FAQ Frequently asked questions
We are very happy to answer any questions you might have.
If you want to find out a bit more about the history of Dream Plan Do and the creator of Dream Plan Do, Patricia van den Akker, then check out our ABOUT page.
Then do check below if we have answered your questions there. If you can’t see an answer to your question then do get in touch with us via the contact page.
Is the monthly planner journal dated? Has it got dates in it?
No, the planner has NOT got dates in it. It's not a diary.
It's a planner journal full of creative exercises, practical tips, quarterly and monthly planners for you to fill in with what you want and need to do in terms of finance, marketing, and other parts of your life and business. Each month starts with a monthly planner that you can fill in per week, and you can use it on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis to get a quick overview of what you need to work on.
Dream Plan Do is a workbook, where you write in and develop and plan your ideas into action.
The big advantage of that is that you can start the planner journal at any time of the year. Although we do recommend you start with month 1 in January and follow along, as this follows the natural flow of most craft and design businesses business process and market.
But it hasn't got specific dates in it with daily notes.
Is the planner journal available as a download? Will it be made available as a download?
Of course we considered this option in the last two years since we launched Dream Plan Do, as indeed many planners offer this option. And indeed our Dream Plan Do VIP club members do receive a PDF package with the main planning tools as an extra in A4 in January 2019, so that they can do the quarterly and monthly plans, as well as the marketing, social media and financial plans on a larger scale or start again, as often as they like.
But we will not be offering the Dream Plan Do monthly planner as a download because it would really change the experience of using Dream Plan Do. Firstly printing off 300+ pages is no mean feat (!) and quiet costly too, secondly I don’t think you will then actually use it in the way that we would like you too.
I created Dream Plan Do as an experience that you would treasure. A beautiful book that becomes truly yours. Where you write in, doodle in. That you get out at the start or end of the week to plan ahead. That you use on your sofa or in your favourite cafe to reflect and work ON your creative business. Like the diaries you used to keep when you were a teenager, allowing you to really have a very personal relationship with your planner. Looking back at what you wrote or planned out earlier in the year, and reflecting on what you have achieved. To write and doodle in the sidelines.
And yes, I studied Graphic Design and married a graphic designer. We love the smell of freshly printed books. We love good typography and bookmarks. We love a good planner! We are proud to be a bit stationery geeky.
We have had so many people responding to the planner and sharing images of their planner because it is such a beautifully created book (with a very strokeable cover …) that they can write and doodle in. I just know that printing out copies just isn't the same experience. Hope you understand. If you do then you are very likely a ‘proper’ Dream Plan Do-er!
I purchased the Dream Plan Do planner before. Why should I buy it again?
Great question! And indeed I don’t want you to spend more time on reading and training if you are not planning to actually use it in your business.
If you purchased a Dream Plan Do 2017 planner journal then a lot has changed! Although the overall concept of monthly themes is still there (because this is based on the natural market flow of most creative businesses after all!) we changed a lot last year with implementing a far stronger ‘Big Picture’ section to get the fundamentals right, plus we created a far stronger quarterly focus rather than the annual and monthly focus. This really helped Dream Plan Do-ers last year to break big goals down and to get into action with juicy 90-day goals and plans that really moved their business forward. We also included various new monthly planners and a stronger emphasis on you as a human being and the importance of your well being to succeed.
If you purchased last year’s Dream Plan Do then overall not that much has changed (the structure and the concept) because we know it works, but of course we can always improve so …
We’ve completely changed chapter 8 (time management and productivity), simplified the chapter on ‘creating and launching a collection’ and ‘promoting and selling online’ and we have added more to the chapter about ‘creating and launching a brand’.
We simplified some of the exercises and made some of the planning tools even clearer. We have changed exercises in every chapter and included some great new ones throughout (I love the WHY-HOW-WHAT exercise a lot! - based on Simon Sineks’ ‘Start with why’).
