Friday, June 23, 2017

The "M" Word

I haven't blogged since the middle of January. The past 6 months have been a whirlwind for me after hearing the "M" word again.

The "M" word for me is Melanoma.

Four years ago (July 2013), I was diagnosed with melanoma through a mole on my neck. I had surgery to make sure the melanoma was contained in the mole and had not gone into the lymph nodes. Everything was fine at that time.

Fast forward to the middle of January 2017. A lump appeared on my neck. I wasn't sick. I waited to see if it would go away - NOPE. I called my doctor. Next came a CT scan and then a biopsy. My melanoma was in my lymph node. Off to my oncologist for a PET scan and MRIs. I was scheduled for surgery to remove lymph nodes from the left side of my neck. We knew one lymph node was infected with melanoma. After surgery, we found out that 2 lymph nodes were positive for melanoma. The second one was microscopic and had not shown on the PET scan. 

Next came physical therapy twice a week to get my neck moving again and discussion about treatment as I was now considered to have Stage III Melanoma. Lucky me (I say lucky because my oncologist calls the standard treatment for Melanoma "evil". The clinical trial drug isn't as evil.), I qualified for a clinical trial and that was the road I took over the standard treatment and radiation.  I had a 50/50 chance of receiving the trial drug. 

I am receiving the trial drug, Keytruda. I started receiving treatment on May 18 (my 26th wedding anniversary). I go for treatments every 3 weeks for a year. So far I have not experienced too many side effects - just a bit of fatigue every now and then. I am hopeful that will continue but we'll see.

Some things have been on the back burner such as blogging. I am still spending some time creating resources, but they certainly take longer than prior to surgery and treatment. The hubby and I are continuing to go camping and create as normal a life as we can have through the midst of appointments and treatments.

I don't let the "M" word get me down. It's just part of my life now. Praying and reading God's word gets me through. I know there are others that have it worse than I do. My go-to verse Joshua 1:9.

Here's a selfie from today. Be sure to check your moles once a month and wear sunscreen. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Bundling Your Products

After making several products, you can bundle these smaller products together. Products can be grouped together in a bundle in a few different ways.

Grade Level Bundle - a selection of products from your store that fit a specific grade level such as 2nd grade or 6th grade.

 Subject Specific Bundle - a selection of products from your store that are all the same subject such as Reading or Social Studies

 Skill Specific Bundle - a selection of products from your store that are all the same skill such as fractions or part of speech

 Product Line Bundle - a selection of products from your store that are all the same type of product such as Bingo games or Reader's Theater

 Seasonal or Holiday Bundle - a selection of products from your store that are all the same season/holiday such as Winter or Valentine's Day

Once you decide how you want to bundle your products, it's time to put them together and upload. To put them together, I find the best way is to put the resources in a folder and ZIP the folder. I do make a new cover for the bundle and create a preview that shows a few things in the bundle.

To zip (or compress) your folder on a Mac, put your resources in the folder and right click. Choose "Compress" and it will zip the folder. You can also just highlight the resources you want to put together and compress them that way. It will put them in a folder. You will need to rename the folder as it calls the zip "Archive".

To zip (or compress) your folder on a PC, put your resources in the folder and right click. Choose "Send To" and then "Compressed (zipped) Folder".

Once you've uploaded your new bundle, the description will need things added to it. Be sure to hyperlink between the bundle (link to individual resources) and the individual products (link to bundle). This will help alleviate confusion on the buyer's part. To hyperlink, add the following and insert your links and text: <a href=YOUR LINK HERE>YOUR TEXT HERE</a>. If you want to make it bold as well, add: <strong> to the front and </strong> to the end of your text.

Another thing to add to your description is the file type that your individual products are in. Are they PDFs, Powerpoints, or another type of file? Make this clear in your description (towards the top if possible) so buyers know.

Pricing bundles can be tricky. Most people do somewhere between 20-30% off the total price. I have a range of 20-40% off based on total price. It's up to you but be consistent in how you price.

