Learn how to create Planners for Coaches in this Creative Entrepreneur Chat with Jennifer Dawn, the Creator of Best Planner Ever
Jennifer Dawn is a 6-7-figure business coach who works with women to help grow their business.
To help guide & direct her clients, Jennifer create a planner which ended up turning into an additional revenue line.
Learn how to do this for your business
– Jennifer is sharing everything she did from beginning to end to make The Best Planner Ever a huge success. As well as her vision for the future.
Lisa Siefert: 00:00 Hi Everyone, we are here today with Jennifer Dawn, which is going to be so awesome because they talk about this all the time about how you can combine having a great planner system and another business and they compliment each other so you’re in for a treat today because Jennifer don is going to let us in on all her great secrets. So welcome Jennifer.
Jennifer Dawn: 00:21 Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Lisa Siefert: 00:25 Yeah, thanks so much for being on. So just you guys know. I don’t know. Um, I know Jennifer because I think she is just before she even made planners. She’s an amazing leader and so I just loved her energy and she was in charge of this networking group in New York and it was like when I was first starting out. So Jennifer was like my first mentor ever in the whole interview
Jennifer Dawn: 00:45 for newer, like world. That’s so awesome. That makes me smile. That’s really awesome.
Lisa Siefert: 00:52 Yeah. So tell us more about you and Jennifer Dawn coaching.
Jennifer Dawn: 00:57 OK, absolutely. Well, I think I was born with the entrepreneurial bug because I had my first business when I was eight years old and I, I remember, um, I would sell apples off my grandfather’s tree and he had a chiropractic office and so the patients would come in and out and I was like, Hey, I could sell apples. So those patients coming in and out and I, they, they were like, you should have a lemonade stand. I’m like, no, everybody does that. I want to do something different. So this is me at eight years old and I remember making like one day I think I need to hold dollars. And it was like I had eight shiny quarters. I remember just being like, that’s the coolest thing ever. And now looking back I realize it was probably my most perfect, most profitable business because the apples were free.
Jennifer Dawn: 01:43 I had a steady stream of people coming in and out, you know, in a kid you can’t really say no to a kid. So that was probably, that was my first business. Let’s see, I went on to start more of a real company when I was 23, I didn’t know anything, I was just stubborn and I thought I could do it better. And I started a software company and I grew that really from nothing or the sales my first year with $300 and I grew that to over seven figures and I had that for about 30. Yeah, I had that for about 13 years. I was in the software world and we did um, point of sales systems for amusement parks, waterparks ski resorts and those kinds of places that sell a ticket. We did their front gate pos system. So let’s see. So then, um, I went into, I’m still doing point of sale but a different industry and I was hired on as the division president for a very large, um, a big $50,000,000 manufacturing company and they had bought a software company and they had no idea what to do with it because they were manufacturing people.
Jennifer Dawn: 02:46 Um, so they hired me in to run their software division, which I did for a few years and grew their sales there as well. Um, and really I enjoyed the work but I, at this point I had three children and I was never home, just corporate was really not a good fit. And so I decided to go back out on my own and it’s so funny when I first kind of step back out on my own, I started doing some marketing consulting work and one of my clients was actually an intuitive and she hired me to like rewrite a bunch of things on her website and we were on the phone one day and she just sort of like gave me this like impromptu reading and said, Jennifer, I see it was a business coach. You should immediately rebrand yourself. I see big money in it for you.
Jennifer Dawn: 03:31 I was like hell wants to be a business coach like crazy. And I didn’t, I just didn’t really even give it a real serious thought. And so it wasn’t until, um, I had gone through a divorce and I met and had not married yet, but I relocated to New York, um, with my now husband and that’s where the women entrepreneurs group had, um, I had gone to one of the meetings to meet people and when they found out, um, my education in my history, my history and my experience, they were like, oh my gosh, you’d be perfect to help us in the group mentoring other women. And so I did that for a few years, loved the work and really it was there that I kind of found this love of coaching and mentoring and helping others. And I realized, Hey, you know, I do have a lot of really good experience here and I happen to really love it. And that’s really what kind of gave me the courage to step out into coaching. And from there I went out on my own and I’ve been going like gangbusters ever since.
