My Journey to Creating a 90-Day Planner - Part One

create a planner Aug 24, 2020

Have you ever thought about creating a physical planner, workbook or journal for your business, but the idea seemed way too complicated and time-consuming to actually follow through with?

Yep, I know the feeling. And guess what? It IS complicated... if you are doing it for the first time without any guidance.

How I started on the journey to create a planner

My planner journey started a couple years ago. At the time, I was consulting with Fortune 50 clients while working privately with entrepreneurs and small business owners. Although the size, scale, and types of businesses I was working with were vastly different, I was repeatedly doing the same things with each of them, and they were getting incredible results.  

Such incredible results that I tended to work with companies and business owners for years. Contracts were repeatedly extended, and the wait list to work with me was long.

I wanted to be able to share the method I was using with more people and remove myself as the bottleneck in reaching as many people as possible. 

Since I was doing strategic planning in 90 day cycles with all of my clients, I had the idea of translating my signature method into a 90 day planner. 

I ran it by a few clients and they were so excited about it that they then kept asking when the planner would be out.

So, it passed my first test of - would it add value to my current clients.  The answer was an overwhelming yes! I later ran it through several other tests, all of which passed with flying colors. I will share more about that later in part two and three of this blog series.

So why didn't I rush out and create my planner right away?

As much as I loved the idea and could see the value in it, I also didn't want to jump into adding a physical product to my already successful consulting and coaching business without fully understanding how to do it and validating that it would be a profitable revenue stream.

In addition to the consulting I was doing with Fortune 50 companies, and the private coaching I was doing through the Lean Out Method, I was also the owner and designer for the global accessories brand Criscara. I understood what it would take to successfully transform my idea into a physical product, and how to brand, market, position, and sell that product.

I had two trains of thought:

  1. I was aware of all the complexities, expenses, and overhead that goes along with a physical product, as well as the risk of getting things wrong. This made me very careful in my consideration of when and how I would add this physical asset to my business.
  2. Because I have decades of experience in running product and service based businesses, I also knew all the incredible benefits of having a tangible product in your customers hands that they see and use daily. I knew physical products are a great way to build brand loyalty, create word of mouth marketing, and user generated content that can grow your business like wildfire - and in a very different way from the digital experience provided through coaching, consulting, and courses.

So I did my research.

I tried to understand what it would take to create not just any physical product, but a planner, workbook or journal.

If you've tried to do any research on creating your own, you know what I found. A lot of nothing. At least nothing valuable or remotely useful for what I was trying to do as the information available is surface level at best.  So I accepted that I had my work cut out for me and I was going to have a steep learning curve.

I obviously decided that it was well worth the time and financial investment to add a 90 Day Planner to my offers, and I couldn't be happier with that decision. 

If I have any regrets in my whole journey it's that I didn't do it sooner.

But like most things in business, once I committed to creating the planner, I moved quickly!

Keep reading for part 2 of this series, where I share how I created my planner in only 90 days (and with some epic disasters...  I mean learning experiences of course!) while I was consulting in India in a completely different time zone.

For now, I'd love to hear from you!

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


Hey coaches, consultants, and entrepreneurs - if you are ready to create a planner, create a workbook, or create a journal for your business, I invite you to join me for my free Create a Planner, Workbook, or Journal (PWJ) Webinar where I'll be sharing everything you need to know to create, design, and print a profitable PWJ and add an additional revenue stream to your business.  See you in the webinar!

by Crista Grasso

Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale.  Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business.  She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast


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