Every year I write a review of the year in business and set goals for the upcoming year. I’m not sure if anyone else reads the post, but it’s damn sure fun to write!!
It’s crazy when you look back at 12 months ago and think about how much stuff has changed, what’s become your new status quo and how your thinking has changed for the upcoming year. It’s also very beneficial for focus and motivation. I’ve recently started working with a career planning framework and monthly review process which I’ve shared with my 7 Day startup Pro group. More on that later, for now let’s look at 2015. Here’s a quick pic of how it looks and details below.
Start of 2015
In January 2015, this is where I was at and my 5 business goals for the year.
- In 2014 I’d set a goal to get to $20,000 in Monthly Run Rate for my WordPress support company WP Curve. At end end of 2014 we were at $54,000 per month. I set a goal of getting WP Curve to $2m annual run rate ($166,000) which is obviously completely insane haha.
- I’d just teamed up with my buddy Luke who was working on turning his self-hosted live chat software into a Software as a Service model. Starting from scratch is always difficult, so I set a fairly broad goal of achieving 10% monthly growth with that business.
- I’d recently released my first book, The 7 Day Startup and had surprisingly good results. I set a goal to release another best selling book and make $50,000 personal revenue. This was a bit of a long shot as well, I really had no idea what I would write about or how I would make $50k. However I figured if I created another book, then the Amazon sales from both would go close.
- I hadn’t spoken at any conferences before the end of 2014, except for one disastrous appearance a decade earlier. I set a goal to speak at some more conferences and build up some confidence around speaking.
- In late 2014, me and 2 mates had decided to brew a home brew beer. By the start of 2015 we’d brewed one commercial batch under the name Black Hops, at another brewery and we (very aggressively) set a goal to open our own brewery in 2015. This was the biggest long shot out of all of my goals for the year. I don’t think I even told the other guys when I wrote this goal down, it felt too silly (spoiler alert we didn’t open a brewery but we got fucking close!).
Looking back at those goals, they seem crazy in every way. I failed most of them but still had my best year ever in business. Here’s what happened:
1. WP Curve $2m
WP Curve got no where near $2m in Annual Run Rate (about 80% recurring). We came within 1 single signup of getting to $1m which was kinda cool / frustrating. We were at $650k annual run rate at the start of the year and finished the year at $999,384, so a great result but not even close to the goal. I’ll be releasing a post soon on WP Curve blog going through some lessons learned.
2. Live chat project
I ceased my involvement in the live chat software towards the end of the year. We weren’t able to get traction with the idea and my other projects were getting traction beyond what I’d imagined. I wasn’t really able to add much value despite trying my best. It was a shame and a very difficult decision to make. The project is still going on without my involvement and I’m still mates with Lukey no harm done. My dream of being a successful software entrepreneur is on hold, for now haha.
3. I wrote a best selling book and made +$50k
I wrote and released my second book, Content Machine in 2015. It got to #1 in the web marketing category and has been ordered over 10,000 times (a lot of those were free in the first 3 days).
I also launched a membership named after my first book, 7 Day Startup Pro and had 100 people join on an annual plan. Between 7 Day Startup Sales & Content Machine Sales (on Amazon), International translations and group signups I earned $60,122. This is nice for something with next to zero costs and something that didn’t exist a year and a half ago. I also saw the first pictures of 7 Day Startup in Vietnam in a book shop which was especially cool and sold my first international translation for Content Machine.
4. I spoke at a shitload of conferences
It’s so bizarre looking back at my goals from 12 months ago about being too nervous to speak at conferences and wanting to try a few and see how I go. In 2015 I spoke at too many events to remember. I spoke in The Philippines, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, The Gold Coast from rooms ranging from 50 people to 400. It was stressful and memorable. I even got a bit bored doing it and one case presented without being nervous. I still get asked quite a bit to speak, for now I’m saying no to everything but we’ll see what happens.
5. We came pretty damn close to opening a brewery
The goal to open a brewery was the biggest long shot of all. In the end we had some major milestones with Black Hops throughout the year. I’ll go into more detail in the 2015 highlights below, but in short, we came within a few months of opening our own brewery on the Gold Coast. We even got investors, a location, all of our equipment and we brewed the official Call of Duty Beer. Craziness. A failed goal never felt so good.
Before I get into my goals for 2016, here are a few highlights from 2015.
