Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Selling on TPT 101: Generating Ideas and Making Unique Products

Selling on TPT 101: Generating Ideas and Making Unique Products | Apples to Applique
Hi, friends! Welcome to Part 3 of Selling on TPT 101. If you missed them or need a refresher, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

We've covered setting up your shop and making sure before you start creating that you have commercial rights to elements you are using. Today, we're going to talk about coming up with ideas and creating unique content.

Sometimes the hardest part is generating ideas; there are millions of resources on Teachers Pay Teachers, and it can feel like everything has already been made. However, try not to let that discourage you! There is still a place for your resources, especially with your unique spin. No one has your exact perspective.

In searching for ideas, make sure to take care with where your inspiration comes from. It can be tempting to make a version of some cool thing you found on Pinterest/TPT/your favorite teaching blog, but directly copying someone's work is a definite no-no. Using others' ideas as inspiration is a little more of a gray area. If you take an idea and change it significantly to make it a unique product with your own touches, you are probably in the clear. If you're just remaking it and switching out a few elements here and there, it may be technically legal, but it's not ethical.

Personally, I try to avoid searching on TPT for other products when I have an idea, because I don't want to subconsciously get ideas and copy someone else. However, it happens frequently that sellers inadvertently make a product that is similar to someone else's; after all, teachers have similar needs and are going to think of similar ideas. If you create something and then find something similar on TPT, don't panic. You will see there are thousands of similar products on TPT; most of these people have not copied one another, but are just using tried-and-true activities and formulas. Not searching beforehand increases the likelihood that your product will not look like a carbon copy of others out there.

Speaking of those thousands of similar products, here's my other piece of advice when it comes to making unique products: Don't waste your time making products for areas that are super-saturated. I don't mean a certain niche, I'm talking about specific product types. For example, there are thousands  of alphabet clip cards out there, both on TPT and on blogs. Scroll through Pinterest and you can find hundreds of them for free. There's little point in taking the time to create something that your buyers can find in hundreds of other places for free; your time is better spent creating something new.

The best inspiration comes from things you find yourself wanting in the classroom. You may consider keeping a little list of ideas as these things come along. Think of what would make your life easier as a teacher, and of novel approaches to reach your students in a different way. That is what other teachers are searching for, too. 
Stay tuned for Part 4, where we'll start talking product creation!
Until then, keep teaching with heart and passion!

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