If I had to describe 2014 in 3 words, it would be Freedom, Growth and Discovery. I accomplished a lot in the year both personally and in business. I'm writing this entry on January 6, 2015 as I fly back from Ireland after my Christmas break. I've spent the last 2 weeks unwinding from the year, reflecting on what 2014 brought, and planning for this next year in 2015. And eating.
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller
According to Mr. Bueller, I miss alot. I don't tend to do much reflection during the year, nor do I even take time off to celebrate my wins because I'm always onto trying to reach the next level. I also never realize how far I've come because I'm looking at the people ahead of me and keep trying to catch up to them rather than looking back to see how far I've come. I'm planning to change this in 2015 with quarterly reflection sessions. I found this post that gives you 50 questions to help you reflect, appreciate, and get excited for 2015 that you should check out as well if you’re unsure how to review your year.
"You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with." - Jim Rohn
One of the things I'm most happy with is how I've grown my personal network in the past year with other entrepreneurs and trailblazers who inspire me everyday to keep going and moving to the next level. I did this first through The Foundation, which I completed in June, and followed up by attending several conferences throughout the year. Surrounding yourself with other entrepreneurs is extremely powerful, and if you're feeling stuck I would highly recommend this. During my 2014 reflections, I realized that my achievements were either directly or indirectly a result of the input or influence of these entrepreneurs.
Here were my 3 biggest business wins:
1. Setting up Calm The Ham with a fulfillment warehouse
This was HUGE for me personally and the most important thing I did all year. It allowed me to save the time I was spending packing and shipping orders. I could now spend my time on much higher leverage tasks. On a personal note, it also meant getting my apartment back to being much more livable. It also meant location independence for me, as I was able to travel throughout the year without being worried about orders not being fulfilled in a timely manner. By completing this in Q1 (by March), I was able to work on the business instead of in it. I could also spend more time being creative.
2. 2 Successful Kickstarter campaigns
The Filmography of Aircraft successfully funded $25,161 in May (a direct result of meeting Justin Thomas at the Pioneer Nation conference). I followed up this campaign with Filmography of Guns in October which received over 50K in funding total. I was able to use Kickstarter as a platform to grow my audience base, engage with supporters, and grow my product line to more of what people wanted to see. As a result, I have creative projects lined up for the next 6 months.
3. Launching a SaaS business
I launched a software business (ClinicHero) which is something completely new for me. It was the result of my time in The Foundation, wherein I researched a market, spoke to people in the market, found a problem, came up with a possible solution, and pre-sold the idea to 5 people who gave me money to develop it. Yes, you can receive money for something that doesn't yet exist if the problem is painful enough.
4. Becoming a Mastermind coach with The Foundation
I was asked to become one of the mastermind coaches with the new class which began at the end of November. I'm excited to see where these entrepreneurs go and how I can help on their paths. One student is only 17-years-old, which is pretty amazing. It would have been nice if I was so on the ball at such a young age. (But that’s fine! We’re focusing on accomplishes after all! wink)
A few years ago I had formed really good habits with exercising and working out daily, but when I moved stateside and was working as an architect, all that discipline went out the window. I worked too much, slept too little, and didn't eat right. The long work hours and lack of sleep meant exercising was not a priority. After quitting my job at the end of last year (yay!), I decided to be more serious about getting back to healthy habits. I started working with a personal trainer in February, which was a game changer as far as personal fitness for me and learning how to exercise properly. I'd never gone near a bench press nor have I done any real weight lifting whatsoever, but now I'm comfortable with it, and I actually enjoy it.
"Losing Weight" was always what I considered my goal for the gym, which is a pretty generic and non-specific goal. I didn't set goals last year. Sure, I had ideas in mind of what I wanted to achieve, but they weren't SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Oriented - goals, which are the way to go. Setting precise goals for every part of my life is the only way to really make things happen.
When I measured my body fat in January 2014, I was around 25.1% body fat, which is in Average zone according to American Council on Exercise. When I recently measured in mid-December 2014, I was 21.4%, which is in the Fitness zone. My goal now is to acheive and maintain 19% body fat by June 1, 2015 and be in the Athlete zone. Here are my current one rep maxes (It was "leg day" at the gym yesterday so I happen to know these):
- 460 lbs leg press
- 160 lbs leg extension
- 220 lb squat
- 4 pull-ups (I could do none at the start of the year)
Traveling is something I'm really enjoying having the freedom to do because now I can essentially work from anywhere. In 2012-2013, while I was still working as an architect, I barely went anywhere due to lack of time, money, and vacation days. In 2014, I made up for this with a lot of traveling - mainly for conferences, mastermind meet ups, and a little fun.
Between March and December 2014, I visited, Portland (twice), Colorado Springs and Boulder (CO), Seattle (WA), Juneau (AK), Skagway (AK), Victoria (Canada), Austin (TX), Orlando (FL), and Ireland.
In 2015 I have trips planned to San Diego, Portland, and Iceland so far.
The conferences I attended in 2014 were: Pioneer Nation, The Foundation: Live Event, World Domination Summit, Nearly Impossible.
How I plan to crush Q1 of 2015
Here are some area's I'm going to be working on for Q1 of this year:
1. Set my morning success ritual
“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” – Jim Rohn
My first focus for 2015 is to solidify my daily routine because I know how important it is for a successful life. Reading, writing, meditation, and exercise are all activities I want to be doing on a daily basis, so that's something I'll be implementing into each day. Once I have it perfected (successfully completing for 30 straight days), I will let you know what's working for me and the results.
My friend Carl Mattiola wrote a great post last month about his morning routine, and he's a top performing entrepreneur running 4 businesses.
2. Prioritize, Delegate & Build Systems
In the second half of 2014, I started valuing my time much more highly than ever before. As I became busier with business and different projects I began treating my time like a precious commodity. I started prioritizing tasks and delegating anything that which I disliked doing and/or tasks that didn't require me specifically to do them to my virtual assistant (VA). This definitely helped a lot, but I could be much better and plan to spend time delegating and building better systems for everything I do in Q1 (Jan-March).
3. Read 3 books per month
I recently wrote a previous post about the 22 books I used to quit my job in 2013. I don't think I read more than 6-7 books in 2014, which is why I want to get back into the habit of reading again. We're now 7 days in to 2015, and I've already started and finished 2 books. By adding 20 minutes of reading into my morning routine, I'll be ensuring I beat that number this year. My goal is 36 books in 2015. I'll be tracking them here . Got suggestions for books? Let me know in the comments.
Massive Action Plan 2015
Have you set SMART goals for 2015? I spent yesterday completing an action plan for myself for January-April by setting outcome goals, breaking those down into 3 performance goals, and breaking the performance goals down into 3 process goals each. Essentially that's 9 processes to complete for each outcome goal.
From there, I set out a daily to-do list so I know what I should be doing each day. This really helps because you can stay on track to your goals, and it helps with decision fatigue. The last thing you want to do in the morning is waste precious brain resources figuring out what you have to do that day to stay on track with goals - at least that's true for me.
P.S. Interested in me explaining this goal breakdown process further? Let me know in the comments