Tools of the Trade: My Favorite Things for Savvy Teacher Sellers


Tools of the Trade

As TPT sellers, it’s all about finding tools to help us work smarter, not harder. Today, I’m borrowing an idea from the iconic Oprah! I’m sharing all of my favorite things as a teacher-seller. 

You’ll learn about the tools of the trade I use daily, including physical products, apps, tools that keep me productive and save me time, and other podcasts that you should be listening to as you grow your business.

There is something for everyone in this episode and it’s just in time to create your holiday wishlist!

01:31 My favorite physical goods for my teacher seller business

08:03 Productivity apps and tools to stay organized and productive 

12:31 – All of my favorites for your website

16:07 – Podcasts recommendations for TPT sellers and entrepreneurs

Okay, TPT sellers ready to seek growth in your business? You’re in the right place. Welcome to the savvy teacher seller. I’m Kristen Doyle. And I’m here to give you no fluff tools and strategies that will really make an impact on your sale. Let’s get started y’all.

Hey, hey, y’all, and welcome to this episode of the savvy teacher seller. I’m your host, Kristen Doyle. And I am so excited for today’s episode, because I’m doing something a little different from the usual.

Today I am borrowing an idea from the iconic Oprah herself. And just before the holidays, I will be sharing some of my favorite things that I use in my teacher seller business.

From physical products that are on my desk right now, to apps and tools that keep me productive and save me time, to people that you should be listening to as you grow your business. There is something for everyone in today’s episode.

But that’s not all, I am also sharing some of your favorites, and a surprise giveaway at the end that you do not want to miss. So grab your coffee or your cocoa. And let’s talk about some of my favorite things. And don’t worry, I will link to everything I mentioned in the show notes. So you do not have to try to take notes, or memorize all of them and you’ll be able to find them easily later on.

Alright, let’s start with some physical goods. And I am not even kidding when I tell you every single one of these is on my desk right now. In fact, I’m using some of them right now as we record. The first one is a desktop whiteboard. The one I have is from a company called quartet. I got it on Amazon and I will drop the link in the show notes for you.

This is a really pretty whiteboard about the shape and size of a large keyboard that sits right in front of my monitor between my monitor and my keyboard. And it is such an amazing spot for me to be able to jot down quick notes, especially about things that I don’t need permanent notes for. I’ve got a couple of fun colored markers laying on it and it’s just such a great spot to jot down quick notes.

And bonus, my little guys that love to write on whiteboards. So a lot of times when I come in here, I find little notes from them. Right now, I have a little sketch of a roller coaster that my oldest drew and then I love you mom from my youngest. And it is just so nice to have those little notes on my desk too. So that’s a fun little added bonus for that one.

Another thing, I honestly could not work without is my vertical mouse. Now if you’ve never heard of a vertical mouse, essentially what this does is it takes your mouse that typically causes you roll your wrist over flat and it tilts your wrist up vertically which is a much more ergonomic position and it is so much easier for me to work for long stretches without my wrist getting tired.

I had gotten into the situation where my wrist was constantly aching, and it was only the mouse hand so I knew it wasn’t from typing it was from using my mouse so much and switching to a vertical mouse. I will tell you took me a little bit to get used to because it’s a little bit of a different motion with your hand up instead of rolled over flat but after a week or two I got really comfortable with it. And honestly I cannot stand to use a flat mouse now. It feels very comfortable, very easy to manipulate and things and it is so much better for my wrists. So highly recommend a vertical mouse the one I have is from Logitech and it is called the MX vertical wireless mouse.

Now the next thing I have to share for you is something I use to stay productive and it is this adorable little desktop timer. It is a home and office timer with clock on Amazon. It is a little hexagon timer that has preset timer so I don’t have to worry with grabbing my phone or opening up the timer app on my computer. I can just roll this timer over to 5, 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes. And they do have them available in different time increments but that’s the one that works best for me.

And set a quick timer to keep me on track with the work that I’m doing so that I don’t spend too long going down rabbit holes and things like that. I absolutely love it. The one I have is the green one which is nice because it matches my branding and everything. And it is super inexpensive. I grabbed it off Amazon a while back.

Another thing I have come to rely on so much that I nine times out of 10 end up working in my office instead of on my couch so that I can use it is my extra monitor. I work from a MacBook Pro laptop and it’s a small screen recently I love that it is portable, I can take it wherever I need to I don’t have to worry with a desktop and a separate laptop. But I cannot live without my big screen and really double screens.

