Friday, January 31, 2014

Introducing our NEW Direct Sales Planner: Instructions for Printing, Assembling and Organizing

A while back, my friend Tanya {who is a Thirty-One consultant} asked if I had any plans to make a planner geared towards Direct Sellers like herself. Having never done Direct Sales myself, I had no idea where to begin with the project. I saw so much interest for a planner like this, especially with the popularity of Arc and Martha Stewart discbound, so when a second Direct Seller friend named Shellie {who is an Origami Owl designer} contacted me about creating a planner like this…I decided to give it a go!

After countless hours of research and revisions…I think we finally have our dream planner!!! I am really so proud of this set, especially because I know it will help so many people get organized with their business. This has been on my ToDo list for a long time so I am BEYOND EXCITED to introduce you to our brand new printable Direct Sales Planner, which we are offering in two sizes!!



My ultimate goal was to create a Direct Sales Planner that was cost effective to print and functional to use. I am one of the biggest Printable Junkies out there and I love paper, but our planners and binders can only hold so much. Deciding which printables to include in this set was difficult, but I think you will see that we have covered all of the essentials. Like:

Monthly & Weekly Pages


Personal & Team Monthly Goals & Overview
Order/Profit Tracker
Gift/Giveaway/Discount Tracker
Mileage Tracker
One-Page Party Planner & Summary


Yearly & Monthly Expense Trackers
Contact Pages for Consultants, Hostesses & Leads


2014-2015 Overview
Password Tracker
Replacement/Missing Items Log
Notes
Additional Blank Cover Page


So the hard part is done for you…this set includes everything you will need to organize your Direct Sales business. But the next step is deciding which type of planner or binder to put your pages in! There are quite a few options…some of which you may already have in your own home.

For example, if you choose our Large Direct Sales Planner, you can use any standard 3-ring binder. Target has some fun options for as little as $5 and The Container Store has these great Bigso Binders for just $9.99 {I love these because they feel like linen}.



If you are looking for something a little more portable with your Direct Sales Planner, you can also select our Small option {page size 5.5" x 8.5"}. These pages will fit in a Mini Binder, which you can also find at Target or The Container Store, or you can try one of my favorite systems, the Arc or Martha Stewart Discbound from Staples.

Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™ Discbound Notebook, Blue, Textured, 6-1/2in. x 9in.

The Small is great for carrying around in a purse or bag and the colors look perfect in my MS discbound cover.


But you also can't beat the writing space in the Large. Also, because most documents from your company will be on standard 8.5 x 11" paper…you can simply punch them and add them to your planner, rather than having to resize them for the small. But here is a little size comparison so you can see the difference:



Once you decide on a size and download your PDF file, it's time to PRINT! Here are some helpful tips and instructions:

PRINTING BORDERLESS

All of our planner sets are designed to be printed Borderless {or full bleed}, which means that the color goes right to the edge of the paper. Some printers do not have a borderless option and if that is the case for you…it's no problem. Printing with a border will not affect the functionality or design of the planner…it just means there will be a thin white border around your pages.

But if your printer does support borderless printing, here is how you can change that option in both Preview {for Mac users} and Adobe {for all users}.

For Adobe: When your print screen opens, be sure to select "Actual Size" first and then click on the "Page Setup" button.


In "Page Setup" you can select paper size and if you computer supports borderless printing, you will see an option for it in the pull down menu.


In most cases, you will need to select these options each time you go to print in Adobe.

For Preview/Mac: When your print screen opens, you will want to click on "Paper Size" and scroll to Borderless 8.5x11 in.
Please note that as soon as the Borderless option is selected, most printers will default to photo paper. Although the print quality of the photo paper is beautiful and vibrant, it uses quite a bit of ink and takes 3 times as long to print. So AFTER selecting borderless, click on "Preview" and scroll to Paper Type/Quality.
From here you can change the paper type to plain paper or card stock and select the quality. "Normal" is usually perfect but if you find that the grays in your planner are coming out a little light, you will want to select "Best" quality.
So now that you know how to print borderless, it's time to decide how you want to organize your planner. Before you can decide how you want to print the pages, you need to figure out where they are going. Do you want to have your planner bound? Are you going to use a planner or binder with tabs? And if so, what will your categories be? This is always a challenge, so I thought I would put together some common tabs that I have seen in other Direct Sales binders:


Calendar: File your monthlies, weeklies, 2014-2015 Overview and any other calendar or schedule your company provides in this section. Our Large planner is the easiest to print and doesn't require many instructions. You simply print your pages front-to-back {borderless} in the order you would like them. This will require you to print one page at a time because of the flexibility of the planner and pages.

