Making Money In Your Free Time: Uploading Your First Product
Yesterday we talked about finding the right type of product and doing some price research. If you haven't had a chance to read that post, you might want to start there.
Once you have your file picked out you are ready to upload it to your Free TpT Store.
Uploading Your First Product:
Okay. Are you ready? Is your first product ready to be shared with the world? This may take a little while the first time while you learn how to do this, but don't get discouraged...soon you will be a pro!
Let's talk through the uploading process on TpT step by step.
1. There are a TON of ways to save digital files!
TpT Supports the following file types: avi, bmp, bnk, doc, docx, dot, epub, exe, flp, flipchart, flv, gif, htm, html, ink, jpeg, jpg, key, knt, mov, m4a, m4v, mp3, mp4, png, mpeg, mpg, mv4, notebook, ods, pdf, pps, ppsx, ppt, pptx, pub, ram, rm, rtf, swf, tif, tiff, txt, wav, wpd, wmv, xls, xlsx, xlt, xltx, zip
Are you overwhelmed by all of that? You don't know what a lot of those are? No worries. You don't have to. The vast majority of time you will only be uploading pdf files, maybe some png or jpg if you make clipart and some zip files if you upload huge files with lots of parts. Don't get overwhelmed. You can do this.
For the vast majority of the products I upload I convert my file to a pdf. A pdf will help secure your work. Every program is different so you will need to figure out how to do this on your own or with the help of a friend, but once you have your file saved as a pdf come back for step 2. (note: pdf files cannot be edited by the person buying your product, if your file needs to be edited you will need to use a different method or saving your product.
2. Log into your TpT account. Click the dropdown next to your name at the top of the screen. Select Dashboard. This is a great place to get a snapshot of how your business is doing, but for today we are just going to click the button that says "Add a New Resource" at the top of your screen. This will take you to another screen that asks you if you are going to add a digital product or Upload a Video. Click the digital product option and it will bring you to a screen that looks like this:
3. The first thing you are going to do is Upload Product File by clicking the button that says 'Choose File'. Find the file on your computer and start uploading. You can now upload up to a 1GB file!!!! This can take a minute if it is a large file so just let it do its thing while you move on.
4. Next you can upload a Preview File if you would like to. This is optional. It is a good idea to upload a preview of a bigger more complex file, but not always needed for small and simple products.
DO NOT upload your product again! Anything you upload here can be downloaded for free. For my themed units I create a special image just for the preview. Here is the preview image for one of my A is for Apples themed unit (it's a freebie if you want it):
Notice how I quickly highlight all of the things provided in the download, but in a way that someone can't come along and steal a worksheet by taking a screenshot (yes, people do that). If you were going to download this product you could quickly see if it was what you wanted by looking at this image and reading the description. Choose your preview wisely if you choose one.
5. Now it is time to write that description and choose a title. Heads up... Choose a great Title now. The Title will become part of your link to your product. If you share it on Pinterest and then change the title of your product you will break the link.
Your tittle should briefly describe what your item is. Think about key words that people may use to search for your product. For my Apple Theme I wanted to make sure the words "Apple" "Theme" "Lesson Plan" were all included in the title. These are all key words someone might use to look for my product. Heads Up: Don't make it look like an eBay posting with a million key words. People won't read that and will scroll on by your product. Keep it brief but descriptive. What would you search for if you were looking for this product? That should be your title.
Now that you have a title we can talk about Descriptions. The Add Description box is where you will use a lot more of your key search words. You will want to describe in detail what your product is. Make this super accurate, but also make your product sound exciting. I wouldn't want to just write "A unit about apples." That doesn't give any information. Spend some time talking about your product here. Keep in mind, if someone downloads your product and is not happy with it because your description was misleading or inaccurate, TpT will refund them the money and you will not be paid for the download. Make these accurate, descriptive and exciting.
Things to consider including:
-What age is it for (you will list this again later, but some people don't read carefully)
-Why do they want this product?
-How long does this take to teach or do? (also listed later)
-What is included? If is is a pack like my Apple Theme I list out all the different things that are included.
-Any other details you would want to know if you were the buyer
*Ignore the coding that you see at the top of the description box. We will talk about coding and how to link to other products at a later date. That isn't something you need to know today... in fact most people don't even use it.
6. Next you are going to pick a Resource Type. The box on the left is a list of all of the resource types offered by TpT. Accurately picking your resource types will help people find your product faster in a search. Scroll down the list and pick the ones that best describe your product. You can only choose 3 Resource Types. I suggest always trying to find 3, because that will make it show up in more categories later when someone searches for it. Click the arrow buttons to select or deselect a resource type. The resources on the right are the best fitting resource types for my apple unit.
