2018 End Of Year Review
This year I decided to have a go at setting myself some personal goals. Unfortunately I only made this decision in July so I started late, but I've mostly stuck to it so some end of year reflection is in order before the new year.
This is the first reflective post that I've written and it feels very self indulgent, but The Internet says that it's important to do for 'personal development', and who am I to argue with the wisdom of The Internet?
In 2018 I focused mostly on client work which resulted in me smashing goals associated with that but allowed other, potentially more rewarding, long term efforts to fall behind.
I think that there are two main reasons for this:
- I find it difficult to say 'no' to clients requesting work that I can do
- The return on client work is immediate and well defined
In this respect I have been suffering from the same patterns of thought which have previously kept me in full time employment:
Trying to maintain a sense of security / Somewhat irrational fear
I think if there's anything that I need to work on in order to begin meeting my longer term goals it's with reframing the risks and rewards associated with particular tasks to prevent myself from following the simplest path.
As a first step I'm going to begin regularly using Tim Ferriss's Fear Setting exercise. Hopefully this will help to put me on the right track.
Invoice £70k active income
My final count on this is... £96,255 excl. VAT. A significant 37.5% over my original target.
I have mixed feelings about this. It has provided me with additional runway leading into 2019 and also the option to reinvest into other projects, but potentially at the expense of 3 months in which I could have worked on other things which would have helped with the goals that I failed to meet.
I hope that over the next year I'm able to improve the spread of my focus a little better. One immediate change that I'll make in order to accomplish this is to make this reflective process into a monthly exercise. This should allow me to identify imbalances in my focus more quickly and react to them as early as possible.
Increase net worth from £X to £X
I kept the values for this goal undefined because I was hoping to throw together a web based service which would allow me to track them - because it's actually super difficult to keep track of this when you are actively managing your money.
Anyway, I didn't build this tracking thing and I wasn't happy with the method I originally used to calculate it so this goal has been somewhat abandoned. I don't think I'll resurrect this type of goal again until I have a standardised way to track it.
I do still think that there's some merit in making this type of data transparent though. Personal finances have traditionally been a very taboo subject, and the less of those that there are the better the world will be...
Write One Blog Post Per Week
This was an interesting one. Final count for the year is 18 out of a target of 25. My main struggle wasn't finding the time or motivation to write these posts, but deciding upon actual content. When I began I had very little understanding of what I actually wanted to write about - I was just writing for the sake of creating content. For that reason the posts weren't great and had no specific audience other than myself.
Over the last six months my writing has become more focused, centring on technical issues related to Craft CMS. This focus has been informed by an emerging picture of the niche that I'd like to target with the services and products that I build and offer over the next couple of years.
Because of this focus my posts have become much more popular and Google has been very kind with its organic traffic. I'll be maintaining this rate of content production in 2019 but this time I'll already have my niche, audience and accompanying signposting services defined which will hopefully make content ideas a lot easier to come up with.
Present 5 talks
Although I only managed to get 3 done over the last 6 months I had great feedback from all of them. One problem I did face was in finding enough local events which catered to my knowledge niches - I'm pretty sure my local Craft CMS meetup doesn't want me speaking there every month.
So I'm going to have to go further afield - which has its own logistical challenges that I'll need to overcome.
Although I didn't meet this goal I'm happy with the progress made so far and I'll be expanding upon it for 2019.
Launch a passive income potential product / Earn £100 'passive' income
I would firstly like to adjust the language of these goals. When I wrote them I was a recent initiate into the passive income fan club. I have since come to my senses and realise that there really is no such thing until you've done a lot of upfront work. I'm therefore changing 'passive' to 'recurring' to demonstrate that work will definitely be involved but this work will hopefully lead to recurring revenue.
I mentioned earlier that my pursuit of 'active' income had been at the expense of developing 'recurring' income products. It's these goals that have suffered as a consequence. However, the six months that I've spent not fully pursuing these goals has given me some time to reflect on what I should be doing regarding focus and audience.
Looking forward to the next 52 weeks I'll be learning from both the successes and failures of 2018 with a specific focus on ensuring that I achieve steps towards my multi-year goals.
As I have become significantly clearer about what I'm actually trying to achieve, this year's goals are a little more concise but follow a similar theme to 2018.
- Launch Servd, a zero-friction hosting platform for Craft CMS
- Achieve £500 MRR
- Present two talks outside of my local area
- Write one article per week (52 total)
It's likely I'll also still be doing client work alongside these goals. I actually already have a few projects booked in for Q1, but I hope that by not setting a goal related to client work it'll help me to focus more on my longer-term goals.