About a year ago, I wrote my company long term plan. This post was divided in 4 sections according to a time horizon (1, 3, 5 and 10 years out). Since I’m a financial planner, I know a thing or two about effective planning. Plans do change in time and most plans are not realized as forecasted. But the power behind a plan is in revision and adjustments. If you don’t go back to your initial plan and look at where you have been, where you are at right now and realize the difference from the plan you have, then your plan has been worthless. It is darn important to follow-up. Not because you need to stick to your plan but to understand what went well or went wrong and what you can do to move forward.
I’m also a big fan of commitment. There is no point talking about something if it’s just to write it on a blog to be forgotten. This is why today I’m reviewing what was written a year ago.
Last year, I wanted to accomplish several things in this company during the short span of 12 months:
– 10 niches sites up and running
– 2 sites (besides blogs) up and running
– Make over 10K/month (I made $10,514 in May 2011)
– Have 4 eBooks for sale
My goals were pretty ambitious and several things went sideways during the last year. We went “all-in” without a true direction. We didn’t have a huge plan. In fact, we just had goals… I must say that I’m somewhat disappointed with where we are at today when I look at my aspirations of a year ago. But, nothing is all gloom and doom.
We do have some serious niche sites running and generating over $350/month now. We do have our 10 niche sites but they are not as big as we thought they would be 12 months later. We were expecting these 10 sites to make $100/month each in orderto generate $1000/month from this part of this business. I actually think that we will make it, but it’s harder than we thought. Our latest sites are well built and make a the bulk of our niche site income. Here are our 4 biggest niche sites (all generating over $40/month):
The “2” big sites are still under construction. This is probably our biggest “failure” as we didn’t make enough time to have them fly. On the other hand, it gave us the time to create a super nice structure around them. Both designs are done and the sites are live right now. However, we are still working on the content before officially launching them. The only advantage I see is that they are already getting search engine authority since they are live and updated regularly. We expect to launch both sites by the end of Q3.
When we wanted to make $10K/month on a regular basis, we were already “almost” there last year. But now, I can say that it’s great success. Even if we are currently decreasing our number of private ads, we have compensated those losses by bigger Adsense income and affiliate marketing. After 4 months of operation, I can say that I’m confident we’ll make over $120K in gross income for 2012.
eBooks… ish… do I really have to talk about this one? You know how my 2nd eBook launch went (read here if you don’t!) but we are not discouraged. In fact, we learned a lot and tried something else recently with some good success (more details here). Our current project is a 2 version eBook on dividend investing (Canadian and US). Both books are completed and have been sent for editing/formatting and we will also have a complete site built for us for this launch. I expect to sell over 300 copies in 2012. It’s pretty ambitious but it will also be confirmation that I have (or haven’t!) learned from my past experience and that I can create, market and sell a great product! With an investing newsletter over 5,500 members strong, I’m confident that 5% of them will buy my book. The rest will come from an affiliate program and other referrals. So maybe I’ll be able to say “mission accomplished!” in 6 months .
I wrote that I was expecting the company to use leverage again to buy another site in the 3 years to come. Well, this happened faster that we thought! We actually made our big purchase about 3 months ago. While we are still integrating these sites into our network, I can say that the investment return is already showing. Our company currently owes around $82K in total. Yup, you read it right… 82K in debt! But this debt is dropping by 3K a month since February. We have put in place an aggressive debt reduction plan. In 27 months, we will be debt free and running a highly profitable business. OR…. we will be leveraged again and be making a lot more money .
Our second project for 2014 is to offer membership websites or other kinds of paid services. Well this will probably happen in 2013! The funny thing about our first 12 month plan is that it was tossed away by several other “opportunities”. This is why we started working on different projects instead on focusing on what we thought was important. So we already know what our membership product will be, how we will manage it and the platform / design has already been purchased. So all we need is manpower to generate content and setup the launch (this is already being put into place). To be honest, as soon as we can launch our eBooks and finish our 2 major websites, we are starting to work “full time” on this project: Canadian Aristocrats They Have it Too.
The main goal will be to make over 20K/month in 2014. As we are currently generating slightly over 10K/month, this is a 100% increase in 2 years. There is still a lot of work left but if everything that we launch works, I don’t see why we couldn’t achieve it. Worse comes to worst, we just have to buy 10 sites that make 1K/month over the next 2 years… lol!
In 2016, I’ll be 35. I already wrote that my windows of opportunity will start to shrink after this countdown. This is why the current 5 years are crucial for me, my company and my pockets!! The big plan is to show a $1M net worth for my 35th birthday. I’m now focusing on paying off my debts and both my investments and home will increase in value. However, we all know that if I show $1M in net worth at 35, the bulk of my assets will be my company. I’ve already mentioned that I would need my company to be worth 864K to become a millionaire by 35. This is roughly a 20% annualized revenue growth. It is still quite a challenge (now that we have to survive Google once again!) but I don’t think it’s impossible.
I mentioned on this blog that 2012 will be a “do or die” year for our company and this is really the case.
If our niche sites don’t grow and generate $1K/month by the end of the year,
If our 2 big sites are not generating money by the end of the year,
If I don’t sell 300 copies of my new eBooks,
If I can’t sell membership subscriptions to my new sites in 2013,
I won’t be able to bring this great sideline to the level of a great company.
What I like to see is I’m not too far away from my 12 month projections. While this is definitely not where I thought I would be on many points, I’ve also developed other projects and already bought 2 great websites (which wasn’t in the short term plan).
So I’m now ready to crush the rest of 2012 and boost my monthly income to $15,000 by the end of this year!
Readers, when is the last time you wrote a plan and looked back at it? How did it go?
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