It’s always important to look back on the year and see what went well and what didn’t. I’m a big believer in doubling down on your strengths – so see what went well and look at how you can make it better. That’s not to say that you should ignore your failures. There’s lessons to be learned there as well.
Overall, 2016 with a great year. I hit most of my goals by a significant margin, which has really energized me going into 2017. I attribute this to getting better organized, and also setting very specific goals (ahh… remember S.M.A.R.T. goals from high school?).
Let’s dive in and see how I did for 2016, and what’s on the agenda for 2017.
For 2016, I created three goals for my online business:
The year isn’t over yet, but as of writing this, I’ve more than doubled my site traffic from 2015. That was an important goal, because in the online world (and in the business world), if you’re not growing, you’re dying.
One thing I realized a little late in the year is that I have done a terrible job of tracking metrics over time. However, I made some changes to get organized (which I’ll share below), which have really helped keep better track of everything.
We had some great successes with our ultimate guides this year:
- Student Loan Forgiveness Programs By State
- The Definitive Guide To Student Loan Debt
Two years ago at FinCon I made a decision to really focus on email. At that time, I wanted to have an email list that really reflected the segments of readers on my site: People dealing with student loan debt, people looking to build wealth and invest, and people looking to earn more money (usually to achieve one of the previous goals).
While I did a great job segmenting and building a targeted email list, it just wasn’t growing at the rate I wanted it to.
However, in 2016, I really focused on driving email sign ups. And the work has paid off. I crossed the 20,000 subscriber mark on 11/9/16. And my list has been growing since then!
Want to sign up? Check out these pages to join a list that sounds fun to you:
- Get Out Of Student Loan Debt
- Investing 101
- Learn How To Earn More Money
At FinCon, I talked about how I was focused on doubling my business income. The reason? My online income had been stagnant and I wanted to change that.
To achieve this, I broke this goal down into several sub-goals. Some I achieved, others I didn’t.
The biggest area of success I had in boosting my blog income has been to optimize my existing content. I went through my top-traffic articles, and ensured that they had relevant tools and offers that my readers could take advantage of. This has been a huge win for increasing my income.
I also made a goal of working with 10 brands this year. I really enjoy working with brands who align with my vision of financial literacy and personal finance. This was a miss for me, because I was only able to work with 7 brands. However, I will say, that the 7 partners I worked with this year were amazing and I know we’re going to continue to build on our relationships going forward.
Want to work with me? Find out more here.
I was really bad about setting personal goals for 2016. I’m going to change that for 2017.
However, one area that was a personal goal of mine was to get more organized. In general, I’m a very organized person. However, I felt that everything was still “scattered” and not streamlined. I wanted to find a solution that allowed me to be more organized in an easy fashion.
I found a great solution with Asana, in combination with an online course I took called Asana For Bloggers. I’d actually been using Asana for several years, but never really to it’s full potential.
Today, it’s not only a project management system for my business, but it’s also a task list for my life. Combine that with my Google Calendar, and I’ve been able to become extremely organized and focused. If it’s on my task list, it gets done. Otherwise, it’s probably not important.
I know I’m still not perfect in this respect, but I’m getting better (I think)…
Goals For 2017
Looking back in the archive, I’ve noticed that I haven’t done a great job of posting my goals on the site. That’s sad, because I’m a big believer in writing my goals down. At home, I have a “white board” above my desk where I have my goals written out so that I can always look at them.
But just like last year, my goals for 2017 go along with the same themes. However, I’m also adding in some personal goals to achieve as well.
- Double My Traffic Versus 2016
- Increase Email Subscribers To 50,000
- 5x My Net Business Income From 2016
After 2016, those seem like some huge stretch goals – but that’s the point of goals. Under each goal I have some specific tactics, which I’ll share in my recap next year about what went well and what didn’t. But I think you’ll notice some of the significant changes coming pretty soon.
- Take Three Family Vacations In 2017
- Pay Off My Mortgage
- Weigh 190lbs or Less
In thinking about these goals, it’s really thinking about why do you even do the business stuff to begin with? To take care of my family! So why am I not making goals that reflect that? With these goals I hope to ensure that I’m focusing on what matters while still driving the business forward.
What went well for you in 2016? What did you not achieve? What are your goals for 2017?