My #1 (Free) “Gimmick” that Got Me Sales My First Month on

My #1 (Free) “Gimmick” that Got Me Sales My First Month on – AND A WHOLE LOT MORE

You’re just starting on and full of excitement and doubts you post your very first teacher resource for sale. You just know it will be a hit and that soon your phone app will be CHING!ing all night long. And then it happens.


One week later, not a single CHING! Maybe 20 views on your baby, and one person has added it to their “wishlist”.

Don’t quit now!

In this post, I’ll cover exactly what I did to generate sales my first month on I didn’t break any world records, but if you do what I did and you get similar results, you might make $75 your first month, too. If you’ve already started making sales then this post may give you some ideas on how you can break your own sales records and, at least, you’ll get to read some of my famously unfunny “Dad” jokes.

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My First Month of Sales

Here it is – this is a screenshot of my actual Sales Details page with the usernames of my customers erased for privacy. FULL DISCLOSURE: $10 of those sales were my brother Eric who helped me get my start. Still, the first month is usually the slowest, and I managed to pull it off.

screenshot chart of my first month of sales on tpt

How I Actually Did It

First, I made a terrific product before I launched. I made a few actually, some very short ones, as a learning process. Each product you make you will learn from and the next will be better and better. MORE FULL DISCLOSURE: I started making these products before the first month of sales. I am counting my first month of sales from when I started USING MY #1 “GIMMICK” and sales actually started rolling in. I mean CHING!ing in.

I really put my heart and soul into it in a very short amount of time. The product I envisioned would capture market share by doing a few things:

  1. Differentiation would be built in. This is so hard to add otherwise.
  2. At least a full quarter, semester or school year’s worth of material would be included.
  3. The cost would be a BARGAIN for the amount of material offered.

With these three qualities, confidence soared – I had looked at the products making money on TpT and saw so many that were fewer than ten pages selling for $5! My (non-marketing) strategy included using my technology skills to leverage my time. I built excel spreadsheets, sometimes downloading free-to-use data, and created templates with Microsoft Word. Then, I used some features in excel to tweak the data and the Mail Merge feature of MS Word to create hundreds of pages of content instead of just five. The quality of my product rivaled any hand-crafted piece because I could focus all my design efforts on just a few pages of templates. By making those templates amazing, my whole product popped off the page.

Don’t Waste Money – Do This Instead

I didn’t spend any money on software or memberships. Sign up for free trials of MS Office, search google for Royalty Free Clip Art, and you’re in! Even Adobe has a free trial and I am the proof that you don’t even have to know how to use it right in the beginning. But you’ll catch on if you apply yourself!

I also didn’t waste money promoting my for sale products DIRECTLY. Okay wait, I did waste $5 before I figured out this #1 (Free) “Gimmick” that Got Me Sales My First Month on

The holidays were coming up fast, so I went online and snagged a handful of black line, free to use, holiday themed clipart. I slammed those images into PowerPoint and made a coloring book-slash-make your own holiday cards download.logo-vertical-sm

I posted the holiday activity book for FREE.

Then I promoted the heck out of it on Pinterest where I had NO followers. I used the seller’s forums to team up with other sellers who helped get the word out. Almost overnight, there were 99 repins. People came to download the free book and sure enough they would look at my store and see the grade-level-appropriate product for sale and THAT is what led to my first month’s worth of sales.

Where to get ideas

The holidays give you a great road map to follow for ideas. Make your own HIGH QUALITY FREE DOWNLOADS and instead of paying to promote your paid items, pay to promote your top freebies – you’ll see way more traffic and much better results.

So there you have it. My complete road map for how I went from $0 to almost $100 in sales my first month actually selling on


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