How I Make $400,000 Per Year Selling Educational Printables

Do you want to learn how to sell educational printables? Lisa Fink was a teacher for 15 years but left the classroom to work on her educational printables business. After just two years, she hit a six figure income. She now earns over $400,000 per year with her business, and she has sold over $1,000,000…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 16, 2024

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Do you want to learn how to sell educational printables?

Lisa Fink was a teacher for 15 years but left the classroom to work on her educational printables business.

After just two years, she hit a six figure income. She now earns over $400,000 per year with her business, and she has sold over $1,000,000 in printables altogether.

You can start creating educational printables to sell and make money all from your home – and never have to ship a thing.

Creating educational printables can be a great way to make extra money because you just need to create them once, and you can sell them an unlimited amount of times.

Today, I have a fun interview to share with you. I interviewed Lisa, on how to sell educational printables.

Are you wondering questions such as:

  • What is an educational printable?
  • Why do teachers and parents buy printables?
  • How much money can a person earn by selling educational printables?
  • Do you have to be a teacher in order to sell educational printables?
  • Can someone with no tech skills make a printable?

Today’s interview will help you get started and perhaps even introduce you to a new way to make extra income.

Related content:

How to sell educational printables

1. Please give us a little background on yourself and how you got started. How much have you earned from your educational printables business?

Selling printable educational escape rooms on sort of came by accident. My husband and I bought a new house in August of 2017 but just one month later, he lost his job of 21 years in the corporate world due to downsizing. 

As the sole provider, I began to worry about what the future was going to look like. How could we afford to pay our bills solely on a teacher’s income? We ALL know teachers are undervalued and underpaid, so this was a relevant struggle.

It was during this turbulent time that I decided to create as well as open a storefront on an educational platform called Teachers Pay Teachers. I needed to bring in extra income to pay the bills and this side-hustle thing was just what we needed. Although I was putting in 20-30 hours of work per week ON TOP of my full-time teaching job, but the future was getting brighter. We had hope.

My goal was to simply make a few hundred dollars a month, which at the time, I thought was quite unrealistic. Everything changed when it was just three months in, and I was already pulling in four figure months. At just six months, I was consistently earning five figures per month.

The point of my story is that it seemed as if life sent me some gray clouds, but they came with a silver lining. I was able to get my educational printables in classrooms all over the world. I fell in love with creating products and I never looked back. My life has been drastically transformed in the best way possible.

To date, I have earned well over $1,000,000 with printables. (It honestly still blows my mind to say that!)

2. What is an educational printable?

An educational printable is a quick, no prep activity that teachers can download instantly to complement their lesson plans.

Far too often textbooks lack creativity, do not foster student-centered learning, and quite frankly are downright boring.

The mission of Think Tank Teacher is to provide no-prep, engagement-boosting classroom activities to re-fuel the energy in a classroom with creativity and collaboration.

3. Who buys your educational printables?

My printables have been downloaded over 250,000 times by teachers, homeschool parents, and party planners looking to add a twist of fun to their kid’s party.

Often times teachers are seeking a last-minute activity that goes beyond the textbook, enhances the learning experience, and adds an element of puzzle decoding.

4. Why do teachers buy printables?

Teachers are always seeking something to help them differentiate in the classroom or supplement boring textbooks.

A teacher’s planning time is precious (and hard to come by) so a quick print and go lesson can make an enormous difference in their curriculum. Teachers spend far too much time outside of school hours prepping and planning, taking time away from things they love to do or people they love to spend time with.

Access to a pre-made, ready to use printable allows teachers to stop working at the bell and spend more time with their family. 

How I Make $400,000 Per Year Selling Educational Printables
Here’s an example of an educational printable.

5. What are some examples of what you sell?

From printable escape rooms, color by number, and scavenger hunts to digital secret message activities and virtual tours, I have something that meets the needs of all learning styles.

By far, my best-seller is the United States Constitution printable escape room.

Each resource I create incorporates a twist of fun to engage even the most reluctant learners. The key to a successful lesson is to pass the teaching reins off to the students and let them develop their own questions to think critically about the topic at hand.

6. What do you like about selling educational printables?

It warms my heart to know that my resources are kid tested and teacher approved, by hundreds of thousands of teachers, making an impact one classroom at a time.

The best part? The income is passive.

Once I upload a resource, the internet does the rest of the work. One single lesson can sell over and over again. There are no boxes to pack or ship, no inventory to track, and incredibly low overhead spending.

I have also added a membership model to my website making lesson plans easily accessible and less expensive for teachers.


7. How much money can a person earn by selling educational printables?

I have had a remarkable journey selling over $1,000,000 in printables.

Is it easy? No!

You have to put in blood, sweat and tears, but like anything else, the effort pays off in the long run. Since my educational business was so successful, I decided to get my brother Ben involved in a new venture last year. By this time, I felt like I had a good grasp on what I was doing in the educational online space.

Together, we opened Think Tank Escape Rooms on Etsy and have already made over $60,000 dollars. We took a different route and decided to focus our Esty shop on printable party games to entertain the kids and transform the house into an unforgettable code-breaking adventure! There is a high demand right now for printables, educational or not.

