Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TpT Tuesday! #2: "THIS kind of Money for What I love?" and Why You MUST Be Yourself

 1.  "Getting this kind of money for doing what I love? I wouldn't have imagined it possible." (Yes, advertising is good, but not everyone is advertising like crazy).                                      

                                        Melissa Shutler. . .

(visit Melissa's shop by clicking her name above)

 VARIETY, they say, is the spice of life. I say it confuses you and give you indigestion. Especially if you are trying to be successful. With so much advice, who do you listen to?

Melissa Shutler, lovely woman, successful teacher and product maker is surprising because she flouts some of the rules we've come to expect about how to succeed.

There are many paths to greatness, success, love, or whatever your life goal may be at the moment. It astounds me that while Melissa Shutler admits on the one hand that "I don't know why I have found success here. I haven't marketed a ton. My blog is weak," she also adds that "I just pour my heart and soul into everything I make. I get inspiration for new products from my students. I also find inspiration in the nonfiction section of the library.  I constantly look for ways to bring math and nonfiction together."
          Anyone who's been on TpT knows how important marketing is or seems to be. Apparently, loving what you do and doing it well CAN be enough. Advertising will only help. Advice: make good products, and do what you can, WHEN you can.

2. Do YOU think that BEING on TPT has MADE YOU A BETTER TEACHER? (Yes - and if you have an idea that helps your students and fills a need, it can be a successful product that will help others). 

                                                 Work Smarter, Not Harder (Love that name!) 
Work Smarter Not Harder
Click on the live link to visit the shop!
 "Work Smarter, Not Harder"says that "selling here has changed and improved the way I teach and the emphasis I place on materials I use. This is my 9th month and I am thankfully 20 away from my first 1000 in a month.  It has been an amazing journey and just like teaching, I am constantly reflecting, growing, and learning. I think originality goes a long way. If you can find that something that is lacking in your room, attempt to design or create it.  If you need it, chances are others do too!!"


 3. So I Should Just Go Out and Follow Their Advice? And Then I Will Start to Be More Successful?

Not so fast! Every week I'll be bringing you absolutely wonderful, and ever more specific advice. Sometimes the advice will be contradictory - and that is ok. 

Did you ever need to get somewhere, but you asked too many people for directions? One person wanted to draw a map, another person kept pointing to indicate left and right even though you lost track five turns ago, a third person was very fond of McDonald's and other fast food markers, and the last person insisted on using north, northeast, southwest, and maybe mile markers? It is enough to make you pull over at the side of the road, cry, and not want to go anywhere. JUST LOOK at how different and varied the "directions to success" can be. 

       You may wonder, what do you do FIRST? And Who's RIGHT 
       (maybe they all are, so be calm as you read. . . )

Please consider the Following . . . 
Amount of Items
Some successful sellers have 27 items and made over $1000 dollars a month. Others needed over 100 items. And yes, some have over 250.

Advertising/ Promotions/Linkies
As we've seen above there are sellers who are making $1000 (and much more) who "dabble" a little in advertising. There are others who swear by it and aver that they wouldn't be making what they are if they weren't relentlessly advertising on "fill-in-the-blank."

Grade Level -
There are $1000-and-over sellers at the elementary, middle and high school level. I do believe that there are more elementary level "big sellers" though there are many more elementary sellers in general. It makes sense.
So much has been made about the Elementary versus the High School sellers. I teach high school, and I don't want it to feel like we are all going to "duke it out in the parking lot after school." But hey, I have an old-school metal lunch box, and yes, I'm from Jersey. But the FACT remains if you just read a little further, I'll illuminate you on my larger point. PLEASE, put the lunch boxes and pointy objects down. We are all adults here.
Imagine TpT like an giant and elaborate juggling performance. A juggler has ONE BALL the moment he joins TpT. The other balls one can choose to juggle with are:
the forum; the tutorials offered by Tpt sellers; the freebies offered by TpT sellers; the newsletter; the promotion option and other steps on Tpt like fixing up your store; pinning and Pinterest; pinning parties; rafflecopters, giveaways and blog hops or other collaborative ventures; starting a blogs; joining bloglovin; FaceBook; instagram; twitter and more. . .

**PLEASE KNOW that you should feel free to "juggle" all, some, or nearly none of these. The very successful sellers use these to different degrees, and they began doing them at different times in different order as they felt ready and comfortable! There is no judgement or pressure in how much or how little you do, what you start with, etc. In fact, as Melissa Shutler above will contend, you do NOT have to juggle every ball, all the time, and well, to be what you or others consider successful. You only have to be yourself....and . . .