Jan – Started working at a Coworking space called Wotso. Made a few friend (lukey), installed a beer tap in our office and ended up on local TV talking startups (one of 3 TV appearances for the year!). March – I got the opportunity to speak at James Schramko’s event in Sydney. I’ve been looking up to James and following his stuff for so many years it was a real thrill. OMG I was shitting myself when I took this pic at the break before my session. March – Eddie and I were called up on at the last minute to speak to an audience about craft beer. We shat ourselves. Then we delivered. Like bosses. April – Black Hops started getting some mainstream attention. This photoshoot was for our Oyster Killpatrick Stout, our first beer entered into Australia’s biggest beer competition GABS which was a month or so off. May – I was fortunate enough to be asked by Chris Ducker to speak at his epic Tropical Think Tank event in Cebu, Philippines. Lived the dream, drank Aussie craft beer on tap!, met some great friends, and even….. was made Merry 😉 May – We made it to the beer festival (GABS). Just being there with our own beer was epic. We also ran into a few friends and did some competitor research and quality assurance work. GABS is strictly business (ATO please note). The coolest thing was our beer came 13th out of 120+ beers. We lost our shit. July – I made beer. Enough said. August – We took over the Pro Blogger Event on the Gold Coast 😉 October – Completed a whirlwind trip to China with Eddie and Govs, to inspect the tanks for the Black Hops brewery. Even ended up on Chinese TV. October – Headed off by myself to Bangkok for the annual Dynamite Circle event, and stumbled across a massive craft beer event! Flew back to the Gold Coast, had no sleep met the Black Hops boys at the airport for a beer and flew straight to Sydney for a full day of secret filming for the Call of Duty Beer. And yes, got on TV again. November – Took over the location for our brewery, and started filming our crowd funding video. November – Did a nude photo shoot (for charity). Govs bought the fake tan, obviously not enough for me. December – Spent Christmas day preparing the brewery for our tanks which arrived by surprise a bit early. The tanks arrived, and we somehow got them in place. Didn’t launch a brewery, but as you can see, we got pretty damn close.
So what’s in store for 2016
My theme word for 2016 is “Momentum”. I’m going to aim to only work on things that already have momentum and not start any new projects. I can’t remember a year where I’ve ever been able to do that, so it will be a challenge! The 3 things are:
I brainstormed my goals with The MerryMaker Sisters recently. Here’s a pic and here are the goals. Keep in mind the only business I have 100% influence over is 7 Day Startup. The goals for WP Curve and Black Hops won’t be only up to me to make happen.
- Reach $120,000 in Monthly Run Rate ($1.44m UDS annually).
- Build the email list from 24,000 to 50,000.
- Increase average monthly website visits from 60,000 to 100,000.
- Increase customer happiness score from 83 to 90.
- Be the first Aussie brewery to successfully launch on crowd funding (well under way, see here).
- Open our brewery on the Gold Coast.
- Increase average website visits from 2,000 per month to 10,000.
- Get major mainstream media coverage.
- Increase likes on our Facebook page from 1,282 to 5,000.
- Increase Instagram followers from 1,692 to 10,000.
- Hit $50,000 in monthly revenue.
- Release our book and make it to #1 in the Beer category.
- Make the top 10 at GABS (I had win on the whiteboard but finalist would be a big achievement).
- Make the hottest 100 beer list for the first time.
7 Day Startup
- Turn it into a 6 figure business, increasing revenue from $60,000 to $150,000.
- Grow the 7 Day Startup Pro private membership group from 98 to 500 members.
- Increase my personal @thedannorris Instagram following from 3,000 to 20,000.
- Release The 7 Day Startup podcast and hit 5,000 downloads per month.
- Complete my first 7 Day Startup challenge and make it epic.
- Build my personal email list from 13,700 to 20,000.
- Increase my average monthly website visits from 5,000 to 20,000 for 7DayStartup.com.
- Get nominated for Gold Coast Entrepreneur of the Year.
- Launch 7 Day Startup Merchandise (actually achieved this today, check this out).
- Inspire 1,000+ people to launch entrepreneurial projects.
That’s about it. It’s been an epic year. 2016 will also be epic. I hope yours will be too. If you want to discuss this post or your 2016 goals, please do so via this thread in my free Facebook group. I will write another article soon about how I manage my goal setting process.