.
Any teacher can be a successful seller on TeachersPayTeachers if they want it badly enough.
Simply think about what you’d like to focus on with your store and brand.
Then, go and grow from there. 🙂
What is a niche in business?
Now that we’ve talked about what a niche is in biology and teaching, let’s talk about what that looks like in business.
Then, we’ll dive further into why that matters so much as a TpT Seller on TeachersPayTeachers (or any other marketplace, honestly! So even if you’re going to focus on Etsy, Amazon, Fiverr or Upwork later, this advice still applies).
In business, your niche is your specialty and focus.
When we look at the niche of TeachersPayTeachers itself, we immediately know who it’s for, and the problem it solves.
The site exists as a marketplace to help teachers find lessons, activities and instructional support with educational lessons in the classroom.
It solves a problem for another audience, too – which is helping teachers make more money, as teachers are underpaid in many countries across the world (I’m sure you didn’t need to read that here to know that!).
One of the reasons TeachersPayTeachers has been SO successful as a company, is because they’ve been clear on their mission and purpose from the start.
They know exactly who they’re helping, how they’re helping them, and what makes them unique.
We don’t typically shop on Amazon or Etsy for lessons and activities for our students, even though we could.
We’ve come to associate the TeachersPayTeachers website with what we need as teachers, and 85% of teachers across the United States have done the same.
How to Find Your Niche on TeachersPayTeachers
Usually, it’s natural for teachers to niche down their stores to whatever it is that they teach.
And this makes a lot of sense in most scenarios.
If you’re a secondary or high school teacher, this makes a lot more sense – because you’re naturally a 12th grade Physics teacher, an Algebra 2 teacher, or the English & Literature teacher.
In fact, you’re well on your way to having your nano niche if you teach high school or middle school.
But this gets a little harder if you teach elementary school.
This is because most of what’s on the TeachersPayTeachers website is geared towards primary and intermediate elementary teachers.
So, if you’re an elementary teacher like me, we need to get a little more creative.
This is why having a nano niche is so important (more about why in a minute)!
I have a pretty easy framework for finding your nano niche that you’re welcome to steal – and as silly as the word is, I’m hoping it’ll help you remember it – and that’s the word
G U S T O
The acronym I use to help sellers figure out their niche is GUSTO: G.U.S.T.O.
Now, it should actually be GSTUO, but that doesn’t sound as good lol
- Unique Vehicle or Value Proposition
- Topic or Skill
Let’s go over a few examples of the nano niche in action.
First, we’ll start with my own store and brand, Math With Minis.
It’s important for you to know that your teaching niche, store niche, and even your nano niche, will shift over time.
The value proposition I had when I first launched this brand, was:
“Math fact fluency without the stress.”
And I loved it! I felt completely aligned with it, and it solved a huge problem for teachers and students.
While I still have several resources and a fair amount of content that meets that need, I stepped back and saw an even greater vision when I looked at the long-term goals of my company.
The A-Z transformation my products and services provide take calculator-dependent teachers, and turn them into math enthusiasts.
I’ve helped students change from being math haters, to having math be their favorite subject.
All of those are things I’m proud of!
But those are only the first few steps, and I see that now.
My future vision for Math With Minis?
For every adult and child in the United States to have mathematical literacy – so they can experience financial independence and true prosperity.
I am SO LIT UP and on fire about this mission – because it really combines several of my passions while solving several legitimate problems that Americans face.
So now that I’ve poured out my heart to you, let’s look at the G.U.S.T.O. framework with my store:
Topic or Skill: Mini-lessons
Brand promise: Make math fun and accessible for every learner.
Unique Value Proposition: Spiral review for math that kids look forward to.
- Done-for-you math mini lessons
- Game-show style spiral review
- Board game partner and group games
- Solo games and self-grading, gamified activities
This was the first store I opened on TpT 2 years ago.
I thought it might be helpful to look at this store and brand, because it’s really been through an entire revolution since it started in 2020.
This was the original niche for the store when it first opened:
Subject: Building classroom community online
Topic or Skill: Google Classroom, tech, G-Suite usage, Google Meet
Brand promise: Bring your class online with ease
Unique Value Proposition: Become an expert in teaching with Google
- Google Classroom headers
- Interactive Google Slides worksheets
- Self-checking Google Sheets
- Flipped classroom resources for Google Classroom
- Interactive morning meetings with Google Meet
Now, that brand has evolved a bit. While those resources are still up there and selling passively, this is what sells now:
Subject: Content Marketing for TpT Sellers
Topic or Skill: Blogging, content and copywriting
Brand promise: Make your TpT business TRULY passive with blogging
Unique Value Proposition: Make more money on auto-pilot
- Time-saving templates
- Courses & content library (Teacher Seller Blogging Academy)
- Coaching & support (done with you blogging services)
- Ghostwriting or blog post writing (done for you blogging services)
And the great thing is, as your life changes and as your interests shift, your niche really can change!
If you were to go check out the Instagram account for Teach Blog Travel right now, yeah – you’d see blogging tips and some photos from my trips – but you’d also see a lot of content about teaching on a reservation, because that’s a unique teaching experience I want to share with the world.
So don’t feel like you’re limited to one topic, or only one topic, forever and ever. 🙂
You can add more on as you go – especially if you decide to build out a personal brand.