Lisa Siefert: 04:38 Cool. Yeah, I mean it makes total sense because you’re very charismatic, you’re great at encouraging and being supportive. So it only makes sense that you would go into coaching and to also go into planning because I don’t know if you can say this, there was nothing wrong with the group before, but it was never organized like you never knew what was going on or who was doing what. But like, what’s Jennifer came onboard, there was a schedule, people knew what was going on. It was like night and day. So I really liked it.
Jennifer Dawn: 05:06 I just tend to be, it’s not that I’m super regimented, but I really liked to make sure that the most important things get done and you know, you kind of sometimes need a schedule to make that happen. So thank you. It’s a compliment to hear that because definitely I, I, I, um, I loved running a tight ship and so that’s probably why I really love the work I do where I’m really helping entrepreneurs to kind of tighten up their businesses.
Lisa Siefert: 05:36 Yeah. So let’s talk about the best planner ever and how that fits in with Jennifer Dawn.
Jennifer Dawn: 05:41 Yeah, absolutely. So the planner actually came about as really from my coaching. So when I had gone out on my own for coaching, I was sitting in looking at my desk one day and I literally had the $10 planner, the appointment book from I had, you know, a vision book. I had goals stop, I had a book of inspirational quotes, I had sticky notes everywhere and I was just like, ah, I’ve got to do something with all of this. And I hadn’t really found a planner that worked for me that brought in all elements. And so for me, I’m very logical and analytical on that scheduling and organization side. But I’m also very creative and I’ve got a really strong spiritual side and I love all the woo woo stuff. So I wanted something that was going to combine the power of visualization with, you know, my goals, my tangible action steps and making sure that every day I wasn’t getting caught up in busy, busy and was really working on the right things.
Jennifer Dawn: 06:47 Meanwhile keeping myself, you know, taking care of myself so my batteries were full and I can serve my clients and staying motivated and inspired and all that together. And so that’s really where it came about is I created something for myself to use for me and then I found that it was working so well. I started using it with my clients and they were like, holy crap, this is really great. And I’m like, I know, right? It’s really great. So, um, that’s really kinda how it started is I created as a tool for myself and then took that into my clients and then the response was really positive. And so from there that’s when my business side of my brain was like, wait a second, this could actually be a business. And that’s what I did with it.
Lisa Siefert: 07:36 It is great. So when you were making that planner and everyone thinks not do so many things to consider, like what were important features that you wanted to make sure were included?
Jennifer Dawn: 07:45 Yeah, and there are a lot of features when you think about creating a plan or a sound simple, but we have to try to take in everything that goes on in your own day. And then it gets more complicated when you’re now like, hey, what goes on in everybody else’s Day can get complicated very quickly. But the, for me, the key pieces were vision board. So really getting clear on where I wanted to be a year from now, three years from now, five years from now. And for me, the power of visualization and seeing it, that was the first key piece was having my vision board and I wanted it integrated with my daily planner so that [inaudible], you know, I’ve created vision boards before and then they end up in a drawer or hang on a wall behind the door and you don’t look at it right?
Jennifer Dawn: 08:36 You don’t look at it, you don’t see it. And so I really wanted to have my vision board right there so that before I plan my day, I could look at my vision board and that would be an instant. Am I working on the right things today? Like no question about it. So Vision Board was the one key piece. The second key piece was going be the goals for me, whatever you call them, benchmarks, you know, mile markers, goals. I don’t care about the terminology, it’s just breaking down now where I want to be in the future by measurable benchmarks. So I wanted those big, bigger goals in there. And then of course on that daily planning sheet, my number one goal is just making sure, like how do I want my ideal day to go, how do I want it to go and so I need a reminder in there to take care of myself, but you know, not running myself into the ground and do some self care. Um, I want a place for my sticky notes because I use them all the time and I want to know what’s my top priority. So when I sit down to work for the day, no matter what stuff I have to do, I’m doing at least one thing to get me closer to that vision board. So those were the pieces that really kind of went into the creation of it that were really important to me.
