2017 Life and Business Breakdown
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2017 Life and Business Breakdown

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It’s that time of the year again!

As I gear up for another new years eve in NYC, I want to share some of my achievements, thoughts, and experiences from this year.

I share these things to inspire you, get you thinking about your own resolutions, and so that I can look back on my life.

Last year, I did a 2016 Life and Business breakdown as well!

“At the beginning of 2016, I made the new years resolution or goal to focus 100% on emotional intelligence this year.

I wanted to gain a greater understanding of the emotions that I feel and those of the people around me. I also wanted to improve my social skills.”

I also did a video on some of my harmful habits in 2016.

Whenever you mention “new years resolutions” around normal people, they’ll usually laugh or joke around, because no one makes them or keeps them these days.

But, around people into personal development (like you and me), we both know this is a magical time of the year where you get a clean slate!

I have always set goals for myself, like getting fit or getting better with social skills. In 2015, I set some pretty ambitious goals. You can see the cringeworthy video here.

Haha. I look so young in that photo. That was also only 2 years ago.

  • I didn’t hit the goal of 10k/month in revenue that year.
  • I kinda hit the body fat one.
  • This is the year I started my podcast and YouTube channel, and those have grown a ton, so that goal was definitely hit. 
  • Lastly, I dramatically improved my social skills.

If you’d like to share any of your goals with me, you can contact me here.

At the beginning of this year, I made the new years resolution to treat my business like an educational business. I wanted to build out new courses and products. I wanted to really focus on revenue.

I’m happy so say that I was certainly successful with this! I’m going to be looking back at some of the milestones with this post. I’ll also make some resolutions at the end for 2018.

Cool Shit I did in 2017

Waitlist: How to Be a Location-Independent Blogger

Books I read in 2017

I didn’t read as many books in 2017 as I did in 2016. I got a bit lazy at certain points in time. However, of the books I did read, some of them dramatically improved the results I was seeing in business. Here’s the list:

The reason that I didn’t read as many books in 2017 is because I spent a lot of time learning about filmmaking from YouTubers in order to improve my vlogs.

There are a lot of great channels to learn from about filmmaking and creating higher quality YouTube videos. Just spend an hour each day learning.

You’ll learn about things like DSLR cameras, lighting, color grading, sound, etc.

I found this one channel by Thomas Alex Norman to be particularly helpful. Sometimes smaller YouTubers speak more candidly about topics because they need to put out better content.

Big-name YouTubers can get away with being a bit more vague and give broad strokes with their content.

New Gear

Last year, I invested in a DSLR camera (the EOS 70D). This improved the quality of my YouTube videos dramatically. This year, I got:

I’m considering getting the DJI Mavic Pro so I can film non-shaky drone footage.

Main YouTube Channel

Compared with 2016, my main YouTube channel grew a lot this year. It grew by a factor of 530%! Woah! That’s a 6x growth in terms of video views.

In addition to racking up lots of views, I also saw a massive jump in the number of people subscribing to my channel by a factor of 4x. The views are translating into subscribers.

The advertisement revenue for the channel grew by a factor of 10x when compared to 2016, so I made over $1,000 from YouTube.

I’m going to be releasing videos on a regular schedule in 2018 and will continue to grow this channel.

My Side YouTube Channel

The side YouTube channel is the one connected to this blog. I share advice on business, life, and personal development. I also make vlog videos.

This channel also grew a lot, but only because I only had 922 views in 2016 haha. Unlike my main channel, this one is in a niche I’ve never entered before.

I was a little bit concerned about subscriber growth for this channel at first. These are topics I have never covered before. I also need to work on my entertaining-style videos.

Slowly, I started to see more subscribers, but I’m only at 240 right now. It gets a lot easier once you get your first 1,000 subscribers. Getting to my first 100 was painstaking.

I haven’t made $100 from this channel yet in advertisement revenue, but I made about $500 with a consulting client.

This channel is a “rod in the fire” that I think will grow a lot more this upcoming year and in the future. It’s a longterm play.

My Podcast

This sucker has continued to grow this year by a rate of 37% compared to last year. It’s slowing down, so I’ll either need to have on better guests, more topics, or start a new show if I want to see continued growth into the future.

I took all of the things I’ve been learning about podcasting and put it into a new book which is now available on Amazon. It’s called Podcasting for Beginners.

This book will share with you how to start, grow, and monetize your own podcast. It could be educational (like mine) or entertaining. Doesn’t matter. The strategies will work either way.

My Blog(s) and Other Sites

So, I have a bunch of blogs in addition to the one you’re reading. I also have two online forums.

I’m not going to report on these, just because we’d be here all day. They are also assets that I set up previously (2012/2013/2014) so they are more in their maturity period when it comes to growth.

I’ve been much more focused on better monetizing these assets rather than downright just growing their traffic.

This upcoming year, I’ll be focusing on producing more written content to continue to get back to growing the traffic of my main blog.

Products I’ve Created This Year

This year, I’ve created:

  • 3 audio books (with another coming out VERY soon)
  • 1 ebook/physical book
  • 3 online courses
  • Lots of blog posts, podcasts, and YouTube videos.

By biggest jumps in revenue have come from learning how to sell my courses effectively with webinars. If I had to say, the webinars have been the most powerful thing this year by far.

