A successful entrepreneur shares her thoughts on business success and failure.

2008 Year In Review / 2009 Goals

2009 Goals

Every year I set public goals for my blog and business so that you can see exactly what I’m working toward. Last year, I set my 2008 goals. How did I do?

I had four main goals:

  1. Launch Inspiring Innovators. I did not achieve this, primarily because I changed its business model in November. Inspiring Innovators will launch this month — more details on that coming this week!
  2. New car. Yes! I bought a 2008 Mazda MX-5 hardtop in January, 2008. So far, my new LIL ZOOM has treated me quite well. I’m still extremely pleased with both Mazdas I’ve owned. (I donated my old 1999 Miata to a local charity in early 2008.)
  3. Moving. This was a “maybe” from the start. We didn’t move, but we plan to do so in 2009 — probably in the June timeframe — and it looks like we will be heading to San Diego. I’m excited for a change — August would be my 10-year anniversary in the Bay Area, and although I enjoy the many friends I have here, I’m also ready for something new.
  4. Start a new (offline) business. The business I wanted to start was office space for small startup companies — getting a big office and then subletting it to startups, complete with great working space and good coffee!

    I looked into this pretty seriously, but ultimately decided the timing wasn’t right and the demand wasn’t there. Real estate was too costly and there wasn’t enough profit to make it worthwhile. This may change as the economy tanks, and there may be another opportunity for this type of company in the future. I’m open to the possibilities and not disappointed that it didn’t work out in 2008.

  5. $10,000/month in writing income. This is the hardest one, since I talked about this a LOT and it generated a lot of interest. I didn’t make this goal. My highest income was in September, when I earned $1,199.21.

    I don’t feel 2008 was unproductive in this regard, but there were a few good reasons I didn’t hit the goal:

    1. There was a lot more learning to do than I had originally accounted for. I studied affiliate programs, membership sites, went to 2 Internet marketing seminars, and absorbed hundreds of hours of books, audio, and videos. Invariably, I decided affiliate marketing was great on a small scale, but to build quickly to $10K I would need to create my own products.

      I started with the interviews, and sold 2 of them, giving myself an opportunity to write my first sales copy (fun!) and sell using a membership software backend (even though it was a one-time purchase.)

    2. I didn’t have a clear focus on how to make the money. It took me far longer than expected to develop a clear plan, and when I finally did — in December — I decided to launch Inspiring Innovators in January instead. This is probably the biggest problem for most who want to make money online. Many spend their time trying every new trick that comes out (SEO! List building! Affiliate marketing!), but without that focus, it’s hard to move forward.
    3. A purely monetary goal didn’t excite me. Even though I broke it down into manageable chunks, there just wasn’t any emotion behind it that got me motivated to work.

2009 Goals

Now that I have a clear focus, I feel that $10,000 a month and then some is easily achievable for 2009. Since I’ve learned that purely monetary goals don’t motivate me, though, I’ve decided to reframe my goals for 2009. I’ve picked just three goals that will be meaningful for my future. Here they are:

  1. 350 paying customers for Inspiring Innovators by the end of 2009.
  2. Grow erica.biz to 4000 subscribers.
  3. Complete our move to San Diego.

January 30-Day Trial

In addition, I have decided to start a new 30-day trial for January.

One of the biggest failings of this blog, as I see it, is my inability to write consistently. I notice that my traffic patterns fall off after 2-3 days, suggesting that you (my readers) would prefer to see me post 2-3 times a week. However, I’m lucky to stick to my predefined schedule of once a week, and my posts can be erratic. I feel this has cost me subscribers, and it’s also bothered me personally.

Therefore, I decided to set a goal to simply write for 30 minutes every day in January, no matter what. I also decided I wouldn’t necessarily force myself to write a blog post — if I felt my time would be better utilized doing a mind map, writing in a personal journal, or writing a how-to for an interview, I would do that instead. So long as I was creating instead of consuming information, I would count it.

My goal is to get over whatever it is that’s preventing me from writing every day. So far, it’s been working. Even though I’ve been sick and running a fever the past two days, I still hauled myself out of bed and wrote for half an hour. The results so far? A ton of clarity on Inspiring Innovators, and this post, which has taken me 2 days to write. So far, this is working out great! I’ll report back at the end of January.

The #themeword meme

Last year I set a “theme word” for the year in my 2008 goals post: “connect”. In my post, I defined a theme word as one word that describes what you want out of the next year. What I didn’t expect was that, due to the influence of Tara Hunt and Laura Fitton (among many others!), that the “theme word” meme would take off on Twitter. This year, hundreds of Twitter users Tweeted their #themeword! That’s awesome, and I’m glad that this has helped so many people.

If you want to set a theme word for 2009, just Tweet what it is and put the tag #themeword into your Tweet so it’s searchable.

My theme word for 2009 is growth. 2009 will be the birth and growth of Inspiring Innovators, and I have no doubt that it will be a huge personal growth year for me as well. I’ll also be helping other entrepreneurs grow their businesses through this blog and Inspiring Innovators!

Even though I didn’t meet most of my original goals for 2008, I feel that what I learned in 2008 laid the foundation for huge amounts of future success — and opened the door for me to achieve some really BIG goals in the future. Stay tuned, and don’t forget to subscribe to see if I can carry out my 2009 goals!

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I'm Erica Douglass.
After selling my online business at age 26 for over $1 million, I created this blog to help you grow your own business quickly.

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