Join me in this enlightening episode as we dive into the world of TPT success with Yari Aguilu of Sweet Tooth Teaching. Yari takes us on a journey, beginning with her inspiration to become an educator and how that passion evolved into a thriving business.

Making the transition from teaching to becoming a full-time TPT seller is a significant leap, and Yari shares her experiences of the initial challenges she faced in launching her business and how she overcame them.

Yari generously shares her top six strategies that have played a pivotal role in growing her TPT business. You won’t want to miss these tips!

Episode Highlights

  • transitioning from working on TPT and teaching full-time to being a work from home mom
  • optimizing TPT descriptions for SEO
  • updating older product listings
  • sharing freebies and opt-ins on Instagram
  • sharing valuable and consistent content to your email list
  • Using Manychat to build engagement and sales
  • Creating content that soft sells products and valuable teaching strategies

Resources and Links

Follow Yari on IG @sweettoothteaching

Follow Yari on TPT

Teacher Seller Tips from Yari

Get the Free Teacher Seller Guide


Kirsten 0:01

you're listening to the creative teacher podcast, a show for busy teachers looking for ways to engage, inspire and make an impact in their teacher businesses. I'm Kiersten, a teacher business owner who is all about simple and actionable tips, strategies and resources that result in wins, big or small. If you're looking for that extra spark of creativity, you've come to the right place. Let's dive in together.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the creative teacher podcast. We've got a special guest this week and her name is Yari OG ulu, if you haven't heard of her, she's also known as sweet tooth teaching. She's got amazing branding, and her website is Teacher seller goals like it is awesome. So you should definitely make sure you check her out. But of course, listen to this interview. First, she talks about ways that she has been able to be a successful business owner on TPT. She started out in the classroom, and she transitioned into working full time with her daughter at home. And she's done so well from it. She also has a huge following on Instagram. So I'm really excited to share a really great case of you know, teacher seller success. So this is great. If you want to hear how she's been able to grow her business into the business it is today, you'll hear six important ways that she's been able to scale her business. And I just cannot wait for you to listen to this conversation. So let's go ahead and listen. All right, we have a special guest on the podcast today. Yari is here with us. Welcome to the show.

Yari 2:57

Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here.

Kirsten 3:01

Yes. I loved chatting with you before we recorded so I'm excited to talk more TPT with you. But go ahead and share a little bit about yourself. What inspired you to become a teacher? And how did that passion evolve into being a TPT seller?

Yari 3:21

Well, I am every teacher, I've wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. I feel like every teacher goes through that. But basically, I started creating resources. During my first year of teaching, I worked at a very small charter school, we basically had no resources. It was just very old school. And I was a new teacher with like so many ideas. And I wanted to do so many fun things with my students, but we didn't have any of the materials. So I kind of just started making things for my students, like every other DVD seller, and I discovered TPT. And I was like, You know what, I'm just gonna put it on here and see what happens. And that was in 2014. So I've been doing this for quite some time now. So I put my things on there. And I really didn't make any sales. Like, it probably took me about a month to sell like $5 One of the things but little by little I just started adding things on there and started seeing sales.

Kirsten 4:22

That's awesome. Yes. What do you primarily create resources for?

Yari 4:28

Um, right now, I would say it's mostly second third grade. I do reading and math. I love both. Honestly, I love creating resources for both. I love making centers, hands on activities. That's my thing. I just love everything that involves getting students moving around. Just like excited about learning. So that's, I would say that's kind of my niche. Yeah.

Kirsten 4:52

Is that what you call it? Definitely. For sure. Yeah, it's niches are so unique because you don't have to be like bucketed into one subject or one grade level, you can combine it. So it works out.

Yari 5:04

I know sometimes it's hard because I'm like, I like now I have a I have a two year olds. So sometimes I'm like, Man, I kind of want to make stuff for like preschool. But then I worry that it's like, not in my niche. Because all my resources are second and third grade. So it's definitely something that I think about, but I haven't stepped into that yet.

Kirsten 5:26

Yeah, it's always there if you ever want to. So that's always great. That's the great part of it is that we can like pretty much pivot and make whatever we want.

Yari 5:36

So yeah, and you can kind of see what your audience is into.

Kirsten 5:41

Absolutely. Yeah. So transitioning from teaching to being a full time seller can be a leap. When did you do you know, like, how long were you teaching before you decided to like go full time in TPT?

