Captain’s log, stardate 20161227
What went right in 2016?
Sent by Jonathan Stark on December 27th, 2016
With Xmas behind us and New Year’s Eve right around the corner, it seems like a good time to step back and review what did—and didn’t—work in 2016.
I’ll go first...
2016 was a great year for me. From a revenue standpoint, 2016 was my best year since going solo ten years ago. The numbers aren’t final, but it’s looking like 2016 revenue will end up about $125,000 higher than 2015.
This isn’t a pure apples to apples comparison because I started renting an office instead of working from home which added $1000/mo to my expenses.
Also, I worked a bit more. I don’t track my hours, but I’d estimate that on average I worked about 40 hours per week in 2016 vs 30 per week in 2015.
But still... even with the increased expenses and additional hours, 2016 was a banner year.
Better yet, some of the seeds I planted in 2016 will continue to bear fruit into 2017 with little additional effort.
What went right in 2016?
Here are some of the things that I did right in 2016:
- Vowed not to code for money — On January 1, 2016, I vowed not to take on any projects that required me to author shipping code. I stuck to this promise and have been very happy with my decision. Revenue is up significantly, profits have skyrocketed, and client satisfaction is as high as ever. (Full disclosure: I still write some code for one pre-2015 client, but that’s it).
- Released my first self-published book — I’ve authored four books with traditional publishers (1 with SAMS and 3 with O’Reilly). In 2016, I wrote my fifth book and decided to self-publish. Wow, what a difference! I’m glad I had the experience of working with traditional publishers, but I’ll never go back to it; I’ll be self-publishing from here on out.
- Committed to writing every day — At the end of July 2016, I committed to sending daily messages to you. With rare exceptions (e.g., Christmas, for example 😀 ) I’ve stuck to it. I was nervous about making this change but I’ve found that it’s not at all difficult to keep up with. Much to my surprise, I have found it to be easier and more fun than writing weekly (and far more beneficial).
Plans for 2017
When I started Expensive Problem (EP) in April of 2015, I vowed to follow my own advice. And I did. All of the strategies and tactics that I suggest in my articles, podcasts, webinars, and so on, are proven techniques that I used to grow EP from nothing (no site, no list, no revenue) to a six-figure business in less than two years.
Since 2015, I have done nothing to apply the EP techniques to my older mobile consulting business (aka Jonathan Stark Consulting, or JSC). In 2017, this will change. I will finally revamp the marketing of JSC in a way that “walks the walk” that I advocate through EP.
- No more proposals — I hate writing proposals. So much so that two big clients who are hoping for proposals from me will not get them because I simply can’t bring myself to sit down and write them. This isn’t fair to the clients and creates stress for me, so... starting in 2017, I will face facts and exclusively offer products and productized services. No more custom proposals.
- No more conferences — For a long time, speaking at conferences was my #1 marketing technique. It has been very effective for me but I have found some new approaches that scale much better. So... unless the TED folks invite me to speak, my keynote at Web Unleashed in October 2016 will go down as my last conference appearance.
- More products/productized services — In 2017, I’ll be doubling down on products and productized services for both EP and JSC. What I do for JSC will likely be of interest to you in a demonstrative way. I’ll keep you posted as things progress there in hopes that my examples give you ideas for new, more profitable offerings of your own. What I do for EP will be of a more direct interest. I already have three announcements in the works for January that I’m excited to share with you. You’ll be first to know as soon as they’re ready!
Okay, your turn 😀
Got a sec? Hit reply and let me know:
- How was your 2016?
- What went right?
- What went wrong?
- What will you change for 2017?
- What are your goals for 2017?
Don’t worry... I won’t share your answers. I’m just curious where you’re at (and what I might do to help).