Lisa Siefert: 09:59 Awesome. Yeah. And I love that it’s black and white because at first I remember thinking why isn’t a colorful, but this is like, it’s much more professional and if you want to then you can use any colors or post-its and those will pop and stand out
Jennifer Dawn: 10:10 better. Yeah, exactly. And you know, um, I would love to have a little more color in there. Our printer, we print on demand so that we won’t have a lot of waste. That was really important to me to not have wasted. And so we print on demand but it sounds silly, but the other reason why I just wanted plain black and white paper was because if the papers to pretty, I won’t ride on it because I don’t want to mess it up because it’s too pretty and I’m not exactly. My writing’s a mess and it made the page look terrible. And so I kept it black and white because for me to really be a useful tool, I didn’t want to be afraid to just get in there and write all over it.
Lisa Siefert: 10:54 Good point. So what was your. So we talked about it, you know, it was just kinda came out organically. You made a planner that you wanted for yourself and your business, you know, when you thought about making it for others, was it because you wanted another revenue line or is it a new business venture or lead magnet for your coaching?
Jennifer Dawn: 11:14 You know, in the beginning it was really more about keeping myself on track and then it definitely was about really helping my clients. Um, that was really my intention with it is that I can use this as a tool to help them get better results and results are really important for me. So that’s really where it started. It wasn’t until people really started to kind of like it that I started to think, hey, this could also be a good side business and it’s almost like a way of expanding my coaching into a different area. Um, we do a lot of time management work in my business coaching, but the planner lets me get into other places with, you know, that aren’t even necessarily business related. I’m just really kind of getting into a person’s life that may not even have a business, so I love how it allows me to still take some of those time management strategies and techniques and just help apply that to any woman. And, and honestly I’ve had a lot of men using the planner to use it was just for women, but I get along with men who use it, um, but really just kind of helping us all to manage that day to day chaos that we all, um, we all have in this busy world we live in.
Lisa Siefert: 12:30 Yeah, it’s interesting you say that. I don’t think any of us think about men when it comes to planners and I make, you know, pretty girly ones. Did I still even have guys that write to me and say, thanks, I liked this and I just thought I didn’t mean to market to you, but that’s great that you like it.
Jennifer Dawn: 12:45 True. And because, um, I think I used to use more like swirly font inside and I did, I made it a little more gender neutral because I have had so many men buying the planner. Um, I kind of backed off a little bit of the girly, um, to, to, to work with the men and um, I think it’s great, but you’re right, like I have googled, you know, planners for men and they’re just, there really aren’t any, it’s the same planner that the women are buying that the men are buying too. So, um,
Lisa Siefert: 13:18 it’d be a huge untapped market.
Jennifer Dawn: 13:22 I’ve thought of this and I’ve even run some ads and stuff to men and they definitely work and the men, the men absolutely buy them. So it may be a huge untapped market. I think sometimes men start to think that a planner isn’t manly and they get, you know, a little scared off by that. But for the men who are brave enough to just be like, Hey, I want to get my stuff together, more power to them.
Lisa Siefert: 13:46 Right, exactly. So, you know, talking about getting things together. So, you know, we talked about the features that you wanted and how you decided on print, on demand, you know, how long did it take you to go from inception to your first sale?
Jennifer Dawn: 14:01 Oh Gosh. Well, my first sale came pretty quickly because I think I just had some friends who bought down, so that part was um, and I would say from the time I started designing, went into production, got the first prototype I want to say that was probably 30 to 45 days, you know, somewhere around in there. Remember I was doing this on the side so I still had my coaching practice in and when I had time I would work on the planner, so probably took a little longer to get through that piece because I wasn’t really working on it full time. But I remember I still have it. My first prototype I remember when it showed up and I was just like, overjoyed to see my design actually be something tangible I could hold in my hands. And I loved because in coaching you’re talking, you know, it’s a service. There’s not a lot of tangible, there’s not something physical you can hold on to. So it’s really been nice to have that element of my business school thing that I actually print and ship out. And I’m not just on the service side. And I was in software for so many years too, so service all software, you know, you can’t really touch it, but the planner you can touch and I just love that.
Lisa Siefert: 15:18 Great. And you know, talking about that prototype from the first year to what it looks like now, you know, how has it changed and where those personal decisions or feedback or business decisions.
