Would you believe that organization is one of the best tips I can give you? Make a folder on your computer for PRODUCTS. Under that folder make a sub-folder for each type of product that you want to make (MUGS, MOUSEPADS, etc). As you add new types of products in the future – just keep expanding the list. Under the sub-folder, another sub-folder for IDEAS. Another for SOURCE FILES, etc.
Come up with a naming convention that you will understand in the future. We kept it fairly simple. MD for Mug Designs. MP for Mouse Pads, etc. In the SOURCE FILES sub-folder from above, we have a folder for each design that we make. They are all numbered sequentially. First one for Mugs is MD1, then MD2, MD3 etc. Within each of the MDX folders we keep all the graphics necessary to reprint the design, the fonts we need, and we keep a file with the most commonly used print layouts saved in each folder. Thus when a customer orders a mug from us with the design MD6 on it, I simply browse to that folder and there is a file there named MD6 – 11oz Print Template.ai that I can simply load and print. I don’t have to redesign it again. There’s another file named MD6 – 15oz Print Template.ai that I can simply load and print if I need a 15 ounce mug for an order. The sooner you come up with something like this – the easier your life will be in the future… I can actually have a mug ready to go into the press within a minute of receiving the order if I’m at the computer.
Note: We also put the number of each design at the end of our product description on our Etsy shop so that we don’t have to search for the design when an order comes in….