We have added a distinction for some of the exercises, with ‘core exercise’ for those of you who have limited time, and ‘expert exercise’ to stretch some of you to go a bit deeper.
Completely new this year is that we have added the stories of 12 Dream Plan Do-ers to liven up the planner with photographs and their stories about their lives and business, and their top tips to keep you going.
I asked indeed some of the Dream Plan Do-ers who have purchased the planner journal for two years now if they would buy again, and one person said:
“Although the questions and exercises in Dream Plan Do are similar as before, my answers have changed over time. Dream Plan Do allows me regularly time to reflect and plan ahead. But one of the most useful things has been to actually look back at what I wrote two years and one year ago. I can’t believe the progress I’ve made.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Dream Plan Do is there to be used. To fill in, to scribble in. To make notes and reflect. To think things through at your own pace. In your own place.
If you haven’t written all over your previous year’s planner yet than do ask yourself what’s going on. What do you need to start working on your business, to commit to developing yourself and your business, and to take action. Maybe joining the Dream Plan Do VIP club can give you that extra bit of accountability that you need?
If your Dream Plan Do planners from previous years look a bit tatty, full of stains and notes, then I hope you really treasure it. It shows your progress. And I hope that you’ll join us again in 2019 for some more.
I haven’t started my creative business yet. Is Dream Plan Do for me?
That depends how far you are with your business. And what kind of person you are.
The Dream Plan Do journal planner works every month step-by-step towards launching your collection in month 9 (autumn). Each month we tackle a different topics - from goal setting for the year (month 1) and your finances (month 2), to what you do (month 3) and who your ideal clients are (month 4), to creating and launching a brand and collection (month 5), to marketing and social media, and selling wholesale, online and at events.
For some new businesses this might be overwhelming. There is a lot to do. Or it might make you feel that you are ‘very behind others’, that there is a lot more to do to get your business started than you were expecting, and that might scare you and make you nervous. If you have a tendency to compare yourself negatively with others, then I suggest you wait with Dream Plan Do till you have developed your ideas a little further.
However, if you get stimulated to see what’s coming your way or you really want to set up your business professionally from Day One, then I think you will love Dream Plan Do - even if you haven’t started your business yet.
Some very new creatives have told us that they found it really useful to read through the entire book first. To get a really good overview of what’s involved in starting a creative business. And then they went back to the start and actually did the exercises. Yes of course, it did take them often longer than one month. Of course their answers weren’t always fully developed.
But they found it really useful to see where their gaps in their knowledge was. They found that using Dream Plan Do had saved them a lot of money, energy and time. Because they weren’t just developing and making products, but they were actually really thinking about how to combine their creative skills with who their ideal clients could be, and how to approach them. They found it useful to set smaller goals and focus their research. Working on specific things at the right time. They stopped procrastinating because they had quarterly goals to work on, they focused on their next steps and moved forward. Less thinking, more doing! They could ask questions to other more developed creatives in our private Facebook group too.
So, I can’t really answer this question for you, as it depends indeed on how far you are with your business ideas and what type of personality you have got. Wishing you all the very best on your business journey!
I have been a creative business for a long time. Is Dream Plan Do just for new creative businesses?
No!!!! Dream Plan Do is for ANY ambitious creative professional - from startups to established designer makers, to stationery businesses selling on Etsy, Not On The Highstreet and beyond.
In fact many well known creatives have purchased the Dream Plan Do planner in the last two years, and have told me personally how useful they have found it. Especially if you are stuck, at cross roads, fed up with not making enough money, needing a boost to your marketing and social media, or in transition then Dream Plan Do is for you.
I have worked as a creative business adviser, trainer and coach for more than 25 years. Dream Plan Do combines many of the coaching questions, practical planning tools and marketing planners that I have developed over all these years.
Dream Plan Do asks some really big questions. It enables you to make the time and space regularly to reflect. And especially if you have been going for a while it might be really healthy to take some distance and wonder if you are still doing the right things. If you are still on the right journey. Or if ‘now is your time’ and you want to really take your creativity and business up a notch.
