The Passion Planner competes with countless other multi-purpose planners on the market, many of which are stylish and well-known. Its Kickstarter campaign ran for only 30 days. A PDF version of the Passion Planner was offered for free online. And yet it raised 6,584% of its $10,000 funding goal, raising a whopping $658,434. What was the key behind its incredible success?
Though it seems incredibly cliche, the only viable explanation for the campaign’s enormous success is that it had an overwhelming amount of—you guessed it—passion (*ba dum ts*). But the most influential part of the campaign wasn’t only the creator’s passion; it was the undying passion and support of her followers and backers.
Passion Planner’s creator, Angelia Trinidad, was inspired to create the planner by her own personal experience. Trinidad claims that she suffered from “directionless floating” from “post-college uncertainty” in early 2013. Deeply dissatisfied and depressed, Trinidad set out to find a cure for her unhappiness.
After many months of reflection, Trinidad came to the conclusion that we, as a society, are so strongly trained to accept success that we’re afraid to actually live life. Trinidad found this especially true in the education system, where students “work in order to gain outside approval or to avoid punishment while constantly comparing our worth and success to that of others.” We overthink everything with no action to follow. And then, she says, “we flip out.”
She soon realized that she was far from the only seemingly lost, confused, and overwhelmed individual in the world, and that she had the power to influence others to be their best selves, just has Trinidad had with herself. So she decided to make a change. Creating the Passion Planner allowed Trinidad to “combine the best of both worlds in terms of functionality and reflection,” and to challenge the way her users look at their lives. She inspires them to stay focused towards their goals, yet emphasizes the importance of quiet introspection and personal goals as well. Trinidad believes that the Passion Planner is a valuable “tool in which they can define, plan, and execute their goals”—but unlike other planners, she stresses both work-related and personal goals, which makes the planner a personal development tool as well.
Many backers are intrigued by the layout of the planner. The year is laid out in weeks, each day recorded from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. in 30 minute increments so users can see where their time truly goes. It features dual to-do lists (work and personal), weekly inspirational quotes, a weekly challenge to inspire action and reflection, dedicated sections to weekly and daily goals, and a blank space that can be used for whatever you pleases. The planner itself has fairly standard design; it features a leather cover, an enclosure strap for privacy, and a bookmarking ribbon for Kickstarter backers.
Sure, I’ll be the first to admit, the planner is pretty rad. However, the planner isn’t what got her over $600k; Trinidad’s poignant story is the campaign’s best strength. She clearly establishes that her intentions are genuine, and that she truly hopes to prevent others from experiencing the unfulfilling depression she did. She’s invested her time in making this a positive experience for backers, so they are more willing to invest in her. By placing herself at the front of the campaign and honestly sharing her story, she immediately connects with the backers and gains credibility, which is by far the most powerful part of her campaign.
Beyond the original story, Trinidad is undeniably personal in her interactions with her backers; she promptly responds to every comment personally (even if it’s just a “thanks for doing this, love it!”), which reassures the backers and followers that she really does care. Her updates invites backers to see a true glimpse into her humble entrepreneurial life and her personality; it’s admirable and refreshing that Trinidad is proud of her currently garage-run business and opens up to her followers to share many little elements of her life as an entrepreneur. As viewers of the campaign, we can’t help but be drawn towards her openness and personal touches to the campaign.
How did even she get the word out about the campaign? The other huge strength is the social impact she received from the campaign itself. Here was Trinidad’s most brilliant move: the IndieGoGo campaign offered a $1 reward to receive a PDF copy of the 2015 calendar OR you could share the campaign on social media and receive a link to the PDF for free. This was an absolutely fantastic way to get the word out about her campaign and give everyone a chance to be part of the Passion Planner movement without any monetary contribution. The physical, leatherbound calendar starting at $20 early bird reward and increasing progressively throughout the campaign. It is currently listed at $25 on Passion Planner’s website, discounted from $30.
Lastly, many don’t realize that she had a Kickstarter for the 2014 Passion Planner, which raised $48,030 of its $19,000 goal with 1,059 backers. Trinidad maintained her relationships with previous backers, subsequently building a loyal following of individuals that were eager to reorder her planner. Right there, she had 1,059 advocates to start off with (assuming they were all satisfied; which, based on the way she’s treated all 23,626 backers who backed the planner, I’m willing to bet they were). Edit: I can personally attest to this—I emailed Trinidad a few words of encouragement and thanks, and she responded back promptly and warmly, making me feel a personal connection with her that only reinforced my love for the Passion Planner!
The Passion Planner campaign had tons of extremely valuable learning lessons to take away from the campaign; but above all, it’s inspired us to convey our passion in everything we do. What’s your biggest takeaway?
by Rafah Ali