The most important thing you must realize, and then remember, is that YOU are on a very individual journey.

  • You can't trick the Buyer.  Don't make what you don't teach or specialize in. Numerous sellers have said don't make Kindergarten products if you teach 8th grade because you've decided you would make more money that way. You know what? You won't make more money. Same thing goes for clip art or other really "hot," "trendy" or high-selling areas. People are experts for a reason. Nothing is more chafing than someone telling you your job must be easy. Hey you're a teacher right? You get your summers off. So why should any of us think we can do so easily what another seller does at a different level?

  • Don't trick yourself either. You can spend hours researching what's hot and what's popular, but more likely, what will do well is something that you will think of that inspires and fascinates you. If you continually look outside yourself to what others are doing, you may really be selling yourself and your potential short. Ultimately you will less satisfied and fulfilled. The best new product you create can only come from your own head and heart. 

  • Find out what you are specifically good at - then make more versions of it. You already know you sell high school social studies, or fifth grade specializing in geography. The fateful day will come when you make a "hot button product" that buyers can't get enough of. Sorry, but this is an organic process that you'll probably just stumble up. When it happens, Meredith Anderson (the first to mention this, who is another top seller) suggests that you use ideas in NEW and multiple ways ( take your simple product and expand it into a unit, a single lesson, as task cards, as a Power Point, a game, for more than one level, you get the idea) in order to maximize its reach and selling potential.), or make different volumes. (see final bullet).

                                                                  Meredith Anderson
                                                               (click on the live Name link!)

  • ONCE you Have Done That - you are in effect Building Your Store!

    It has been said on the thread too, do NOT add items to your store simply for the sake of it. If you put sub-par items in your store, you may get the reputation of not caring very much, or having low quality items in general. Every item should be your best. If it takes longer, so be it. Have good strong items that represent who you are, and what you are passionate about.

  • The Bundle. One you have a Bigger store and items that are RELATED, (a little of this was tangentially touched upon by Meredith Anderson) make a SERIES out of them if you can and feel it is appropriate and fun to do. Then, bundle them. I will not say much more about this, except to say there will be more about this in another post.

4. SOME TIPS FROM THE HEART, By PerfettoWritingRoom

                                                      You didn't know I have a new logo?
                                                       Stop by, pop in and say "Hi" 

1.  I WANT to talk about the following in the next few weeks:
Bundles (types and ways to do it)
Advertising (Copromote, linkies, pinning, FB etc. etc)
And so much more
But I'd like to clarify that

2. The worst thing you can do is read a TpT Tips for Tuesday post, and then follow the advice "just because" you believes it will lead to success without any thought to your own personal gut instinct.
REMEMBER that this post is itself about "Variety" and contradiction, really. While everyone on the thread succeeded, they all did it using the tools of success in their own way, and they did it by being themselves. What worked for one person didn't work for someone else.
      You'll know it's time to take a new step on your journey WHEN you feel "excited" by the prospect. IF you feel NERVOUS or if you feel stressed out by it, then it isn't time to do it yet. I know that perhaps some of you might think "Oh this is so obvious." Actually it isn't. There are so many people that get overwhelmed by the many tasks required.
     My husband Gene says.
"How do you eat the elephant?"
One bite at a time."

3. Tpt Tips for Tues has the SAME problems as the problems you will find in any self-help book.  
You must remember to be yourself or risk being led astray. 
        Melissa Shutler, "Work Smarter, Not Harder" and Meredith Anderson are successful because they are themselves, and they did what they loved. You can't fake life, or your products. 

4. The little SECRET is this. Fiction writers always want to distance themselves from their work and say "I am not my book." This is the lie;  but it is this lie that enables them to plumb the horrors, the agony and ecstasy, the closets of their aunts and attics of their grandmothers to write with abandon and, if not without fearlessness, then at least without fear of certain kinds of retribution. Even fiction is a kind of truth.
(I accept the hate mail).

            *Authors are their books. And you are your products. Be yourself, and you will sell.*

And lastly let us go back to our very first sentences "VARIETY, they say is the spice of life. I say it confuses you and give you indigestion. Especially if you are trying to be successful.  With so much advice, who do you listen to?"

The answer is to Use TpT Tips Tuesday as a guide.... but LISTEN TO YOURSELF.

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and Don't Forget that Feature Friday  . . .
                   is right around the Corner!

Gina - ThePerfettoWritingRoom
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1 comment:

  1. Great post! This is so interesting to read...and gives me hope someday my blog/store will actually make money. For now... just a little bit of a dream :-)