Despite my success story, my goals are high because there are other teacher authors making three times more than me. It IS possible! Reading success stories of fellow teacher authors was all the motivation I needed to dive in headfirst. Their accomplishments fueled my desire to become an entrepreneur.

8. Is there enough room for teachers to get started selling educational printables? Or, is the market saturated? 

Absolutely, there is enough room for everyone!

Anyone who goes into the experience thinking the market is oversaturated has the wrong mindset. You have to adjust your mindset and find creative ways to make your idea unique, and to make it stand out amongst the thousands of others. 

9. Do you have to be a teacher in order to start doing this?

You do not have to be a teacher to sell printables!

Though my college degree and teaching experience played a vital role in my success, this is a journey that homeschool moms or even corporate individuals can take advantage of.

You just need one idea to get you started.

10. How does a teacher come up with new ideas for printables?

This is probably the toughest part. The key is to find something you are passionate about and jump in. You want your resource to stand out.

You want apathetic learners to actively take part in the learning experience.

My mind is always running rampant with innovative ideas, improvements, and business proposals for both my website and Etsy shop.

I keep a notebook on my nightstand and jot down quick ideas. Some of them come to fruition and some of them do not. 

11. Can someone with no tech skills make a printable?

There is some tech involved, but no difficult programs to learn.

Most creators use PowerPoint or Canva to create their printables. Of course, you have to know or learn how to upload the product, make catchy covers and enticing thumbnails but it is all refined to a skill over time.

When my brother jumped on board, he had never used PowerPoint or Canva and year later he’s a pro! 

12. What is Teachers Pay Teachers? How does it work?

Teachers Pay Teachers is an online educational marketplace with millions of pre-made lessons.

Teachers seeking an activity can quickly jump on the website, search the topic they are covering in class, purchase and download an activity to use the very same day.

It is a lifesaver to many teachers, covering all subject areas in grades K-12.

13. Can you list the steps needed to get started selling educational printables?

First, you would need to either start your own website, open an Etsy shop, or open a Teachers Pay Teachers seller account.

Next, create an engaging printable.

After you create the activity, the fun’s not over! You have to create a preview of the product to give people a sense of what’s included, a cover page that screams “click on me” as well as thumbnails that give an overview of the activity.

When all of that is complete, you’ll need a title and product description, rich in keywords for SEO purposes.

Then voila, press publish, and your activity is live and ready for purchase.

It may sound overwhelming, but once the process is completed your products sell in perpetuity. Then, the process gets easier and quicker the next time around.

14. What other tips do you have to share?

In a world of millions of digital downloads, the motto “if you build it, they will come” simply does not apply. There is so much to do to get eyes on your product.

My top organic traffic driver is email marketing. In fact, email marketing has the highest return on investment of any online marketing platform. The goal is to turn store browsers into loyal customers, and I have created a course just for TPT sellers to do exactly that.

Within my first few months, I grew my email list by the thousands, and the next year I quit my teaching job to run my businesses full time from home.

By year two of selling my printables, I was already making multi six-figures.

What is the number one thing that allowed me this amazing opportunity? My email list. Hands down, if you do email marketing correctly, you will turn your list into raving fans, maximize the exposure of your products, and see outstanding results at the push of the ‘send’ button.

You can learn more about how to create printable escape rooms to sell online here in this online course.

Are you interested in learning how to sell educational printables?

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Earning that kind of $ gUaP $ will surely inspire many to change their way of thinking, transitioning from employee to entrepreneur! 🙂

  2. Jamie

    How much does she sell each printable for? How does she advertise them? Where can we check out her Etsy page?

    1. Most of my resources are between $5-$15. In the article above there is a link to my Etsy store called Think Tank Escape Rooms 🙂

      1. Thank for the interview and telling us about your business.

  3. Heather

    This is an amazing article. I would like to learn more about this. In point # 14, it stated ” The goal is to turn store browsers into loyal customers, and I have created a course just for TPT sellers to do exactly that.” I would like to know more about this course. Where can I find more info about it?

      1. Heather

        Thank you so much!

  4. Darla

    Does she teach any courses on how to make these educational printables? If not, where can I
    find a course that teaches this?

    1. Hey Darla!

      Another guest post here on Making Sense of Cents includes a link to a course –

  5. This sounds like a great earner for someone who enjoys researching and writing about a subject. Maybe this could be done as a list of quiz questions for students? Definitely something to think about.

  6. Jon

    Hey there. Thanks for letting us know about your story! I’m super intrigued as a fellow teacher myself and I’m hoping that you’ll share your TPT store name for us so that we can see your work?

  7. Connie Maldonado

    Awesome story and inspiration! Question – How do you determine the grade levels to which the printable applies?

  8. Stephanie James

    I appreciate her talking about not being a techie and using Canva.

  9. Bryan Peart

    I just found a side gig! You are awesome, thank you!

  10. mscuba

    I love this! My concern is that since teachers don’t make a lot of money, is there a way to keep them from “sharing” the content with those that don’t pay?

  11. Dac

    Do you still make that money? Whoever I talk to says it’s saturated and can’t make anything off of Etsy if just starting