Yari 5:56

So I believe I was teaching for about seven years. So the reason I ended up going full, full time TPT and 2020. I was teaching virtually, we all know, that was terrible, terrible time in our lives. Yes. So I was teaching virtually, I found I was pregnant. While I was teaching, virtually, I was miserable. I was super sick. And I was just like, you know, what, I, I knew already that 2021 was going to be the same deal. Like the whole virtual thing. And I was like, I'm just going to take next year off, take care of my daughter, she's gonna be born by then and just do TPT full time. At the time, I was already making a little bit more than my teacher salary on TPT. So I it was a risk that I felt comfortable taking, because I knew I had my at least had my teacher salary. And I knew that if I dedicated everything, like my entire time to TPT, it was going to grow. Because if you put all of your time and effort into something it's gonna grow. So it was a risk that I took. And after that, you know, I was so happy being home. I miss teaching, but there's nothing like being home, you know, your own schedule and all that.

Kirsten 7:12

Yeah, I think we might have left around the same time because I left in 2021. After my second son was born, it was like, almost towards the end of 2021. But yeah, I was like,

Yari 7:26

Oh,I feel like that virtual teaching was just, yeah. And

Kirsten 7:29

I was more I guess I was like, really? I don't know, what's the word? I was hopeful that the following year after the whole shutdown, and we didn't get to finish the year face to face, I thought it would be better. But it was, it was way worse. It just seemed like it was like it was I don't know, we had all these extra things piled on us afterwards.

Yari 7:55

So I remember a lot of my coworkers like mentioning that that you're after they're like, You're so lucky to come back. It's so crazy this year. And I don't know what it was. I guess he was just kids being away for so long.

Kirsten 8:08

Yeah, yeah. So as you were full time as you were kind of starting with your, your newborn and just having a kid at home, and just being at home working on TPT. What were some challenges, were there any challenges that you might have faced? And how did you overcome them?

Yari 8:31

Oh, yeah, the biggest challenge is definitely the time like, I didn't realize how much time a newborn consumes. So I really didn't have that much time to work on my business as I thought, just because she was crying all the time. And I had to tend to her and, you know, it was difficult, it was definitely very challenging that year, I kind of just had to tell myself, like, you know what, you're gonna do the best you can, and you'll be fine. And I did end up being fine, I was able to mainly focus on marketing my resource that year, I didn't really create much that year, it was just mainly focusing on just showing off what I already had in my store, using Pinterest, Instagram, all of that. But that was, I would say my main challenge, and also creating digital resources because at the time, everything was kind of shifting to digital. So I started recreating some of the things that were bestsellers on my store and making those digital. So that was definitely a learning curve, because I had never created a digital resource.

Kirsten 9:35

I'm like with you on that. Because that was one of my biggest struggles too, when I was first at home is just like, how am I supposed to fit in the time to actually like, do what I need to do to run my business or create products is so there were weeks sometimes where I was just like, I can't do anything right now.

Yari 9:55

You know, it was it was very, like frustrating and it's hard because it's like I quote unquote, you don't have a job like you don't have a boss. So you're very flexible with your time. But at the same time, it's like, if you don't work, nothing happens, you know, so it's, yeah, it was, it was definitely hard.


Totally. All right, well, I have always admired your brand from afar. I've followed you on Instagram for I don't know how long, but you are the face behind Sweet Tooth teaching. And I like I'm so in love with your branding. So very cool colors, definitely something I wouldn't be buying as if I were teaching second or third grade, I know you're doing very well, even throughout the struggles, you know, staying at home with your daughter, and all of that, you have six strategies for us that you're going to talk about. So I'm really excited for you to share that with our audience, however you want to start off, but we'd love to hear how you have helped grow your business.


Yeah, so like I said, after I had my daughter, I really dove deep into mainly marketing. And I feel like a lot of my business has turned into marketing rather than product creation, like I do create products. But I I'm starting to feel like it's like 75 80% marketing. And the rest is product creation, because unfortunately, I don't have as much time to work on creating products. So some things I guess that I started really focusing on after 2020, optimizing my TPT descriptions, basically, including keywords, looking for things that I thought people would be looking for. So I would go on Google, let's say I have a resource on text features, I would search on Google text features and search different phrases with text features and see what pops up on Google the first couple of results. I do the same thing on the TPT search bar and a search on there and see what products are showing up in the first page, what keywords are those products ranking for and then tweaking my descriptions to include those keywords, a lot of my older products barely had a description, like there was like one or two sentences. So I went in there and tweaked those products that weren't really getting a lot of sales and adding those keywords, making them a little bit more descriptive. I'm updating my thumbnails and my product covers. And I know you're really big on that. Just like making everything look cohesive. Part of that brand identity, it's it is really important because when someone sees your resource, they know whose resource it is. And I know you talk a lot about that in your podcast. Um, but yeah, I updated a lot of the thumbnails, I updated. A lot of the previews as well. My previews are like screenshots of PowerPoint. Oh, yeah. Just like I've been there. The entire like PowerPoint. Slides. Yep. So yeah, I've read did a lot of a previews used mock ups, I discovered mock ups, I had never used one before. So yeah, I started purchasing mock ups and including my screenshots on there. So it looked a little bit nicer, taking better pictures of my resources, that really helps like better lighting. So just updating older products. Definitely.