Jennifer Dawn: 15:28 Yeah. So, um, definitely some of it was personal as I use this planner, like it’s what sits on my desk and runs my business and my life every day. So it’s not something that I created and I use something else. Like I, the one thing I’m not as a hypocrite, I’m not going to say hey this works, then I don’t use it. So I use it every single day. So some of it definitely came from my own, just like, hey, this might work a little better. And then the rest of the changes for sure had come from feedback. I really listened to my customers. Um, you know, as you start to get bigger and bigger, you’ll get requests that are just a little nuts and you’re just like, yeah, I just can’t, I just can’t do that. Um, but, but the, the feedback that comes in that you’re like, wow, that could really, um, that could really help others.
Jennifer Dawn: 16:15 I had a lady who suggested in my sticky note box there’s a meal and exercise tracker and she’s like, could you add water to that and put a little water glasses? I’m like, I could totally do that and that is a great idea. So that’s going to be in 2019, so definitely be back from the people who were using it. It’s super, super important in um, the changes that we make and I, and now I’ve kind of gotten. So I released my first one in 2015. I’m working on 2019. Um, it’s crazy. I actually got my first request for 2019 like a week ago and I’m like, it’s march. Already had its large normally start coming in until like June, July. I was like, no way. Somebody has already asking me for this and marge, but um, we are working on [inaudible] 19 now and I noticed it the first, um, year two years I made more design changes. Now the design is pretty rock solid. People love it and I’m like, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. So we’ll make little design changes. We’re making just a few improvements in the overall formatting, but the bulk of it is really pretty solid at this point and I’m not going to really be changing too much.
Lisa Siefert: 17:31 OK, so let’s talk about that process. What was your process did you like the most versus the least like the design, the production, the sales, the launch.
Jennifer Dawn: 17:42 Sure. I loved the design. Absolutely. Um, production was awesome. When you get like that first prototype and you’re holding in your hands, like that’s really, really exciting. When it’s the week before Christmas and everything’s flying off the shell, it’s a really good problem to have. And on the flip side you’re like, holy crap, everything’s flying off the shelf. It takes me 10 days to replenish my inventory. There’s a snow storm. Ups can’t get here. I can get all my delivery down to the post office. Like, I mean, there was a day where my husband was like, you cannot go to the post office, the roads are closed, it’s snowing. And I’m like, Nah, I have no, you know, so it’s like this, um, mixed, you know, production becomes great until the printer is like, hey, we have a delay. And I’m like, no, this is my busiest time of the year.
Jennifer Dawn: 18:42 So, um, it’s, it’s kind of like that mixed bag of one site is great once I’ve not so great, it becomes great. So, um, sales are great. Um, I mean when I first launched it, I was, the names that would come through on the orders would be friends, people I knew in my network. Awesome. Now it’s occasional, it’s not that they’re not in there, but there’s so many other orders and they’re all strangers. People I, I don’t know. And that was a really awesome transitioned to kind of make from now all these orders I process, I do not, I don’t know these people. I still see my friends come through, but it’s very, very small portion compared to the total volume of sales. So that’s been really exciting just to say a stranger went to my website, saw my planner and like to me, that’s huge. Arabs, uh, you know, that they’ve trusted me with their daily planning. Ah, it feels like a great honor.
Lisa Siefert: 19:43 Yeah. So the, um, so let’s talk about that launch because I don’t think people realize when you have a dated planner, it’s very much tied to the calendar year. So you know, what are some lessons learned from the years on how to launch those new planners each year?
Jennifer Dawn: 19:59 Yeah, absolutely. A dated planner can be the bane of your existence or a beautiful miracle. And I, I love the data planner because I don’t want to waste time writing in the date I want it done for me. And if the date is on the page, I’m going to write on it because today’s the only day that it’s really gonna work. So this is why I love the data planner to. Whereas sometimes the fill in the date, once it’s, it’s too easy to just not use it that day. So I love that part about the data planners, but definitely timing is everything because based on like I in a million years, never thought that people would want the next year or in the summer. I’m like, June, why would you want next year? I’m not planning next year eight. Right. And yet people are asking. And so I’ve learned like, all right, I need to have this thing.
