While I crushed my 2011 financial goals, I can’t say that I have crushed all of my blogging goals! The sad part is I don’t know how to feel about 2011 when I think of my business:
– I attended the FINCON11 and made tons of friends (while consolidating existing relationships)
– I increased my monthly income to an average of $9K/month
– I have built a solid team of VAs and writers
– I achieved several projects this year and have more in the pipeline for 2012
So if I stop right here; I’ve done an amazing job! Unfortunately, I:
– Sucked so much while launching my own product
– Sucked at growing my newsletter to where I wanted it
– Sucked at the creation of high quality niche websites (the first ones anyways!)
– Sucked at increasing my affiliate income
In 2011, I had 5 goals. 2 of them that sucked:
Create my first product (ebook) and sell 100 copies
You know about my eBook The Rat Race; One Year From Now, Will You Still Be A Rat?. While I worked a lot, I failed miserably at selling 100 copies (read the full story here). This is my biggest failure in the past 3 years. To be honest, I would have preferred being punched in the face!
Create 10 niche websites and make a minimum of $100 per month with each of them
We experienced several challenges in the creation process at 2 levels:
a) Finding profitable niches with a reasonable amount of traffic (plus ranking for those keywords).
b) Finding enough time and resources to create these niche sites.
These challenges won’t be different in 2012 but at least we know we won’t be growing at the pace we thought we could. We also know what to expect in terms of cost if we want to deploy larger niche sites (such as Canadian Dividend Stock that will have over 200 pages of content once finished).
The good news is that 7 niche sites are created:
This is pretty good news although they are not at the level we wanted them to be, they are live and their history is being established in Google. Since most of the visits have to come from search engines, this is pretty good news. It leaves us more time to focus on promotion and link building in 2012.
The second good news is that some of them are making some decent money already. But I’m far from 10 sites earning $100/month each. So far this year, I’m closer to earning an average of $200/month for all my sites. At least, this is true passive income as I have never looked back at any of my sites since they were “launched”. We will obviously tweak them in 2012 in order to earn a lot more money from them ;-).
For 2012, we have a different type of website that will be developed. It will be mid-way between a blog and a niche site. Basically, it will look like a niche site but with a lot more info and these sites will be updated on a weekly basis. We currently have 2 sites under construction and a third one that is scheduled for mid 2012 (wow… I do sound like I run a company now ;-0 lol!).
At least, I don’t suck all the time 😉
My 3 other goals for 2011 were:
– Get over 250,000 visits per month with my blog network
– Write a free eBook and generate 500 downloads
– Switch The Financial Blogger’s direction to PF & Online income blog
After being hit by the Panda in April, I thought that my first goal would go down the toilet. However, I’ve worked very hard during the summer to bring the number of visits back up and after the recent Panda update II in October, I’m back to 247,000 visitors last month. So I can say “mission accomplished!”.
The free eBook, Dividend Investing, was my biggest success in 2011. I reached 15,180 downloads as of December 14th and made over $2,000 directly or indirectly from it. It has also helped me build a 1727 member newsletter and it keeps increasing by 10 to 20 a day! So if I have one piece of advice for all of you: start with a free eBook and offer it to your newsletter subscribers!
My third goal was to switch TFB’s direction without losing much traction. I am well aware that a lot of readers were following me for my controversial view of personal finance and didn’t care too much about my online company and how to become an entrepreneur. On the other hand, I was getting more and more questions & email regarding this side of the blog. This is why I have decided to make a clear switch this year. If you look at my RSS feed, it’s bigger than the beginning of the year! So while I have lost a few readers while providing more insight on making money online, I have gained more new readers in the end.
A change in time management – introducing the « Q Priority System »
This is a big change in our way of working. We have decided to establish Quarterly objectives while we were on the plane back from the Fincon11 (this conference was definitely a huge moment for our company!).
We used to have several project scheduled for the year (they are determined at our annual meeting) but we didn’t have any priorities among them or a timetable. So now, we have gathered all these projects on a list and we each pick 2 to 3 per quarter. This means that we leave all our other projects on the table and don’t even think about them. We concentrate on our quarterly objectives to make sure we have a great focus on a few value added activities. For example, my objectives for Q4 were:
a- Increase my newsletter subscribers by 300 (so 100 per month) for both The Financial Blogger and The Dividend Guy Blog.
b- Focus on writing my 2nd dividend investing eBook (I have over 70 pages written so far)
c- Launch Canadian Dividend Stock and add new sections each week
This has truly improved our productivity as things are getting done in a timely manner. We already have our objectives for Q1 and have a pretty good idea of what will happen in Q2 as well. I’ll be gathering my thoughts in the weeks to come and share them with you with my 2012 financial and blogging goals during the Holidays ;-).
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