Friday, 26 February 2016

Teacherpreneur Tips Mini-Series Part 2

Hey everyone! So after 4 months I have finally managed to get to Part 2 of my mini-series – ‘Teacherpreneur Tips’. Please accept my sincere apologies! 


PART 2 – CREATING A PRODUCT

Let’s assume you already have an idea for the content of your product. It is worth noting here, that whatever you do create, I would recommend staying within your comfort zone, especially if you are a relatively new seller. For example, I have seen stores run by high school teachers who also sell resources for Kindergarten. Personally speaking, I believe you should try to create an identity for your store – you want to encourage repeat buyers. If a potential buyer is a first grade teacher, she will want to go to a first grade teacher’s store. She will trust that this seller has experience with first grade and quality resources to fit her needs. 

Find your niche – whether it be classroom d├ęcor, clip art or a specific subject area – play to your strengths – you want to offer resources of the very best quality. 

Let’s break down what a finished resource should have and the areas I think I may be able to help with. 

1. A Product Cover 

2. A note to the educator, if relevant 

3. A Contents Page, if relevant 

4. Your content (& what program will you use) 

5. Terms and Conditions 

6. Credits


1. PRODUCT COVER 

Your product cover is like a shop window display. If it is not eye-catching or interesting, a potential buyer will pass your product over. As a teacher, think about how you search for products – the best covers catch your eye and make you want to explore further. Of course a good cover doesn’t make a product good quality, but at least it gets eyes on what you have to offer. 

Some people make their cover at the beginning before they have even started their resource, because they have a clear idea in their mind of the type of images that will best showcase the content. However, many leave it as the last job to do, as only then will they know what kind of visual they would like to represent their resource. 

Also – this is personal preference - I always create my product cover in portrait format – I like my resource to look like a book – I have no idea why, but I have never been tempted to create a landscape cover. I do each element separately, then combine together later, (I will explain how to do this at a later stage) so the format of the actual resource has no bearing on the cover I create. You will notice in some marketplaces that a square cover will get you most bang for your buck, nothing is cut off and potential buyers get the full impact. Some sellers have chosen to get around this by creating a square template and inserting the portrait cover and uploading that thumbnail separately (this is something I do – I will show you an example at the end of this section). 

Just a quick note about fonts - You will also need to think about the types of font you use – obviously something legible and relevant would be best! There are lots of free fonts, but many are not allowed to be used for commercial purposes, so always check the Terms of Use beforehand. Fonts on TpT are pretty affordable with the majority being sold, with commercial license, for $5. Below are some linked images for font sources, both free and paid.




From what I have seen, there appears to be 3 design types doing the rounds! 






Example 1: tends to be the traditional format – the cover has a digital paper, a frame and some clip art. If you are just starting out and don’t have much clip art, check sellers’ stores for freebies – there are loads!  I am linking to Mel from Graphics From The Pond as she has a lot of free papers and frames/borders.



Example 2: is especially useful for non-fiction type products. There are many photographs in the public domain, but searching and finding them can take an age. It is best to buy good quality photographs from a reputable source, so you can be assured that you are not breaching any copyrights. I personally have a monthly subscription to Dollar Photo Club as I find it is very reasonably priced.  There are many other such as GraphicStock or Dreamstime.  Some are more expensive than others, so check their deals carefully.  There are also some great free sites out there - photos are public domain, so should be copyright free.  Morguefile usually has a wide range of choice and quality, as well as Pixabay.

Example 3: can often be used for products that really don’t require visuals, for example, a bundled resource. The use of 2 or 3 bold colors can really make the cover page pop, especially combined with a striking font. Sometimes adding clip art can take up valuable real estate when you really need to get as much text on the cover as possible. (Also: it may be hard to match a resource with a visual; or it may be that you just can’t afford to buy that clip art at this time). 

Many people add their website address or logo to the front cover to finish it off. My personal opinion is that this is really not necessary. Your logo and links will be clear to see on your Terms of Use, so why repeat them? They take up valuable real estate on the cover, often look out of place and can ruin a good design. DON’T DO IT! Lol! 

Remember - your product cover will probably not be perfect the first time around (or the second or third......).  I have lost count of how many times I have revised a cover, because I just wasn't happy!  I look at some of my earlier products and well......just cringe - eek!  A couple of friends kindly gave me permission to use some of their product covers to show how they had developed their eye for cover design through time and practice.  They also realised that developing a 'unique to you' style was also important.  I can often tell who has created a product just by the cover, as they have made a particular style their own.  So here are some comparisons - thanks so much to Lesley from Practice Makes Perfect and Renee from Share2Learn for allowing me to share these.


Below is the type of template I was talking about earlier. I still have my cover page in portrait format, but inserted into the square template as this suits some marketplaces better. 


This blog post would be way too long if I was to include all 6 points, so I will stop here for today. 

The video below will show you some useful tricks about adding digital papers and clip art to your resource – things you may not yet know.  (Might be wise to turn down the volume!)


I hope today’s tutorial was useful and you have learnt something to help you move forward. I will be back soon to cover Points 2-6. 



