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Reader Tip: Make money with Teachers Pay Teachers

Natalie emailed in the following tip:

I know many of you have some experience with education — either a degree in education, a job in the education field, or homeschooling your own children. If this sounds like you, then I’m excited to tell you about a great way to make a little extra money on the side: the growing teacher-created materials websites, Teachers Pay Teachers.

This website allows teachers/educators to post lesson plans, tests, worksheets, activities, clip art, room decorations, etc. for other educators to use (either for free or for profit). You must post at least one free sample item, and then after that, you may post additional items for a fee.

For example, if you have lessons that have worked very well in your classroom, a homeschooling lesson that was a hit, or you just really enjoy making clip art, you can simply upload a computer file (Word document or PDF) to your Teachers Pay Teachers account, or you can choose to list physical goods to ship out to buyers.

You may start with a basic free sellers account, which allows you to keep 60% of your earnings, minus a transaction fee. Or there’s a paid account option, where you pay a set fee for the year, but keep a larger percentage of your sales. There is also a section where people post requests for items and what they are willing to pay.

I am a school speech-language pathologist, and have been posting some of the items I created to use with my students. I’ve had my Teachers Pay Teachers account since August and even with my basic seller account, I will receive a check at the end of September for a little over $100! -Natalie

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  1. Heather says

    This sounds like a great idea. If I had more time . . . .
    I last taught 10 years ago, and my district basically “owned” anything you created as a result of the job, especially if you used school computers. Not sure of the legalities of that , but something to check into before jumping into selling. My prior district did not have a policy like that.

  2. Susan says

    I am a librarian and educate people on copyright law. TPT is a great resource but you must be careful that you do not use anything — even MS Office clip art — that is protected by copyright. It does NOT have to have a (c) to be copyright protected! Be careful not to use clip art, Disney characters, game show or board game themes/slogans/fonts/wording (as in a classroom Jeopardy-type game), etc. If you use an image, etc it must say something like “free for educational use” or “free for fair use” on it. Don’t think they won’t come after you.

  3. says

    I am a seller on TPT for almost a year and can’t believe how wonderful it is! I paid for the premium subscription right away ($60/year) and found that it is very worth it because as long as you create quality items, you will see your return quickly. The items can take longer to create and you do have to change things when selling them vs. using them in your own classroom or home but once you make something it will stay up on the site each year and continue to sell! I highly recommend Teachers Pay Teachers.

  4. Natalie Snyders says

    Those are good points – please do read the FAQs on the site before posting anything, especially regarding copyright laws!

    As far as images, you can find images on TPT for a reasonable price that allow you to include the images in your products for sale, or you can subscribe to a clip art service. I personally have created all of the images I use on my products, but have been looking other options.

  5. Sasha says

    Thanks for the info. I left teaching to be a stay-at home mom, but tutor part-time so I’m still creating materials. I know how busy teachers are so I can see how creating items they can use instead of take the time to create themselves would be profitable. I don’t know how to create my own clip art though, but looks like I need to learn after reading the copyright posts.

  6. says

    I just signed up with the thought of posting things that I have created to use while homeschooling my son. I am curious how many products Natalie has up and her average price; what did getting to $100 in two months entail (in sales)? Thanks!

    • Natalie Snyders says

      You can check out my store here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Natalie-Snyders

      Being a speech-language pathologist, I am in more of a “niche” market for the site, since the majority of users are classroom teachers. I searched the site to see what was missing for speech-language therapy materials, and noticed that while there are a lot of games, there weren’t any people selling homework materials, so I started from there. It definitely helps to have unique products! I have several free items (8 right now) for users to see if they like my work (most of which are only a few pages), then I have 2 games and 2 homework packets for sale. You’ll have to look around to see what is a fair price for your products – mine are priced between $4.49-4.99 each. It takes some time to get the first sale, but once you do, people who like your work will “follow” you and be notified any time you post something new.

  7. says

    I landed on this site a few months ago when pulling things together for our homeschool. I almost signed up but thought I didn’t have the time. I still think I don’t have the time but I’m going to pass it on to my mother who is a retired teacher.

  8. Courtney says

    There’s also a site Teacher’s Notebook that I’ve heard has better margins for making money.

    I use both Teacher’s Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers to find stuff for tot school.

    For image use: if you find a store that belongs to a blogger, a lot of them will tell you were they get their images. There’s one store I like for preschool activities:
    LittleMonkeyPrintables and she tells you were she licenses her images from. You can purchase clip art for commercial use, and you can license it for commercial use as well.

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