I experimented with paying someone to write a bit of a book for me, but it didn’t turn out very well. From here on out, I’m going to do all my own writing or come up with a better process, like transcribing audio.

I also experimented with Facebook ads for my primary niche, but I’m still working to fine-tune the sales process.

Lastly, I am now outsourcing the editing of my audio books with saves a ton of time.

I want to do a lot more delegation of work in 2018 and re-invest back into the business.

Overall, I’m happy with new direction where I’m focusing on creating education and training materials. My book business is growing a lot and starting to bring in more respectable revenue.

My Failures in 2017

There are a lot of failures of omission. I’ll say things to myself like “man, I wish I started YouTube earlier” or “wow, I should have totally done webinars sooner.”

When I think back on this year, there are several major blunders that come to mind (and a lot of small mistakes). I’ll list out two that come to mind:

  • Lost about $2,000 by investing in a public company that went belly up into bankruptcy. I did a financial analysis of the company, but I didn’t take into consideration that because there is such a small float out there, it’s hard to get a good price for your shares. I stuck out the downturn, but it was a permeant one.
  • Lost about $800 by getting a person to write a book (which sucked) and then paying someone to edit it. I then ending up having to re-write it.
  • Lost money with FB ads. It takes time to get good with FB ads. I see this as more of an investment in learning.
  • Didn’t meet 2017 resolution to abstain from drinking for 6 months.
  • DIdn’t focus enough on personal life and growth.

I have made a bunch of mistakes in my persona life, but I don’t feel like sharing those publicly here.

There are two main takeaways here for me. The first is that I need to find a better way to grow my money over time.

Before you ask, yes, I have a standard index fund, an IRA, etc. I’m saving for my retirement and shit.

I’m talking about the excess funds where I want to get a better return on my money. That’s where my $2,000 loss came from.

I was investing in stocks individually after conducting research. My first few stocks, which I held over the course of a few months, netted a 10 – 26% ROI after taxes and fees.

In particular, my investments in two companies gained a ton ~40% before taxes and fees.

The problem is that I had one investment that didn’t do well (the $2,000 loss). If I was to tally everything up, the gains don’t really matter. That looming loss just cancels everything out, so I’d be better off just putting my money in an index fund.

This was a good learning experience. I want to be able to compound money within my own business.

I want to be able to re-invest $1,000 into my business through ads or something and get $4,000 in revenue out.

I believe that in the long-run, this will be the best way for me to compound my money that’s not allocated to the standard investment vehicles.

Another major failure in 2017 was going back on my original resolution to stop drinking for 6 months.

I stopped drinking for a little bit, which led to some epic fat loss.

However, I was not able to sustain this. There are a number of reasons. A large part is how I use casual drinking to deal with the emotion of stress, anxiety, or boredom.

My main goal was to abstain from drinking while at home and that it was okay to drink at social events. It didn’t work. I think I need to have an overarching goal that is greater than my need to pacify the feeling of stress.

I tended to cut back on drinking most when I saw that it was causing me to put on fat, so I went back into hyper cardio and clean eating mode.

Drinking is just something that I don’t want to do as much in the future. I’ve also noticed that it affects my mental abilities. I feel cloudy the next day.

Even if I only have one or two beers, I’ll feel the effects the next day. I’ll be sluggish and get out of bed later. It affects my productivity and goals.

It’s kind of sad, but at the age of 26, I will feel very hungover if I party, drink, and have to wake up the next day. I won’t be able to drag myself out of bed until noon.

It kills my productivity and hampers my results.

An Un-Sexy Personal Finance System

This isn’t very sexy, but my new accounting structure for my business has been paying off a lot. I’m going into this for other business owners.

Right now, I have an LLC checking and savings account. This is how I manage revenue. Very simple.

For my personal life, I’ve set up a bunch of different checking/savings accounts including:

  • Rainy day fund
  • Emergency health fund
  • Vacation fund
  • Taxes fund
  • Standard life expenses (checking)

I can’t feel good about saving money for vacations or re-investing in my business unless I feel good about my personal finances. This system allows me to create a bit of mental separation with my money.

My Notes from 2017

I made a video going through some of my resolutions from 2017. Here are some of the notes from that video.

  • Separating thoughts from feelings and actions.
  • Not going to drink for the first 6 months at home.
  • Create more online courses. Training products
  • Work on social skills.
  • Be authentic.
  • Writing speaking, learning, and teaching.
  • Focus on personal growth.

The biggest positive impacts in 2017

  • Meditation. Meditation has transformed my life and has allowed me to live in the present moment. It’s been incredible.
  • Books and learning. This continues to be the source of all of my growth.
  • Curbing negative thoughts. I am still working on this a lot, but I realized that so much of my negative feelings come from my thoughts.
  • Learning about body language. 
  • Epic trips and experiences. Also, good times with friends.
  • Trying out things that make me scared. 

I will continue to put “personal growth” at the center of everything that I do this upcoming year.

My Business Resolutions and Goals for 2018

  • #1: Build a team. Learn how to delegate my business takes so that I’m only focused on writing, speaking, and selling. Focus on systems.
  • Focus on sales. I must be the one to drive revenue. I want to get better at selling.

I’m purposely keeping these very short. The more goals I have, the less likely I am to stick with them. I have many projects in the works, but these are the overarching goals.

My Personal Resolutions and Goals for 2018

  • Still working on these. Will update later.
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