It has certainly been a while — almost six months since I last updated this blog. I’ve gotten lots of messages on my Etsy, Facebook, email, and abandoned Instagram account. I’ve tried my best to answer those messages, but some get lost along the way.
Long story short, I got very busy, and could no longer justify spending time on this blog. A lot of changes occurred in my life.
What went wrong?
Edit: I realize I went on a tangent here — feel free to skip to the next section if you’re not interested in PlannerProblem history.
When I first started this blog, I was still in high school, and I really was just looking for a hobby. The reason I started it was because three months prior I had gotten into planning myself and purchased my first Happy Planner. I was obsessed with planning out my weeks and using free stickers I found online. Free printable planner sticker sites like myplannerenvy.com and cutedaisy.com were my source for spreads, and I would still highly recommend checking them out. However, finding bottom washi and ombre heart checkboxes that fit my planner were difficult. I saw somewhere online that silhouette studio was a free, so I went ahead and downloaded it and started dabbling in making my own stickers, printed on white printer paper, and adhered to my planner using double sided tape.
In May 2016, I randomly decided I wanted to start a nail polish blog, but I quickly found that swatching and photography were not great hobbies of mine. What I did know, however, was that I knew how to make basic free stickers that I could post online for others to use, thus beginning this blog. At the time, my thought process was that if I was making these stickers for myself, I might as well post them and hope other people find use for it. I didn’t think it would be much of a time suck, but that proved to be very wrong.
See what I didn’t understand is that the stickers I was making were very geared toward my planner and my planning style, and thus weren’t very helpful to others. In addition, I was cutting by hand so creating cut files for machines was very new to me. First I started out with very functional, multicolor items, then transitioned to making full 6 page kits, with what I believed to be every sticker anyone could ever need to do a spread. People really began to enjoy those, and my views were growing, so I purchased my domain name in September.
At that time school had resumed, and I was finding it difficult to keep up. Over the summer, I was posting 2-3 times DAILY and sometimes multiple kits a week (July 4th weekend I posted 4). That was obviously not a sustainable schedule so I instead shifted to posting every other day. As I got more occupied with school and activities, that slowly dwindled down to one functional printable and one printable kit every week. I was taking requests and custom stickers quite often, and it was becoming somewhat of a chore.
No longer interested in functional printables, as I personally wasn’t using them anymore, I transitioned to posting one kit (almost) every week. This is what I found to be most useful for me and everyone, and finding the time to do this was not totally impossible.
I was doing four versions of each planner kit for four different planners, and this was becoming tedious. I enjoyed the initial design process, but repeating it four more times was no longer fun. I brought it down to just the HP and ECV, cut out recommendations and customs, and reformatted the kits to be more concise and useful. At this point I had a cutting machine and was regularly using sticker paper and other planner supplies. My Etsy shop was also doing well, but at the time I was only selling sticker templates (the same ones on sale now).
I continued on this way until about March, when over my spring break, I realized that I could possibly start shipping my printable blog kits by printing and cutting them myself. So I started my Etsy shop. This was the downfall of free printable kits. I invested all my time into setting up shipping supplies, reformatting kits, designing new stickers, and creating listing photos. I wanted to continue on the blog, posting at least once a month, but when I was constantly focused on the printed portion of my shop, it seemed tedious and unnecessary to post on the blog for free. So I stopped and continued working on printing and shipping.
I did this for three months, but by the time mid-July/August came around I was getting tired of the same process. Etsy shops are difficult to manage, and I was losing the patience and creativity for it. I decided to phase out the physical product and reintroduce printables, something I thought would be a good idea considering I was moving out soon and couldn’t take my business with me to college. Well, the printables thing barely lasted because college hit me full force, and I lost interest in planning entirely. The only planner I really used was a plum paper student planner for assignments and my work schedule. If I used stickers, it would just be the simple ones that came in the back of the planner.
My Goals Moving Forward:
Part of the reason why I think I stopped blogging was because it was becoming more of a chore and a job than a hobby. I really did love posting, but I think that I would’ve stuck with it had I continued on a less scheduled path. People had heightened expectations for me and began to send aggressive emails about the free printables, which just honestly made me want to stop. I understand why those expectations existed, as I was the one advertising a regular posting schedule that I couldn’t adhere to.