Jennifer Dawn: 20:57 Last year I had it out by the end of August this year. I’m going to have it out probably in the beginning of June. Um, just because that’s what I’ve learned of the timing of when people kind of start to ask me for things. Also because it’s a dated planner, um, you know, I have a six month version that goes January through June, so come may I really have to rely on my stock and my inventory because I don’t want waste. And so I will end up, you know, starting to discount and, and get rid of what’s sitting on my shelves and not be replenishing the January through June, but then at the same time, that’s also a great time to start promoting July through December. Yeah. Now I have the 12 month of course too. So a lot of people have just bought it for the year, but for those who only did the six month, you know, there’s an opportunity there for them to come and get that July planner.
Jennifer Dawn: 21:52 So definitely you’ve got to pay attention to those dates. And honestly I’ve just watched the business and because I’m in business all the time, I think I’ve just learned to watch and pay attention and see what the market demands and not try to control the market, but let them market control me. So now I know like, Hey, this needs to go on sale now and when stock gets to a level don’t reorder. Um, I’d rather be out for a few than to have a huge surplus. So the timing is definitely been in. Definitely been important. Great. We should talk about, you said you like doing the design phase. I want to show us really planets. Oh absolutely. So I have my planner. I’m going to show you really quick. So here’s my planner that sits on my desk. If you can see it and it’s kind of a bit of a mess, but at the, at the front you’re able to see these are like some of my vision pages so that when I’m sitting in planning my goals and stuff, I’m looking and saying, hey, what am I after this year?
Jennifer Dawn: 22:59 This is an example of a stencil cover for the six month. If you can hopefully see that without a six month version. I have a January through June and July through December we’ve got the, the quick reference tabs because I like to be able to jump from month to month and then I use the tabs for other things. So I know like if I have flipped a monthly tab, it’s time to do my monthly planning. It’s time to look back over the past month and see anything I’ve missed. Um, yeah. So that’s, that’s an example of the planner. And it spiral bound, I wanted it to lay flat on a desk and just, it’s really designed, it’s not going to win like a beauty pageant and some planners that are out there or with the covers and the goals role and they’re beautiful. But I’ve found I will not use them. They’re too pretty. I don’t want to muck them up. So really I designed this planner to be functional. It’s going to lay on your desk. It’s um, it’s flexible. So like it bends you can, you can put it in a purse. Um, you know, it’s, it’s really going to travel well and it’s really built to function and be a tool not to, uh, not to win, but passion, wanting, like a super pretty planner is spreading, but it’s not like the prettiest. So
Lisa Siefert: 24:29 it’s not enough to make it into Hollywood. Right. Wasn’t included in a huge gift bag.
Jennifer Dawn: 24:35 Um, it was, I don’t know, I’m sorry, I’m glaring a little bit. Um, it was, it was in the gift bags for one of the award shows that’s flying out of my head right now. But yes, they did. They chose it to be in the gift bags for the award show. Um, it was a big one. It was one of the, you know, the red carpet because the Oscars, the academies, right? It was. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Which was such a huge, huge honor and you know, and it was just like, if you look at the way the pages are designed, it’s so good for just setting yourself up for your day. The daily time management, I think that um, you know, the black and white is kind of perfect for that. It really makes you focus on the, the, the purpose and the intention of planning the day.
Lisa Siefert: 25:22 And did you see a spike in traffic and sales after that event?
Jennifer Dawn: 25:28 A little bit, yeah. Yeah. Not a huge one. I’m not as big as I was of course hoping for, but I’m not as much. Do you know the biggest spike in my traffic has come from getting my funnel. My sales funnel really dialed in and my, my advertising targeting really dialed in. That’s really where I’ve seen the biggest spike in traffic is just really working on that. And it was not easy, it took months and months and lots of money wasted on facebook ads to get it really, really dialed in. But then once I did, that’s where I’ve really found the steady increasing traffic. If I want to sell more, I increase my budget. Cool.
Lisa Siefert: 26:10 Yeah. We’ve all been there where she sees the facebook bill and you’re like, I don’t think I even made this much. Awesome. So let’s talk about what’s the planning club?
