Making Money In Your Free Time: Can I Actually Make Money?
Last time we talked about how everyone has at least a tiny bit of free time. The more time you have the more quickly your business will grow, but even if you only have 5 minutes here and there you can still get started.
If you are a learning center teacher, a homeschooling teacher, a daycare provider, or a designer that understands the needs of a teacher and/or child... you can sell on teacherspayteachers.
Edlah started as a simple little blog in 2012. I was just starting out in a new preschool teacher role. I was spending hours every day learning, planning and creating resources for my new classroom. When I started that new job in a private Christian Learning Center, I was given no curriculum at all. I literally was handed a one page list of weekly themes I was supposed to teach... that's all.
That first year was a blur. I spent countless hours searching the internet looking for anything that may fit my theme. This was before Pinterest came out. Yes. You read that right. I was trying to build curriculum from scratch a week at a time without the help of Pinterest. Thank God Pinterest came along not to long after this! If you aren't using Pinterest to help you plan fun activities for your student(s) you should be. It has been a life saver and a game changer. It also is a great way to market the products you are going to start selling. We will talk about that later.
Anyway, as I struggled to find great ideas and free downloads I realized there was a huge need for affordable preschool downloads! TeachersPayTeachers did exist at the time, but it wasn't very big and I hadn't heard of it yet.
My sister also was running an in-home daycare with a handful of preschool aged kiddos. I found myself creating a draft of my lesson plans and sending them to her to help me test. Eventually we were able to come up with some pretty great ideas that could be used both in the home as well as in a learning center. We started sharing ideas on a little start up blog called edlah.com. It was horrible, it was ugly, it no longer exists in that form... However, out of that idea the current edlah.com was born. It hasn't been easy. We have made a ton of mistakes. We have learned a lot.
Long story short(ish), I discovered the need for quality and affordable preschool resources was huge. I wanted to share what I was learning (even the mistakes) with other teachers like myself and homeschooling moms like my sister.
As I thought about it I realized I was putting a TON of unpaid time into making resources for my class. I wanted everything in my class to be perfect so I was willing to spend the afternoons working from home while my kids slept.
Besides my time, my only expense was quality clipart. We will talk about that more in a future post, but for now just know that it was starting to add up.
Then, I found TeachersPayTeachers.
All of a sudden I had a way to make a little extra cash selling items I created for my own class to supplement my clip art addiction. To be 100% honest, I really didn't think I would make more than a few bucks a month. The clipart sets I was buying cost about $3.50 per set. I kid you not, my first goal for myself was to make $3.50 a month so I could buy one new set of clipart each month. I honestly only started selling on TpT so I could pay for my clipart addiction without dipping into our family budget.
When it comes to goal setting, that is a pretty lame goal.
That first year I made $1,982 and I was through the roof excited!!! I was able to buy a TON of amazing clipart!
That's when it hit me.... I could actually make some money off of this TpT thing! That was also when I realized I should upgrade my TpT account to a Premium Seller Account. A Premium Seller Account costs $59.95 per year. Once you make your first $60 I would encourage you to go ahead and upgrade. Until then, keep using the free account.
I didn't have extra time. I worked as a preschool teacher in the mornings and I had a toddler and a preschooler of my own at home. Literally the only time I had to work on my lesson plans was during their nap times for an hour or so in the afternoon.
I learned to work smarter, not harder. Those first few years I survived. I would create something for my own preschool class and then post it on TeachersPayTeachers. One item at a time, 2-3 super simple items a week. In 2013 I made $6,615. I was blown away that my tiny little efforts were paying off so much.
How much does edlah bring in now?
I know people typically don't talk about what they make, it is not culturally appropriate. But... I want you to understand that with just a few minutes a day you can make a great side income. As of March 1, 2017 I have made a total of $34,101.98. I don't know about you, but I think that is a pretty good amount considering it was almost all things that I would have been making for my own class anyway.
As you can see, it has it's ups and downs. August, September and February are the highest paying months. December and July are the lowest paying months (Teachers don't like to think about school in December or July.)
2013 was when I started getting serious about selling. I started taking the rough lessons that I had come up with the year before and the random hodgepodge of resources I was adding to my store and started creating my very own Preschool Curriculum. I was creating this curriculum and these resources for myself, my sister and a still small but loyal group of edlah followers.
The first few units I put out were not pretty, but I got better as I went. I went back and updated files as I learned more techniques or came up with better ideas (some of you experienced this along side me). I spent the first year collecting ideas and the second year perfecting ideas.
I started making money off of something I was already doing. It literally only took me a few extra minutes to write a description and upload it to TpT.
You can totally do this!
Until Next Time,
Your homework for this weekend:
Click this link. Open your own FREE TeachersPayTeachers store. Don't worry about not having any products. We will work on that next week. Just focus on opening your store today.
1. Click this link to open your own store. For now only sign up for the Free Account. We will talk later about when to transition to a paid account.
2. Think of a creative name for your store, or just use your own name (you won't want to change this later so spend some time thinking about this.)
3. Upload a picture of yourself. If you already have a logo you can upload it now. We will talk more about logos later.
4. Take a few minutes to fill out the Store Profile. No one will buy from you if they don't trust you. We will talk later about how to make an amazing Store Profile, but for now just make sure it isn't blank.
5. Set up Payment Options. I recommend setting up a PayPal account. I have used them since the start and have never had a problem getting paid each month.
6. Come back next week to learn what to do next!