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Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Step 13 - Using Custom Categories

As I was checking new posts on Facebook today, I received a notification in one of the advice groups I follow. Let me say, I love the advice groups for teacher-author entrepreneurs! Everyone is supportive of each other, and a lot of great advice is exchanged freely among members! In fact, that is where this blog was first sparked...

Anyway, one of the new posts today was asking about starting a second store front on the same platform. Is it worth it? Should it be done? Is it even allowed? So, to today's topic...

Pros and Cons of a Second Store on a Single Platform

First, the question of whether or not it is allowed: absolutely. I know of no platform that limits a seller/entrepreneur to a single storefront or five. After all, each storefront is another stream of income for the platform through commissions. And, it isn't as if they have limited "virtual space"! So, the question shouldn't be "can I have", rather it needs to be "should I have".

Why? This particular teacher-author was asking the question because they are developing a second line of products for an entirely different area of teaching, so it isn't a bad idea. After all, if you have "ELA" in your name, and you decide to branch into resources for Science or Turkish, you may have a credibility issue with those people looking for Science or Turkish materials. Same thing if you have a grade level in you name, and suddenly are creating for grades far removed. It can be done, obviously, but it may take longer for those resources to take off. To be honest, this is the only "pro" I can see to having a second storefront on a single platform, although, I may be mistaken.

In my semi-humble opinion, there is one major factor against a second store. TIME. It takes time to build a brand for each store, and time to build a following. How much time are you already dedicating to the first store? We all have other demands on our schedules, including teaching or working for a boss not in our homes, family and fur-family needs, needy friends, and just plain relaxation. Although it can be relaxing to create resources, you still need true "me" time. My point being, if you are giving 60 hours a week to your career in education, including commute and off-the-clock time, 49 hours to sleep each week, and let's say 40 hours to family/fur-family, you only have 19 hours left. Obviously, I include eating and watching the telly in these family hours. So, if you can carve out 10 hours a week for your first store, can you really afford to put in another 10 hours on a second store? Or, are you putting store 1 on autopilot while you work on store 2?

The second factor is the double membership/store fees that you may end up with. Not all platforms would have them, but some do. They also may require a second email, and a second PayPal account. Minor inconvenience, perhaps, but still an inconvenience.

Using Custom Categories

As an alternative to a second store, I recommend creating and using custom categories for your products and product lines. Every platform has the ability for it's partners to use custom categories, and most also allow you to create your own. As an example, Suzanne and I have custom categories for our Elementary Editions of our ELA products. Although our store says "in Middle School", these elementary products are selling well, because we market them to elementary teachers using custom categories. The same can be said of our word puzzles and our writing FRAMEs. This also has to do with SEO and keyword searches. At some point, we may start a second store for elementary materials, but that isn't our focus.

BOOM! Cards on AUL
With Custom Categories, customers enter their search requirements. For example, on AmpedUpLearning.com, if you enter "BOOM CARDS" in the search box, you have 1,483 products. But, when you walk it down to "ELA Boom Cards", there are 5 at the top, followed by all other Boom cards available from Amped Up. The more information you put in, and the more specific your custom categories are, the faster your products are found.

So, how does this help with the second store question? If you have a custom category that says "Elementary", and all of your elementary products have that category tagged, then they will all show up in a search for elementary products. If you farther refine it with "elementary writing", your results are narrowed if you have a category and/or SEO set for that. And so it goes.

Final Thoughts...

These are, of course, just my thoughts and opinions on the topic. You may well find that a second store is right for you - if so, fantastic! Let us know how it works!






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