Jennifer Dawn: 26:23 OK. So Planning Club came about from I have lots and lots of videos. And so I was recording videos on, OK, hey, you know, this is how you can do a vision board. This is how you do a vision statement. Um, I was also recording for them in my coaching practice. So it’s like teaching my clients about time management. And so I started having all of these different videos where I’ve been. I was teaching, teaching, teaching. And so I just decided, you know what, I’m going to do something with all of this. And I basically just threw it into a big library. So there’s videos I recorded in there. There’s videos that we actually go out every month and we look for videos from time management experts. We just added a great one from Brené Brown on boundaries, just anything that relates to productivity, efficiency, goals, time management, you know, having all these things in your life without going crazy.
Jennifer Dawn: 27:15 And we put that into planning club. And then we also have a facebook group. Um, so every week in the facebook group we put a little note in there. It’s like, what’s your priority for the week? And people can set their intention, set their priorities and also if they need any kind of help, like sometimes you’re just stuck. And so it’s just a way for me to really connect with the people who use the planner who might be a little stuck, might have a question, they can come to the facebook group and they can really hear directly from me or a member of my team. So that’s planning club very well. I made it very, very inexpensive and easy to get access to. But this way the videos, um, you know, people could watch on their own pace, you know, there’s one in there that’s like the best visioning exercise ever. And I will watch it. I’ll watch it every year. I’ll watch it throughout the year. So just anytime you need like that. Oh, I want to go watch that again. It’s right there for ya.
Lisa Siefert: 28:09 Cool. Awesome. So now that people have gotten to know you and how would they connect with you and really though, who should connect with you? You know, who’s your ideal client?
Jennifer Dawn: 28:21 Yeah. So for the planner side, you can just go to the website, which is best planner ever adopt comm. Um, yes, I really did name my planner and best planner ever. I was just like, I was telling my husband one day, I’m like, it’s the best butter ever. Like it really is the best planner ever. And I’m like, yes, if it’s for you, it really is. Um, it’s not for everybody. I get that. But for those who is for it really works quite well. So you can go to my website, best planner ever doesn’t contact form their course and really my ideal client there is just anybody who’s really looking for a tool to keep them focused on the right priorities every day. It’s not about filling the pages and getting as much done as you possibly can and running yourself into the ground. It’s really about focusing on your priorities and using it as a tool to keep yourself focused on those priorities so that you’re really moving your dreams forward.
Jennifer Dawn: 29:18 And then on the coaching side, you can get me@JenniferDawncoaching.com and um, there’s obviously a contact form there that’ll go right to me and for doing coaching business owners who want to optimize their business for profitability. So it’s not really for startups, it’s for business owners who have already been in business. They know how to sell. I’m not teaching anybody how to sell. There’s plenty of people who do that. Um, but if they, maybe they are barely breaking even. They might even be in the red or they just want to increase the profits that they do have. I’ve actually identified 45 places in your business where you can lose money and so I have a whole program where we really go through the business top to bottom to optimize it for profitability and it’s everything from your time you could be losing money from how you’re spending your time, you know, all the way down to implementing an actual cash management system that will run in the business and to really make every dollar work for you. So generally I work with business owners who have businesses, you know, half a million, a million and up. But um, you know, I, I do also work with some smaller businesses as well, but any business owner who really wants to make their efforts go further, that’s what we do in coaching.
Lisa Siefert: 30:39 Cool. Awesome. So I believe all of her contact information below for the planner and for Jennifer Don poaching. And you’re ready for the speed round? I’m running. I’m ready. OK, here we go. Android or iphone? Definitely iphone, Mac or PC, definitely pc ice cream or frozen yogurt. This is a tough one, but lately I’ve been on a frozen yogurt kick and chocolate or vanilla.
Jennifer Dawn: 31:07 I’m a vanilla girl all the way.
Lisa Siefert: 31:09 Awesome. You know, that’s interesting that you love pcs, but you’re an iphone girl.
Jennifer Dawn: 31:13 Hi. Now I know that’s my only like Mac device and I love my iphone, but all my work is on the PC.
Lisa Siefert: 31:21 Interesting. All right, well thank you so much for being on and I will talk to you later. All right, sounds good. Thank you.