Boost growth by balancing your business and community
Successful makers don’t just sell products. They tap into and nurture a passionate community surrounding their brand. To help you out, I’ve put together some essential bullet journal ideas that allow me to balance my maker business and the community I’ve built around my brand.
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For me, the Harry Potter fandom is a central part of my brand community. So much so, that I founded a Harry Potter social club, which now includes over 500 members from all over the world.
Balancing my business and the community I’ve created is not easy. Especially since I also have a separate full-time career. However, I make the magic happen by being extra organized. And that’s where my bullet journal helps me balance business activities while keeping a 500+ organization running and its members engaged.
These are my top 5 bullet journal tips for growing a maker business (and community).
1. Use monthly spreads to meet seasonal needs
Monthly spreads are the single most important part of my bullet journal. I use them to plan ahead and make sure that I tap into seasonal trends that my customers and community care about. I also use my bullet journal to coordinate monthly or bi-monthly events for the social club that supports my brand.
In a typical monthly spread I include:
- Updates and milestones to track restocking seasonal items
- Email and social media schedule for promoting seasonal items
- Event themes for online and in-person events that I am hosting
Supplies for my monthly spreads
Repositionable index tabs are truly the MVP of my bullet journal. I take them up a notch by using clear monthly stickers from my favorite planner sticker variety pack. I also color-code them by quarter and season.
On the first page of each monthly spread, I use clear blank labels to print small monthly calendar labels. Using a simple, small calendar label in my monthly spread allows me to easily reference dates without needing to rely on my phone. I like to use my bullet journal “unplugged,” meaning all my devices are put away.
2. Create an index key that fits your style
Personally, I like a simple index key, but that’s the beauty of bullet journaling. It’s so easy to customize individual elements to create a tool that really fits your needs.
Again, I go back to tabs for indexing. I use them to index both down the side and across the top of my bullet journal. Months go down the side; long-term projects, ideas/inspiration, and daily to-do lists go across the top.
Color-coded markers indicate the tab uses on my bullet journal index page. I also include a key for using labels to visually track tasks.
It’s much easier to balance my responsibilities when I can visually assess how I’ve budgeted my time with a simple glance.
My favorite part is the tiny half-inch round labels that include branding for my business and social club. I have them custom printed so I don’t have to worry about print quality.
Make custom planner stickers for your bullet journal
Sharing your bullet journal on social media is a great way to engage with your audience. Let your community see a glimpse of the planning and care that goes into your business by inviting them into a little bit of your world. Your branding should be a part of that.
I am obsessed with making custom planner stickers for my bullet journal. It feels special, and incorporating branding elements like my logo makes my posts stand out.
“Do it for the ‘gram'” may seem silly. However, for makers, social media is an essential part of creating community and building a brand.
I made logo planner stickers for my bullet journal using the free templates and Custom Size option from Avery WePrint custom printing service.
The round labels with a half-inch diameter and matte white paper material worked best. After they arrived, I cut the 8-1/2″ x 11″ label sheets so that they fit in the pocket of my A5 bullet journal perfectly.
Pro Tip: In order to be able to cut and trim custom planner stickers to A5 size (and have them look like professional planner sticker sheets), rotate the images sideways on the template using the Edit All feature in the Avery design tool.
Check your office for bullet journal supplies
Some of my favorite bullet journal supplies are things I already use for my business. A quick “shopping trip” in my home office turned up a few items that help me keep my bullet journal looking nice and neat:
- 4″ x 6″ index card or piece of card stock for testing and blotting gel pens
- Flat six-inch metal ruler for drawing straight lines
- Full-coverage TrueBlock® shipping labels
Shipping labels might seem very weird for a bullet journal idea, but I swear by them for covering mistakes. Avery labels with TrueBlock technology have a special backing that hides everything underneath. And I do mean everything. Even the darkest gel pens, permanent markers, and other stickers won’t show through. You can write on top of them as if nothing happened. They’re meant for covering over old barcodes when shipping, but I keep some in my bullet journal pocket at all times.
5. Train yourself to use your bullet journal every day
Growing your maker business and community takes commitment. A bullet journal is a fantastic tool, but it can’t work if you don’t use it. Scheduling bullet journal time and elevating its look, helped me get into a daily routine.
My bullet journal routine
Top of the week: 15-20 minutes to review progress for monthly milestones and make sure equal time and energy are given to business and community needs.
Daily: 5-10 minutes at the start of the day to review daily tasks. Another 5-10 minutes at the end of the day to mark tasks that are done and make any notes I wasn’t able to capture during the day.
Elevating the look of my bullet journal
I started to care about the look of my bullet journal when I wanted to share it with my community. However, I think the main benefit of making your bullet journal look good is to keep you motivated to use it. I found that making a bullet journal that I love to look at actually makes me excited to open it every day and get to work.
Here are some extra tools I use to elevate my bullet journal:
- A special bookmark. I have a beautiful metal bookmark to mark my daily to-do list. It’s almost like jewelry for my bullet journal, but useful.
- Bluetooth pocket printer. Add photos to your bullet journal for inspiration, reference, or even commemorating a moment.
- Simple reinforcement labels. I use them to color-code by priority and then mark an x or fill in the middle as I finish each task.
Nurture community and grow your small business
My bullet journal helps me balance my small maker business and the community around my brand. It keeps me organized and helps me make sure that my time is managed wisely.
I focus on monthly spreads to make sure that I’m making the most of the seasonal trends my community cares about. I index my bullet journal with tabs so that I can quickly and easily find the information I need.
Custom planner stickers help me visually track business and community tasks. Visually marking the different tasks helps me see how I’ve budgeted my time with a simple glance.
Office supplies are a great source for keeping my bullet journal looking neat and “photo-ready.” A few extra special bullet journal supplies elevate the experience so that I’m excited to journal each day.
What are your favorite bullet journal tips? Leave us a comment and let us know.