I love how you mentioned, like, just as far as tweaking your descriptions, you're going into Google, you have a main keyword, and you're going to Google looking at the search results going into the TPT search bar going into the search results. That seems like it's a pretty doable task. I know there's a lot of different, you know, strategies, you can, you know, going through keyword research. But I love how simple what you did was where you're just going straight into the search results and seeing what comes up and adding those phrases are important keywords that pull are pulled up into your description to help optimize it. So I love that easy, quick fix as far as how you can update your keywords.


Yeah, and there's definitely a lot of tools I've played around with them. But at the end of the day, like everyone uses Google, so and Google even has like that little section at the top. Like if you type in text features, it'll give you like five questions that are frequently asked regarding the word text features. So that right there, those are ideas for your blog posts or ideas for things you can include in your TPT description. So Google is super helpful in that sense, and the TPT search bar to love that. The next thing I really focused on was growing my email list. I know a lot of people talk about that. And it really was a great idea just because not everyone sees your Instagram post. The algorithm sucks. Sometimes you'll get reviews on a video and it's very frustrating. but with an email list, everyone that's on there is following you for a reason they chose to opt in for a reason they like your content, they believe in you. And for the most part, they open your emails and will read through it, or at least see the images that are in your email. So I really focused on growing that email list because I knew those were potential customers, and people that have either bought from me before or could possibly buy for me. So what I did was I would plan out my content, I would do two freebie opt ins a week, like two posts a week that had freebies. And those freebies are usually geared towards a paid product. So like, for example, yesterday, I did share a freebie it was like morning work slides, but it's a sample of a full product that I have that's morning works like they would download this freebie I would get their email and then they get to sample this product, which later on if they like it, they might become a customer, they might end up buying the product, which is also part of the bundle. If they really like it, they'll buy the bundle. Yeah, that's the whole strategy behind doesn't always happen. Sometimes people do just download the freebie and then unsubscribe and that's fine. It's gonna happen. But it's always nice to have subscribers,


you know? Yeah, engaged subscribers.


Definitely, with that goes being consistent on my email, before I was just kind of emailing whenever I thought of something like email about. So I kind of made it a task to send an email once a week. I know some people do like two or three times a week, right now I just do once a week, every Tuesday, I email and I try to make it an email that has valuable content. So strategies that they can actually implement in their classroom, free ideas, things that don't require purchasing something. But then within that email, I will tie in like a resource. Like if the email has five fun ways to teach text features, I'll make sure one of those ideas is a paid product. So that they know they're still gonna get value from my email, but I'm still kind of soft selling a resource through there. You know, that's kind of my strategy behind my emails.


Yeah, I know, like, it's super hard once you like as far as when you start out with your email list. You're not sure what to post or send to your subscribers. And sometimes you it's very inconsistent. But like, I feel like once you have some type of time to schedule out or write your weekly emails, it gets a lot easier. Now I'm pretty consistent at sending any I think there was maybe a summer I took off, I was pregnant with my youngest. And I was just like not emailing at all. But that was like the only time but since then I've kind of found that time to be consistent at my emails. And I think that's helped a lot with click rates and open rates. So yeah,


definitely. And like, sometimes I'll just do like kind of a brain dump on my air table or have like a, like a random spreadsheet, where if I think of a topic, I'll just throw it in there for later when I need ideas. I can just go in there and grab a topic because sometimes I'm not gonna lie like I sit here. I'm like, Oh, no idea what I'm going to email about, like, zero clues so that having that database really helps. My next tip on here is I've been using many chat, which is it? Like, is it kind of like AI? I don't I don't know.


I don't know what it is. But it's like, it's it's amazing. Like, yeah, the I see people like, I've seen people use it on Instagram. And I'm like, amazed at how, how much you can do without just with those automations. Yeah, so


I haven't like I know like, like Jenna Kutcher and Amy Porterfield, they use it. And they have like these insane funnels and automations. Like, oh, I don't know how to do any of that. Very basic, but it has saved me so much time. And it actually has helped me with sales. I'll post a reel and I'll put in the caption comment the word link below for the link. And then everyone that comments the word link will get an automated DM with the link to that resource. So it's nice because they don't have to go to your Lincoln bio, they don't have to search your TPT for the resource, it's being sent directly to them. So it's more likely that they'll just go ahead and purchase the resource right there or sign up for your email list or anything like that. And also save me a ton of time because I always used to just put kind of the word link, but then I would have to go in there one by one. Yeah, DM these people. So if you're, if you're, if the algorithm is working in your favor that day, and you actually have engagement


that could be on time,


a long time. Then there's other times that your video against likes, like my video the other really three likes. But, um, for the most part, when I do have like good engagement, it's a great tool because it does all the work for me, and it does help increase sales. I personally really like it.