I want to continue posting here in 2018, however, I want to make it clear that this may not be very regular and posts will be very random. I don’t want to make any promises this early on, but I do want to let you know what my vision for the blog is moving forward as well as some of the content I want to produce. Again, this is all subject to change, but generally, here are my plans:
- Continue with free kits – I know for sure I won’t be able to do seasonal and timely kits like I used to, however I do want to continue making these kits.
- I’ve accumulated a lot of unused digital papers that I intended to use either for the blog or for the shop, and I want to put those to use now. Most of them will be quite old and you may have seen them elsewhere, but I definitely think it’ll be better than posting nothing at all.
- I also want to bring back glitter kits! I used to do these as a monthly thing with each color scheme representing a month of the year, but I find that to be quite restrictive. Instead, I’ll be posting the glitter kits without a month attached so you can use them whenever.
- Quite a few kits were designed when I was printing kits that were barely sold and never released to you as a printable. I want to bring back those prints and redesign them for printables. Not all the shop prints will come back as some of the designers have designated them for print only. I will have to revisit some of those designers’ policies and proceed from there. Same goes for some of the functional items.
- I also know for sure I need to decrease the number of variations to the printables. An easy thing for me to do is to stick to the classic Happy Planner and the vertical Erin Condren. I’ve read online that the HP stickers can be sized down to the mini and the ECV works in RECs planners. Of course, all stickers can be sized up/ down to whatever planner you need.
- A second way I can decrease the number of variations is by making the cut files and the non-cut files the same. What I mean by this is that most of my kits now exist as cut files with a bit of overhang for cut machines, so that if it cuts off slightly, you don’t get that sliver of white. I definitely want to keep that format as it will decrease the amount of reformatting I have to do. However this becomes an issue for people who cut by hand as the stickers are slightly larger as a result of the offset. One way I’ve thought of remedying this is by replacing the bright red cut line with a more muted gray or possibly a dashed line. That way if your machine cuts off slightly, it won’t be super noticeable, and if you cut by hand, you have a guide to go off of. I know this probably makes no sense now, but I will re-explain and demonstrate when the printables come out.
- The half page format was a favorite of mine when printing kits so I want to transfer that to printables. It’ll be the same stickers just split into half pages so you can easily store them as such — again, hard to explain now, but it’ll make sense with a visual.
- Templates – I have a lot of templates from my shop that I removed because they weren’t really selling. I plan on posting those for free here so you can learn to make your own stickers from there.
- Planning Tips and Tricks- I want to do more traditional blog style posts, and this is one way I can incorporate that. I am also considering doing a series on what you’ll need to know to open an Etsy shop, if you are interested. I noticed during my run that a lot of shops are very secretive about their methods and techniques, and understandably so, considering it is a business. However, now that I’ve stepped away from that, I can share some of my advice and sources for affordable shipping supplies, ink, and sticker paper. I also learned a little on how to print and cut stickers, and I can offer advice in that arena for anyone who prints/ makes their own stickers.
- My Other Hobbies- Besides planner things, I collect a lot of pens, stationery, and nail polish. I’d love to do some posts on my favorite pens, note pads, Erin Condren items, and nail products as I have lots of opinions on those.
- Other Miscellaneous Posts- I’ve got lots of random ideas that don’t really fit in any category. While I was making stickers, I put together a spreadsheet of my favorite shops to get digital paper from. I can definitely share that sometime. I can also do reviews on new Recollections planners, Happy Planers, etc. Really just whatever I’m interested in at the time.
Alright so that was a lengthy post! To summarize, my goal here is to try and post what interests me. The reason why I ended up leaving was that I found it to be too tedious to stick to a schedule that didn’t really work with my personal life. I was also feeling a little boxed in with what I could post. The printables I post may not work for everyone and may be a little random, but I’m always in the boat of “it’s better than nothing.”
Let me know what you’re excited for below, as well as any questions you have for me.