I have been a blogger and teacher seller since 2011. While some may consider me to have been lucky, I feel as though I have been blessed. Blessed to be able to help teachers all around the world. Blessed to share my ideas and creativity on a weekly basis. Blessed to have had even the tiniest bit of impact on children in the classroom where my materials are being utilized. Blessed to have met some of my best friends through blogging who are now BFFs in real life too. Blessed to be able to provide luxuries to my family that we would not have without the extra income my teacher seller business has generated. Blessed to have made contacts with individuals and organizations I have only dreamed of (can we say featured in Scholastic Teachers Magazine several times?!).
While I know I have been blessed and that working with teachers on a global platform has been my true calling, I see other teachers who are curious about following in my footsteps, but then give excuses as to why they aren’t able to share their gifts with the world too.
Here are 7 Myths About Creating a Teacher Seller Business:
1. It is expensive to start your own business.
Truth: You can actually create digital products for free, host a free blog, and even create a free seller’s account at a teacher’s online marketplace. While there are other solutions, such as a premium seller’s account which allows you to keep a higher percent of commission, and creating a website that has a small hosting fee each month but is better indexed by search engines, none of those are necessary to get your business started.
Long gone are the days when you needed a business plan and were forced to go to your local bank for a small business loan. At least not for what we are trying to set up. Our focus is on e-commerce (a fancy way of saying we are selling digital downloads online). There is no inventory required, no shipping costs to consider, and we can even make sales while we are sleeping. Literally, there is zero risk involved.
2. The technology is hard.
Truth: If you can move a mouse or your finger on the screen, you can set up your business in a few short clicks. When I first started, the technology was a pretty steep learning curve. My first website was created on iWeb (which is now not even a thing). It was pretty archaic, but it was the best I had at the time.
Today, you can point and click and have a website and blog with your favorite colors and backgrounds in 30 minutes or less. It really is that simple. Not to mention if you do want to snazz it up, YouTube is a wealth of knowledge for most anything you want to do.
3. I don’t know how to create a digital product.
Truth: I use a really old version of Microsoft PowerPoint to create my printables. Seriously. You don’t need to be a designer or have knowledge of Illustrator or Photoshop. Now, if you do, that is another avenue which you can use. But for the rest of us, regular ole PP or even Google Slides will yield a perfect result every time.
If you can open a new document, add a text box, know how to resize your text/change the fonts, and maybe add in an image for visual effect, you can create a printable to share. You can even do it on Microsoft Word, but to be perfectly honest, word has some formatting limitations. PP is the way to go if you are using standard Office products.
4. There are already too many teacher sellers out there.
Truth: If you have ever heard the saying “A rising tide lifts all the boats,” then you will understand that the more teacher sellers out there, the more awareness we bring to the educational community, which results in more sales for all. When I first began blogging, very few even knew what a blog was, let alone purchasing anything online.
Most teachers at that time were flocking to the teacher supply store every August trying to find some classroom decorations and lesson planning books. If they had budgets, they were handed super large catalogs from which to look through and purchase a few manipulatives. Most new lesson ideas came from the basal series or from local teacher workshops where they were able to do a make-it-take-it training once or twice a year.
While all those options were great at the time, we have come a looooooong way in even the last several years. Now, teachers can buy full sets of classroom decor in whatever they choose, print it, and hang it. They can create their own economical versions of manipulatives from ideas on Pinterest from teacher blogs. And they can find superior lesson ideas to download and implement immediately. Many school districts are even now opting for spending their budgets on these digital download, rather than purchasing expensive (and usually outdated by the time they reach students’ desks) curriculums.
Saying there are too may teacher sellers is like saying there are too many books in the library. More is a good thing.
5. I haven’t been teaching for long, so I don’t have anything to share.
Truth: Even brand new teachers can write about their experiences. Be the person who shares the real life journey of a new teacher for those who aspire to follow your same path. What are some tips you have learned along the way? What has been your best advice from mentors or veteran teachers? What do you wish you had known then that you know now? Share those ideas. Create printables or checklists which help those soon-to-be-teachers have it easier than you did. I can promise you have plenty to share.
6. I don’t have time.
Truth: As long as you are consistent in building your business, you will make progress growing it. It doesn’t happen overnight for anyone for the record. Yes, it still is a “job.” But, would you rather have some part-time income coming in 6 months from now because you started – or still be living paycheck to paycheck in 6 months’ time because you preferred to binge watch Netflix every night?
For me, my business started out as a hobby. While it has grown to much larger than that over the years, it really did start out as a way for me just to connect with other educators out there. If you put in just a few hours a week on a consistent basis (that doesn’t mean 3 hours one week and never to look at it again for another 3 months), your business will start as a small snowflake – and then roll into a snowball – and eventually an avalanche if you continue those consistent steps to growing it.
I can choose to read the latest chick lit novel (which I do from time to time) or I can choose to create something from my thoughts which will help students everywhere. More times than not I pick creating.
7. All my ideas have already been shared out there.
Truth: You could say the same thing about every self-help, diet, or business book out there. But yet there’s a whole section dedicated to those genres in the library and the bookstore. And people keep buying them. Why? Because even though some of the ideas might be the same, the execution and delivery of the concept by that particular author is different. What resonates with one person, will not resonate with the next.
Your ideas and how you put them together are unique to you. How many different classroom management strategies are being used in just one school building? I bet each teacher does it a little differently. That’s what is awesome. We are all as unique as our students. Your idea may be the one that makes a difference to a teacher across the country who has tried everything else up to this point. That is the goal. Teacher sellers should be creating for the purpose of making a difference. Just on a larger scale than only his or her own classroom.
Starting a teacher seller business is an amazing way to connect to education professionals in places you have never even heard of on a regular basis. Not only will you get the satisfaction of sharing your ideas, but more importantly, you become a part of something larger than yourself. What I get FROM those professional educators is far greater. I really am super blessed.
Happy creating and sharing,