So I have a 27 inch Dell monitor and if you are a Mac user you probably have experienced trying to connect to a different screen and realizing that it looks really blurry compared to your MacBook. Now I can’t say this one is quite as crisp and clear and perfect as my mat and display is but it is the closest I’ve ever seen it is really really really really close. So I definitely recommend this particular monitor like I said it’s a 27 inch Dell ultra 4k HD and I will link to this specific one because I have bought and returned lots of other monitors that did not look so good.

Now, because I’m using this external monitor and I do have an extra keyboard that I use as well and my vertical mouse. I like to sit my laptop kind of out of the way and up on a laptop stand that keeps me from looking down at it all day long. This is again but more ergonomic and better for my body while I am working. So I will drop a link to the laptop stand that I use.

But if you are working, especially with an extra keyboard and a mouse and things when you work with a laptop, I highly recommend a laptop stand to lift up your laptop to a better display height that is going to be easier on your neck and you’re back.

Now, the next couple things that I use I won’t go into a whole lot of detail about they are for recording courses and my podcast I have a webcam that I absolutely love. And you guys in terms of webcams is not that expensive. It was about 60 bucks, I think and it is from Logitech, it is the 920 2x. And I will drop that link in for you so you can find it, it has clear, crisp picture, autofocuses is nicely all of those things, I really, really love it.

And then my mic that I use to record is not the prettiest, it is definitely not the one I want to take Instagram photos with or anything but it is so good. And you guys, it’s like $30, it’s a really inexpensive microphone that I absolutely love, I’ll drop the link for you. Because the way to find it on Amazon is a whole bunch of letters and numbers you’ll never remember. So I’ll drop that link in for you as well.

And I could never talk about the physical things I use without telling you that my very favorite pins of all time are the Sharpie gel pens. Now, I usually buy them at just one of my local stores. But I’ll drop the Amazon link. And so you can see what I’m talking about. If you’ve never used them, they write so smoothly, and I just absolutely love them.

Alright, let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about some productivity apps and tools that I am using some things that help me organize everything and stay productive in my business.

First up, if you do not yet have an email for your domain, I think hands down the best and easiest way to do that is with Google workspace. It ranges from $6 to $12 a month per account and has so many great features beyond just Gmail. You’ll get the Gmail that you already know how to use them probably love. But you’ll also get a business version of all of the other Google tools like Google Drive, Google Sheets, Docs, all of those things.

Another app that I use on a daily basis for productivity to house my to do lists and to work with my team is Clickup. Now, there are lots of alternatives out there that are probably just as good, but clickup is the one that I love. It keeps me productive. It keeps me organized, it helps us manage projects that we are working on and it is clutch especially if you are working with a team.

If you’re one of my WordPress care planning clients business where your client support tickets go so that my team and I can work on them together, we can communicate back and forth about them, assign them to the right person, all of those sorts of things. So that has been key for us and you might have seen it working if you’re one of my kerplunk clients.

Another tool I use on a very frequent basis is air table. Air table is like Google sheets on steroids. And it is what I like to use for anything that I think of as a database, anything that I would store in Google Sheets or Excel or something like that. So I keep a database of all my products, all of the UTM codes, updates that we’re planning to make all of those sorts of things. And there is a paid version of airtable but personally, I just use the free one.

Now one thing that I highly recommend you use the paid version of is Canva, it’s only 10 bucks a month and you can get a discount by buying the annual plan. But Canva is what I use to design all my social media graphics, and all of my covers thumbnails and previews for my TPT products. I absolutely love that with the paid Canva plan, you can create a brand kit.

So you get all of your fonts, all of your colors, any logos, or specific graphics or icons that you’re using, those brand photos you like to use of yourself, that stuff all gets put into one handy place for you. And if you’re working with a team, any of your team members can access that stuff as well. And it really helps keep everything looking branded, cohesive and professional.

I don’t know how to explain the difference exactly. But even though my personal design skills didn’t change from the time, I’ve switched from designing covers, and thumbnails and previews in Keynote, which is MAC’s version of PowerPoint, to designing them in Canva, the professionalism of the product that I was putting out of those images, has just gotten so much better. So I definitely recommend using Canva for all of the marketing type materials.

Now, when it comes to social media, there are two ways to go about your social media scheduling, you might be scheduling out social media content and recycling old content. So you can put your social media on autopilot. And that is what I have done for my Chalk and Apple social media.

