My friends… what a ride these past six months have been. The unfolding of this “little summer project” has been everything unexpected and surprising. I think it’s important to be open and honest, especially in business. Even in the tiniest things, like running this itty bitty little blog, transparency and business can seem to war against each other. They shouldn’t. I’m launching my first PAID products on Etsy this week – what in the world! – and this warrants big-time transparency to my faithful people (ahem, you).

Before:

Before this blog existed, there was an Etsy shop.

I LOVE TO PLAN AND ORGANIZE, but none of the planners I had purchased over the years were quite right. No one seemed to really “get it” or maybe, just “get me” – in the planner world. I wanted something simple, beautiful, and efficient.

So, after years of (minor – let’s be real) frustration, I decided to make my own planners. I experimented for a while, and eventually created a solid handful of printable planning products that worked for me. I loved them enough that at some point it occurred to me — other people might like them too. I branded, got on Etsy, and learned a whole bunch of stuff about the Internet and printable products. I was less than a week out from launching the shop when I stumbled across the fine print on the software I used to create the products. I could not legally sell anything I produced using this program.

Best laid plans, you know?

So, I took a week to collect myself. I had poured months of late nights into this project, and it had just fallen apart in 5 seconds flat.

I sought counsel from friends and mentors, whined to my husband, and toiled away hopelessly at the computer before I realized that just because I couldn’t SELL the products didn’t mean I couldn’t GIVE them!

…duh.

Then:

Enter blog. This blog is very easily one of my favorite things about 2016. It’s been a big experiment, mostly, and I’ve enjoyed it so much that it has kept me up (happily) until the AM hours many, many nights. I started blogging this summer, and gave away some of my unsellable products along the way. It has been SO FUN! It has helped me to realize what my readers really wanted – and didn’t want.

A few weeks into the blog, I started getting brave enough to start rethinking my original plan. I love blogging, and I think I will do it forever. Writing has always been a way for me to process, grow, and connect, and BestLaidPlansBlog has been no exception. Thank YOU for reading! I’m a newbie in the world of blogging still, but the relationships that have developed from this hobby have been substantial and very meaningful. The blog is here to stay.

Much as I love blogging, I don’t want that to be the end of my reach. I have a knack for efficiency and planning, and I want to create things that will help simplify that process for other people. I’ve also been learning that it’s not too bold to say this – I want to earn money for my hard work!

So, after I got past my initial setback, I got proactive: I listened to dozens upon dozens of podcasts, took as many online webinars as I could, met with a local acquaintance (who now just feels like a biz buddy!) who is doing something similar, and just kept trying tons and tons of new stuff. I had so many ideas, and I tried as many of them as I feasibly could. I remember telling my mom, half-inspired, half-defeated, one day – “I’m just throwing everything I’ve got out there and seeing what sticks!” And it’s felt like that a lot of days. The Internet is so pretty and put-together and functional and lovely. The reason why? Well… It seems to be this weird combination of passion and talent and energy and hard work. And for some reason I think I might be able to do it.

So. Once I felt ready, I took the leap and purchased Big Scary Design Software that, honestly, is REALLY HARD to navigate for non-tech folks like me… and I eventually figured out the basics. I probably crushed 10 gallons of coffee, gained 10 grey hairs, and lost 100 hours of sleep in the process. Now I know why the free software I was using initially wouldn’t let me sell the stuff I “made” using their program! All of the hard work had already been done! Design ain’t easy (“duh”, say all the art majors in the room…).

Now:

So. Many. Hours. have gone into this. Because? It’s a passion. I think I’m blessed to have more than one passion. More than one “job”. And most days, neither one of them feels like work. This is a joy and a privilege.

It’s felt hard and vulnerable. Making something out of nothing is hard and weird and open. It’s also really freeing. I’ve been able to create something that I am proud of and that serves a purpose in my life. Because at the honest, basic, heart of this thing, I still just want a planner that works. This is silly and not even remotely philosophical, but it is important! Our days matter, and the way we plan them makes a big difference.

Real Talk…

I still feel really weird about this sometimes. Like, how am I a stay-at-home-mom and a piano teacher and a… planner designer??? None of this makes sense. But it all feels right. So, away we go to the next adventure. I hope my first line of planning products is as helpful to you as it has been to me!

And, true, real talk. I just mean this:

I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it if I hadn’t had a good planner.

You can find my new favorites on Etsy <3 <3 I hope they become your faves, too.

www.etsy.com/shop/BestLaidPlansShop

Happy Thanksgiving! Plan on.

Kelsey