Teachers Pay Teachers Authors: Work Smarter, Not Harder!

Image of desktop with computer, mouse, pens, and notebook with text that reads "TpTers: Work Smarter, Not Harder" with a subtitle: "Ways to be efficient and productive with your Teachers Pay Teachers Store"

I know it’s not a new phrase by any means, but when it comes to your TpT product development, I cannot stress enough how much you need to work smarter, not harder.

I used to create products based on a skill, theme, season, or some other “topic.” I would start a product completely from scratch, wanting it to be unique in terms of page borders, fonts, color schemes, and layout.

Thank goodness I’m not doing that anymore.

I learned how to work smarter (even though I still feel like I work pretty darn hard!).

The best thing is? You can do it, too!

Basically, I realized I wanted to start making my own product lines and brand.

I wanted my products to be similar in certain ways.

I wanted them to be recognized for being factual, error-free, professional, and aesthetically pleasing.

So what did I do?

I started creating templates.

Fast forward to today.

When I set out to create something new, I copy my template and go from there. No more hemming and hawing over which page border I want to use for my grammar packet. No more agonizing over which fonts are the best for my task cards. (You know, the inner debate you have with yourself when you’re trying to find the font that’s the right mix of cute and functional!)

Now, not only am I producing more products at a faster rate, but I’m developing my brand’s style. I’m finding that I’m getting more repeat buyers because of it and I’m establishing myself as a store with products that can be trusted.

Isn’t that what we’re all hoping for, after all?

In addition to that, I have started producing similar products for various skills, themes, seasons, holidays, and subject areas. I’m no longer creating a bunch of Easter products, for example, and then making a list of similar things I need to make when Halloween draws near.

Nope, no more of that!

Instead, when I create something I see being useful and helpful to teachers, I develop a product line with different themes for each product. It might seem totally strange to the people who follow my store and get updates about recent products to see St. Patrick’s Day pattern activities popping up in October, but it’s something that gets crossed off my to-do list long before I’m in crunch time for a product to actually sell. (And surprisingly, sometimes I sell those random off-season products right away because someone has purchased the in-season products and liked them!)

So long story short (I know, it’s probably too late for that), figure out what you can design ONCE and use again and again. You’ll thank yourself for it in the future!

Happy Creating!

Katrina Martin

Katrina Martin is the owner of Katrina's Resources and a B-6 certified teacher in New York State. She specializes in elementary education and curriculum development. You can read her blog at KatrinasResources.com or view her educational resources on TeachersPayTeachers.com.

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