I'm from NY, so I am going to give it to you straight :)
There is no magic, easy way to be an instant blogging or TpT success!
My advice for you is this: Work hard, have patience, play by the rules, and play nice.
Here is the breakdown:
Work Hard - Did you know that it can take me up to an hour to complete one single page of a packet? My packets are usually between 20 and 90 pages! Before I begin creating the actual packet, I spend hours finding the perfect fonts and graphics. There is no one-stop shopping for these things. I scour Etsy, TpT, Lettering Delights, Scrappin' Doodles, and others looking for the best comercial use products. Then, I actually have to make the packet. I use Word or Power point to make the packets. I got good at these programs by trial and error. I also googled tutorials. I love Google -click here for my technology post, where Google gets a huge shout out! The wonderful Kristen AKA Ladybug also has the best tutorials. Did you know TpT has a forum section dedicated to "Selling Tips?" The forums are a wonderful place to go for everything from technological support to emotional support! I have pinned some of my favorite tutorials and posts, here.
I notice dips in sales when I blog or create less. Summers are better for me because I spend more time and effort creating and blogging. This is just further evidence to me that there is a direct correlation between hard work and success.
Here is something my grandmother or as we called her, Nanny, used to say:
If you are saying "Oh, I can't blog or I can't figure out how to insert a graphic." Just ask yourself if blogging and creating products for TpT is something you really want. If you really want it, you will work hard for it. If you don't want to make your own products or be a blogger, that is ok too! Bloggers/sellers like me need people to read our posts and buy our products! There are certain things I "can't" do anymore, because I don't have the time. Time is valuable! I now pay someone to cut my lawn and clean my house. They do a way better job than I would anyway! My time is better spent creating and blogging.
Patience - Success rarely happens overnight. I have been a seller on TpT since 2008! It took a long time for my store to pick up followers. I did not stress about it and focused on my Scholastic books. When TpT got more popular, I took the time to analyze what I was doing and what I was not doing. I looked at other successful sellers and saw that having a blog really helped them market their products. I also noticed that they bought professional looking clip art and font. They treated TpT as an outlet to sell entire units, as if they were writing a teacher resource book. I was selling small activities without covers and using GASP Comic Sans font! I looked to the way my Scholastic books were laid out for inspiration: attractive cover, table of contents, teacher directions, student directions, reproducibles, and credit pages. I focused on what I needed for my own classroom and then followed the format of my books. Slowly things started to follow an upward trajectory.
Play by the Rules & Play Nice - Be genuine! When I started, I did not go around leaving irrelevant Q&A's in teachers' stores. I did not ask other sellers to rate my items. I made SMALL freebies and shared them on my blog and in my store. I responded to feedback and comments. I still try and do that. A "thank you" is always appreciated! I did not steal ideas behind the guise of "Pinterest inspired," besides the fact that there was no Pinterest then. I did not leave comments that said "Follow Me" or "come check out my blog." If you want people to know about your blog, make sure you leave a direct link to it in your comments (here is Ladybug's tutorial). This allows a blogger or a reader to find your blog without you having to say "follow me." I also did not send generic emails to all the top sellers asking for advice. Like the ones where people wrote to me "Dear Erin." If you want someone to take the time to write you back, you have to take the time to get your facts straight. So instead of generic emails, I actually read whole blog posts and left thoughtful comments or I sent an email. Friendships formed through these comments and emails. I got to know these bloggers through reading their blog posts and they through reading mine. We began hosting linkys together and throwing contests together. If we purchased each other's products and found them useful, we would blog about them. These ladies have become good friends! We actually visit each other, send Christmas cards, and share joys and heartache! Though, I have been blogging and at TpT for a long time, I continue to form friendships. Blogland is full of awesome bloggers. It actually is so overwhelming. I continue to make connections through commenting and now the cool thing is that you can reply back to the comments! We just need a like button for these comments and we will be all set! **Don't worry if you started blogging and left follow me comments! This is a learning process. No one starts out perfect. Especially not me! You should read my boring first posts!
Things have changed since I started this whole adventure. I love it, but it is a lifestyle change for me. It has become my full-time second job. Yes, it is nice to have a second job that I can do from home, but it takes will-power to be inside on sunny Saturdays! Please, note that not everyone who blogs needs to take it as seriously as I do -you do what works for you!
Good luck to you if this is the path you choose to take or are already on. Thank you for reading this whole post :) If you are thinking about signing up to be a seller, I would appreciate if you would use this link. It shows TpT that I recommended you and I get 5% of Paul's cut :).