Forward Motion, by Amanda Hansen of Write Stuff Planning

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monica, here!  Today, I asked one of my dearest friends to do a guest post for my Do Something series.  (Pssst!  I am refocusing on this series and you can participate!  Learn more here.)  

Amanda Hansen and I met as Freshman students at BYU and we have been friends for over 12 years now.  Panda, as our college buds call her, is full of fun, smarts, and genuine goodness.

Let me just say that I asked Amanda-Panda to write this post, but she doesn't know I'm doing a big plug for her product, too.  But I am.  Because I happen to really, really, really love her product and it matches with my core purpose behind all I do on the internet--PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION!!  You can see more on what I have to say below, as well as a CODE for how to get Amanda's product at a discount, as well as how to win one on my Instagram account.  

Back to the guest post!  Amanda did something really brave and scary this past year: she and her father launched a company called Write Stuff Planning.  While Amanda is totally awesome and hilarious, she describes herself as "overly cautious and risk averse."  Since starting your own company demands huge risks, you can imagine what Amanda has had to push herself through to get this dream going!  I'd like her to tell you more, so on to Amanda's brilliant writing of her tale behind starting her own company!

You remember that annoying kid on the playground who always reminded everyone about the rules and never broke any of them because she might get hurt or in trouble if she did? That was me. I’ve always been overly cautious and risk averse, but I also have a fairly entrepreneurial spirit. My own personal Catch 22.  My dad also has the soul of an entrepreneur and we’ve talked about starting a business together for years. We always got stuck on finding “The Idea.” The big one that would change the world as we know it. We’d come up with a possibility then quickly find an excuse to drop it. Someone else had already done it or something kind of like it, it might be too much of an investment up front, it might fail. 

Last spring my dad told me about an article he read about a start up that had sparked an idea. Within 30 minutes we had developed the basic structure of our product and how we would produce it. I knew how to do all that would be required on the product development and marketing side and my dad had the finance and operational know how to get things going. At the end of the conversation, we just kind of stared at each other for a minute waiting for the other to give a reason why we shouldn’t do it. My dad said something along the lines of, “Well, maybe it’s something to think about.” Before I knew what I was saying I said, “Why think about it. Let’s just do it.” 

It was a moment of realization for both of us that you have to make a conscious choice to step off the hamster wheel and start moving forward.  We found an idea that we believed in and were passionate about. We had the knowledge to get going and the desire to learn how to fill in the gaps. The required investment wouldn’t break the bank if it failed. It was time to move. 

The product development phase was a lot of fun. We were finally experiencing the thrills of owning our own company. We celebrated getting our LLC, our bank account, even our tax ID. Designing the product and logo was a blast. But then it was time to start showing people. We are both introverts so talking about ourselves is not very high on our to-do list. It took me over an hour to draft an email to my college girlfriends to say, “Hey friends, my dad and I are developing goal setting day planners. Could you take a look at our cover options and tell me if you like any of them?” I felt so very vulnerable. Even though I know they all loved me and would be excited for me, my mind raced with negative thoughts. “They’ll think this is so lame. They won’t like any of the designs. They probably won’t even respond.” Thankfully, they kindly responded with words of encouragement.

I’ve naturally learned a ton about starting a business throughout this process, but I’ve also learned a lot about myself:
  • I hate being vulnerable, but if I didn’t embrace vulnerability over and over, no one would know that our planners exist. 
  • I can do hard things. Figuring out how to sell products on is a very hard thing.
  • It’s okay to ask for help. Thanks for figuring out Amazon, Dad!
  • I enjoy moving forward more than talking about moving forward.
  • I have an incredible support system that has helped improve my confidence immensely. It’s so important to cheer others on and give encouragement freely.

There have been so many roadblocks throughout the processes. Things that we didn’t know how to do, answers that were hard to find, ideas and efforts that failed. The last few days we’ve been plowing through another roadblock. Sometimes it’s fun to work through the challenges; sometimes it’s really not fun at all. Together, we take a step forward. It might be in the wrong direction, but the goal is to just keep moving until we get where we need to be. I’m so glad that we finally took that first step last spring.

Amanda (and padre!), I am SO proud of not only facing those big fears head on, but also making something remarkable in the process!  

May I tell you a bit about these planners?

I ordered one myself (yes, I paid for it with my own money without Amanda's knowledge--remember, this post is not sponsored in any way!) and it honestly is the best planner I've had since I was an OCD planner at BYU.  The planners from Write Stuff Planning are more than just a way for you to catalog your to-do lists and organize appointments in your calendar--they are GOAL SETTING planners, too. And for me, that's already making the biggest difference in how I am prioritizing my time and what I actually get done. (I'll share more on that later this week!)

At the beginning of the planner, there are places for you to set larger goals under categories of your choice (such as Health, Mental, Spiritual, Career, etc.), then you prioritize and narrow them down to three long-term goals, and finally a place for you to break those into short-term goals. 

There are also monthly calendars as well as weekly planning calendars.  On the weekly pages, not only can you schedule out your day, but there are places for you to prioritize your tasks as well.  Also, there is a whole section at the bottom of each week where you set goals and then reflect on how you met those by the end of the week.  Finally, each page has a motivational quote or two that inspires you to get your stuff done. 

I'm using the extra space available on each page to meal plan, schedule out posts, record my "connect with kids" goal as well as track my exercise, and keep a running list of posts I want to write and recipes I'd like to try.  

I'm using this planner for everything.

As you can see, I've already jumped into this planner full-throttle.  Remember, I used to be OCD about planning, but that somehow slipped out of my personal practice once I switched from being a full-blown perfectionist to its direct opposite.  I'm trying to bring back some of my old good habits, and planning is one of those.  I prefer paper for task and goal-setting to writing on my phone, as I want to avoid getting sucked into the black hole that is my phone as much as possible.

There are more covers than the flower one you can see at the top of this post, including gender-neutral covers.  I think this is the perfect planner for every man, woman, and kid out there who wants to not only organize their lives, but prioritize their tasks according to their long and short-term goals.

You can get your planners here (I'm an Amazon affiliate), and if  you use the code APWS2017 you can get 15% off!  
Want to win one?  Check out my Instagram to see my giveaway of a planner of your choice, and paid for by me.  


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