How to Start on Your TpT Selling Journey (TpT U Lesson 1)

Lesson 1 main image

Congratulations, you’ve decided to throw your hat in the ring and sell on Teachers Pay Teachers! I want to caution, this is not the best choice for all teachers looking to earn extra income. If you have not asked yourself some important questions first you can be setting yourself up for frustration. Take a few minutes to read this article to clarify that you’re going down the right path.

If you don’t need a cash influx immediately and are prepared to be patient you’re probably making a good decision.

You said “YES!” to this endeavor; selling on TpT is a challenge you’re up for and want to jump in. There are steps you must take prior to creating your first resource. You must open a PayPal account (that’s how you get paid), sign up as a seller, name your store and design a logo. Taken one at a time none of these steps are overwhelming.

How to open a PayPal account (so you can get paid)

Many people have opened PayPal accounts in the past, so you may be able to skip this step. If you haven’t used your account in a while, doublecheck that you know your access info, which email you used and password. I mention this from personal experience. After not using my PayPal for years I had a hard time signing on because I didn’t know which email I had used.

If you need to create an account, it’s easy. Simply go to PayPal and sign up for a free personal account. You don’t need a commercial account to get paid by Teachers Pay Teachers. There is a fee involved when you get paid, which TpT let’s you pay for:)

How to sign up to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers

If you have an account already as a buyer on TpT creating a seller’s account is easy-peasy. If you don’t it’s still super simple. I’ll walk you through it as if you’ve never been on the site before. Please don’t take offense, I’m a teacher and always try to meet all students where they are!

Fill out your basic info as a buyer. Once you have an account it’s simply a matter of changing your status to seller account. You will be asked for your PayPal info (which is why you have to have that out of the way first). You can then choose to upgrade to premium seller. I address some of the pros and cons in this article. Here are the basic payout differences:

tpt fees lesson 1

If you plan to make any serious money on TpT you will need to become a premium seller at some point; you would be losing money if you don’t. The question is not if, but when.

My major argument for jumping right in: You have skin in the game and will be more motivated. My main argument against: You keep expenses down as long as possible and pay the fee with your first $60 earned. Both work, depending on your psychological needs.

Creating a name for your TpT Store

Now we’re getting into the fun stuff! What are you going to call your new store?! You can use your own name if you want to keep it simple: my daughter’s store is called Math with Medori. Illiterations are great because they’re memorable. You can be cutesy, funny or serious.

It’s best if your store cannotes what your resources will be, but don’t pigeonhole yourself. My store, Teach ‘n Thrive, is rather broad. As a social studies teacher I’ve taught everything from history to psychology and criminal justice. So I was afraid to make the name too history-ish. That’s why I kept it broad.

If you’re a math teacher I would not name your store “Fun Fractions with Fran” because you may think that’s your niche, but it could change. “Fran’s Fun Math Resources” would work better, even though it’s not as catchy.

The biggest mistake you can make is to get stuck at a spot like this in your TpT journey. Allow yourself a few days to play with names, ask friends’ for feedback and just pick one. At the end of the day it’s not going to make or break your store.

How to Make Sure Your New TpT Name is not Copyrighted

As you’re playing with different names try typing them into Google. You need to make sure the name isn’t already taken (many are). This is VERY important. You will want to buy the domain name and own the social media as well.

Here’s how to vett your top pick. First go to Teachers Pay teachers and see if there is a store with the same name. If not, great, let’s dig deeper. Google it. If the same name comes up as a .com or .org or dot anything go to Plan B. Once you clear that hurdle go to Namecheap and try it out there.

If the dotcom is available that’s great! Sites like Namecheap and Godaddy are places that you can buy a URL, a website address. Honestly, if you’re going to do this — make a commitment to seriously try to make money on TpT — I would buy the domain for a year to secure it. It’s only $8.88 on Namecheap for most domains (if not, look for one that is) and noone can buy it out from under you.

Similarly, go to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and register your new name there, too. Even if you never plan to market on social media, you definitely want to claim the name.

I hear someone saying, “Joan what’s all this talk of urls, social media registration? You’re stressing me out already! I have a full-time teaching job, wife-husband-kids-mother-dogs-guinea pigs-workout routines-crocheting projects-underwater basketweaving class to juggle. I just want to post a few of my lessons on Teacher Pays Teachers and see what happens.”

