Welcome to the SarahDesign.com Resources page, where I've put together a list of the tools, applications, and websites that I recommend for creating an epic custom drinkware business. Many of the tools and resources on this page are the foundation of my business today. So I can't recommend them highly enough. Additionally, I've included some "fun" resources that I use in daily life and think you might enjoy too. Because it's not all about work, work, work, right?
Before I get into the goods, I wanted to make one thing super clear:
Some of the links below are affiliate links which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission or perk at no extra cost to you. This helps to support my business so I can continue to bring you content to help support yours. However, it's really important to me that you understand that I am not in the business of recommending things just to make a buck!
These resources were hand-picked because I have used them, or know what they provide, and believe 100% that they are relevant and helpful to your business endeavors. You don't have to click on them either...if you would prefer to read my notes and then search for these companies on Google instead, that's totally fine! No hard feelings. But if you do click, we both benefit and I am so thankful for that. It's a win-win! :-)
Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud
This is a huge one for me, obviously :D I use it EVERY day. And life would be so much duller without it. People think it's expensive but really it's not. You can get the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan (with Photoshop + Lightroom included) for only $10/mo (US). That's what I have! There's even a free trial, so you can't lose :D
You can head over to the Silhouette America site to download the free software, then purchase an upgraded version after that. I upgraded to the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition of the software which has more functionality. And I'm hearing about some really cool things that you can do in the Business Edition (like saving out your screen as a jpeg - hello mockups - without having to take a screenshot.
In my opinion ConvertKit is the only email service provider out there that's worth having. Their tagging is amazing and now you can make your email sequences with a cool visual builder tool (which makes my designer heart sing). Yes, there's a ramp-up. And it's not free, but it's worth every penny. Great support too!
ConvertKit Rockstars Club
If you dig into ConvertKit, you can of course reach out to me with questions. But if things get deep in the technical weeds there's no one I trust more than Elizabeth Goddard for fast, accurate answers. She has a super affordable group called ConvertKit Club that you can join for only $10/month. She's hundreds of dollars to book for 1:1 consultations so this is a steal.
I also took her ConvertKit Rockstars course, which is now available in DIY course format. I highly recommend it. This course helped me really understand tagging better, plus how to have a strategy behind how I tracked new subscribers entering my account.
Teachable vs. Thinkific
Yes, I'm promoting two course platforms. And there's a solid reason why. Teachable and Thinkific are very similar...almost interchangeable (I'm on Teachable now). However, there are a few small distinguishing differences where one is a little better or worse than the other. Read on for the details!
I used Thinkific for about 6 months and really loved it. Their support team on Facebook is EPIC. I really felt like I was part of the Thinkific family. I even won a challenge contest they ran, and they sent me the sweetest gifts, including a book that the whole team signed and wrote nice notes to me in :D I ended up leaving Thinkific because they don't take care of the payment processing. You have to connect to outside services like Stripe. And I wanted to have VAT tax remittance support (for buyers in VAT countries). So I moved to Teachable. But I still wholeheartedly recommend Thinkific. And if VAT and the tax stuff is no problem for you, then you should check them out. Check out the Thinkific Plan Comparison Chart
One thing that I thought Teachable did a little better than Thinkific, is how they have the user experience inside the course from the student's point of view. It's very easy to see which courses you've done and how to navigate to the next course. You can do that in Thinkific too but it's just a little more refined visually and so easier to understand at a glance, in Teachable. And they have the option to use their payment processor - which handles VAT (HUGE!!) - so really are the only service for me right now.
Courses & Communities
The Silhouette School Blog
Melissa, over at The Silhouette School Blog is the leader in the industry, teaching thousands and thousands of people how to use their Silhouette machines for fun and for profit. You can't throw a piece of vinyl without hitting someone who will point you over to her site for help when you have a question about how to do anything in Silhouette. Check my About page for links to posts I've done for her.
Cutting for Business
Christine's website, Cutting for Business, is a wealth of knowledge for all things related to your cutting-business. Her blog posts, teachings, and books are perfect for Cricut as well as Silhouette. She has everyone covered. I've done a few blog posts for her too :D
Legal - Damsel Goes Bare
I was so intimidated by all the legal stuff involved in my business. And when I decided to open up course programs, I knew it was time to get serious. I enrolled in the Damsel Goes Bare FULL course (released 2x yearly) and it really set me up for success. I talk all about in this blog post called Insider Review of Damsel Goes Bare. If it's not launch time, then I highly recommend you snatch up their LITE version of the course, which is DIY and available all year long.
Free Course: 5 Days to Better Etsy Drinkware Images
In this free 5 Day email course, you'll learn how to leverage your 10 Etsy images for more sales. I don't cover photography topics, fyi. But I do cover a lot of ground on Photoshop, Mockups, Strategy, and more. The course is created especially for drinkware sellers who want to confidently tackle their Etsy shop images.
Free Videos: Mockups and Photoshop tutorials for Silhouette Cameo shops
My YouTube channel still has an old name - "sarahdesignprintables" - but the content is fresh and it is packed with mockup and Silhouette topics.
Photoshop Mockup Mastery Course
ALL the ins and outs of making your own mockups are covered in my Photoshop Mockup Mastery course. From Photoshop basics, to saving out your mockups for social networks.
Free Facebook Group
Come join the fun in my free group, Mockups for Drinkware Makers, over on Facebook. There are just a few intro questions, and I add people every Friday. So get your request in right away so you get in on my next Mockup Monday deal, where I release a new mockup with a coupon for money off!
Creative Fabrica has a really cool subscription service where you can use any font as long as you’re paying your monthyly fee (it's $20/mo at the time I'm writing this) Or you can buy individual things. I believe they sell cut files too.
The beauty of this site is that most (if not all) of the stuff they sell, comes with a commercial license which is great for crafters. And they make stuff (fonts, cut files etc) especially for Silhouette-based crafters! Check out the latest December Bundle (2017)
Come find my shop over at CreativeMarket.com/SarahDesign
My Favorite Fonts & Designers
Blooming Elegant is a font "trio" so you get 3 fonts at once that all look amazing together. I'm drolling over her Handlettered Font Box right now as well, because it is packed with even more stuff like 24 individual fonts, 180 vector illustrations, and 12 pre-made logo templates. It would be a travesty not to own this :D The Bloomishly font looks pretty dreamy...I may have to snatch that up too!
Resources for your daily life
I never liked taking taxis, so the few times I would travel filled me with anxiety when I considered how I'd get from the airport to my hotel. Then a friend recommended Uber to me. I got a free ride from using her link, and the experience was so pleasant and stress free - I was hooked! If you use my Uber link, you'll get a free ride (value amounts vary by location), and I get my next ride free too. Then you can do the same thing with your Uber link. Here's a fun story about how I used Uber to hack some free rides at Disneyland.
My husband and I went to Disneyland with our 6 and 8 year old awhile back. There was a shuttle bus we could take to and from the hotel and the park, but it was always crowded, you had to wait forever for it to arrive, and we had a double-stroller (another Disney hack!) that we had to drag down the bus aisle. Not a great experience. Since I had Uber and my husband didn't, I realized we could score 2 free rides if I recommended it to him with my link.
I sent him an invite and we got a free ride to our hotel on his account, and a free ride back to Disney the next day on mine. We kept using it the rest of the trip since the distance was so short it was only like $5.00 per ride, and such a breeze to use. The best part - there's no awkward moment where you have to tip them! You can do it afterwards in the app, or not. And if they are rude, you can give them a bad score and no one else will book with them. So it's incentive for them to treat all riders really well. Next time you need a ride, use my link and enjoy!