And my go to tool for that is called SmarterQueue. It lets you set up different categories, create all of your draft posts, and then it will cycle through them on whatever schedule you want it to cycle through on. You can also go in and put in a specific post to go out on a certain date. So if we’re having a sale or there’s add an event that I want to promote on a specific date, you can do that there as well.

Now, if you’re not recycling any content, then for my Kristen Doyle account, this is what I do. I use the native Facebook business manager to schedule out all of those posts, you can schedule posts, reels, carousels, all the things now, so I just use that native Facebook business manager to schedule my Instagram and Facebook content for my Kristen Doyle accounts. Because we are not recycling content there we are putting out new and fresh content every time that we post. So I don’t have the need for something like Smarter Queue on that account. And we just use the free tool that we already have available to us.

All right, of course, you know, I have to talk about the website stuff. And first of all, I am going to tell you when it comes to website platforms, I use love, recommend WordPress period, it is not free. And I know sometimes you need to start with somewhere free. So if you need to start somewhere like Blogger or something like that, that’s fine.

But when you get serious about your website, and you’re ready to start paying for a website, a hands down recommend WordPress. Now, one reason I don’t recommend platforms like Wix and Weebly and Squarespace is that it is near impossible to migrate your content from those platforms over to another platform if you ever decide to change your mind. And that is a big frustration for a lot of my web design clients.

Everything has to be copy pasted over manually and you are going to lose some SEO rank when it comes to that. So if you’re thinking that you might ever want to be on WordPress, then I highly recommend you just start there as soon as you’re ready to be paying for a professional website.

When you are on WordPress, you are going to need hosting. Now wordpress.com is out there and available. But I don’t recommend hosting with them because they are the best quality host. When it comes to hosting I hands down us love and recommend a company called Big Scoops. And I’ll drop the link in for you so that you can find them.

They have some of the most incredible customer service. And honestly, that is the biggest reason that I recommend them. Their customer service is better than any ones I have ever used when it comes to helping you out with issues that pop up on your website. In addition to that, of course, they meet what I would consider to be the performance standards that I am looking for, which means they have very reliable servers.

So you’re not going to experience lots of ups and downs on your website. Your Site uptime is going to be impeccable. And I have not had a single client yet, who migrated to big scoops whose website speed didn’t immediately get faster just from moving to their hosting, regardless of any other optimizations that you might need to make on your site. So I can’t say enough good things about how much I love working with them.

Next up, everyone on WordPress should have an SEO plugin and I hands down, use, love and recommend RankMath. Their free version is way way way better than Yoast, even though I know Yoast is super popular in the TPT crowd. I recommend RankMath You probably can use their free version, but they do have a pro version that I include for all of my care planning clients that offers some really great extra things as well.

Now, when it comes to image compression, you have some free and some paid options if you need a free image compression plugin. And what these do is they make your images on your website smaller so that your site loads faster. If you need a free option, then my recommendation is called Smush.

But there is a plugin that has a free version, their free version is just super limited is the only reason I don’t recommend it for free. It’s called imagify and I will tell you, their paid version is $5 a month and it is so much better than the free version of smush. It compresses smaller, it really has helped my site speed up and load much faster. And they found lots of ways to compress images beyond what Smush had done. So love that one, definitely recommend it if you are able to do a paid image compression plugin.

Alright, well, let’s talk a little bit about some people that I think you should be listening to. And I’m going to share some podcasts specifically because I know you’re listening to a podcast, which means you’re a podcast person. So aside from obviously, this podcast, here are some podcasts for TPT sellers and just for entrepreneurs in general that I think you should give a listen to.

The first one is school of sellers, which is run by my friend Erin waters. Erin and I share some very similar philosophies on things like hustling less, and really focusing in on the things that matter most, the ones that are going to move the needle the most in our business. So definitely give her podcast a listen for growing your TPT store.

If you have a podcast or you’re thinking about a podcast, I definitely recommend you give a listen to podcasting for educators by Sara Whittaker. I learned so much from her show. And fun fact her show is actually exactly why this show exists. She has a series in the early episodes of her show about what to think about, plan for, expect do as you are thinking about starting a podcast and I binged that whole series and immediately decided, yes, this is exactly what I want to do. And that is where this podcast came from.

