Are you looking for a fluffy, colorful, unicorn-filled planner with cute stickers and inspirational thoughts to help you run your business?
Pass. This ain't it.
There's a definite place for motivational quotes and doodles. I own a few of those books. But sometimes you need to stop coloring, dreaming and delaying your business goals. Sometimes you need to stop redecorating your office or shuffling papers back and forth. Now is the time to get down to the core of your company again.
You know all those webinars you've watched that tell you to get out some paper and make a list of your goals? Or the 1 page freebies you've downloaded that have a space to list your blogging ideas? Or the apps you've started to use, but then forgot about? How often have you followed through on those?
As a busy business owner owner, it's quite hard to maintain the momentum of those single, shiny, new ideas. You save that email for later or lose that paper somewhere on your desk. You think you'll get back to it tomorrow but you don't. So what's the solution?
I've created a real, actual, hold in your hand planner (remember those?) that you can use every day instead of sporadically. Something you can use at your desk, while in the carpool lane waiting on school pickup, or at a networking meeting. And you will because once you realize how amazing it is to be organized, consistent, and prepared, you won't want to stop.
In short, writing down everything about your business in one place is the key to better organization, goal progression and business success.
As much as I love using my paper planner (and I have for years), it doesn't mean I don't also use other systems. Quickbooks for accounting, Google calendar for meeting invites, and of course all kinds of social media. But, and this is a huge but, I track it all by hand in my paper planner. Why?
Quickbooks is necessary for me to run my business. But do you run the reports it generates? And if you do, what do you do with that data to make your business better? I add it to the Yearly Revenue Tracking, Yearly Income Streams, and Projected/Actual Budget pages of my planner.
Facebook generates clients for me so it's something I use online practically every day. But do you look at your insights to see what posts are the most popular? Do you track which clients revenue came from Facebook? Do you have a yearly consistent plan for your social media offers? I add all of these statistics to the Social Media Analytics, Yearly Marketing Plan, and Monthly Goal pages of my planner.
When you get sick or an emergency arises, do you hastily jot down notes for your assistant or spouse so they can "try" to do what you do? I tell them to look at the Policies & Procedures page in my planner to share everything important all at once.
Organizing papers (both in "real life" and digitally) is an everyday occurrence, with more mail and email coming in every single day. Do you have several systems you've started, but given up on? Do you have trouble finding things others have filed for you? Can you see your desk? I can because I use the File Index Key page in my planner.
So far, all of these solutions are sounding good, right? However, what makes this planner different from those other ebooks, opt-ins or templates you've already got? How do you make sure you'll use it all year and keep the momentum up?
In short, I use my planner because I can prove it makes me successful.
Yes, it's that simple. I pick up my planner each day because it's monetarily motivating. Why would I stop using something that works? I can track my progress all year and see my gains in one place, without having to click links or download files. I can quickly flip to a page and know my stats faster than most other business owners. I can find the info I need without the distractions of notifications, updates, lost signals, and social media distractions. I can use a fresh, sharp pencil to strike through a completed task and know I've accomplished something well.
I've got habits that help me open up my planner and use it consistently:
At the beginning of the year:
I fill out a big portion of the pages to start it off including My Business Plan, My Business At A Glance, My Business Brand, Yearly Marketing Plan, all the Blog worksheets and the Yearly Goals pages
On the 1st of each month:
I fill out all my Social Media Analytics, Budget, Revenue Tracking, Income Streams, and Monthly Goal pages. I also check in on my Marketing Plan, Marketing Strategies, Blogging Focus, Website Updates, and Projects List to make sure I'm on track.
I fill out my Quarterly Goals page and compare it to my Yearly Goals set months ago. With a simple page turn, I can see if my accomplished goals are responsible for my up-tick in income. Or I can compare my Marketing Plan to my Social Media Analytics and see if anything needs tweaking.
I add little notes in the Calendar pages about upcoming events or social media posts. I also add ideas to the 6 pages in the Wishlist section and Blogging Ideas page.
Does my planner get a little worn down by the end of the year? For sure, but it's a sign that I've really, truly given it my all and not let amazing ideas or opportunities pass me by. Plus, I keep my old planners so I can look back and see the progress I've made, which is very inspiring on a low day. It's sort of like cracking open a favorite old book and reading it again for the 10th time. Except it's a story about how amazing my business and life is and how far I've come.
That sounds like a lot more fun than unicorns and stickers to me.
So if you are ready to know your business inside and out, choose the best one for you: The 2018 Joyful Business Planner or The Undated Joyful Business Planner. Then sharpen those pencils and prepare yourself for a joyful business this year.