One last word on Bundles. You can make Growing Bundles. This is where you start the bundle with a couple of products and add to it as time goes on. Usually, the price starts low and is raised over time. If you are doing a Growing Bundle and provide a timeline for additions to the bundle, be sure you meet those deadlines! It is bad business to give a timeline and not meet it. Buyers tend to get frustrated with that.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Plan, Focus, and Move Forward with Your TPT Store

Plan, Focus, and Move Forward with Your TPT Store; set goals; organization; schedule

The year is coming to a close, and it is time to start setting goals and planning for 2017. I didn't take planning and goal setting seriously until about a year ago. I have now settled into a routine that I use every 90 days. I am more organized, more focused, and more productive with my TPT work. I put everything together in a mini seller course. If you are looking for some structure to your planning, this might be what you are looking for. In this mini course, I share how I create a schedule, set goals, plan out a product calendar, and plan my week. I also provide some tips on focusing and moving forward with your business. This is a mini course and focuses a great deal on the planning part. You can find this mini seller course in my store here. Let me help you get off to a great start for the new year!
Plan, Focus, and Move Forward with Your TPT Store; set goals; organization; planning; schedule

Also, if you want to start tracking your TPT data, I have the data tracking spreadsheets that I have used for the last 3 years in my store. You can find them here.
Plan, Focus, and Move Forward with Your TPT Store; TpT Data Tracking Sheets

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Starting Out on TPT

Starting Out on TPT, 10 Tips to Start Your TPT Store

You've created materials for your classroom for awhile now. You've decided you need a little extra cash. You decide to sell your created materials on TPT. Now what?

Here are a few things to do and know.

1) Add a photo or logo. You will be seen as a more serious buyer if you have a picture/logo vs the default logo. Go to My Account (or your name depending on the screen)>Store Profile>Edit and upload your profile image.

2) While you are on your Profile go ahead and fill out all of the information. You can always change anything later. Some people do look at your profile, so you should have answers in each category. You can also add images or links in this section.

3) The first product you upload will be your Primary Free item. Be sure everything you upload is copyright & trademark free. Check out this post for all of the other important things of what your product (free or paid) should include. This free item should be just as high of quality as anything else you put in your store.

4) Add paid products. Again be sure everything you upload is copyright & trademark free. Focus on making quality products that are unique and professional looking. Don't just copy someone else. Do your own thing!

5) Make sure your titles and descriptions are clear and buyer friendly.

6) Avoid all of the "bright shiny objects" that are distractions. They will eat away at your creation time. They can be time & joy suckers. Just because "everyone" has a blog, FB page, IG account, Twitter account, Pinterest account, is on Snapchat, is making videos, is turning everything digital, is using this scheduling app or that program, etc. doesn't mean you have to. Start with what you can handle. That may be just creating quality, professional products. You may be able to do a couple of things, but you don't need to do it all. There is something "new" that comes about all the time. We don't have time to do it all and be good at it all. Pick what you have time for. I would highly suggest a Pinterest account over everything as it is a way to advertise your products.

7) Be aware there are ups & downs and things will start slowly. If you spend all of your time worrying about, reading about, and commenting about the slow times and no one is buying your products, you won't have time to create and you won't have any joy. Leave the negative nellies behind you, and focus on the positives. TPT is not a get-rich-quick.

8) Followers and feedback will come in spurts. It will be slow. Organic is the best way to go. You want people to follow you that are interested in your products. You want your feedback to come from people who actually use (or will use) your products.

9) TPT product creation takes a lot of effort and hard work. You have to put in the work to see the rewards. Don't compare yourself to other sellers. Let your journey be yours.

10) Ask questions! Ask in the Forums, FB groups, or email/contact another seller.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Using Your TPT Note to Followers

Using Your TPT Note to Followers

Is the Note to Followers worth using? Some sellers say it isn't because they never look at them. I used to think that way as well. Then I decided to give it a try again. I became a believer in using them. Here's why:

1) It's a great way to a) provide an exclusive freebie as a "thank you" without having to do a flash freebie that they probably won't see and b) remind them of your new products, old products, and seasonal products.

2) It's free promotion going directly to people that clicked on the green star. Okay some of them may just be following you because of a giveaway or something, but maybe you'll hook them in with your fabulous notes.

