A Critical First Step for Creating and Selling a Planner

create a planner Feb 18, 2021

Are you thinking about creating and selling a planner?

You may have already read about my planner journey and everything that went into creating the Lean Out Planner in just 90 days. It was a roller coaster, but the end result was worth it.

My planner journey inspired me to help other entrepreneurs do the same thing – create a planner, workbook or journal (PWJ) in just 90 days – but, equipped with all the knowledge I didn't have.

There are several things I share with other entrepreneurs to help them avoid making some common mistakes I see when creating a planner, workbook, or journal, but one of the most important things I share is to start with the end in mind.

Beginning with the end in mind

Let's dive into this concept because, while it sounds simple, it can have a big impact on the success and profitability of your PWJ.

I see one of 2 scenarios quite often, both ending with the same result.

Scenario 1: Creating the content for the planner before ever talking to a printer to find out what's possible... and ending up disappointed that what you want doesn't align with what they can do, or at the prices you wanted.  

Scenario 2: Talking to a printer right away to understand options before defining what you want... and ending the call feeling a mix of excited (yay for all the things they can do!) and slightly terrified because it's going to cost you way more than you ever expected, and you aren't sure you'll be able to sell your planner for what you'll have to charge for it.

The end result in both scenarios is the same.

The product ends up costing you way more than you thought, requiring you to charge way more than you planned for, which may be more than your market is willing to spend (or will make it much harder to market and sell).

I see this ALL THE TIME, unfortunately. People end up feeling stuck and never finish their planner, or they create it, only to have it collect dust.

So, which scenario is better?

Neither. They are both important steps, but not the FIRST step.

I recommend starting with scenario 3: start with the end in mind. 

Here's what that looks like:  Before you finalize the content and style of your planner, AND before you start talking to printers, determine the following:

  1. The right price point for your product and for your market
  2. Your target profit margin - both short-term and long-term
  3. Your target sales volumes - both short-term and long-term
  4. Your must-haves and your nice-to-haves for content, style, timing, etc.

When you determine these, you’ll be able to have an educated conversation with the printing company, which will be key for setting yourself up for success.

It’s important to keep in mind that printers are salespeople too. 

I share this because, well, I experienced it firsthand. And so have many of my clients.  Printers will try to convince you that you need all the embellishments (you don't) and that you want or need things that don’t actually make sense for your first printing. 

Next thing you know, you've designed a product that's going to cost you $30 - $40 per planner (before you factor in your other costs), and you’ll have to charge $75 - $100 when you were originally planning to charge $35. 

So before you ever talk to printers, be sure you determine the 4 things above so you are set up to for success and to create a product that will be profitable.

There’s a lot more I can share with you about the process of creating a Planner, Workbook, or Journal in my free webinar where I cover:

  • The top 3 mistakes people make when creating a Planner, Workbook or Journal for their business
  • The critical first 3 action steps you need to take to get your Planner, Workbook or Journal created
  • How to get it created in the next 90 days

 You can sign up to join me here: https://www.leanoutmethod.com/webinar

I want to hear from you!  

What's been holding you back from either starting or finishing your planner, workbook, or journal?  Comment below.


by Crista Grasso

Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through the noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact RIGHT NOW to grow and scale your business. As a lean business consultant, she specializes in helping businesses gain clarity and focus through strategy, planning, and lean practices. She is the creator of the Lean Out Method and the 90-Day Lean Out Planner, and is also the founder of the global accessories brand Criscara Jewelry.


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