Our Small planner pages, on the other hand, can be a little tricky because they are designed two-to-a-page and need to be printed front-to-back. Also, once they are printed, the pages will need to be cut down the middle. Once you understand how order works, you can get creative with how you want to organize your pages but for the beginner…here are some tips to help you out.



Printing your Monthlies and Weeklies like this will give you the flexibility to decide if you want your weeklies to follow your Month, or if you want your Monthly and Weekly pages in different places in your planner. Some like to include their weekly pages under their "Party" tab, while others like to have them follow their monthly. The choice is yours :-)

Products: The Products tab is a great place to store your product catalogs, as well as pricing sheets and inventory {if you keep one}. Your company will most likely provide all this for you.

Parties: Your Parties section can be a place to store your Party Planner & Summary pages, Your Gift/Discount/Giveaway Tracker, Replacement/Missing Items log and even your Hostess contacts page. TO PRINT ALL OF THE OTHER PAGES IN THIS PLANNER, you simply run them front to back with each other as many times as you want. This goes for the Small and Large pages.

Team: Having a "Team" section in your planner is a great way to organize your consultants or designers. This section could include your Consultant and Lead contacts, your Goal Pages if you choose not to include them with the calendar pages, Note pages for ideas and team building, and of course any other team documents your company provides.

Finances: A Finance or Money section is a must in your planner. It is the perfect place to keep your Yearly and Monthly Expense Trackers, Mileage Tracker, Order/Profit Tracker, etc. 

Contacts: If you prefer all of your contacts in one location instead of spread throughout your planner, this is another useful section to have. It would be a great place to keep any other directories and contact numbers your company may provide.

Notes/Reference: I find that all of my planners need a good catch-all section. This is where you can store reference pages from your company, your Password Tracker, extra note pages and anything else without a "home" in your planner.

Choosing categories sometimes takes quite a bit of trial and error, but as you begin to use your planner more, you will be able to see works and what doesn't for your business. This post is simply a guide to help you get started and I hope that it has answered all of your printing and set-up questions! But if it hasn't, I encourage you to leave a comment or email us at thepolkadotposieprintables{at}gmail{dot}com!

Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today! I hope this new planner encourages you to be more organized in your Direct Sales business or better yet…I hope it encourages you to explore new opportunities! If you have specific questions about Origami Owl or the Direct Sales business, my friend Shellie is full of knowledge and experience and you can contact her {here}.

Happy Planning, friends!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Month 1: Creating a Budget Planner & Making it Work For You

"Budget" can be a scary word sometimes. Even just typing it makes my palms start to sweat. Managing money can be one of the most stressful, time consuming and depressing responsibilities we have in our day-to-day lives. But if we really want to be smart about the way we spend those hard earned dollars, we have to have a plan. And that's where our FIRST Monthly Organizational Task comes in!


On of my resolutions this year {after reading my friend Jeff's book Soldier of Finance and helping create printables for his Money Dominating ToolKit} was to create a budget and STICK TO IT all year long. In the past, I have always tried to manage finances on the computer, in different apps and software and although that works great for a lot of people, I am a paper person. Always have been, always will be.

So I went in search of some ideas for creating and managing a Budget Planner that met my personal needs. At first, my goal was just to create printables that I could use in a section of my daily planner. I thought it would be helpful to have that information on the go with me. And while I do plan to use some of those printables in my daily planner {like account registers and bill tracking}, I decided that my actual Budget Planner needed to be a binder of it's own so that Eric can access it when he wants/needs to as well.

While I was on the hunt for ideas on setting up my binder, I came across this fantastic post on Echoes of Laughter and a lightbulb went off inside my head…if I am going to keep an accurate budget all year long, why not have all of our bills in the same place and make the whole Budget Planner system work together!

I ended up finding the most perfect binder for this project at Target for under $6.


It 's bright, colorful, has 1.5" rings, a fabulous front pocket and best of all…it lays FLAT when open.

