Kathryn Hofer launched Modern Planner in March of 2015. She works with solopreneurs and micro businesses to help them plan an intentional business and life. “I teach my clients how to plan, rather than doing all the planning for them,” says Kathryn. She runs the business as the Managing Director, with her husband Joseph as the Creative Director. He carries out the brand and visual representation of Modern Planner, while Kathryn focuses on helping clients in the areas of schedules, systems, and projects.
Since she was a child, Kathryn had a knack for entrepreneurship, which, when coupled with her desire to help people plan intentional businesses and lives, lead to her starting her own business. “Looking back, I realize that I have always been wired as an entrepreneur. I started my first business when I was 10, Kookies by Kathryn. At 21, I launched a non-profit arts academy called byDesign that I ran as a volunteer for 7 years, in addition to working full-time.”
There are no typical days for Kathryn. “Each day of my week has a different focus, so not many days look the same. They are filled with interesting people in the community. I do spend time on social media every weekday, as well as taking the time to learn something new; either in my industry or about building my business,” she said. When not running Modern Planner, Kathryn enjoys a good book, a cup of tea and dark chocolate. She also enjoys attending ballet class, listening to classical music, trying new recipes, and traveling the world.
There are two ongoing promotions available through Modern Planner, one being a free 20-minute introductory session, which can be booked on her website. The second is a free course called Love Your Schedule, which helps walk participants through introductory concepts of priority and time management and gives great advice for getting the most important things done every day.
Kathryn is also hosting a lunch workshop with Tyrone Matheson, who she met through #WRTalk, on Tuesday, April 5th at The Bauer Kitchen. This workshop is called “The Self-Managed Business” and is specifically for small business owners with 5 or more employees.
The early bird price is currently available for Kathryn’s upcoming Love Your Schedule: Masterclass. This 8-week planning experience includes group training, weekly homework, and challenges, a 24/7 group chat with fellow participants, as well as one-on-one mentoring sessions with Kathryn. The masterclass begins in May, and pricing increases on April 9, unless it sells out before then.
What services do you provide?
I help people in three specific areas; schedules, systems, and projects. When working with clients on their schedule, we develop daily, weekly and monthly schedules that reflect their priorities and help them get the most important things done. I work with clients to help them understand how critical systems are for a healthy business and life. We create workflows and checklists customized for their unique needs. I also help my clients create a framework to outline the milestones and steps of their projects so they can successfully complete their next big objectives.
What is the best part of your job?
I absolutely love the light bulb moments! It is so rewarding when a concept clicks, or a client becomes aware of how creating structure can truly benefit them. Knowing that I have helped create a solution to save my clients time and money in their businesses is very fulfilling.
What do you want people in Waterloo Region to know about you or your business?
Planning can sometimes denote a very structured, fixed and traditional approach for many people. Understanding the principles of planning, and using them correctly can bring a huge return of time, money, and productivity as well as a sense of confidence. When I work with clients in Waterloo Region, I do travel to their location, and I am not afraid to get into the details!
What sets you apart from your competitors?
I believe in taking a very holistic approach to helping individuals and businesses. Traditionally, business and life have been approached very separately, however it’s not just one or the other. I believe they are both important, and when looked at together, a plan can be created that allows them to complement each other. I also really enjoy getting into the details and nuances of people’s work, regardless of how complicated and messy it may be. I have years of experience using many of the tools and technologies I recommend for my clients, and am constantly looking at how new tools can help automate systems.
What is your background/experience/education?
Growing up, I planned and organized absolutely anything I could. I grew up dancing, singing and involved in musical theatre, which led me to college in Australia where I gained a Leadership diploma with a double major in dance and vocals. Upon returning to Waterloo region I became the Creative Director for a local non-profit, planning events, projects and organizing volunteers. During that time, I founded byDesign, where I oversaw up to 14 employees and 250 students. Leadership & self-development have always been important to me, and I have nearly completed my Organizational Leadership & Development certificate at Conestoga College.
What do you wish you knew (but didn’t) when you started your business?
I wish I knew how supportive this local community would be. For six months before I launched my business, all of my learning and education in small business was online. It wasn’t until the end of 2015 that I started attending events and meeting other small business owners in the community. My first #WRTalk event was the networking event at the end of November. I left feeling very encouraged, more connected to the community than ever before and have loved every Twitter chat I have been able to participate in since then.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs in Waterloo Region?
Do what you love. Planning, and teaching others how to plan sparks passion and excitement in me. It’s not quite as hard when you love what you are doing every day. Yes, you need to hustle and work hard, but it is so fulfilling to spend each day doing something you enjoy.
As a planner, I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage entrepreneurs to look at their schedule and systems. How can you manage the time you have in a way that brings in a higher ROI? Try to automate, delegate and create a system for everything you can. And always plan ahead. As Richard Winwood says, “Planning is a process of choosing among those many options. If we do not choose to plan, then we choose to have others plan for us.“
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