7. Now it is time to pick a Grade Level(s). It will be tempting to click all the boxes, but don't. If I clicked 12th grade for my Apple Unit I would have some really angry 12th grade teachers contacting me. My apple unit is designed for Preschool, but many Kindergarten teachers use it for enrichment... so I selected both. I also have a ton of homeschool teachers that use my curriculum so I selected that as well. Occasionally you will have a product that really is for all age levels. If it truly could be helpful for a teacher or student in any grade level, select "Not Grade Specific". I have used this for things like my Volunteer Appreciation Gift Tags that could literally be used by any grade level teacher.
8. Now we will choose a subject area. To be honest, I kind of hate this section. If you are like me and work in early childhood, there aren't a lot of great options. I feel like they made these options for middle school and high school.
Once again you get to choose 3 subject areas. If you can find 3, use them. I struggle to find good fits and some times only have one or two that come close to fitting. Good luck. :)
9. Is your product aligned with Common Core? If so, now is the time to tell people where it aligns. If you don't understand Common Core Standards, don't use this feature. You will have fuming angry teachers if you tell them something is aligned with Common Core and it isn't. You can always do some research and come back to do this later if you want to skip it now.
10. You can tell potential buyers how long the teaching duration is for your product (your choices are 30 minutes- life long). You can tell buyers how many pages are included (Wow! This is one of my smallest thematic units... most are 70+ pages). And lastly you can tell your buyer if you included an answer key. For my preschool unit, I typically don't include a key because it is so simple... but ... if you are selling anything for elementary, middle school or high school you should include an answer key. Just because the answer is easy for you don't mean that the mom that downloads your product for extra practice for her kid will know how to do it. A lot has changed in the past few years in how we teach.
11. Custom Categories are super handy once you have a lot of products in your store. They help your customers sort through your products faster and find other similar items. We will talk more about these in a later post. For now, just ignore this part.
12. Pricing Your Item. Remember earlier when we talked about how to price your item. Now is the time to decide if you want to make it a free or paid item. There are some great perks to having high quality free items... we will talk about those in another post. If you choose to have a paid item you have some choices to make.
Where it says "Price", that is your base price. I sell my themed units for $9.50 as a base price. Below it says "Bundled Discount Price" This is where you can offer it for a bit cheaper for a season without running a sale. During months where I know a lot of teachers are shopping on TpT, I might offer a discounted price. Right now as I write this article, I have my bundled discounted price at $8.00. It will stay at the price for a while and then go back to the base price. I chose to give this one a bundled price because it includes multiple other items that can be purchased separately in my store (word wall cards, early emergent reader books, etc). I bundle them together when I sell a themed unit and offer a discount.
What is a multiple license? This is when an administrator or team lead gets on and purchases for their whole team or staff. I always offer my products at a deeply discounted price if they are going to buy multiple licenses. Each purchase from TpT is for one license unless they purchase more. There are a ton of dishonest people out there that will only by one and share it with their whole team, but they can get in trouble if TpT ever catches them. To encourage people to buy multiple licenses make sure they are discounted. A good rule is to discount them to around half of your base price.
You will almost always want your Product to be Active, but if you ever want to change something to inactive you can do that with the yes/no drop down at the bottom of this image.
13. Don't worry about this box for now. If you ever have to go back and revise a product (rather because of an error or just because you want to make it better) you would click this box to let previous buyers know you have made changes to the product. They will then be able to get the updated file for free. For now, just ignore this box.
14. You are almost done!!!! The last thing you need to do is upload a thumbnail image. This is the image of your product that people will see listed in your store. Earlier you uploaded a Preview File, that is the green button and is something that they can download to get an idea of what your product looks like. Now you are going to upload the images you see in the store.
TpT just did a huge update where they now allow you to choose where your pictures will fall. The large image is called the "Main Cover" and the three smaller images are the Thumbnails on the side. I am very excited to go back and add more images to some of my products! Be sure every product in your store has at minimum a Main Cover Image. People will not buy your product without on. Please never choose the "Skip thumbnail generation" option unless you are updating a product and already have one loaded.
If you don't have an image, at least choose the first option that says "Let TpT generate images from the product file..." They won't be the best, but they are better than nothing.
Whenever possible, create an image to upload. We will talk in another post about some free programs you can use to create those images.
15. You did it! Hit that red SUBMIT button!!!!
16. Double check to make sure lil everything dos right in your product post. If anything needs fixed do it now by clicking the edit button on the right.
17. Share your new product! We will talk more in a future post about social media marketing...but for now, just let your family and friends know that you are starting to sell on TpT. Click the boxes that look like this on the left side of your screen. My personal favorite place to post things is on Pinterest. I get the most traffic coming from Pinterest. Facebook can be good, but you are going to want to have a business page that people can opt into... no one likes when people try to sell on their personal Facebook Page. Please don't be that person. We will talk another time about social media best practices.
You did it!!!