Annual review 2018 [PMP #110]

For my final blog post and podcast of 2018 I’d like to end the year with a review. I’m going to discuss my achievements, what went well, what didn’t get well and what I’d like to focus on for next year.

At the time of writing this, I’m planning writing more formal goals for next year later this week. So this is a nice exercise to go through in preparation for that. If you’re also planning your goals for 2019, considering doing a 2018 review first.

It goes without saying, this is a very personal post. I hope that by reading it inspires you to think and reflect on your own achievements for the year.

Don't want to read this post, listen to the podcast or watch my video instead:

BUSINESS

My first full-time year

walking on beach

2018 was the first year I worked on my business “full-time” for the entire year. To clarify, I actually quit my job back in December 2016. However, because we spent the first half of 2017 travelling, I was only really working on the business “part-time” for half the year.

It’s been interesting this year to see what I can do with a year of full-time hard work (no distractions from travel).

I’m pleased to report that the business has hit another new level and I’m very happy with how my personal brand, audience and income continues to grow.

However, I really didn’t take a lot of time off this year. Partly because I felt like I didn’t need to. But I did miss travelling and not getting away as much. We had a short “babymoon” to Queenstown at the end of June which was nice and we’d like to do more of this in 2019.

In fact, we’re currently planning a working 3-month trip somewhere. We’re thinking of the east coast of the US which will be a nice way of meeting some clients (most of whom are in the US) while taking some time to travel.

Improved income to time ratio

golf
Easter weekend playing golf on the Gold Coast of Australia.

This year I worked an average of 34 hours per week and in the last few months that number has actually been closer to 30 to 31 hours per week.

About halfway through the year, I was getting really busy and almost “overbooked” with work. It’s pretty normal for me to be booked about 1-2 weeks in advance. But I started getting booked nearly 3 weeks in advance and things started to get a bit stressful and I felt like I was losing control of my time.

In response, I did a few things:

  • I tightened up my availability in Calendly so I couldn’t be overbooked with client work during the day.
  • I also set up a “Priority” booking option so that higher value prospects (i.e. people inquiring about my services) could pay a $50 fee to skip the queue and talk with me sooner.
  • I realised I’d also been undercharging in comparison to the value I was providing to clients. I started raising my fees and being more selective with the clients I choose to work with. I now regularly turn away work if I feel like a client isn’t the right fit.

I’ve also been able to increase my income from passive income sources like product sales and affiliate marketing. This is great as it obviously requires a lot less of my time.

As a result, in the second half of the year, I’ve been able to reduce my working hours while earning the same, if not more. This has been particularly useful seeing as we welcomed our baby boy, Jay, into the world in October this year (see below).

More speaking

speaking
Speaking at Business A-Z in Auckland in September.

I wouldn’t yet call myself a “speaker” but I was pleased to do a few more speaking gigs in 2018. These events are a great way to meet people in person (a rare novelty for me as most of my work is virtual).

Next year I’d like to make speaking more regular and start drawing a steady income from events.

PERSONAL

The year I became a dad

jay minors
Jay Norma Towers Minors, born October 6th.

By far the biggest personal change this year has been becoming a father and welcoming baby Jay Minors into the world. Born October 6th, Jay is now just over 2 months old and doing incredibly well.

Hayley and I do this funny thing each day where we look at him and say – “He’s our baby”. It’s our way of saying that we can’t believe he’s real and acknowledging that we’re now parents.

Having a baby really changes your outlook on life. It’s helped to confirm the direction of my business and is the main reason I wanted to reduce my working hours during the second half of the year (and continuing into 2019).

Thinking back to when I started my business 5 years ago, my primary goal was to create a “lifestyle” business that didn’t require me to work crazy hours. Now that we’ve had Jay, the years of hard work building my business on the side have all been worth it now that I can be there for Hayley and create the lifestyle we want.

CrossFit and Olympic lifting milestones

Competing in the 2018 CrossFit Open in March.

This year I achieved some Olympic lifting goals and reached a peak in my personal performance. Although I’ve dropped off a bit now that I’m less focused now that we have Jay.

None the less, I hit some personal best lifts this year which I was stoked about:

Personal best Snatch – 80kg:

Personal best clean and jerk – 97kg:

I also took part in my first ever Olympic lifting competition which was a heap of fun. It’s a funny feeling walking out onto a platform and lifting as much as you can in front of a room of people.

I Stopped “deloading”

Looking back at my calendar during early 2018 I was taking regular “deloading” periods. These are blocks of time, usually an afternoon during the week, where I would schedule no work so I could relax by myself e.g. playing golf. These afternoons off are a great way to relax, unwind and enjoy the freedom of self-employment.

One of the reasons I like doing this is it forces me to be more productive. If I know I’m scheduled to take an afternoon off, I will have to be more productive in order to do my normal work in less time.

Unfortunately, I didn’t sustain this throughout 2018 and I’d like to get back into taking these regular breaks during 2019.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2019

As mentioned above, I'm yet to formalise and write specific goals for 2019.

Broadly speaking, next year we'd like to go another overseas adventure and will likely visit the US for a few months.

I'd also like to continue to increase the value of my consulting services and be even more selective with clients.

I'm really not sure what's next for my business. I'll continue to focus on lifestyle optimisation, balancing time and income. Every opportunity and idea I have will be filtered using these criteria.

I'd love to hear from you! If you have any major achievements you'd like to share from 2018, please share them in the comments below!