The Life Plan Roadmap Template Story

Life Plan Roadmap Template

Like many of you, I’ve spent the past few months talking with friends and colleagues about the future. Everyone, myself included, is taking their best guess about what the new normal will be. There are many common questions: what will happen to restaurants, theaters, Broadway, concerts, bars, hotels, commercial real estate, the auto industry, airline travel, etc. As the conversations drift from professional to personal I am almost always asked, “What do you think I should do now?”

I’ve offered advice where I felt qualified, but in truth, advice is not what anyone reading this needs right now. It doesn’t matter what I think, it matters what you think. You’re smart. You’re capable. You either have the skills or, at this point, have identified your skill gaps. What’s hard is figuring out what to do with them while facing so many known unknowns.

So, instead of offering my thoughts, I have been offering a practical framework and process for thinking about the future. More specifically, your future. It’s called The Life Plan Roadmap Template. (Learn more about it.)

The Backstory

As a teenager, I was paralyzed with choice, and stuck in an endless internal debate. I had more options than I could sort out, and I desperately wanted to make the right life decisions. I just didn’t know how.

Greg (my girlfriend’s best friend’s boyfriend) was a few years older than I, and when we would get together, we would have all-night philosophical discussions about life, the universe, and everything. I will never forget the night Greg said to me, “Man, you sound like you’re a bag of Doritos.” I was pretty stunned. “What?” In a remarkably condescending sneer, he continued, “You sound like you’re a f@#king TV commercial about yourself.”

It was the insult that changed my life.

He was 100 percent right. I was a product. Why didn’t I have a personal product roadmap? It wasn’t called a product roadmap back then – it was just called a marketing plan – but I knew exactly what they were (since I wrote them for my dad’s mail order business) and I knew I needed one. If I was a product… what a simple idea.

Building the Roadmap

Every marketing plan needs a goal. One pure, perfect metric used to measure success. For me, that came down to answering one question: “How do I want to spend my day?” With that answered, I could measure how successful I was in achieving that goal.

The simplicity of “How do you want to spend your day?” betrays the complexity of the questions that must be answered before you can even attempt to answer it. This is what prompted me to develop my Life Plan Roadmap process and its associated template.

Over the years, as friends and clients found out about my personal self-evaluation process, many of them asked to try it. Others purchased the formalized version of it for their senior executives and leadership teams. I’ve taught this process to hundreds of business leaders during lunch & learns, one-on-ones, and team-building workshops. It’s a time-tested framework that has been adapted and revised, and it works really well.

What’s Next

I’ve made a version of the Life Plan Roadmap Template available for purchase online. It’s the first of about two dozen digital products I’m going to launch in the next few months.

The reason I’m blogging about it is that I’m also going to use this opportunity to share the process of creating a DTC product line with you. From crafting target personas, to copywriting, to content creation, to funnel management, to media mix optimization – all of it.

So many of you are wondering what to do next. So many of you have asked me how to become a consultant or how to create marketing content or how to ____. I’m happy to share the experience with you.

The first products (The Life Plan Roadmap Template and a downloadable free white paper about Deepfakes) are available in the new Shelly Palmer store at

I’ll be blogging about the funnel, the drip campaigns, the various online tools, the data science, analytics, list building – you name it. If it has to do with building your own DTC business, I will share it with you.

If you’ve been wondering how to start your new new thing, get ready. This is going to be fun.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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