(and oh hey, that rhymes!)
When we were first starting out in our online business journeys, we actually founded the Teachers Talk Travel Podcast together. Check it out if you love to travel!
Since then, she’s focused more on her TeachersPayTeachers, and she has an awesome niche for her store.
Let’s check it out with the G.U.S.T.O. framework.
Grade: 6th-10th, mostly for 9th-10th grade though
Subject: Earth Science
Topic or Skill: NGSS-aligned labs and units
Brand promise: Featuring National Parks as observable anchor phenomena to engage students with NGSS-aligned Earth Science storylines
Unique Value Proposition: Help your students explore and understand the geological world through storylines from national parks
- Virtual field trips
- Digital lab activities
- Interactive, in-person lab activities
Why is having a niche so important?
So, why is having a niche so important for business?
And, more specifically, why is having a niche so important for sellers on TeachersPayTeachers?
To put it plainly, the market is saturated.
There are thousands of teacher-authors and TpT Sellers who are probably already selling resources similar to what you would make, in your niche.
But don’t despair!!
When you have a clear niche, and an even more refined nano niche, you’ll naturally set yourself and your store apart from the rest with your unique vehicle and value proposition.
Reagan Briggs from Educate With Ease, for example, is known for her awesome and engaging escape rooms.
Steve from Teach One for the Books is a genius with Google Sheets. He initially started selling his own self-grading activities for middle school math, and quickly added on the offer of templates for TpT Sellers. Both sides of his business are doing really well!
Just think – what is the unique vehicle you can offer to help teachers (and/or students, and/or other TpT Sellers!) get from their Point A (where they are now), to their Point B (where they want to be)?
How do I find my perfect niche?
By now, you’re probably seeing the value of having a niche for your business and brand on TeachersPayTeachers.
But, that lends to another question – how do I find my perfect niche on TpT?
If you’re here, then you were probably searching for the answer to, “What should I sell on TeachersPayTeachers?”
And usually, this question comes from the thinking that only certain kinds of niches or teachers are successful.
Thankfully, this isn’t the case!
When you use the G.U.S.T.O. framework above, you’ll have a really clear picture of what you should be focusing on.
How do you find a niche on TpT?
Now that you know what a niche is, why it’s important, and how to find one, how do you find a niche on TpT?
Your perfect niche, and what you should sell on TeachersPayTeachers, really comes down to answering these questions:
- What is my teacher niche?
- What am I good at?
- What do I enjoy doing, sharing, or creating?
- Which problems can I solve for teachers?
- Which needs can I meet for students?
Once you can answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to developing your nano niche.
Can you really make a living on TpT?
Ok – so by now, you’ve probably heard my bonus podcast episodes.
You might have seen the videos on my YouTube channel.
You may have read the emails I’ve been sending, and maybe we’ve even chatted on Instagram.
You’re interested, and you can really see a store on TeachersPayTeachers being a business you can enjoy!
But you’re probably wondering, can you make a living on TpT?
The answer is an emphatic YES!!
I won’t tell you all of the millionaire stories right now, though you should definitely go read some if you want to be inspired.
But what I want for you to know right now is, even if you can make an extra $50, $500, or $5,000 a month – why wouldn’t you start?
If you’re willing to make the time and give the effort, any of those goals are completely possible for you!!
How Long Does it Take to Make Money on TpT?
And is it still even worth it to sell on TeachersPayTeachers?
You might have heard that selling on TeachersPayTeachers is a slow burn, and that’s absolutely correct.
Some people experience success quickly, while others are more like slow cookers.
And it’s all good! Everyone’s journey is so different.
But the answer to that question of how long it takes to make money on TpT, is totally dependent on you.
This is empowering and scary at the same time!!
I will say, you can definitely cut down the learning curve by learning from others who have gone before you.
That’s why I’m super excited about the Mini Marketing Mastermind that I’m cohosting this summer!
How to Make Money on TeachersPayTeachers in 2022
If you’re wondering how to make money on TeachersPayTeachers in 2022, or, maybe how to make MORE money on TpT this year, it really all starts with masterminding.
What worked 3, 2, even ONE year ago, isn’t necessarily working now.
If you’ve been a seller for a while, or if you’ve just done it as a hobby, you might be wondering other questions like:
- Is Pinterest still worth it in 2022?
- How to market on Instagram
- Can you still make money on TeachersPayTeachers? Or am I too late??
I get it. It can be so overwhelming and confusing!!
This is why you shouldn’t be on this journey alone.
I’m so excited to see where our businesses will be by the end of this summer!
Hopefully, by now, you have a good answer to your question.
You should have a fair idea of whether or not you truly want to sell on TeachersPayTeachers, you’ll likely have an idea of what your niche is, and you’ll have a firm grasp on what you should sell on TeachersPayTeachers.
So, What Should I Sell on TeachersPayTeachers?
The final answer? Whatever you enjoy creating, that helps others, and make you money.
I know – I’m not telling you what to do. And sometimes, we crave that when we’re trying something new.
But YOU CAN DO THIS!!
If you survived your first year of teaching in the classroom, you can do anything.
I’d love to work alongside you in the Mini Marketing Mastermind this summer.
But if you’re not ready for that yet (or, real talk, if you just don’t want to lol), I’d love to connect with you and still support you however I can!