Wednesday, 24 February 2016

It's all about the....savings!

Hey folks - it's been a while.  I've been hibernating in my cave trying to get resources ready specifically for the UK buyer, as the some of the marketplaces I work with are trying to reach out to UK teachers.  I'll put my hands up and say from the off that it is one of the most tedious processes ever - lol!  However, some headway has been made and I have resurfaced to breathe!

The content of this post will be about bringing you savings from deeply discounted products - what more could you want?!!

Super Savings #1:  This K-2 Curriculum Bundle is currently being offered on Educents.  Two of my products are included in the bundle!


This amazing bundle is filled with great resources that are just perfect for one or all of these grades. Each of these amazing resources has been selected to help you teach key skills to your children or students in a fun and engaging way. This bundle includes 20 resources and covers all the key content areas (language arts, math, science and social studies).

The bundle will run for the rest of February, so grab it while you can at the supper discount of $19.99.  Just click the image, hop over to educents and take advantage of some super savings!

Super Savings #2: This bundle comes directly from me and is my very first growing bundle!

I am super excited to bring you my first ever growing bundle and it has been a joy to create!

Just click on the image to be transported to my store!!!

Photo posters are very popular in classrooms due to their impact on students. They provide teachers with a useful reference tool and a super visual aid to engage all ages and pique their curiosity to learn more!

Use these photo posters to introduce new topics, as an aid to research or a bulletin board display – they will look effective wherever you choose to use them!

This growing bundle already includes 12 packs at a total cost of $37 to buy individually.
When the bundle is finished it will have 20 packs in total, which would be a final cost of $61.

I will add 2 packs per month until the final total is reached. If you buy now, there will be no further additional cost to you! You will be able to download all 20 packs at the price you bought in at, whatever that may be. The current price is the lowest it can be until I add the next pack. The cost will then grow by $3 each time a new pack is added – so grab this bargain now before new packs are added in March.

Please check the preview to see what's currently included and how many posters you will receive. Two packs are slighter larger, the rest contain 15 posters.

{This offer will also be extended to my UK store, as some names differ}.

So, hopefully something here has wetted your appetite!  I will be back in a few days to continue my poorly neglected series 'Teacherpreneur Tips' - I can't wait to get back into my groove!

Speak soon!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Ch-ch-ch-changes! Embracing 2016!

Hey everyone!
I have been in reflective mode lately - thinking back on 2015 and really what an awful year it has been - on the back of several bad years.... (this is a positive post, I promise!).

I am a passive person by nature - I take a back seat and let things happen to me.  This has caused untold problems over the last few years.  I finally 'got it' - if things were to improve, I needed to be pro-active and make things happen - the only person who could turn my life around was me!  So, I made some decisions - some small, some bigger!  These involved making changes in both my personal and 'business' lives - the two halves which make the whole me!


Where to start??  The simple puzzle above will tell you what has most been on my mind!  A combination of chronic illness, stress, bad habits and an increasing awareness that I was no longer one of the 'young ones', moved me to finally take action.  It's not as if these thoughts hadn't plagued me before - I would make a list of my good intentions and promptly fail, as my expectations were always too high.  I needed to make realistic goals and stick to them, not least because my 'failures' were having such a negative impact on how I viewed life and how I interacted with people.  Yes, there are lots of things I would like to change - be cleverer, be slimmer, be prettier, be younger, be fitter, be richer.......but it was time to focus on what I could ACTUALLY change.  So in no particular order, I decided to make a start and change 10 things that would have the biggest impact on my life.


1.  I bought a nutribullet and swapped my breakfast for a healthy juice
 
2.  I go to bed before 1am

3.  I plan my meals and only buy what I need

4.  I alternate walking, elliptical, rowing and weights workouts

5.  I decluttered my home

6.  I take the weekend off and plan fun things/spend time with my family

7.  I retired from teaching

8.  I turned my hobby into a business

9.  I volunteer at a local school and a dog rescue center

10.  I scheduled a 'work' day to grow my business

This list could be much longer, but I stuck to the things that are most important to me and will have the biggest impact on my health and well-being at the moment.  If you follow my blog, you will understand what has prompted these changes - there is no real need to list the whys here.

More generally, for a long time, I have been so frustrated with myself.  Most days were filled with resentment, exhaustion and stress.  I blamed others for my unhappiness, not really realising that it was me who needed to change - I finally understood that it wasn't too late - I couldn't live in my head any more, I had to make the best of the one life I had been given.

So, is there anything you can take from this blog post?  Hopefully yes!  Your list may be totally different than mine, but if you have felt anything like I have over the last few years, I implore you to start making those changes.  Make sure they are realistic and achievable - they don't have to be a major changes - just changes that will have a big impact on your happiness and well-being.
The biggest change I have made is to be pro-active about making changes, if that makes sense?!  Even if I don't become slimmer or my business doesn't grow as I'd like, I still feel incredibly good that I am taking action. I am trying - I am not waiting around expecting things to change for me.
This quote is somewhat pertinent!
I finally got it!
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