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The Art of Digital Planning Inside Hello Brio’s Creative Journey

Written by:

Howard Tillerman is the Chief Marketing Officer for Step By Step Business and an award-winning marketing professional.

The Art of Digital Planning Inside Hello Brio’s Creative Journey

Welcome to our interview with Jenny Lee, the creative powerhouse behind Hello Brio — a vibrant platform where artistry and entrepreneurship converge. In a world where the hustle of business often overshadows the canvas of creativity, Jenny has masterfully blended the two, creating a unique space that celebrates hand lettering, illustration, and design. From minimalist patterns to bold letterings that speak volumes, Hello Brio is a testament to the power of creative living. Join us as we explore the colorful and mindful world of Hello Brio, a true haven for those seeking to infuse creativity into every aspect of their lives.

 Jenny Lee

Inspiration Behind Hello Brio

SBS – What inspired you to start Hello Brio, and how has your vision evolved over the years?

Jenny – Today, Hello Brio focuses on intentional living and mental wellness, emphasizing journaling and digital planning on the iPad. My income primarily stems from selling minimalist digital planner and journal templates, aligning with my value for paperless simplicity. But it didn’t begin there!

Hello Brio began in 2013 as I explored the meaning of happiness at the end of a personal era. Initially shaped by others’ values, I was on a mission to redefine my path, drawing from cognitive behavioral psychology. To explore this through blogging, I chose to name my site “Hello Brio” as a way to greet vitality and excitement.

Starting with happiness, the blog evolved into diverse topics like minimalism, design, hand lettering, and intentional living. I helped others through tutorials, Skillshare, and YouTube. I even built and sold a lettering platform and audience of 250K+ as a branch of Hello Brio. All that’s to say — Hello Brio evolved quite a bit since 2013!

Balancing Creativity and Business

SBS – How do you balance creativity with the business aspects of running Hello Brio?

Jenny – I’m a recovering productivity nerd, so I’ll try to keep this short!

I find success using time-blocking and day-blocking methods. Each day, I schedule 90-minute chunks for different business tasks, starting with creative work in the morning since that tends to be the most challenging for me. Admin tasks, like email and DMs, get their own 90-minute block, and I check my inboxes only once a day on a laptop for efficiency.

For “day blocking,” I assign themes to each day. During an ideal week when I am not working at a full-time job, here’s what my week might look like:

  • Mondays: Content creation
  • Tuesdays: Filming and editing
  • Wednesdays: Creation day to work on new products and art
  • Thursdays: Learning about my craft and entrepreneurialism
  • Fridays: Admin miscellaneous like finances, marketing, and organization

An ideal week planned out in my digital planner using my Minimal Planner templates

While having a strict schedule is challenging, these intentions provide structure and guidance. It’s important to note that my actual schedule varies drastically from this — life comes first for me.

Overcoming Online Presence Challenges

SBS – What challenges have you faced in establishing and growing your online presence?

Jenny – My biggest challenge is where to put my focus. I have multiple interests and hop between ideas and topics often. As soon as I go all-in on one idea, I lose steam and I want to switch to something else. Because of this, the slow productivity philosophy works best for me. It involves having multiple projects simmer in the background, allowing me to build on each one when the time is right and the motivation is there. Fortunately, this strategy works for my personality and my passive income business model.

The Role of Digital Planning & Journaling

SBS – What role does digital planning and journaling play in your personal and professional life?

Digital planning and journaling is my brain dump for everything personal and professional!

  • I start each day with 3 Morning Pages via Julia Cameron’s acclaimed The Artist’s Way book, handwritten in Notability in a password-protected section of the app
  • I use digital planning in Notability for trackers, logs, and an idea playground using blank templates and pages from my minimal digital planner templates
  • I use my book notes template when reading, whether they’re books for business or self-help
  • I jot down ideas on the go into my Traveler’s Notebook Passport size journal and then assimilate them into my collection pages in my digital planner
  • I scanned in old bullet journals and planners so I could reference them within Notability at any given time

Because all of Notability has handwriting recognition technology, I can search to find anything and iterate from there. This speeds up the creation process immensely compared to flipping through old notebooks. Being portable like this allows me to work from anywhere.

Creating Digital Journaling and Planning Templates

SBS – Can you share insights into your process for creating digital journaling and planning templates?

Jenny – With a design background and a passion for Ryder Carroll’s bullet journaling, I naturally create solutions on the go. I also collect inspiration in daily life. My yearly tracker is a great example of this: Inspired by a YouTube creator’s “adulting log,” I noticed a gap in digital planning. Sketching the layout in Notability, I developed a digital yearly tracker. The template features monthly tasks to fill in as completed. This solves a major problem for me because it helps me remember monthly tasks that I always seem to forget, like cleaning the dishwasher filter, changing my toothbrush, etc. I hope the templates I create help others, too.