We shared a little more of that story earlier this summer around the one year anniversary of the podcast. So if you missed that episode, definitely go back and give a listen to it.

Alright, shifting gears out of the TPT world a little bit and talking about a couple of other podcasts that I love that I think you will like to the first one is called Chill and prosper by Denise Duffield Thomas. And as it sounds from the title, she is all about relaxing and doing less hustle just like I am. She also talks a whole lot about money mindset, and how you can set your business up in a way that will be profitable, but that you will also still love so definitely recommend giving her a listen.

She also has a book by the same name that I absolutely love. By the way, an added bonus, she is Australian and I could just listen to her talk all day long.

And next up, we have the do the brave thing podcast with Kate Doster. Kate started out with an email focused podcast, but she has also recently kind of shifted gears and started talking about other business topics too. She talks about all sorts of things related to running an online business. And she will just give you a so many ideas and so much encouragement in your business. So definitely listen to her podcast as well.

Last but not least, is the show, Get your Hopes Up with Christy Wright. Now her podcast initially started as a podcast called Business boutique. And it was all about running a business primarily, a small business mostly for women. So she has tons and tons of great business tips in the archives of the show. But she has recently pivoted and changed the name and her podcast now is all about faith based encouragement. So if you are the kind of person who needs to hear some encouragement and that idea speaks to you then definitely give her listen I just love her podcasts.

I always come away no matter how I started listening to it, even if I was frustrated or down, I always come away with some sort of takeaway for just life in general and my mood is always lifted. So definitely listen to the get your hopes up podcast if that is something that you could use a little more of.

So, those are a bunch of my favorites. But let’s talk about some of your favorites. I asked you guys my listeners on Instagram to share some of your tools that you could not TPT without and got lots of good responses, cupcakesandcurriculum said airtable has saved my life. I know we have talked a lot about that in the past and I definitely will love it. Thesouthernteach, she said she can’t live without airtable and clickup. Lavenderlearning said YDP! And I could not agree more. I cannot believe that I didn’t put it on my list of things I can’t TPT without.

YPT if you are not familiar stands for your data playbook. And it is a membership. That basically takes all of the data we get from TPT and puts it into a much easier to digest format easier to read, understand and make actionable decisions based on. In fact, half the time they make the actionable decision for you. They tell you what to do with your data. And it just makes it so easy to quickly pop in and take a peek at my data, know what I can do to improve it and sell more of my resources. So absolutely love the yDp membership.

Stars to shine and French is fun, both gave me the exact same list of three tools that they absolutely love and could not TPT without and they are Flatpack from Bare Wood Labs, which is a tool that helps you flatten your PDF resources. And by the way, one thing I have recently learned about flat pack is that you can set it up so that screen readers are in abled when you flatten your PDF, that means the clipart is protected, your work is protected. But students who might need to use a screen reader in school are still able to read your product. And that is so so important for accessibility reasons. So love that flat pack allows you to do that.

The other two things that they mentioned were Canva, which we have already talked about and PowerPoint and I absolutely agree. I am a keynote user because I am on a Mac but Keynote or PowerPoint whichever one you prefer to use. Depending on your your operating system, Keynote or PowerPoint is an absolute must have as a TPT seller because it is the easiest place to create fun, beautiful, engaging printable activities for our students. Right, those are definitely more than just a few of my favorite things.

And in the spirit of the holiday season, I would love to send one of my Amazon favorites to a handful of lucky listeners. All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a review for the show this week and then share this episode on your social media and tag me at @Kristendoyle.co so that I’ll see it and I will choose five winners on December 20th. And I’ll send you a little Christmas gift from The Savvy Teacher Seller. Talk to you soon friend.

I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you did, please share it with another teacher seller who would also find it helpful. For more resources on Growing Your TPT business. Head to Kristendoyle.co/TPT. Talk to you soon.

Ready to see growth in your business? You’re in the right place.

I’m here to give you no-fluff tools and strategies that will really make an impact on your sales. We’re talking SEO, improving product listings, leveraging your website, and more. 

About Your Host

Your host, Kristen Doyle, has a decade of experience selling on TpT and has made all the mistakes so that you don’t have to! As a web designer and the go-to SEO expert in the TpT world, she loves helping TpT sellers stand out in the crowd & grow their businesses with passive income strategies.

Tune in to hear Kristen cover all aspects of running a TpT business – from leveraging SEO, to improving product listings, to effective TpT seller strategies for your store and website.