Posted on Sat 03 September 2016

2016 goals, August edition


In January I shared the six goals I set for myself for 2016. Now that we're over halfway through the year, I thought it was good timing to revisit those goals and revise them for the rest of the year.

Here's what my 2016 goals were in January:

  • Double the income from Hello Code (from around $3000/month now to $6000/month)
  • Release 4 of my own products (the first one, my email course Productive Habits, is open for pre-orders and about to launch)
  • ✔️ Pay off my tax debt
  • Launch Field Trip, my online magazine, and build up its accompanying Patreon account to $1000/month
  • ✔️ Find a sport or exercise I enjoy
  • Travel to Europe

I've completed 2.5 of those so far. I've paid off my tax debt, found a sport/exercise I enjoy (gymnastics), and I launched Field Trip. Travelling to Europe was kind of a bonus goal. I didn't really expect it to happen this year, but if the other financial goals were completed, it would be the next thing to work on. So not completing that one doesn't worry me too much.

My Patreon account went terribly. Even when I adjusted it to focus on my whole ouvre of writing projects, rather than just Field Trip, it barely made any money. I'm about to shut it down, in fact. I can only assume this is because my audience either doesn't want to pay for things at all, or only wants to pay for products (i.e. receiving something tangible in return for their money), rather than simply donating to support my work. Based on the small success of my course and book, Productive Habits, I'm guessing at least some of my audience is willing to purchase products from me, so that's what I'm going to focus more on going forward.

So here's an updated 2016 goals list based on what's happened so far, and what I want to focus on more for the rest of the year:

  • Double the income from Hello Code (from around $3000/month now to $6000/month)
  • ✔️ Pay off my tax debt
  • ✔️ Launch Field Trip
  • ✔️ Find a sport or exercise I enjoy
  • Travel to Europe
  • Launch four of my own products
  • Send minimum 5 personal essay/magazine writing pitches
  • Complete minimum two units of Uni

I've kept the completed goals on the list to give me some sense of progress and accomplishment.

The three new goals are for University, and essay writing. I'm about to go back to uni part-time to study writing and publishing. I'm doing this for a few reasons:

  • It's an easy way to inject some structure and tangible progress into my life, which is lacking right now, and affecting my mental state.
  • I'm hoping to learn about writing, pitching, and publishing in areas I don't know much about, like traditional media and books.
  • I'd like the piece of paper. I'm not proud of how much I care about having a degree, because I know ultimately it doesn't matter, but I want it anyway.

I'm also trying to get into more essay and magazine article writing, which is quite different from content marketing. As part of that effort, I'm aiming to send at least five pitches for this type of writing before the end of the year, which is roughly one/month.

The other goals are mainly the same, so I need to look at why I haven't achieved them yet, and what I can do to improve my approach for the rest of the year.

For the Hello Code income goal, I'm not working alone, as my co-founder Josh is working full-time on Hello Code with the main goal of increasing the revenue it brings in. But despite working together, we're really struggling with this at the moment. It's been almost a year since I cut way back on the marketing I was doing for Hello Code (due to working more so I could pay off my tax debt), and I think we've seen the effect of that long period without us pushing Exist into the spotlight.

In the past few weeks I've tried to ramp up my efforts again, pitching more press, pitching guest posts, and writing more for our various blogs. So far we haven't seen much change, but I'm hopeful that these efforts will build up over time so that we'll see an improvement in revenue by the end of the year.

I've also made a big adjustment to my workday schedule that's helping me get more done. This means I can fit in more marketing work for Hello Code, as well as working more consistently on our iOS apps.

With regards to launching four of my own products, I'm halfway there. I've launched the Productive Habits course, and the book version of the same. I'd like to launch one more big project this year, but I'm doubtful I'll find the time to work on it, especially with uni starting soon. I'd also like to launch a small, free product to increase my exposure, and just give people something useful without asking for anything in return. I'm not sure what this will be yet, but it should be something small and self-contained. I'll probably do a short sprint (or several) to get this done, rather than trying to work it into my regular schedule.

That's pretty much it. My general plan for the rest of the year is to do the following:

  • Stick to my new workday schedule
  • Do my best to hit deadlines early, to cut down on stress
  • Plan new projects carefully, break them into chunks, and use sprints to get them done without losing momentum or motivation

P.S. I make some stuff you might like: Exist, a personal analytics app to help you understand your life, and Larder, a bookmarking app for developers.

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