Deanna Jump made history this week when she became the first
teacher selling classroom materials on Teachers Pay Teachers to top $1 million
EdSurge wrote a profile of her work last year (see here). Now we've asked Deanna for her ten tips to teachers who want to try to put their materials up for sale. Here's what she said.
The most important principle is to stay true to your teaching
philosophy. Creating materials just for the sake of selling them can be very
challenging without a point of reference. I use all the materials I sell
in my own classroom.
with the Common Core:
Look at where the Common Core suggests that students
need to go and start building curriculum around those standards. Think beyond
the facts. Students need to build higher level learning and critical thinking
skills; incorporate those ideas into the materials you create.
Building materials with strong pedagogy is the first and most
critical step. But realize that you also have to put in some real computing
muscle as well. I spend about 40 to 50 hours of computer time creating and
editing a single unit. (Most units cover two weeks' worth of materials.). Don't
cut any corners!
I found a niche or a specialty, namely creating units that integrate
curriculum with higher level thinking skills. It's helpful for your materials
to have a distinctive approach that reflects your teaching philosophy.
This is a must! You have to have a compelling cover
page. Use high quality clip art, colorful schemes and make your work stand out.
But again, remember that no matter how "pretty" something looks, it's
got to deliver real educational value.
are your friends:
I consider my customers my friends. They've been like the
answer to a prayer for me, a real blessing in my life. So I treat them like
friends. When you treat customers like friends, they come back. And repeat
customers are essential to a financially successful strategy.
customers know you're here for them:
Communicating with customers is a
must. I tell them when I have free downloads, or if there are other changes
that they should know about. They know I’m here for them! I answer every
question I get on TeachersPayTeachers; I answer questions I get in emails. And
then I try to put out blog posts, too.
network of kindred spirits:
You need others--other bloggers and other
sellers--to help spread awareness about your products. On TeachersPay Teachers,
there's a "Sellers Forum" where we all go for help. When some sellers
do "giveaway" promotions, they might ask for contributions fro
others. (I always chip in!) Networking and collaborating with others trying to sell
can really help boost your own business.
Don't compare yourself to others: It takes a while to build a business. During my
first year (which was in 2009), I barely made $300. Feel blessed whenever a
teacher buys something from you; his or her dollars are hard earned and it's a
great complement when they put them toward materials that you've created!
: It's great to set goals for yourself but don't
beat yourself up if you don't always make them. Remember
TeachersPayTeachers is like
teaching; it is a journey and you learn as you go.