My resolutions? I debated publishing them. During the past week, I’ve been flooded with “New Years Resolutions” blog posts, and it ends up being white noise. As you can see, I’m publishing it anyway, and there’s a reason for that.
From the beginning, I’ve used my efforts, successes and failures as lessons you can learn from as you start or run your own online business. So consider this post an overview of my plans for a new year, approximately 15 months after starting my business.
The year 2012 was exciting, eye-opening, stressful and exhilarating all wrapped into one. It was an amazing experience that I won’t soon forget.
My business has been evolving at a breakneck pace. Most is behind the scenes and hardly noticeable. But I’m constantly tweaking, constantly strategizing, constantly partnering.
And so, with 2012 in our rearview mirrors, here are the things that I am going to focus on in 2013. I spoke about these a bit in a recent podcast, and you can listen here:
Write Less, Publish More
I accomplished nearly everything I set out to accomplish — and more — with my blog in 2012. I’ve established a solid foundation of more than 400 pieces of content and 5,000 subscribers. I could slow down my publishing and would continue to benefit from the hard work I put in last year.
There are also solid business reasons to slow down on my writing. I simply had no time in 2012 to do many of the things I wanted to do because I was so busy writing.
That said, I know this blog is my breadwinner. There is still plenty of room for growth, so abandoning what got me here would be a bad idea.
So I want to publish as often — maybe even more often — while writing less. That’s possible, right?
It is. The first thing I want to do is start publishing more quick hits. Not every blog post needs to be a three-hour commitment.
Second, I am going to open up my site to guest posts. I have invited a dozen friends within the industry who have graciously agreed to provide their own guest post in the coming weeks. Some are big names, some are lesser known. But it will all be awesome content.
My calendar for guest posts is currently booked into March (they will occur every Wednesday). If you’d like to pitch your own guest post idea, you can do so here.
Ramp Up the Video
For a while there, I was committed to video tutorials. I was generating an accompanying screencast video with nearly every blog post that I was posting to YouTube and Vimeo. I eventually fell out of the habit.
The thing is, I saw some pretty nice results from this. It was just a matter of running short on time and eventually falling down my priority list.
But video is bigger than ever, and I need a piece of that action. I need to do more than simple screencasts. I need to start doing “talking head” videos. I want to establish a regular Vlog on YouTube so that I can use it to constantly drive traffic back to my website.
There will be some growing pains, but I’m committed to doing this.
Phase 2 of my Podcast
I’ve had a lot of fun with my podcast. I started it in May and have been committed to recording a new episode every single week (or very close to that).
While I’ve been committed to it, it’s still little more than an experiment and a hobby. I have never done anything like this before, so I’m learning on the fly.
So, in 2013 I’m fully committed to making this another important spoke of my business.
I am going to invest in making it better, and part of that was accomplished by getting a new microphone. I will also look into a new service that will likely require a monthly fee to host my podcasts.
Why would I move from self-hosting? Because I do absolutely nothing right now to track subscriptions and listens. It’s terrible, I know. But simply the problem with not knowing what I was getting into when I started.
I am also going to focus on improving the diversity of my podcasts. I want to move away from simply rehashing or expanding on my blog content. I want to answer your questions and conduct interviews.
I also commit to listening to the podcasts of others and reading blog posts on how to run them well. It’s going to be a fun year for audio and video on JonLoomer.com!
I freely admit that I made a pretty critical mistake when I moved to a new theme back in April.
I mistakenly assumed that all Genesis Framework child themes were mobile responsive. I, unfortunately, chose one that was not.
An amateur mistake, I know. But I’m making fewer of them.
While audio and video are increasingly important for online business, nothing is more critical than being easily accessible via a mobile device.
In 2013, I commit to finding a way to make my content easily digestible from phones and tablets. This will likely take an investment since I do not simply want a plugin that strips out my home page and advertising — essentially the most important items to my business.
This list is becoming full in a hurry, isn’t it?
Last year was what I regularly refer to as Phase 1. The end of the year was the start of Phase 2. But by the end of 2013, I expect to be in Phase 3.
What is Phase 3? It’s when the bulk of my revenues are made through my website. Currently, I still make more offline than online.
To make this a reality, the first thing I need to do is create more products. You can’t make money without offering something to buy!
In other words, I need to create single products that can be easily consumed by the masses. This could include ebooks and other premium content.
My goal is to create a suite of ebooks that I will keep updated throughout the year. I have established a plan of creating six of these in 2013.
More Speaking Gigs
Look… I’ve gotta be straight with you. Public speaking is not something I seek out. My discomfort with it started sometime around high school. I still remember standing in front of Health class, trembling as I spoke.
But I also realize that this is something I need to conquer if I want to grow my business. I spoke at a University of Denver class this past summer, and then I spoke on a panel at the AllFacebook.com Marketing Conference in December.
I consider myself adequately broken in. While I may not be quite ready to sing a song and throw down some breakdancing moves in front of thousands of people yet, it’s time to take on some more gigs.
My goal in 2013 is to make four speaking appearances during the year. That’s an easy goal, and hopefully I’ll take on more.
I know what you’re thinking because I’m thinking it: “How in the hell is he going to do all of this?”
I’m often amazed at how successful people seem to do 100 things at once. The truth is that they aren’t. “They” (read: their brand) are, but they aren’t personally. They have help.
So in 2013, I’m committed to getting an assistant that can help remove things from my plate that I need to stop obsessing over. I also want to bring on someone who can focus on the design elements so that I don’t need to.
Additionally, I want to continue pursuing the potential of expanding my services. I am offering community management and development on a small scale right now, and I have help. My responsibility is solely as project manager.
The year 2013 will be all about collaboration: Getting help and outsourcing business in order to expand.
I was a man on an island until the final quarter of 2012. I was a publishing machine, but I really didn’t collaborate or partner.
That changed in a hurry. I opened up sponsorships on my site late in the year. ShortStack has been there from the start and has been the perfect fit for my company. I’ve also added on AgoraPulse, PostRocket and PostPlanner, among others.
I want to continue to find more ways to partner with other companies. If you’re interested in a sponsorship on my site, go here.
Let’s go beyond sponsorships in 2013. I’m looking for more collaborative projects with other marketers and developers. It could be as simple as writing posts for one another or as complicated as creating a product together. If this interests you, reach out to me here.
The main goal for 2013 is to simply improve upon an already fantastic 2012. Let’s maintain and even accelerate that momentum!
There’s a reason I’ve wanted so desperately for this to work. I want to successfully run my own business because I want more freedom. I want freedom to create, but I also want freedom of time.
I realize this isn’t realistic in the early going, but that vision keeps me motivated. I want more time to be able to focus on being a better father, a better baseball coach, a better husband and a better person.
To get there, I first need to become a better business person. The first step is setting goals. And that’s why I wrote this blog post!
What are your goals for 2013?