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How to Create a Planner to Sell

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Designing your own planner is a great way to use your creative abilities and turn it into a way to work from the comfort of your home. The opportunities are endless for the type of planners you can create, and especially if you see a specific type of need out there. 

Creating a planner means you can work from home, and choose when you want to work as well. You can choose the route of creating a physical planner that you print yourself and send to customers, or you can use a third-party printing service. 

You can also create a fully digital planner where your customer can print it out themselves, or even a template where they can customize it to their liking. 

Choose which option is best for you and turn it into a successful planner business! Here we will cover everything you need to know about how to create a planner to sell. 

How to Make a Planner to Sell

You’ve decided to start making your own planner to sell, but how do you do this? We are going to cover exactly what you need to know about creating your own planner to start bringing in an income.

Decide on a niche

Although you may want to create a generic planner for anyone, it may be helpful to choose a niche for your planner. This will help you really narrow in on a topic and plan out some ideas. 

For example, maybe you want to create a planner for a teacher. You can include sections for lesson planning, supply lists, somewhere to keep track of student details, etc. In the future you can add extensions, more versions and updated editions of these, and a large enough planner style to continue to sell in the future.

If you simply make one planner, there’s a good chance you won’t sell many. You need to branch out and expand off of the one planner and have a wide range of versions to choose from. This will help draw more demand to your planners.

One example of a planner niche is the homeschool niche. We sell commercial use templates for this homeschool planner in our Shopify store.

Decide on a type of planner

There’s more to planners than a typical planner to keep track of daily to-do’s. So before you can get started creating, you need to decide on the type of planner you would like to sell. Here are some ideas of the different types to choose from:

  • Day Planner: these either have each day on a one or two page format, with even the hours of the day broken-down. This helps those with very scheduled days that need to keep track of tasks by the time. It can include spots for to-do lists, meal-planning, grocery lists, etc.
  • Party Planners: You could be planning a wedding, a birthday party, etc. but having a planner can help you really design an event well. This usually includes checklists, sections with specific prompts, blank spots for notes, and little folders for any necessary documents. 
  • Business Planners: Many business owners still look for a physical way to keep track of tasks and goals, rather than using a digital platform to do so. Business planners usually include things like note-taking sections, goal trackers, grids for keeping track of any expenses, etc. 
  • Fitness/Nutrition Planner: For those on a fitness or wellness journey, they may want a way to keep track of their progress. This can include things like a way to keep track of meals, sections on tracking exercise routines, goal trackers, and spaces to share achievements and successes. 

These are just a few of the main planners you will see out there, but you may find other needs out there for a planner and create something unique!

You also should decide if you want to create a printable planner, physical planner, or a digital planner. Printable planners are intended to be printed and for use with a pen whereas digital planners are used on a tablet with a stylus. Physical planners will be printed by you or another company and shipped to the customer for use with a pen. The creation process is different for each kind of planner.

Choose the style

The style involves aspects like the color scheme, fonts, any images or graphics, borders, icons, etc. Are you going with dotted lines or solid lines? Are you using block lettering or script? Is there a background color or pattern?

It’s important to have a general style for what you want to offer, rather than being completely all over the place. At the same time, you can choose to offer a more simple design and a more decorative design, that way you can appeal to a wider customer base. But having a consistent style that can tie in your planners is a great way to grow your brand.

Plan it out

What are you wanting to include in your planner? When you’re first starting out creating planners, you can keep it simple and eventually add more to your planners. You will want to include a yearly calendar with the 12 months, then monthly views and daily views. 

How you lay these out can vary completely depending on the type of style and niche you are looking to create a planner for. You also will have to think about where on these pages you may want design elements, quotes, notes boxes, etc. 

Start creating some of your basic pages, and as you become more familiar with it, you can add more details and create the pages faster.

So what else do you need to include? This all depends on the niche that you are focusing on. If you are creating a planner for teachers for example, you need more than just the monthly and weekly/daily views. What will make your planner stand out for teachers? 

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Lesson planning pages
  • A page to keep track of student details
  • A list of the grading percentages
  • A fill-in schedule page to list all of their classes
  • Student checklist to keep track of permission slips, important forms, etc.
  • A communication log to keep track of all communication with students and parents

There are so many options that can be added to your planner and the opportunities really are endless. Whatever you can find that can make your planner stand out will help to bring in more buyers. 

