Here I am in Ko Samui. As I’m writing I can hear the waves crashing on the beach. It’s a beautiful island and a totally different experience from Chiang Mai.
I love being able to choose where and when I work. However getting here from the UK after New Year has meant setting my business goals for 2015 a few weeks into the year. I’m a bad, bad entrepreneur!
I love travelling. Scratch that! I love destinations. Travelling is actually a bit of a pain in the ass when it comes to that small matter of running a business. Flights, jetlag, wifi … first world problems. I’ll shut up.
Review of 2014
2014 was definitely a standout year for both business and personal reasons.
My passive income more than trebled from the previous year from just over $15,000 to more than $50,000 and towards the end of the year I moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, which was great for body, mind and spirit.
The biggest business win of the year was my Udemy income increase – it was bringing in $1000/month at the beginning of the year and in November (Black Friday month) I nearly cleared $7000. This is both good and bad. Good because, er, income. Bad because it represents about three quarters of all my passive income.
One of my most painful moments in business was Google killing a few of my sites in 2012 and that taught me to not put all my eggs in one basket. Never rely on one source of traffic; never rely on one source of income; never rely on a third party platform you can’t control.
So I continue to find alternative income streams. I’m moderately pleased with my Kindle sales increase. I’m making $600-800 a month now on Kindle compared to roughly $200 a month at the beginning of the year.
At the end of Q3 2014 I wrote that I should care less about numbers and more about helping people. Rather disappointingly, that didn’t happen. I’m involved with a charity in Bangkok that provides food and shelter for disadvantaged refugees there. But aside from that, I was unable to find a long term “helpful” project that could run alongside my business in 2014.
Meditation, reading, physical exercise as well as healthy eating and drinking habits were harder to maintain whilst in Chiang Mai towards the end of 2014 (especially the drinking).
I shall try to improve on these in 2015.
Another personal goal I have to is to speak good conversational Thai by the end of this year. It should be possible but I’ll have to systematise my learning process. I said to myself that I’d learn the Thai alphabet by 2014. That didn’t happen.
Specific business targets
Here are specific targets that I set three months ago and more targets for three months’ time.
|Target||Q4 2014 target||Q4 2014 actual||Q1 2015 target|
|Monthly unique visitors||20,000||29,735||25,000|
I’d experienced a huge traffic drop during 2013 and most of 2014 which seems to be reverting now. At the time of the traffic drop I was consulting with various SEO “experts” and disavowing links like crazy. I’m now of the opinion my traffic drop wasn’t down to any penalty, it was just part of Google’s movement towards favoring the big brands. Google is no different to any other company. They haven’t got a clue what they’re doing either.
General business targets
Last quarter I had three targets. Here’s how I got on:
- Chill out and have a bit of a holiday ✓ Target Hit! What a stupid target! That was like a red flag to a bull.
- Write a personal development book ✗ Target Missed! I wrote 5,000 words of one but lost momentum. I did publish a WordPress Kindle book though.
- Think more seriously about helping people and less about numbers and business, business, business ✗ Target Missed! This was another unspecific (not SMART) target so I should think more carefully on this subject instead of creating general objectives.
So, here are my business targets from now until the end of the first quarter 2015:
- Release a major new course on Udemy on making passive income with info-products
- Do a major Jeff Walker style seed launch for the same course to my list
- Publish that damn personal development book on Kindle
Here’s the ego trip bit (as if the rest isn’t)…
|Indicator||1st Apr 2014||1st July 2014||30th Sep 2014||31st Dec 2014|
|My Twitter followers||2596||2742||2842||2959|
|My YouTube Channel, subscribers||1221||1477||1843||2309|
|My YouTube Channel, video views||373,423||428,668||486,948||566,054|
|Facebook page Likes/Fans||638||720||822||1010|
|Subscribers to RobCubbon.com||5948||6276||6692||7511|
The most important number is the last number. My main email list is growing faster these days. This is down to my clever ways to collect email addresses using Udemy and Kindle.
What does this all mean?
Well, it means I’m a lucky boy for one thing.
Although everything is looking fairly rosy in the garden, I’m maybe too much of a worrier to descripe my business as “running fine”. In my experience, just when you put your feet up and admire your handy-work, that’s when life likes to bite you on the bum.
In terms of “Threats” to my business, an over-reliance on Udemy is certainly one. In terms of “Weaknesses”, one of them is my ability (or lack of) to work on the road (especially in Ko Samui). I shall address these.
And, I need to buckle down and move my business on whilst maintaining my personal goals of physical fitness, meditation and helping others.
What about you?
What are some of your business and personal goals for 2015. I’d love you to leave them in the comments.