Can you be a successful teacher seller on both TpT and TES?

I hear many stories of teachers who sell really well on TpT and then try to upload the same resource on TES and… crickets. Nothing.


They assume that because it sold well on TpT then the resource is good so there must be something wrong with TES.


I’m sorry to say it but that is not usually the case.


I sell more on TES than I do on TpT but do comfortably well on both. So how do I do it?


Well, the answer is simple…


You have to remember that TpT and TES are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT MONSTERS you need to learn to tame. Just because something sold well on one does not mean it’ll sell well on the other.

First of all, let’s look at why each was set up as that will help explain why they are so different.


Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT)

TpT was set up as a business to sell teaching resources. It was founded in 2006 by Paul Edelman in New York City in the United States of America. It was set up with the specific aim of providing a way of teachers to sell and share teaching resources to “empower educators to teach at their best”. It has no other purpose than to sell and share teaching resources – that is it’s only aim.


Times Educational Supplement (TES)

The Times newspaper is published in London and is one of Britain’s oldest newspapers that is still selling today. It was originally published under the name of The Daily Universal Register and was first produced on 1st January 1785. I know that is almost unfathomably old, but I double checked and it really has been running for nearly 240 years.


It changed it’s name to The Times just three years later and has been known as The Times ever since.

The Times Educational Supplement (TES), was a weekly supplement aimed at education professionals that was first included in the newspaper in 1910. Such was its popularity that in 1914, the supplement became a separate publication that could be purchased without buying the full newspaper. It focused on education news along with teaching jobs. In fact, it still is the go-to place for finding teaching vacancies in the UK.


TES established a website in 1997 and along side news and teaching job advertisements for all over the world it included a teaching resources section as a platform for teachers to share original classroom resources for free. The teaching resource section took off and in February 2015 TES started experimenting with allowing teachers to sell their resources rather than just share them for free and the TES portal is now home to "the world's largest online community of teachers", with more than 13 million registered users across the globe.


TES resources is still just a small part of a huge multi-faceted business and from attending TES conferences at their head office they have said that the money TES makes from the commission of selling resources is by no means their main income stream.


In fact, the commission The Times makes from selling teaching resources only cover’s the costs of running the resources site and they are not aiming at making a huge profit from the selling of resources. It is a small part of the much larger business. TES have said they make more from the job advertisements and other areas of the business than they do from the commission they make from selling resources.


What does this mean to you as a seller?

TpT was set up specifically with the aim of allowing teachers to sell teaching resources, their main focus is on teachers selling resources and the free resources is not an important part of their business plan.


TES on the other hand started out as only a free sharing site, the vast majority of the resources that are on TES are for free resources and at a conference I attended at TES head office they said that 95% of the downloads on their site are for free resources.


TES are not selling resources to make a huge profit but TpT are in the business of making as much money as they can from the selling of resources.


Another huge difference is where they are located. TpT is an American company that predominantly sells to American teachers. TES is a UK based company that sell mainly to the UK market although it is does sell a fair amount of teaching resources in the Middle-East and Asia and is more international facing than the TpT site.


While Americans and Brits may speak the same language, the cultural differences can make the two places feel as if they're worlds apart.


Education in the US and the UK

Let’s look at the education systems. If you have never experienced schooling or teaching in both countries you may assume they are very similar. However without an understanding of the other nations education system you may well be left floundering and your resources will sink into oblivion as they don’t fit the other countries expectations.


If like me, you have only experience of one nation’s education system then you may have to do lots of research to get your head around how the other works. Alternatively, you can take a shortcut and watch this video to get an overview from what I have discovered.


Can you be a successful teacherpreneur on both TpT and TES?

The short answer is yes.


Although I make less on TpT than TES, I still make a good income on TpT.


But what do you need to do?

You need to be aware of the cultural differences but also look at what types of resources you are selling.


TpT has said that the majority of their sales are for printable resources. However on TES, whole lessons (PowerPoint or Google Slide presentations) do very well including teacher’s notes, worksheets and activities.


Technical information

There are a few more differences that I have put in this handy table that you can download by clicking here or by clicking on the image below.

There are other subtle differences but the main point is that you need to remember where the majority of buyers are for each site. On TpT the vast majority of the buyers are from America and on TES the vast majority of the buyers are from the UK, and in particular England.


Make your resources suitable for the correct market and you will not go far wrong.


There is absolutely no point in creating a printable based on Thanksgiving and expecting it to sell well on TES. English teachers are not in the market for that (plus UK teachers don’t tend to use the word printable and prefer to use the term worksheet instead).


Likewise, there is no point in creating a PowerPoint presentation aimed at preparing pupils for their year 6 SATs exams and expecting it to sell well on TpT. American teachers are not interested in SATs preparation.


If you want to sell on both TpT and TES, and there is no reason not to, make sure you're creating resources that would work for each specific market.


Don’t upload an unsuitable resource and then blame the site for failing to sell it – look at your market and create resources that teachers on those sites are clamouring for.


It is worth it?

You may be wondering if all this additional work is worth it.


I sell on both. And to be honest it is lovely in the UK summer school holidays to be getting income from the “back to school” sales in America. Likewise, when it is quiet on TpT I’m still getting a steady income from TES.

If you want to have a go at both, by all means have a go and I heartily encourage you to do just that.


But do be aware that just because you have had success on one site does not mean you can simply transfer exactly the same resources onto the other and expect them to have the same success.


Having multiple income streams is always a good idea for any small business rather than relying on a single third-party company that you have no control over. If TpT was closed tomorrow I would be disappointed, but it wouldn’t be the end of my business. I’ll still have other income revenues I could focus on rather than having to start again.


So have a go, what have you got to lose? Just don’t expect both sites to run in exactly the same way.


If you would like training on setting up your teacher seller business, have a look at our free and paid for courses here.


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