Offer multiple layouts and versions

Everyone has different preferences for their planners. Some prefer more of a weekly view, and others prefer a daily view to really plan out each day. Some buyers want a horizontal style planner to see more of a weekly dashboard style, while others prefer a more vertical and list-type view.

So having multiple layouts for each design will help you branch out to more buyers and give more opportunities for sales. 

How to Make a Planner from Scratch

Once you have your planner ideas and want to get started, it’s time to decide where you will be creating it. There are multiple options out there and it really depends what you are looking for and which program you feel most comfortable with. 

Canva

Creating with Canva is simple with all the tools needed to design your own planner. Especially with the Pro plan, you have a wide range of tools and design elements at your disposal. You can also easily resize designs on the Pro plan so that if you need to create multiple sizes, it is easy to copy and resize that design.

You can easily save your brand details, like fonts, logos, design elements, etc. and make it easy to add them into your planner designs.

Canva is free to use and easy for beginners. Check out our post on getting started with Canva here.

Planify

Planify Pro is a platform specifically created for designing beautiful planners, and makes things as easy as possible. It is a newer platform so may still have some kinks to get out, but it includes a wide range of fonts, graphics, templates, etc. 

Other ideas – PowerPoint, Affinity Pro, Keynote

There are so many tools you can use to make a planner. It may be fastest to just buy a planner template but starting from scratch can be fun too.

Start designing!

Once you choose where you want to create your planner, you can start creating! By now, you should already have an idea of where you want to go with the layout and the style of your planner, so now it is time to implement this. 

Here are a few things to consider when creating your planner: 

  • What to include on your cover
  • The fonts to use
  • The style of graphics to use on the pages
  • The color scheme
  • A background color or no color
  • What extra pages to include

Once you’ve designed your piece in whatever program you decide, you’re going to export it as a PDF in the sizes that you want. When you make and sell planners, it’s important to pay attention to what the market wants.

Then you can get ready to start selling your planner!

How to Make a Physical Planner to Sell

Wanting to create a physical planner you can print and mail to your buyers? This is something that does take some extra logistics, but is a great way to simplify things for your buyers. Here are a few things to think about for creating a physical planner. 

The sizes to offer

To sell physical planners, it’s important to keep in mind the sizes that you are offering to your buyers. The availability and diversity of the different sizes really can help you bring in more sales. 

Here are some of the typical sizes that you will see out there for planners:

  • US Letter and US Letter Half page
  • Pocket-sized
  • A4/A5/A6 (most popular out of the United States)
  • B6 ring
  • Mini sizes
  • Personal size

The two most important to offer are US Letter and US Letter Half Page which are the most similar to A4 and A5. These will be the most desired and should be an option for your planners.

How to print your planners

There is a lot that needs to be considered when you are going to be physically printing your own planners. You want to be sure you are providing the best possible product to your customers and this means ensuring you have everything you need to do so.

First of all, what is your printer like? Is it a high-quality printer that will provide the best color for your planner? This is important to really know whether it is possible for you to print your planner at home. 

Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

Paper type

You may think that using thicker paper would be best, but that  may not always be the case. For those that use fountain pens, the thicker the paper, the more likely their ink will bleed. But, you want to be sure that the paper isn’t too thin to where your buyer could potentially rip the page.

Test out different types of papers to really make sure which one is best for your planners, before you print one out to sell. 

Binding

Now you need to figure out how you will be binding your pages together, and there are many options to choose from. Here are the most common ways:

  • Spiral rings
  • Staples
  • Stitched
  • Glue

Stitched binding is by far the most lightweight and will lie flat and stay in place. Glue binding can be difficult to get right, similar to staples. Spiral rings seem to be the most popular for planners. It can be tricky to figure out at first, but may be the best option for your planner.

Covers

When choosing the cover of your planner, make sure that you consider whether you will be doing a hardcover or a softcover. Hardcovers tend to be much more durable, have a more professional feel and provide a hard surface to write on which is convenient when you are on the go. Soft covers are more flexible which is helpful for fitting it into a bag or purse and may be more suited for a casual buyer.

Number of pages

This really depends on what you decide to include in your planner. What does the buyer really need to best use your planner? Will a certain amount of pages be too much or not enough? 

It’s also important to consider whether you want your pages to have perforation or not. This may depend on the type of planner you are offering, and may not be necessary for specific styles.

Should you use a third-party?