Because I planned on giving each of our bills their own section in the binder, I knew I would need quite a few dividers. I found these at Office Max and they come in a 3-pack {24 tabbed dividers all together} and they are write-on so you can erase/change them when you need to.



I actually prefer to use my label maker and because the tabs are plastic, the labels will come right off when I need them to.


While I was at Office Max, I also grabbed a plastic zipper pouch so that I could keep a calculator and pencil in the binder. Our checkbook will eventually make it's way into this pocket too.


Once I had all of my supplies together, it was time to print my Budget Planner pages. In case you haven't been to the shop recently, we now offer our Budget Planner in 3 different sizes. I am using our Large Budget Planner for my 3-ring binder.


Our Large Budget pages are the easiest to print and they have the most flexibility when it comes to deciding which order you want to put them in. We recommend printing your pages borderless, but if your printer does not have that option it is not a problem. It just means the color won't bleed to the edges.

We also recommend borderless printing with our Small Budget Pages. They are arranged two-to-a-page so that you can print them on standard 8.5 x 11" {letter size} paper and simply cut down the middle. The pages can be arranged in any order or quantity that you like, but here are a few instructions to help you with the front-to-back order of our 3-page Monthly Budget worksheet and our 2-page Debt Payment Tracker.


For those of you who prefer our X-Small Budget Pages {made for personal/portable size planners} here are a few helpful print instructions for this set. You can also check out this post for more detail and screen shots.


Once you have all of your pages printed, it's time to start organizing your binder!

The front of my binder starts with our fun cover page...


Which flips right to our Monthly Budget Worksheet. I wanted this at the front of the binder to remind us what is designated to each category. Because our monthly income varies, depending on overtime and extra side jobs, we will work through this worksheet every month and keep a years worth in the binder so we can look back.


Following our Monthly Budget worksheets is a Bill Payment Checklist.


This is the part of our binder that I am most excited about it. I wanted an easy, effective system for paying bills so that none are forgotten and Eric and I don't assume that the other has paid them.

From now on, when our bills come in the mail, we will immediately place them in the folder at the front of our binder marked "Bills to Pay"


Then, instead of just paying bills at random when they come in, I will designate 2-3 bill paying days a month to sit down and go through the folder.

Once a bill has been paid, I will check it off the list and punch/file it in the binder like so.


I made a separate divider for each bill that we have, even if we don't get them in paper form. For example, we don't get a paper bill for Addie's dance studio or Blake's preschool each month, but I still gave them a space so that I can track electronic payments and file tuition forms.


You will notice that I have also made a tab for our checking account and main savings account so that I can fill them with registers to track expenses, withdrawals and deposits.

Also included in our Printable Budget Planner {but not pictured here} is a yearly Debt Tracker. If you are trying to break free from some debt this year, I highly recommend reading Jeff's book and following his blog, Good Financial Cents for some great tips and advice.

Obviously, managing finances is a very personal process and what works for one person or family may not work for another. I have read so many blogs and seen so many beautiful, functional budget planners and binders.  But in the end, I had to go with a system that was SIMPLE {math is not my strong suit} and EFFECTIVE. So if you are looking for both of those things, this system may be for you too!

And I have GREAT news today!!! We will be giving away a set of our Budget Planner Printables to 4 lucky readers!! Enter from now until Sunday, January 19th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Happy Planning friends! 

Stay tuned for lots more fun this January…and every month in 2014!



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

12 Months of Organization & Inspiration at ThePolkaDotPosie

Happy New Year, friends!!! It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone. 2013 was a very special year for my mom and I. We launched our sister shop, ThePolkaDotPosie{Printables} in January and we were worried about how the two shops would do separate from each other. But thanks to so many loyal friends, family & customers, 2013 was more successful and rewarding than either of us could have ever imagined.

So as a way of saying thanks for making our dreams come true in 2013, we are going to make 2014 EXTRA SPECIAL for all of you!! In addition to launching fabulous new products in both shops, we will also be revamping our blog and making it a little more fun and useful for all of you!


Join us each month for a special organizational task, as well as weekly posts with holiday & seasonal projects, kiddie crafts & activities, FREE PRINTABLES, giveaways, tutorials, inspiration & more!!

We are so excited for the year to come and we hope you will all stick around to experience it with us :)

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for January's Organizational Task!