In terms of aesthetic design, I’m inspired by user interface designs in the tech world (my professional career) as well as the minimalism of Japanese stationery. Less is more. I believe the individual’s notes and thoughts should stand out most, not the template design.

Staying Motivated and Finding Inspiration

SBS – How do you stay motivated and continue to find inspiration for your work?

Jenny – Like most of us, we’re on a perpetual self-development journey. I’m inspired by my own therapeutic experiences, including the dozens of books I read per year, my individual counselor, as well as the experiences of my friends and loved ones. Because I’m always documenting my life and journey, I often come up with new ideas for templates for myself, which I eventually design and share with the public in the hopes that they will help everyone who likes to plan and journal digitally.

Marketing Strategies for Creative Services

SBS – What strategies have you found effective for marketing your services and products?

Jenny – The best part of my marketing and the growth of my digital planning template and journaling template business is that it grew from minimalist marketing practices. I applied search engine optimization (SEO) strategies on both my site and YouTube, and they point to my digital template shop on my website. While I intend to turn up the volume on my marketing strategy, I find it encouraging that the bulk of my business grew from doing what I do well naturally: Writing about things I care about and talking about them on YouTube. Even though social media isn’t passive, I created a new Instagram journaling account intentionally this year to connect with others who love digital planning and journaling.

Mindfulness in Business and Creativity

SBS – How do you integrate mindfulness and mental health awareness into your business model and creative process?

Jenny – I create my digital planner templates with mindfulness at heart. I sell the templates as one-off PDF templates, not one large linked file, so people can choose pages based on their current needs, much like bullet journaling. This requires reflection at every “page turn” and allows the person to build their digital journal as they see fit.

I’m also working on mental health and journaling prompt templates to help others with guided self-discovery. I seek to help others solve problems, find clarity, and feel organized — all of which serve mental health.

Advice for Aspiring Creative Entrepreneurs

SBS – What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in the creative field?

Jenny – Just get started — don’t let the pursuit of learning stop you from feeling like you’re ready. We live in a world full of online business experts who could keep you busy for decades. While there are a number of amazing courses and books out there, you only need a handful, and you’ll learn better if you learn while in motion of working on your business.

Try not to get paralyzed by perfection and comparison. Get moving, take care of yourself to maintain a work-life balance, and do what feels best to your soul.

Rewarding Experiences in Creative Entrepreneurship

SBS – What have been some of the most rewarding experiences since starting Hello Brio?

Jenny – Comments and messages mean the world to me — from the most mundane comments like “Cool” to the most meaningful “You changed my life” sort of emails. Knowing that I helped at least one person is great, and seeing those interactions add up over time is phenomenal.

Recently, I received a paid pledge in my weekly newsletter. While I intend to keep the newsletter free forever, I saw the pledge as a very kind vote of confidence, and I appreciated the person’s message thanking me for creating content that would help him live a more intentional life through journaling and minimalism.

Future Plans for Hello Brio

SBS – How do you foresee the future of Hello Brio, and are there any new directions you plan to explore?

Jenny – Like everything over the past decade of Hello Brio, I will allow it to grow into whatever it becomes and will steer it in the direction that feels best. I released hard expectations in the name of self-compassion. I’m happy, I’m happy exploring what piques my curiosity, and I’m happy that things are clear to me now.

I’d love to explore:

  • Creating more digital planning and journaling templates
  • Collaborating with therapists for template designs
  • Publishing more YouTube videos
  • Writing a book or creating a community about journaling

Entrepreneurship Lessons from a Creative Journey

SBS – Lastly, what key lessons have you learned about entrepreneurship and creative living that you’d like to share with others?

Jenny – Four things:

  1. Do what feels right. Learn to listen to your intuition. If you’re not great at that, start with learning to feel when your body or heart yells, “No, thank you!”
  2. Do not put financial pressure on your business from the get-go. Creativity is best explored when you feel financially secure. This doesn’t mean you’ll be in your full-time gig forever — just until you hit a stable income
  3. Maintain balance. Entrepreneurialism is exciting, but not everything has to be done right now. Remember to get good sleep every night, feed yourself, move your body, love your loved ones, and have fun
  4. Reflect and journal! Of course, you would expect this one from a journaling coach. It’s helpful to revisit what you’re doing, how it serves you, or if it can be let go. Periodic reflection helps to steer you in the right direction



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The Art of Digital Planning Inside Hello Brio’s Creative Journey