If you want to sell physical planners but don’t want to print them yourself, you do have the option to use a third-party printing service. An example of this is Printful, a print-on-demand service that also offers warehousing and fulfillment services.

It will store your products, fulfill your orders and ship them directly to your customers. Convenient, right? The best part is they can get your orders out as fast as in one day!

So how does it work? Let’s cover the basic details of using Printful. 

Using Printful

Printful takes away your worries of printing and storing your items. You simply add your items to your online marketplace, connect it to Printful, and let them fulfill the order!

Printful is free to use and the only time Printful gets paid is when you sell an item. To give you an idea of your costs, you may decide to choose a shirt on Printful that you want to use for your design and it is $9. But, you charge your customer $22 instead, which means you make a $13 profit. 

You will need to create an account, then you can get started by connecting to an ecommerce platform and uploading designs. You can upload a previous design, or even create one directly on Printful. 

Then you will begin to add products to your store, where you can choose color variations, mockups, product details, etc, as well as adding pricing. You will also need to plan out shipping details for your products, and set up payment methods. 

Then you are ready to start promoting your products!

Using Amazon KDP

Allie from Allie Scraps created a printable planner business using Amazon KDP. She uploads designs and then when a customer buys, another company fulfills and ships the order. It is a more passive way to sell physical planners.

Allie created an online course teaching how she created a more passive business model with planners called Creativity by the Chapter. She has a free webinar if you want to get started by creating physical planners with Amazon here.

The cool thing is that Allie sometimes uses commercial use templates to jump start her planner creation process.

How to Make a Planner Template

Have a planner design but would rather turn this into passive income and sell it as a template? This is completely possible! With a template, it gives buyers an opportunity to customize it to their liking and change details, but still have this helpful base to start with.

To sell a planner template, an easy way to do this is to create your planner in Canva. Canva is not only a platform for creating incredible designs and has all the tools you need, but it also has a helpful tool to share a template. 

This way you can create your design and pull the template link from Canva to share with your buyers. 

What are a few things to keep in mind when selling Canva templates? The first is how to deliver your template link to your customer. You will need to create some type of deliverable that can include your template link that your customer can download once they purchase. 

This pdf can also include instructions to using the template, and answers to any questions that they may need.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you will want to create a planner template with aspects that are easy to customize, as this is a main reason why a buyer may choose this option instead of buying an already put together planner. 

Selling templates rather than physical planners can free up some of your time, as well as help you save money on supplies!

How to Start a Planner Business

You’ve decided to start a planner business, but now what? The first step is deciding which direction you want to go with your planners. Do you have a specific niche you are going to stick to and base all of your planners around that niche? Or do you have an idea of a style that you want to carry across all of your planner designs? 

Deciding on your direction is the first step to help you get started creating and plan out where you are going with your business. 

The next step is to decide on whether you are selling a digital or a physical planner. You can choose to create a planner that your buyer can purchase, download, and print out themselves, or a template where they can edit and then print. Or, you can choose to create a planner that you either print out yourself, or send to a third-party service.

Choose which type of planner best fits what you want in your business, and even consider what would be best for the type of buyer that you want to attract. 

Next, is to decide where you want to sell your planners. There are many options out there from self-hosted options to marketplaces. Etsy is one of, if not the biggest platform to sell handmade planners. It is a perfect place for creators to come to share their one-of-a-kind products, which includes your planners. 

You can also choose to sell your planners on Amazon, which is a marketplace as well and also has a print-on-demand option. 

The other type of option is a self-hosted option like WooCommerce or Shopify, where you can use these to sell off of your own website or use Shopify on its own as a way to sell your planners. 

Once you decide on where to sell your planners, then you can get started listing products and bringing in traffic. 

How to Make a Planner to Sell on Etsy

Etsy is a perfect option for selling planners, whether physical or digital. Buyers seek out planners on Etsy because they are looking for something that is one-of-a-kind and something they can’t find from a typical store. 

So if your planner stands out and is unique, the buyers will be drawn to your planners on Etsy! But what do you need to know about selling a planner on Etsy? Here are some of the important steps to go from your finished design to bringing in sales on the platform. 

Create an account

To get started on Etsy, you first have to create an account on the platform. Go to Etsy.com and click on Sign in. 

Then fill out the form to register and use your email address to create an account, or select Continue with Google, Facebook or Apple.

Check your email inbox for confirmation email from registration@etsy.com and from there follow the instructions provided to confirm your account. 

