Running a business can feel like you’re trying to keep a million balls in the air at all times. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and loose track of what needs to be done. An incredible organization system is the key to success but is often difficult to find. So many planners and organizers seem like they were designed by someone who has never ran a business before. They give too much attention to things that don’t matter and barely allow any space for the things you actually need to track. BOSSBOOK breaks that mold! Kaitlyn Trapp started BOSSBOOK after rising to the top 5% of her direct sales company within 4 months. She took everything she learned and used it to create functional planners for other women in business. The time and thought that went into these planners shows in every page.
Kaitlyn has had to overcome many setbacks along the way and they have only made her stronger. Her story shows the incredible resilience that is necessary to become successful. What started as a direct sales planner has now grown to four direct-sales editions (makeup, clothing, hair care and all companies), two traditional entrepreneurs (product or service-based), academic planners, and personal planners.
You can get more information on BOSSBOOK products on their website, Facebook and Instagram.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a graphic designer, avid traveler and military spouse. On a more personal note, I’m a self-proclaimed overachiever at masochist level. It’s where my love of lists and organization comes from.
I’ve visited or lived in more than 50 countries and met my husband in Germany. I spent a year backpacking Asia during a time he was gone with the military and now we’re back overseas.
How did you get into your business?
After one of our many military moves, I started in a direct sales company that sold makeup and skincare. I promoted twice in the first two weeks, then rose to the top five percent of the company by four months.
Within my first week, I knew there was way too much to keep in random notebooks and I started designing my own planner. I had made and sold many in the past for other businesses. I talked with successful presenters, researched and trained myself on everything network marketing and organization that I could, and added to my planner design as I went. Within a month, I was sending them as gifts to teammates and my business took off from there.
I focused mostly on direct sales until I had issues with leaders, who actually gave early versions of my design to another woman so she could replicate and sell it as her own. The punches kept coming and it was a HARD situation in every way. In the end, I had to make a choice based on my principles and goals. I have a degree in graphics and knew these planners could help more women than I could even imagine reaching through network marketing.
I had already planned a major branding and product relaunch that came out before the competitor’s planner. It was easy to see how much of the detail and knowledge in mine, came from being a top presenter and living what I was promoting… with an added dash of my specific type-A, list-making skills and overachiever obsession. My products were unique because of me, my experiences and what I considered important—hard work and consistent growth.
It was a harsh lesson, but one I feel like many entrepreneurs often face and is important to learn from when talking business.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge in business, is also the biggest blessing for my life. That wonderful husband of mine takes us to amazing places all over the world because he’s with the military; it quenches my desert like thirst for travel.
Business-wise? It’s brick wall after brick wall. I had to create solutions for overseas locations, international shipping, working with product sizes that are only available in the U.S., and then there’s an intense list of laws I must follow. Things that would be a no-brainer to do, like keep products in stock, I can’t do.
I’ve turned this into one of my best sales points though. To stay legal and affordable, I have to print and ship third party, on demand. BUT this means I can offer custom covers, create a new planner without having to order a thousand and hope to sell them. I can make additions when I learn new business techniques, or get good feedback and offer quarterly dates (perfect for spring and fall product launches).
So, instead of being limited to only one product like most others, I have four direct-sales editions (makeup, clothing, hair care and all companies), two for traditional entrepreneurs (product or service-based), academic planners, and of course, personal planners. It was definitely my way of making lemonade with my lemons.
What do you wish you’d known when you started?
I wish I would have looked more into the “business” aspect like: taxes, copyright, contracts, algorithms, SEO, etc. That and I wish I had joined discussions with other entrepreneurs sooner. I spoke with so many digital nomads while in Asia and getting a different point of view from other business owners was crucial in my push.
If you could narrow your success down to one thing, what would it be?
Continual growth. Natural progression to create continual growth is the focus of my planners because I think it’s so important in my own business. I’m always listening to self-development, business development and MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) development, trends and techniques. I listen to my customers and base the planners on their needs and how sales (mainly social media) is changing. You can always get better and grow bigger.
Where do you see yourself in a year?
I’m starting a fitness planner for this year and would like to white label for more coaches, educators and entrepreneurial speakers. I would also like to go back to school for marketing.
What are your top 3 tips for women starting a business?
- Write it down. Goals, numbers, to dos, map it all out! Everyone is so busy today that you can’t expect to remember it all. Seeing it all laid out in front of you opens up your mind to think of the really great ideas and pushes you to do better.
- A new business like a child. Gary Vaynerchuk explained this is one of his books and it’s true. You’ll spend sleepless nights worrying and working on it. Honestly, there are so many comparisons, but the point is it has to grow and you are the one guiding it. So be patient, loving, and always learning.
- “So, what are you going to do now?” Whenever I have a problem, even the impossibly hard problems without a solution, my husband always asks, “So, what are you going to do now?” I’ve hit lots of walls over the years, some I couldn’t tear down no matter how hard I tried. But even if you can’t find a solution, you can find a plan B.
What is a typical day like for you?
Being stationed overseas I have a 6-10 hour time difference to the states, so mornings are my quiet time. Most of my customers are asleep, so I get time to workout and get breakfast before I start work.
The base we’re at has limited options for employment, so I’m more than happy and consumed with BOSSBOOKS. And although it probably looks like a boring day at my computer, it’s filled with lots of planning, designing, and customer contact.
Messages and orders are a daily occurrence. After them, I work through my day’s to-do list, follow up pages, then my daily tasks and power hours (time blocking) pages. Tasks like taking product photos, designing graphics, scheduling my social media (a lifesaver even if you aren’t in a different time zone). Work like this is done in pushes in-between travel and my husband’s time off.
I have a VIP group to post videos and tips, an email list for new products, sales and freebies and I’m usually researching or working on a new planner/book. I also work about 20-30 hours a week volunteering as an FRG leader for my husband’s company’s family group, organizing their fundraisers, events, social media, and supporting the military families and soldiers.
What’s your business motto or quote you live by?
BOSSBOOK’s motto is “Take the Hassle out of your Hustle,” and I run the business on making life organized, smooth running and hassle free for my customers.
But on a personal level, I’ll be blunt, it’s “Get Shit Done”. I say it, out loud, at least once a day as I’m about to dive into my BOSSBOOK. I am super active in about a million things and always taking it on the go, so looking at my planner is looking at all of my goals, customers, marketing, volunteering, obligations, etc. Sometimes you have to cut the frills and just get things done.
If you were starting your business over again, what would you do differently?
I would have pushed harder sooner. My organizers and planners were things I had made before without major thought for the future and I didn’t take them or me as seriously as I should have. It was an amazing product, but it took a while to realize just how many people I could help and how big my business could be.