Many 'mature' creatives have told me how useful they found Dream Plan Do, as it got them to think about some of the big questions: Why do you do what you do? What are your talents? Why did you start your business? Are your numbers stacking up? Is your branding and website reflecting 'you' appropriately?
Often we don't make time for reflection like this. Too busy.
But especially if you have been going for a while you might get stuck, your market might have changed a lot and the way your products and services are being bought, you might have returned from maternity leave, you might have divorced or your kids might have gone off to university and now is (finally!) "your time"!
I also know that many creatives with a (very) high profile have actually seen their turnover and salary shrink in recent years. And that's tough. I know that, and acknowledge that. I find that they often are shy about this and a bit embarrassed. And that makes me truly sad.
What's great about Dream Plan Do is that this is a very personal journey, and I will guide you through questions and creative exercises for you to find your own, new solutions to create new product lines, find new audiences, and boost your marketing and social media knowledge and ideas too.
Whatever the reason ... you are very welcome to join Dream Plan Do! You won’t be alone.
I am a visual artist / photographer / gallery owner / event organiser / web designer / graphic designer / interior designer / food business / … Is Dream Plan Do for me?
It depends on two things!
Firstly Dream Plan Do is very much about creating and launching a successful creative product collection in the autumn. Along the way we work step-by-step around themes such as your goals for the year, your finances and price level/positioning, your strengths and weaknesses, identify who your clients are, your branding and website, time management, and then towards launching, selling to trade (galleries, shops, interior designers) and online, and getting ready for Christmas.
If you create and sell creative products such as prints, (small) objects for the home or for people then Dream Plan Do is very suitable for you! If, on the other hand, you create big visual installations, online articles or create art works that aren't really for sale, then Dream Plan Do is not for you.
Since launching Dream Plan Do for the first time in 2016 we have had various graphic designers and illustrators who sell on Etsy, interior designers who were looking at creating products, and creative beauty product and food businesses who really loved Dream Plan Do, and found it very useful and relevant to their business. Of course there were chapters that were less useful to them or they had to tweak some of the exercises, but indeed they became really creative and developed some great new products, branding and websites.
Although Dream Plan Do is very much focused on selling products, it would also be very relevant for creative services, in particular around private commissions, running (craft) workshops or online (creative) training and personalising of products. In fact I try to get many product-based businesses to think broader and develop a suitable range of income streams that often include these services, for which you can charge more!
Secondly, Dream Plan Do is about getting you into action to make improvements to your financial situation and the organisation and marketing of your business. If you don't feel comfortable with becoming more professional and business-like then again Dream Plan Do is not for you.
If you would like to get a bit of a 'kick up the bum' and want to explore in more detail who your potential clients are, and what kind of products or services they might like, and what the best ways are to reach them and build relationships with them so that you can ultimately create products they really love and want to buy, then Dream Plan Do is what you are looking for!
I’m not a creative business. Is Dream Plan Do for me?
Of course we can have a long conversation about the definition of what 'creative business' means. My thinking is that most businesses should be more creative indeed!
But, Dream Plan Do has been specifically developed for creative businesses in the 'smaller' sense of the word ... It's especially for designers, makers, craftspeople who create creative products or services.
Although some parts of the book are relevant for any small business (the quarterly and monthly planner, the goal setting, finances, what you do and who your clients are, branding) there are large parts were it is about who your clients are where it will be very different for non-creatives.
Dream Plan Do talks about selling to trade (galleries, shops, department stores, interior designers) for example, or very strongly about selling online, creating key words, and getting ready for Christmas (as most craft and product businesses heavily rely on this period for their sales), so if this is not relevant to your business then Dream Plan Do isn't a good fit.