Want to start on the app? Just simply download the app, and tap sign up. Fill out the form the same as above and sign in! You can also add a profile picture and fill out your bio on your public profile. 

You can also choose to open a shop by selecting “Open a Shop” at the bottom of the site. 

Set up an Etsy account to sell

To set up an Etsy account to start selling, you can do this by clicking on Sell on Etsy on Etsy.com and setting up your account. Enter in your email, name and password, and clicking Register. 

You also have the option to create an Etsy account with Google, Facebook, or Apple, as mentioned above. 

If you already have an existing Etsy customer account, you can simply log in and then click on Open Your Etsy Shop to start creating your own store. 

This is all it takes to start your account to sell! Then you can begin setting up your Etsy shop. 

Add listings

After adding some basic details and choosing a shop name, the next step to creating your shop on Etsy is where you will begin to add all of your items to your shop. Hopefully you already have some mockups of your planners ready to go, as well as your pricing, shipping details, processing time, etc. 

Here are a few things to consider for your listings: 

  • Add your photos: Use high-quality images that will help to draw customers attention! For planners you can use mockups for digital planners and even physical planners, but you can also take photos of your physical planner with a quality backdrop. Use editing apps to make your images stand out.
  • Write a quality title: Include relevant keywords in your title and be sure they are unique for each listing. Use as many characters as you can and commas to separate keyword phrases
  • Add a description: Include all the details on your planners, how to use them, how to print them if necessary, and answer any other questions they may have
  • Optimize your tags: Tags are a big part of how your products will be found through Etsy’s search, so be sure to use up all 13 tags. Use a wide variation of phrases to raise your chance of being found, and you can always get ideas of phrases by using Etsy’s search bar.

Design your shop page

After adding your listings, then you can add to your shop page. This is where you can add in a logo, your personal photo, a banner, etc. You are also able to fill in the About section to help give your customers an idea of who you are, give them a behind-the-scenes of your products, and just let them know what goes into creating your planners. 

Once you have listings and your shop page ready to go, the sales should start coming in and you can promote your planners!

How to Make a Planner to Sell on Amazon

If you’re wanting your planner to be something that your buyer can hold physically in their hands, but don’t want to worry about printing it yourself, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is a great option. 

KDP allows you to self-publish all kinds of ebooks, notebooks, journals, as well as planners. You don’t need to order a bunch to have in stock or worry about packaging themself. They do all of that!

It is free to get started with and you get 60% royalties on all of your sales. The printing costs are very low, and this can be taken into account when you price your planner. The biggest advantage is the fact your planner is on a marketplace that already has a ton of buyers and will bring traffic to your planner. 

There are a few things you should consider for listing your planner on Amazon. 

Pick the correct size

You have to be sure to use a size that is on KDP’s Print options list so that it will work with printing your design. You can decide which of the size options best fits your planner and then take those exact dimensions and use them in Canva to create your planner. 

These are the popular planner sizes for KDP: 

  • 8.5″ x 11″ (21.59 x 27.94 cm)
  • 6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
  • 5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
  • 5.06″ x 7.81″ (12.85 x 19.84 cm)
  • 8.27″ x 11.69″ (21 x 29.7 cm)

Create a KDP account

Once your planner is the correct size and ready to go, you can create your KDP account. This is where you will upload it and creating an author account is free and easy to do.

Then you will upload your planner, create a cover that can stand out and bring in interested buyers, and then publish your planner. 

You can also preview your file to make sure everything looks right and that it fits in between the bleed printable line. This helps ensure your planner is ready to go!

You can also create journals to sell on Amazon KDP. This YouTuber walks through her process in this video.

Final Thoughts

If you’re one of those people that are obsessed with planners and know you can find a way to create one that others will love, then this is a perfect route for you! You can easily create a planner that can stand out and bring in a specific buyer that sees the need in what your planner offers. 

Start brainstorming on the type of planner that you can sell and get creating!

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Katrina Waardenburg

Katrina Waardenburg

Katrina is an Etsy seller and content writer who was formerly a teacher. In her own words, "Being a mom of two girls, I work hard at growing this business and helping others grow as well so I can provide for my little family.”
Katrina Waardenburg

Katrina Waardenburg

Katrina is an Etsy seller and content writer who was formerly a teacher. In her own words, "Being a mom of two girls, I work hard at growing this business and helping others grow as well so I can provide for my little family.”

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Meet Julie & Cody

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