My new workbook, Cultivate Your Hustle: A Workbook & Planning Guide to Create a Business You Adore, Grow Your Online Income and Make an Impact Doing What You Love! launches on June 16, 2019.

It's been almost 12 months since I wrote a book and I have to say, of the 25+ books I've written, I'm the most excited about this workbook.

For the past two years, I've had “create a planner/workbook” on my goals list and every year, after completing my annual review process, I have pushed the planner/workbook to the back burner because I had other priorities that I wanted to focus on.My new workbook was created in!

But not this past annual review.

Nope. This time, rather than push a new workbook to the back of the line, I brought it to the front.

Wanna know why?

It's because of you, dear reader and H&G member.

Over the past 5+ years, I've been writing books, I've received 1,000's of questions about starting a business online and what it really takes to get things up and running.

I'm asked, at least every second day, how I make the decisions I do. How do I choose what to focus on? How am I so productive? This all lead to the development of this amazing new workbook!

You inspired me and challenged me to create something that would really make a difference to you and I'm excited about launching this out into the world.

My New Workbook — Why a Workbook?

You might be wondering why it's a workbook instead of a normal book… after all, I'm definitely the Queen when it comes to writing non-fiction, how-to, self-help books, so why deviate?

Because it's my business and the timing felt right.

These past months, I've discovered that if you focus on what others are doing instead of focusing on what brings you joy, things can get a little off track.

Things got a lot off track at the end of Q1 2019.

You all know I'm a huge 90-day plan fan, so at the end of the first 90 days of 2019, as part of my quarterly review process, I discovered that I'd been — well — lazy.

Not lazy in that I'd been sitting on my laurels doing nothing; lazy in not staying focused on the things that mattered in my business.

I'm not perfect. I'm human. And even though it appears that I've got my shit together, I can assure you that stuff goes wrong for me too. I'm just not great at sharing those vulnerable tidbits with the world.

It's embarrassing. It makes me feel like I'm failing.

And I know that you guys wouldn't shame me or anything if I told you this stuff more often, but I'm the one that feels icky about it. I do plan to share more, especially after the release of this new workbook.

Anyway, I'm digressing!

When I sat down and took myself through a different quarterly review process, it was then that I discovered where I'd gone wrong… and I learned from that mistake.

It also lead to the re-inspiration of creating the workbook for you guys.

How I Created the New Workbook

Now, I'm no graphic designer, but I am dangerous enough with programs like that I have had some success in creating images and infographics.

Well, after creating a number of PDF action guides and workbooks as lead magnets for my books and for clients, I discovered that I was pretty good at Canva.

That's when I decided I'd use it to create my new workbook.

A word of warning: is not for the faint-at-heart. It is not designed to be used for this type of project. If you're prepared to learn its quirks, you can make it work with amazing success.

I'd been searching for a creative outlet for a while.

To be honest, writing hadn't been fulfilling me for months, hence why I hadn't written and published a book since June 2018, when I wrote Mind The Chatter: Master Your Inner Voice, Gain a Positive Mindset and Get Your Power Back!

And while that book was something I was called to write, after it was published, I choose to focus on other things, mainly to avoid the fact that creatively, I was tapped out. In fact, I started to think that my days as an author were numbered.

This isn't the first time this has happened to me…

Back in 2014, when I first started my author business, I had an intense 18 months of writing, publishing and launching a book every 4-6 weeks. Even writing 7 books in 7 weeks!

By the end of 2015, I started to feel like my writing was utter crap. It wasn't bringing me joy.

When I started my side hustle as a freelance writer back in 2011, I made a vow to myself. Before I even quit my job, I vowed I'd only do things that brought me joy, that lit my creative fires.

My reasoning for this was that if I was going to step outside the norm and pursue an online career, I needed to do things I was passionate about. Otherwise I'd land myself back in feeling stuck and drained, just as I had in my day job.

And that's exactly how I'd started to feel at the end of Q1 2019… stuck and drained.

But after following my new quarterly review process and asking myself questions and listening for the answers, I started to see a new way.

And that's when the new workbook idea really started to flourish.

I figured that if I could help myself get clear on these things, then surely I could help you guys too.

Using Canva to Create My New Workbook

A lot of trial and error went into the creation of this workbook. Canva is not normally the program used to create this type of book, but it was the one I turned to.

Here's a glimpse of the new workbook layout I did in Canva:

Workbook Layout

The new workbook is split up into the following four main areas:

  1. Foundations
  2. Cultivate
  3. Grow
  4. Systems

These four phases are designed to help you get clear. They ensure that your side hustle foundations are solid. Then you can move into cultivating, growing, and automating systems in your business.

All so you can create a business you adore,  grow an income online and make an impact doing what you love!

The Struggles I Encountered

As I mentioned, Canva is not designed to create workbooks or planners for that matter.

The main reason? Margins. You can't set margins as you can in MS Word or Adobe InDesign.

Sure, there is a guide for where Canva thinks your text should be, but it's a lot smaller than the actual margins of a workbook.

So this meant a lot of tweaking.

First, I had no idea what the layout would look like once it was printed. So I took my thumb drive to my local printer and got a black and white copy printed off. I also had it spiral bound so I could get a sense of the inner margins.

Next, I went page by page in a two-page spread to see if it looked aesthetically correct. This was the most time-consuming.

Once that first run-through was complete, I made changes in Canva. I also added in page numbers.

Again, this is where Canva is limited. I had to manually add header and footer text (aka chapter headings and page numbers) to each page. At 140 pages, this took a long time.

But once I'd figured out the best alignment, I could copy and paste onto each page and it would retain the correct placement on the page.

Canva for the win there!

Once page numbers were added, I got a proof copy created with Amazon. I wanted to see what the paper quality would be like and how the color interior would look so I could make a decision whether to run with full color or black and white.

Here's a look at the first proof I received:

Workbook Proof

Anybody else underwhelmed by the colors? Me too.

On my screen, those colors were vibrant and really added to the content of the workbook. In reality, they looked dull and dirty… like the brightness had been sucked out of them.

Back to the drawing board re colors!

In the end, I've decided to go with full-color interior even though it does increase the cost of printing. But for all the worksheets and exercises that are in color, it's worth it. I know you guys will appreciate it too when you see it!

Once the cover was decided on, I was able to make the interior colors brighter and bolder.

Have you seen the cover? OMG. My designer, Christos, is a magician!

New Workbook Cover

That blue is so vibrant, I've included it in the interior and updated my brand colors to reflect it.

I couldn't be happier with the outcome.

A Request to Join the Launch Team

If you want the opportunity to get your hands on a PDF copy of the digital workbook BEFORE anyone else, then you might be interested in joining the launch team.

But first, here's what you need to know before you join:

  • You need to have spent $50 on Amazon in the past 12 months in order to be able to leave an honest, verified review
  • When asked, you need to be able to share the book with your email list and/or social media followers
  • You agree to participate on some level (either by reviewing or sharing)

That's it. As a bonus for joining the launch team, I'll also be giving you access to the Canva template I used to create the workbook! If you're wanting to do something similar, you'll love getting access to this.

The workbook is 8.5 x 11 inches.

If you're in, fill out your details below!


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Lise Cartwright
Lise Cartwright

Founder of Hustle & Groove and your creative business strategist. If you want to get notified of new posts just like the ones you see here, then make sure you join the awesome H & G community — Join Now!

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