I have been a creative business adviser, trainer and coach for 25 years. My mum had a gift shop / gallery in the Netherlands when I grew up. I ‘get’ creative businesses. I understand them. It’s what I do and love.
What’s the difference between the Dream Plan Do VIP club and The Design Trust Business Club?
Great question! They are different and similar …
The Dream Plan Do VIP club:
You can sign up for the Dream Plan Do VIP club from mid November 2018 till 31 January 2019 only, when we close our doors till next year. The VIP club starts in early January 2019 and finishes in December 2019. You can only sign up for the entire year.
You get two monthly online training sessions (2 x 90 minutes each) in the evening (UK time) that are recorded, and that will be posted together with printable presentations on our private online training platform. The first session (early in the month) goes deeper into the material of that month’s topic with further explanation or extra exercises. The second session is a Practice session where up to 5 VIP members share their homework (with feedback by Patricia) and ask questions about that month topic. All recordings and the platform will be available for you till the Summer of 2020. So if you are a little slower or you want to take longer then that’s not a problem. You are guided by our monthly sessions but at the same time you can do this at your own pace!
The monthly sessions are based on the Dream Plan Do planner journal and follow the 12 monthly themes of the planner exactly e.g. January = setting goals for the year, February = financial goals & management, March = What do I really do?, April = Who are my ideal clients, …) The planner works towards the launch of your new or updated product collection in the Autumn in time for Christmas.
You get the Dream Plan Do monthly planner journal plus the wall planner as part of the 12 months course. You will also have access to our private Dream Plan Do Facebook group and 4 hours of online training, as all purchasers of the Dream Plan Do monthly planner journals get.
We encourage accountability partnerships between Dream Plan Do VIP members every quarter. This is entirely voluntary and self-initiated but we encourage members to sign up and help them to find each other. Some great new (international) friendships have happened in 2018 because of this!
You can upgrade and pay at a ‘friend’s rate’ to get a private coaching/advice/feedback session with Patricia. Each month up to 10 sessions will be made available for VIP members. This is a unique opportunity to get specific feedback and advice on your creative business challenges - for Dream Plan Do VIP members only as Patricia doesn’t provide individual coaching at the moment.
The DPD VIP club is perfect for creatives who know that they need more accountability to achieve their goals! The monthly sessions will keep you more on track, especially if you do the homework. The monthly ‘practice’ sessions are a great way to learn from other creatives and how they have done the exercises in the planner, but also to get professional feedback from Patricia yourself if you submit your homework in time. The private online network of other Dream Plan Do VIP members will increase your own network - internationally. You can also ask questions or get feedback at any time on the forums from other VIP members and the Dream Plan Do team.
You can join our online training if you have got access to a computer and reliable broadband. Dream Plan Do VIP members are mostly from across the UK, but also USA, Canada and Europe. We have creatives who have started fairly recently to creatives with decades of experience!
The Dream Plan Do VIP club is aimed at creatives with a product who want to work on all aspects of their business, and especially want to work towards the launch of a product collection in the Autumn. Your busiest time is likely Christmas. If you are very new and haven’t got a product out yet then it might stimulate you, but you will get more out of it if you are ready to create products in 2019. Having said that we have had graphic designers, interior designers and others joining us too, so it’s not exclusively the case, but that’s the structure of the Dream Plan Do planner journal that we follow through in the club.
You will be able to sign up for the Dream Plan Do VIP club from mid November onwards here. The total costs are £195, which includes the two monthly online training sessions (about 40hours in the year!) + online network + one hardback monthly planner journal + the annual wall planner +free p&p in the UK + VAT (people outside both UK and EU will not be charged this tax). If you have pre-ordered your monthly planner journal in October then you will receive an email in mid November with details of how to upgrade. Pre-orders will get a highly discounted rate for this VIP Club membership.
The Design Trust Business Club:
You can sign up for The Design Trust Business Club at any time of the year. You have the option for a monthly membership (£25,-/month) or annual membership (£225,-/year = 3 months free). There is no contract so you can stop at any time if you like.