I hear you. It’s absolutely fine to simply want to try selling some lessons and make a few dollars. Honestly, that’s what most teacher authors ultimately do. However, you don’t plan to get in an accident when you drive your car, yet you still have car insurance; right?! These steps will take less than an hour and cost under $10. Think of it as I-may-want-to-quit-my-job-one-day insurance.

Is it getting real now? Yup, you’ve started on your journey as a teacher author (that’s what TpT calls us). Yay!

Just like creating a store name this step can derail you if you let it. Do you even need a logo? Yes, you need something in a circle that will show up on your product pages. There are afew of options to do this easily.

The first is to go to Fiverr. If you’re not familiar with this site it’s a place that freelancers offer online services from graphic design, virtual assistant services to — you guessed it, designing a logo. Type in “logo design” in the search bar 100s of options will pop up.

This is page 1 of my search for “logo design”

You can scroll through pages of choices. There are different level sellers. Each also displays their number of reviews and overall rating. You can find a logo designer for between $20 and $35. Most designers offer edits if you’re not pleased the first time around. If you feel like you’re not “artsy” this is a quick, simple solution.

I’ve used Fiverr to design a logo for another business I had a few years ago (yes, Joan has tried MANY side hustles, but that’s another post). I paid $20 and was very happy with the end results.

I have since used them for many other projects and have to say I’m almost always super-happy. There was one time that language was definitely an issue (many freelanceers are from India, the Philippines and all over the world) and we had a hard time communicating. That’s the outlier, not the norm.

Another option is actually TpT. There are teacher authors who offer logo design services. Working Dog Resources is one example of sellers offering these services for very affordable prices. She has a whole post just on designing logos if you want to check it it.

Designing a Logo with Canva

Another possibility is designing your own on Canva. It’s an app that allows you to design everything from logos to Pinterest pins to posters. There is a free and paid version; I’m still using the free version (though the paid is cheap and I might bite the bullet soon).

tpt lesson 1 canva To use Canva, click on the Create a Design button on the top right-hand side of the screen. Now it’s time to play. You can upload images to use or use the free ones available on Canva. You can add text, color the background, resize images — tons of options.

I created my logo on Canva. It was one of the first projects I ever made using Canva and I had no problem; it’s that easy to use. Once you’re done, simply download it to your computer. Ta-da, logo done!

Your logo can simple be your own photo; many seller authors do this. You can upload a picture and Teachers Pay Teachers will automaticaly format it into a circle.

When you’re creating your logo think simple. An icon or simple picture is better than a complicated design. Remember, your logo will generally be very small (on product covers and most places you include it) so a clean outline is best. Choose contrasting colors so they stand out from each other.

Your logo will NOT make or break your store in any way, so do not lose a lot of time in this stage of your journey. If you decide a few months from now that you HATE your logo you can change it. “I think I’ll buy this resources because the seller’s logo is so cute,” said no one ever when purchasing on TpT.


Once you’ve accomplished the steps above you’re on your way to being a teacher author, teacherpreneur, digital seller, online entrepreneur — there are a lot of names for your new role:)

A few final thoughts: Give yourself a timeframe to accomplish each of these steps. The number one enemy for anyone starting a new project is procrastination. The other is fear. So many people read articles, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube and say to themselves, “I’m educating myself so that when I start I will be successful.” Hogwash; that’s fear talking.

Take baby steps and learn only what you need for that step. How does 2 weeks sound? In week 1 you can sign up as a seller and decide on your store name and secure the url. Week 2 can be spend playing with possible logos. Write it down on a calendar, digitally or on paper.

“This is a journey, not a destination.”

Each time you accomplish a step in your journey celebrate it. Buy a fancy coffee, have a glass of wine, call a friend who will “woohoo” you. This is a journey, not a destination and it’s super important to celebrate every little win along the way.

See you in Lesson 2

Don’t forget to teach AND thrive!


Teach and Thrive

A Bronx, NY veteran high school social studies teacher who has learned most of what she has learned through trial and error and error and error.... and wants to save others that pain.

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