Yeah, I have the free version of of it, because I don't I mean, my Instagram was not nearly as like, advanced or as big as your Instagram account. But it's super helpful when I do use it. Because I think with the free version you can get like, you can go back once it's already posted, but you have to wait until you have the link to that specific post. But I think the paid version, you can say like, for any posts that I create that has a certain word, and all this specific link, so that but it's not even like it doesn't break the bank or anything, I think it's pretty reasonable pricing. Yeah,


I think it's like 10 bucks a month or something like that. It's not, it's not super pricey, but I did do the free at first. And then I wanted to be able to like, schedule ahead of time. So I ended up doing the paid but and it's cool because it also collects, like if you want it to it can collect email addresses for you. So obviously, you have to add like an option for them to be okay with subscribing to your email list, but it'll collect those emails for you. And then you can just import them into flow desk or whatever email provider you're using. So that's really nice. I did that once for like a giveaway it was you have to send your email address and opt in and then they were entered into the giveaway. And then my last tip on here is related to blogging. And I know not everyone has a blog. And blogging is a lot. It's an extra thing. But I really focused on my blog these last two years, I did hire out help for that. I hired someone that she basically writes my blog posts for me, I give her an outline of what I want, I give her my images, all that and then she helps me come up with a blog post. Just because I was really struggling in that area just sitting down and focusing for such a long time, my brain is all over the place. So that was an investment that has really helped me. But I try to create blog posts based around whatever resources I have without just focusing on selling that resource. So like I mentioned earlier, I have a blog post. That's five fun ways to teach text features. And they're all pretty simple ways that you can teach text features with chart paper and markers and moving around the room. And just fun ideas. But then within there, one of those ideas will be one of my resources. And then it'll have like a link to my TPT store. So kind of soft selling those resources. I have noticed a big increase in sales. Since I started focusing on my blog post and focusing on SEO changing up my keywords. I didn't really know what any of that was before. So going on Google and looking for what people are searching for. That's always a great idea also to come up with blog posts, like if you don't know what to blog about, or what to email about going on Google and see what people are asking.


That's awesome. Those are some really great strategies and strategies within the strategy. So thank you for sharing all of that. Okay, I've got some bonus rapid fire questions completely random. Not necessarily TPT related, but um, okay, first question, your favorite subject to create resources for


man. I'm reading I don't know, I really like math too, though. I love teaching reading. But I think I like creating math resources more than


reading. Nice. Yeah. Cool. All right. What is your favorite snack during marathon work sessions or just really any time? I guess?


I'm popcorn with chocolate chips.


Oh, nice. Random. Yeah, I love sweet and salty. Okay, last question. Would you rather have an unlimited supply of cute clipart? Or all the fonts?


unlimited supply of clipart. Yeah, I bet I feel like I use like two fonts. Yeah,


I know. Right? After like buying so many fonts. I just mean to the same three or four. But yeah, and clipart can go there's so much you can do as well.


And I have like an obsession with buying clipart every time there's a TPT sale. I'm like just buying clipart I'm like, I'm not gonna use any of this.


You never know. All right. Well, I'm so glad you've been on here. Where can we connect with you and learn more from you?


Well, my Instagram is speak to teaching And same with my websites we do I actually have on my website, a section for TPT sellers where I have a couple of like freebies, I have a TPT seller handbook, just as I love sharing tips and like helping other TPT sellers start off. So I have a free handbook on there and a couple of blog posts with helpful ideas on how to create resources and all that. So you can find that on my website as well.


Okay, sounds good. Thank you so much for being here. I'm so glad you have been on the show.


Thank you so much for having me.


If you ever want to connect with her, make sure you check the links in the show notes. She is at Sweet Tooth teaching on Instagram. And her website is sweet tooth She also has TPT tips for sellers. So if you're looking for ways to learn more from her, you can go to her blog posts and she's got freebies for specifically for TPT sellers. So I'll make sure to link that in the show notes as well. All right, well, that's the end of this episode. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week, and I'll talk to you guys again soon. Thanks for listening to the creative teacher podcast. If you enjoyed listening to today's episode, feel free to subscribe and leave a review. I'd love to hear your feedback. You can also follow me on Instagram at the southern teach dot designs. Have an amazing day.