Business Club members get at least 2 monthly online training sessions (60 - 90min) hosted by Patricia van den Akker. Twice a year we do a ‘bonus’ month with many more sessions, in August and December we are a little quieter. Each session is recorded, and is posted together with a presentation on our private online Business Club training & networking platform. Each month we have a different theme, and either Patricia teaches the session or she hosts guest experts or invites successful creatives. For example in September we invited 4 shop keepers/galleries (incl. Snowden Flood, Luna & Curious, Caro Somerset, Snug Gallery) to join us to talk about how they sell creative products and how they work with creatives. This autumn we have a bonus series with Sinead Koehler of Crafty Fox Market talking about selling more for Christmas.
Business Club members have immediate access to over 100 online training sessions: in-depth masterclasses, workshops, podcasts (audio only) and video interviews. Topics range from: business planning & goal setting, financial & project management, marketing & social media, selling online, selling wholesale, costing & pricing, time management & productivity, business models.
The Business Club is a bit like a ‘buffet’ from which members choose their own learning path. There is a wide range of topics and they join live or they do it at their own pace, whenever they like to learn or get inspiration. Members can ask questions during the live sessions or post business questions on the online forum. It’s not as guided as the Dream Plan Do VIP club, it’s aimed at busy creatives who have limited time for training but want extra business knowledge.
Through the Business Club members directory there is the opportunity to network with other creatives, although the community is fairly quiet as members tend to be doing ‘their own thing’.
The Business Club is perfect for creatives who are ambitious and want to grow their business, they are busy and self-motivated, and who want extra relevant creative business knowledge, skills or inspiration. This is not just for product businesses, but also for designers, creatives working with industry more, or event organisers and galleries. You can access a wide range of topics immediately, and learn at your own pace, whenever you like, wherever you are in the world, from the comfort of your own home or work space. Business Club members can ask questions at any time on the forums from other VIP members and the Dream Plan Do team.
You can join The Design Trust Business Club membership if you have got access to a computer and reliable broadband. Business Club members are mostly from across the UK, but also USA and Europe.
Can I give Dream Plan Do as a Christmas or birthday gift?
Yes, no problem! We would be delighted. When you order you just need to give a different shipping address than payment address and we will send it for you all over the world.
Couple of things to be aware of:
We would like you to include in the ‘note’ section when you order that this is a gift, so we change the intro and let the receiver know that this is a gift from you, rather than a self-purchase! If you would prefer to stay anonymous then do let us know in the notes section too.
If your order is urgent then please do let us know in the note box. The pre-orders will be send out between mid-end of November. If you order between mid November and early December then the waiting time will be around 4 working days (we are a small team!). When you order it will be clear what the time is, but if you are in a hurry then do let us know by email on email@example.com and we will fast track your order for you.
If you order by 1 December then it should not be a problem to send this before Christmas. But if you are overseas then be sure to order asap.
Your email address will be on our system, and we recommend that you forward some of the emails you receive to the person you would like to give it to.
Want to get it gift wrapped? We are happy to put it in a nice Christmas or birthday paper for you. Nothing over the top, but very happy to offer this wrapping service for free! Just let us know what the occasion is in the notes section.
I’m a journalist/blogger and would like to review Dream Plan Do. Is that possible?
Yes! Of course we would be interested in being featured in relevant publications or blogs in the fields of design or craft, small business, female entrepreneurs, or others.
It could be a feature and we do have information and images available of myself and the planner and it's content. I am also happy to answer any questions in writing.
If your audience is a good match and you have a reasonable audience and a professional blog or publication then I would be also very happy to talk with you about additional ways of working together, including competitions to win the planner journal or more.
If you would like to get a copy of the planner then we have copies available from mid November onwards, so it might make more sense to provide you with images if you want this urgently.
If you have got any questions then do get in touch with myself: Patricia van den Akker, and email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org