How to start selling as a teacher

You've been thinking about selling your great ideas to help other teachers (or in the case of The Wheel, students too). Before you delve into the right platform to use, or what your first product will be, there are a few things to sort out. Whether you think you are or not, selling resources online is a business venture and should be approached the same way, even if initially you begin as a hobby. Read the list below so you don't get shut down, or in some cases, lose your job, over the simple process of becoming a teacher author.

Privacy

Keep yourself business and private life separate

Like all professions, there is a clear distinction between who you are at work, and who you are at home. Your online world should be exactly the same. The best way to ensure you maintain privacy from your personal life is to use the following tips.

Store name

Your store name should reflect your business, not your actual name

Never use your real name as your store name. Many sellers use a derivative of their own name, which we at The Wheel consider a poor substitute. It is quite easy if you call yourself Mskinderlastname, or MrLastnameadventures to work out who you are. To come up with a great store name, focus on what it is you are going to sell. The Wheel came about from the great teacher idiom “Why reinvent the wheel?”. So choose a store name that represents you, your ethos, or your style of teaching/resources provided.

Email/Contact info

Never use your personal or work email

Most top sellers set up a business/store name email account. These days with smartphones and various email programs, it is very easy to have more than one account attached to your email provider. Gmail and Outlook, for example, allow users to add email accounts from various sources to all appear in one inbox. That way you are not jumping from account to account.

The Wheel has an inbuilt messaging system enabling users to ask questions within the site and therefore not having to share email addresses. It is not recommended to use your personal or teaching email accounts.

 

Profile Picture

Choose a profile picture that doesn't make you identifiable

Although it seems fairly obvious, do not use a photo of yourself as your profile image. Using Google image search, it is quite easy to find a person and their social media accounts. There are a variety of sites and programs that are free and easy to use. Canva.com is used by many professionals and beginners to design a variety of social media posts and can also design a profile image that represents your store. If you wish to add a little fun, The Wheel allows members to use .gif files as your profile image.

 

Social Media

Social media is essential to promote your resources

Social media is an excellent means to show potential users your latest resource or updates. The Wheel allows members and users to share a resource directly to their social media page or groups. Always make your social media is set up as a business account, preferably with your store name. Never have your personal social media accounts linked to your store. Although it is nice to post the occasional personal image, choose something that doesn’t directly identify you.

 

Legality

Intellectual Property

Every country and state, private and public education system has their own rules and regulations on what can be shared and what can be sold. In Australia, for example, teachers are not allowed to sell resources developed for their classroom by the Department, their school or themself due to Intellectual Ownership. According to the law, any resource used by a teacher in their classroom or school is owned by the Department. If, however, you design and develop resources for selling, or to be used in tutoring and not within your school, Intellectual Property is not relevant.

 

Copyright

Always reference and quote when needed

Referencing your sources - whether clip art, fonts, tables, layout or more, is essential to avoid Copyright infringement. Depending on what is used, permission may be sought from the original owner to use the resource. There are many copyright free sites available for music, images, fonts, templates etc, so be aware of the content within your product.

Business

Although many sellers begin as a hobby and do not plan on retiring immediately, it is still recommended to set yourself up as a business. This ensures that the time you do begin earning a sound income, you are already prepared and set up. In Australia, applying for an ABN is a very easy process and there is no need to worry about taxes until your income reaches the minimum level. Another benefit is being able to claim business expenses such as technology, and in some cases receive some of your fees as a tax break.

Employment

Letting your boss know you have secondary employment is either mandatory or beneficial

In some countries, teachers need to seek permission to have secondary employment. Every 12 months, Australian teachers must have their Principal sign and accept the secondary employment form. If you are only sharing, and not making any money, then this step is not needed. It is highly recommended to inform your Principal or Supervisor that you are sharing resources with teachers and students. This is also true if you are extending your social media profiles into blogging and vlogging. Unless you have permission, do not film in your classroom, school or have photos of students.

 

Teachers should not be afraid or concerned about selling and sharing resources online if they start their journey correctly. It is easier to set yourself up from the beginning, rather than having to suddenly make changes, shut down accounts, remove links, etc once established. Members will get to know you and your store name. Having to change this later is almost like having to build your reputation and business again.