First and foremost, a head's up: this post isn't going to be my typical balanced review so much as it will be an all-in endorsement. I do not work for Passion Planner in any way, but I have become a diehard fan of their genius product.
No matter who you are, I'm sure you have a dream that you've been mulling over for a while. Months? Years? Do you wish you could be a singer/songwriter, or go back to business school, or learn to scuba dive? No matter what that dream may be, we all have one thing in common: we're not going to achieve anything by sitting around and waiting for it to happen. But sometimes we don't have the right tools to move forward, and we don't know where to look to acquire them.
As those of you who have been following since the beginning may realize, my path to business ownership has been long and circuitous. I bought a domain and started referring to my art studio as my art business in 2018. I had artistic talent and a desire to succeed. Unfortunately, I also had no idea what I was doing as a small business owner.
Of course, I am a stubborn woman. I wasn’t going to let a lack of a business degree stop me. I dove in head first, absorbing all the information and advice I could possibly find. I attended webinars, read blogs, and joined Facebook groups. By the time my second daughter was born in May 2019, I was overwhelmed, frustrated, and no farther in building my business than I had been a year ago. I dropped the rope, maintaining my domain name “just in case” but letting it sit.
In March 2020, with said daughter approaching her first birthday and the severity of the coronavirus situation becoming more apparent by the day, I saw an ad on Facebook offering a free Passion Planner—all I had to pay was the shipping fee. Normally I avoid clicking on Facebook ads like the plague, but something about this one stood out. It made me nostalgic for my college days when my academic planner was practically glued to my hands. I figured I didn’t have much to lose if the planner was free. And if it never showed, a lost shipping fee would hardly break the bank.
Spoiler alert: it did show. And my life, especially my life as a the owner of an art studio, changed dramatically. I fully believe that yours can too. There are four key steps to using the Passion Planner to maximize forward progress toward your dreams:
1. Make Ample Use of the Roadmaps
I know, this one probably seems obvious, but I cannot overstate how much of a difference it makes to plan ahead. Fill out your roadmaps every time they appear in the planner, writing down your dreams for both your personal life and your business. It’s a built-in brainstorming session that will give you clarity on your ultimate goals in life, which you can then break down into small, actionable steps.
My roadmaps tend to highlight my passion for both art and writing. I had let both slide to make room for mothering a newborn, but realizing how much both activities meant to me gave me the boost I needed to spend more time on them. Several months later, I’ve released a full art collection and figured out how to work writing into my business on a more regular basis. (You're reading the results!) Once the pandemic is over and I can escape to a library (AKA a quiet, kid-free zone), I'll dust off that novel I really need to finish.
Each month has its own space for a smaller roadmap, as well:
This helps you get really targeted with your goals, while still making sure they align with your grand schemes. Love 'em!
2. Fill up the Blank Pages in the Back
The blank pages are a godsend. Use them. Start writing down lyrics when you think of them, outline a marketing plan for a business idea you've been pondering, do some freewriting to brainstorm new ideas, or jot down the names of scuba instructors you'd like to work with. The back of my planner houses marketing notes, a list of therapists (because it's a pandemic, y'all!), a few sketches dating back to the planning stage of my art collection I released over the summer, a handful of goals I set for my writing career, and the results of my research on author websites. There is something so comforting about having all your important thoughts, goals, and accomplishments written out and neatly packed into one small, magical book.
3. Keep Track During the Week
Sure, any planner lets you build a weekly schedule. The Passion Planner, however, has even more tools to keep you on track. You can plan each day down to the hour—perfect for scheduling client meetings and other important deadlines—and fill out the priority lists to make sure you stay on track for your most pressing goals. There’s a “space of infinite possibility” for scribbling notes of any kind. There are even multiple spaces to prioritize your overall mental health. When you’re floating (or drowning) in a sea of responsibilities, it can be immensely valuable to slow down and acknowledge the bright spots in your life, no matter how small they may seem. Every cup of coffee savored makes life that much more enjoyable!
4. Act on Your Plans and Chase Those Dreams
I know, I know—easier said than done. The best part about this planner is its ability to reveal exactly where you need to go and how to get there as you work toward your biggest goals in life. Its open-ended structure is extremely flexible, so whether your goals are health-related, creative, work-related, or somewhere in between, you will benefit if you take its prompts and organizational qualities to heart. I guarantee that once you start turning the written plans into daily action, your progress will reflect that newfound focus and determination.
Consider this: since the Passion Planner showed up on my doorstep in March, I have released my first major art collection, filed LLC paperwork, taken an eight-week course on art licensing and a marketing class, redesigned my logo and website, taken a smaller course on surface pattern design, and assembled my comprehensive art portfolio. I’m in the process of pitching my work to art agents and developing products for wholesale. In short, I started taking myself and my dream seriously, and that dream suddenly grew wings.