3) Over 50 followers clicked on the download link I provided. Yes, I have over a thousand followers, but that is over 50 people continuing to interact with me. Buyers that aren't sellers don't always act like seller-buyers. Many of them do open those notes, so send them out!
 You can send out a note every 30 days. I would NOT waste it on just announcing a site wide sale. TPT puts up banners announcing the sale right on the site. Also, everyone puts up images on all of the Social Media outlets to announce a site wide sale. So use it for something more important.
 You can access your Note to Followers from the drop down menu or the Marketing tab on your dashboard.
Using Your TPT Note to Followers

Using Your TPT Note to Followers
 You can add images to your note. Your image needs a URL. You can host your image on a site such as Flickr or Tinypic. You can also copy from your Mailchimp newsletter and everything copies over (images and hyperlinks). You can also host on a secret Pinterest board. If you are using an image already on TPT, just right-click on the image and choose "copy image address". Click on the tree image in the toolbar and insert the URL in the pop-up box.
Using Your TPT Note to Followers

Using Your TPT Note to Followers

Using Your TPT Note to Followers
 You can hyperlink to products, blog posts, social media, etc. Highlight the text you want to link. Click on the chain link image in the toolbar and insert the URL in the pop-up box. If you want to track the number of clicks, use a link.
Using Your TPT Note to Followers

Using Your TPT Note to Followers

 Do not use emojis. This evidently causes problems with your post showing everything.
 You should be following your own store. If not, go click your own green star. Once your note arrives, be sure to check it. I had one go out that didn't attach the image even though it showed the image on the preview. If this happens, submit a ticket to TPT. They were able to delete the note and allow me to resend it.

Happy Note sending!!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Motivational Monday

Write your goals down for the week and keep working. Have a fabulous week!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Be Professional

be professional

Most of us are or were teachers and consider ourselves professionals. We want our customers to view us as professionals just like the big teacher resource companies. Here are a few things to consider to see if you are being professional as a TPT seller.

1) Products
*Are you just slapping something together as fast as you can to get it in your store? Quality over quantity is so important.
*Are you lining things up or centering items on the pages so your products look polished? Take the time to line text up or clip art up. Make sure your titles and frames are centered. You also don't want text overlapping onto frames or missing parts of borders because you put a white rectangle with text over it. Another thing to be mindful of is your clipart. Try to use clipart in png format so you don't have to worry about the big white box not blending in with your colored background. You are now a publisher, so you want things to look polished.
*Are you editing your products (or having someone else edit) for spelling or grammar errors or mistakes in your answer key? We are all human and sometimes errors do slip through even after editing, but do take the time to edit.
*Are you using appropriate fonts for titles, directions, student sheets? Many of us love our fonts, but we also need to use them carefully in our products. Think about your audience and age group.

be professional quote

2) Response to Feedback
We don't always get the best feedback. Not everyone is going to like your product. Some people will never give a 4.0 rating. Some buyers will only put a smiley face or "Thanks" for feedback. It's okay. Do you think everything sold on the internet has the highest possible rating? Has everything you've ever purchased been fabulous that you would give it the highest rating possible? It hasn't for me and that includes what I've purchased over the years on TPT. Please be realistic! Just because you love something doesn't mean everyone else is going to love it in the same way. Maybe they have purchased something that was a bit better than what they purchased from you.

Your professionalism will show in how you respond. Do you go on a rant about why they didn't give you 4 stars? Do you come off as abrasive demanding to know what is wrong with the product? Or do you thank them for their feedback and use it to take a closer look at your product and work? My mom always said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything." This applies to your response to feedback. You don't have to respond at all. As a teacher, you would not go on a rant to a parent if they had something negative to say about you. I've been yelled at during IEP meetings for hours and had to act professionally. I couldn't just say what I wanted to say. Responding to feedback is the same thing! If you choose to respond to negative feedback (by the way, I don't consider a 3.0 - 3.9 poor feedback), make sure you do it in a kind and professional manner. You don't need to beg them to tell you how to fix your product. You need to step back from the feedback and at a more calm moment, review your product to see if there is anything you could change to make it better. Most likely the original buyer will not take notice of your response, but other potential buyers may read it. Do you want to do business with someone who rants and is abrasive? I don't.

3) Social Media
How do you use your social media accounts? Are you being professional with a bit of personal thrown in? Are you complaining about customers? Are you bragging about how much money you make on TPT and what you are buying with that money? Whether you are posting in a group or on your own pages, be aware of your audience. Remember that not all FB groups about TPT are just sellers.

be professional quote